How to Tell If You Need Gutter Repair or Replacement

Gutter repair and cleaning are among the most neglected household tasks in Arlington, TX—for completely understandable reasons. Most homeowners are not able or willing to spend their weekend up on a wobbly ladder, scooping handfuls of gross, rotten muck out of their rain gutters. However, few homeowners are aware of how critically important that maintenance is for preventing serious water damage.

If you've noticed some issues with your rain gutter system, you may be wondering if your whole system needs to be replaced or if you can get away with Arlington gutter repair service. It basically comes down to the extent of the damage. This guide will cover situations in which repair is a decent, cost-effective option and when it makes more sense to get gutter replacement service. We also offer some advice in response to commonly asked questions we hear from property owners in the Arlington area.

Whether you need Arlington gutter repair, replacement or just a good cleaning, you can count on your local Arlington handyman to get your system back in excellent shape. The team of service professionals at Mr. Handyman of Arlington, Mansfield and Grapevine can get your system spotlessly clean and perfectly functioning, so you'll have peace of mind that comes with knowing your house is protected against moisture damage.

Why Are Gutters So Important?

Skeptical that a little trough nailed to the side of your roof could really matter that much? Here's how it works. Normally, your system collects all the rainwater that falls on your roof and channels it safely into downspouts, sending it away from your house where it can't do any harm.

That might not sound important, but let's do some math. One inch of rain on a 1,500-square-foot roof produces about 1,000 gallons of water. For comparison, a typical bathtub holds around 60 to 80 gallons. Arlington receives an annual average rainfall of 39 inches, slightly higher than the national average. That means about 557 bathtubs full of water slosh through your troughs every year—or much more if you have a bigger roof.

If they are crammed full of dead leaves, dirt, and other debris—or if they've suffered breaks, cracks, and dents—all that water comes to a standstill and spills out. With nowhere else to go, those 557 bathtubs of water pour down the exterior of your home, causing expensive damage that can undermine the structural stability, comfort and safety of your house. That is why those seemingly insignificant little troughs are so important.

What Happens If Gutters Are Broken or Clogged?

Troughs and downspouts can be damaged by heavy weather, falling tree branches, rodents, and insects, or just wear and tear over time—which is accelerated when they aren't properly maintained with semi-annual or annual cleaning and Arlington gutter repair.

So, what exactly can happen to your house if you have broken, leaky clogged gutters? Here are some unpleasant symptoms of water damage:

  • Water pools on roofing materials, degrading shingles, and causing the roof to leak.

  • Soffit and fascia boards are damaged, letting moisture into your attic or crawl space where it can cause structural support beams to rot and weaken.

  • Damaged siding starts letting water into the walls and creating gaps that rodents and insects can slip into, giving you extra siding repair costs while also raising your utility bill by forcing your heating and cooling system to work harder.

  • Window and door frames are exposed to excessive water penetration, creating rotten wood that lets more moisture into the interior of your walls where it encourages the growth of mold, mildew, and wood rot.

  • Water pools around your foundation, causing piers to heave or slabs to crack. It can also erode soil underneath foundations, causing the house to sink.

How Do You Know If You Need Arlington Gutter Repair or Replacement?

We are frequently asked the ol' repair vs. replace question, and in our professional experience, determining which option is needed is generally going to be based on the extent of the damage. If there's only a few small cracks and holes, your handyman should be able to take care of them with some sealant. Or if only one or two sections have suffered damage from something like a severe storm or a falling tree branch, just those sections can usually be replaced and connected up to the rest of your existing gutters.

On the other hand, if damage is widespread, it will be more cost-effective to simply replace the whole thing. Dozens of small repairs or trying to straighten out mangled, crushed troughs isn't worth it—repair service will cost more than replacement, and the results won't be as good as a new gutter installation.

Arlington Gutter Repair Is a Good Choice If...

  • Damage is limited to one or two sections of gutters: In this case, just those sections can be replaced without needing to tear down the whole gutter system.

  • There's only a couple small cracks or holes: Small instances of damage can be coated with sealant or closed with a bit of metal flashing.

  • A few hangers are loose or missing: Your handyman can re-secure gutter hangers or replace them with new ones.

  • One joint is leaking: It could be as simple as snapping the pieces back together, but it may need to have gutter sealant applied as well.

  • Minor problems with copper systems: Because copper is so expensive, it will be more cost-effective to repair smaller issues if possible.

  • They fill up with debris too fast: This isn't exactly a repair, but protection systems can be installed to cover the top of the trough and stop it from filling up as fast in the future.

You Need to Replace Gutters If...

  • Damage is widespread: If your entire system is riddled with holes, cracks, gaps, rust, and other issues, it will be more cost-effective to replace the whole thing.

  • A Trough or downspout is badly dented or crushed: If it's just one section, that section can be replaced, but crushed seamless gutters or severe denting on multiple sections warrants gutter replacement.

