Choosing A Gutter Contractor
Are you having a hard time choosing a gutter contractor? You are not alone! In most markets throughout the country there is a wide variety of gutter contractors to choose from and finding the right one can be a chore.
Questions and the answers you should get
Do you have the lowest price?
This is a way to sort out the illegitimate gutter guys out there. The cheapest gutter guy in the area is almost surely not reporting his liability and workman's compensation insurance. They probably aren't properly licensed. They almost certainly don't pay fair wages to their employees if they have any.
In short the answer you want to hear is NO.
What thickness coil stock do you use?
In aluminum 5" K style you want to see a .032 or better thickness. For 6" .032 will do but preferably .040 same goes for 7". You're looking for 26 gauge or better when comparing steel products. If they don't know send 'em packing!
How much water can the gutters you are planning on putting on my house handle?
This will sort out the professionals. True gutter pro's will be able to give you a real answer i.e.: these 5" gutters will hand an approximate roof volume of 22ft. per linear ft. of gutter and the 2x3 downspouts can handle a combined 400sq ft. What you'll often get from the el-cheapos is answers like "plenty enough for this house" or "uhhhh..."
Can you please give me some references of gutter jobs you have done in my area? Yes we can! Run if they say "um... that one over there, or you know that house on the corner?"
Do you sub out the work or use your own crews and equipment?
Some larger contractors will sub out gutter work to smaller companies. Ideally, go with someone who does this for a living and has a vested interest in making sure the job gets done right.
Can you tell me how much slope you will have on this gutter run?
Another great question to see if you are dealing with a true professional. Ideally you want to hear something in the range of 1/16" per foot. You can go less than that (water will drain with very little slope) but you sacrifice the water handling capacity of the gutter and will require new downs. Many inexpensive contractors simply do what they "feel" is enough.
How are you going to attach the gutter to my home and why?
There are many appropriate ways to hang gutters. You're looking for a confident answer here that the contractor can explain. Check Out gutter hanging systems to tell when certain systems are called for over others.
You want to see their licensure and insurance!
Speciality Gutter Contractors
If you are looking for something other than the standard K Style gutter you need to do even more homework on your chosen gutter crew. Especially when working with sectioned box gutter or copper gutters. These are specialty products that anyone can get but few can properly install. Make sure they have real experience doing these type of projects. Let them show you some pictures of their work or go see some for yourself.