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When gutters begin to back up or run slowly, realigning the gutters is a logical next step to return them to their normal function. The water damage caused by faulty gutters is potentially much more expensive to fix than the cost of proper gutter maintenance-but how costly is maintenance?
The cost of realigning gutters is $188 as an average. Fees typically range between $150-$225. Most gutter repairers charge a minimum of $100. In minor repairs and adjustments, it may be cheaper to do these tasks yourself or hire a handyman at a lower hourly rate.
Prices from a professional will vary for several reasons, so you'll want to get your quotes and verify what is included in the cost. Minor repairs aren't hard to do yourself with basic skills and equipment, which we'll elaborate on below.
Price Factors Affecting Your Rate
Most gutter cleaning or gutter repairs are based around an hourly rate, with additional charges added on as needed. For example, Clear View in Topeka, Kansas, charges $65 an hour (with extra charges possible). Other companies, such as Clean Pro, charge by the linear foot ($1-$1.50). Some of those additional costs can include factors such as:
Many services clean gutters and do basic realignment as part of the fee (tightening brackets, replacing caps, etc.). If portions are damaged and need repairs, the cost of the materials will be added to your bill. This cost can vary widely, depending on the material of the rest of the gutters.
Height and job complexity
Starting costs are based on a single-story home. For multiple stories, additional safety equipment, ladders, or even extra workers may be required. The same is true for a complicated roof with lots of ridges or a system with multiple downspouts. You can pay around $150 more for a second-story, and another $100 for a third-story home.
Gutter screens or gutter guards
While these systems keep a lot of debris out, some will ultimately find its way inside the gutter. Removing these guards can take extra time, and homeowners may see a higher cost as a result.
Basic downspout cleaning is typically included. However, a significant clog in the downspout will take extra equipment and cost extra money.
Cost of labor/regional differences
Like most things, large cities tend to cost more overall for gutter repairs. The cost your contractor pays his employees will be reflected in the price quoted to you.
Should I Repair or Replace Gutters?
Gutter repair is often a relatively straightforward issue. But, like everything in your house, eventually, gutters will have outlived their usefulness and need to be replaced. Here are some keys to look for to determine if you should repair or replace gutters.
- Leaking is limited to one joint or seam.
- There are only a few small holes or cracks.
- Damage is only in one or two sections of the gutter.
- A few hangers have come loose or are bent.
- You see water damage (paint peeling, basement flooding, rotten wood, etc.).
- Hangers continue to come loose, even after attempts to refasten them.
- There are lots of little holes or cracks through multiple gutter sections.
- The gutter is damaged due to denting or buckling.
- Sections of gutter keep coming apart.
How To Realign Gutters
If you have determined that your job fits under the repair scope, you may want to do the job yourself. It can save money, and basic gutter repairs aren't too complicated. So what do you do?
- Clean out the gutter. Remove debris and perform a visual check as you work. Look for loose sections, have holes, or other signs of a problem. Be sure to check the downspout for clogs and loose straps.
- Check the drainage. The easiest way is to place a ladder on the side furthest from the downspout. Use a 1-gallon bucket or a hose, and pour the water into the gutter. If it flows at a steady pace to the downspout, you're in good shape.
- If you notice that the water is pooling or stopping somewhere, you'll need to repeat the drainage test until you locate the area where the problem is occurring. Check for visual clues as to the cause - for example, a loose bracket can make the gutter slope away from the wall, affecting flow.
- You may need to adjust your slope. Gutters need to be slightly higher furthest from the downspout, to give water a clear path down. In time, they tend to flatten out or lose their slope. If your gutter seems level, the steps for slope adjustment are below.
- Address any other issues you found in step 1.
- Tighten or replace gutter brackets as needed with ones like these 5" Quick Screw Hidden Rain Gutter Brackets.
- Caulk seams or holes as needed. This is a short-term fix-a a small leak now is almost always a sign that other gutter pieces will fail in a couple of years. But until that time, it makes sense to stretch the part along instead of replacing one piece at a time over several years. You can use GE Clear Gutter Caulk.
- Replace any loose downspout straps with new ones, like these 3" x 4" Hidden Gutter Clips.
This video will show you the process.
How Do I Change The Slope Of My Gutters?
Remove the Gutters
Unscrew and discard the old gutter brackets. Remove the gutter temporarily.
Find The Correct Pitch
Gutters should slope about 1/4 of an inch every 10 feet (minimum) and no more than 1/2 of an inch per 10 feet. Too little slope and water will pool; too much incline can cause water to come out of the downspout too forcefully.
- Measure to see how long your gutter is and determine the slope. A 20-foot gutter has two sections of 10, so the slope is 1/4 x 2= .5, or half an inch.
- Now, have someone help you hold a string level from one end of the gutter to another like this Johnson Level.
- Raise the end of the string furthest from the downspout by the number of inches you found in the first step, to now have the correct slope.
- Mark both sides and use a chalk line to mark the path the gutter should slope.
Replace the Gutters
- Put the gutter back into position, having your helper hold the end at the downspout.
- Place a screw in the center of the gutter (through the rear) to hold it in place while you adjust the slope.
- Using the marks you made earlier as a reference, adjust both ends until the gutter is sloping correctly.
- Place another screw to hold it in place.
- Put your new brackets in the gutter, screwing through the fascia and into the rafter tail.
Is it worth it?
Learning to maintain your gutters is typically a great way to cut costs on house care. There are no special tools needed, assuming you already have some basic equipment like a ladder and a drill. The materials required will vary, but it shouldn't cost more than $50 (half of the minimum charge of most gutter specialists) for just a few basic fixes. The material cost would also be added to the contractor's bill, so you're at a draw for that expense in either scenario.
The work really shouldn't take more than 2 hours, assuming the house is one story. Even a 3-hour job means that you're saving yourself approximately $60 an hour (based on $188 average cost) just by putting a little sweat equity into the home.
Of course, there are those people who couldn't go on a roof, period, no matter what they could save. In those cases, a handyman with a lower hourly rate may be the best option. You can hire a handyman for $20-$30 an hour in many regions and still save some money (but make sure they are insured!)
What Is The Cheapest Gutter Material?
If you need to make replacements instead of repairing your gutter, you may want some ideas for the cost. Vinyl is the most inexpensive gutter, costing as little as $3-$6 per linear foot. Vinyl is also the easiest to install but is less durable and prone to seam leaks. Other materials used in gutters are:
- Aluminum, $6-$14 per linear foot
- Steel, $8-$12
- Copper, $15-30
So what's the real breakdown?
Many gutter issues, such as alignment and slope, are easy to fix. A gutter specialist will charge, on average, $188 for basic gutter repairs, with upcharges added to the bill as the project gets more complicated. Homeowners looking to save money may want to consider doing their realignment or paying a handyman instead of a specialist to do the work.