  • You have water stains, wood rot, and peeling paint on your home: If you're seeing many signs of moisture damage on your home's exterior, it's a good indication that your entire system is not performing its function.

  • Fasteners or screws don't stay in place: If the fasteners securing the troughs to your roof are constantly coming loose—even after Arlington gutter repair—it's a sign that the system is past its expiration date.

Can Arlington Gutter Repair Affect a Home's Energy Efficiency?

While gutter problems don't have a direct effect on the energy efficiency of your building, they can have a huge indirect impact. Ultimately, gutter damage can be the cause of serious issues that make your house a lot less energy efficient and cost you a significant amount of money on your monthly utility bills—not to mention the eye-watering costs of moisture damage mitigation.

We mentioned above that some of the nasty consequences of broken, overflowing rain troughs include wood rot and other types of water damage that accelerate the deterioration of your siding, window frames, door jambs, exterior trim and other vulnerable components. That moisture creates in-roads into your house that let in air drafts and compromise the insulation inside your walls, and the damage drastically increases the rate of heat transfer.

Thermal energy is naturally always going to try to move from a warmer place to a colder place, which means heat from the sun comes into your air conditioned house in the summer and heat from your furnace escapes to the cold outdoors in the winter. The heat transfer process changes the temperature in your house, which means your thermostat sends signals to your HVAC system telling it to operate more frequently and for longer periods of time in order to compensate for the energy loss.

The problem with that is it already costs a lot of money to operate your HVAC system under any circumstances because it needs to draw a lot of fuel, whether it's natural gas or electricity, to keep your home at your preferred temperature. The increased operation time caused by heat transfer—which in turn was caused by a system in desperate need of Arlington gutter repair—can make a very noticeable difference in how much you have to pay on your monthly bill. By repairing your current system or installing new gutters, your Arlington handyman can help prevent the moisture issues that lead to a costly, inefficient house.

Why Does Water Sit In Troughs Without Moving?

When water just sits there without going anywhere, the obvious answer is that they're stuffed full of dirt and debris that's impeding water flow. But if that's actually not the issue in this case and there's nothing actually blocking the water from moving, it’s likely a problem with incorrect pitch, where some sections were installed without enough of a slope to keep liquid moving into the downspout. Your handyman may be able to fix the issue with Arlington gutter repair service by simply changing the position of a hanger or two to create enough of a slope to get the water going. But if that doesn't seem to be helping, your handyman will likely need to rehang the whole thing. The issue with that is it's difficult to get troughs taken down and put back up without any damage, so replacement might be the better option at that point.

The other possibility is that there's just not enough downspouts in place (or some downspouts are clogged up), especially if you notice lots of water pouring out of some downspouts when it rains, but standing still in other sections. If that turns out to be the problem, installing an additional downspout should get rain water moving into the downspouts again.

How Often Should Arlington Gutter Service Be Scheduled?

The frequency at which your property needs gutter cleaning service and maintenance depends on factors such as how many large trees you have nearby that are dropping dead leaves or pine needles into your troughs. If there's not a tree in sight on your property, you may be able to get away with annual cleaning and the occasional Arlington gutter repair. But in most cases, bi-annual cleaning twice per year is the best option to ensure your system stays in great shape and protects your house against water damage. We recommend scheduling service in the fall to remove all those leaves before winter hits, and in the spring to clear out the debris that has accumulated over the winter and get ready for the summer season.

How Often Should Gutters Be Replaced?

That's difficult to say because it depends on the type of material and—most importantly—how well they are maintained over the years with regular cleaning and Arlington gutter repair services when needed. Aluminum and galvanized steel systems can be expected to last about 20 years if they are regularly cleaned and maintained. Copper systems can last much longer, staying in good shape for up to around 50 years. But, if the troughs are damaged by something like a falling branch or a big hailstorm, they may need gutter replacements long before that point.

Is Gutter Guard Installation a Good Investment?

Gutter guards cover over the top of your troughs with a mesh gutter screen or solid hood piece that prevents dirt, leaves and other debris from piling up in the troughs so fast. They still need the occasional services for cleaning and maintenance, but it does reduce the amount of care needed on a yearly basis, so overall, it's a good investment.

Mr. Handyman is Your Arlington Gutter Repair Expert!

Have you noticed some problems that require repair, replacement, or cleaning? Whether you're in Arlington or nearby service areas such as Coppell, Grapevine or Euless, you can trust the team at Mr. Handyman of Arlington, Mansfield and Grapevine to provide experienced residential repair services and excellent customer service. And, if your home has suffered damage, we also offer siding, soffit, and fascia repair, wood rot mitigation, and other repair services.

Contact us today by picking up the phone and calling 817-567-2433 to schedule an Arlington gutter repair appointment and find out why we're considered the best choice for handyman jobs in Arlington, TX.