Recently, I wrote about trying to figure out what to do about my gutters. Ned Stevens says three of them needed to be replaced at a cost of $600. New England Gutter Kings says that they can be repaired for only $400, and for $1,360 I could install gutter covers that will be warrantied against clogs for life. I couldn’t figure out whether to believe “they need to be replaced” or “they can be repaired,” and I didn’t know whether to trust the gutter covers and their supposed lifetime warranty.
This morning, I got a third consultation from Stephen Frederick. Stephen has been installing and repairing gutters in the Boston area for more than 25 years and comes highly recommended by friends of ours and by everyone on Angie’s List.
The most important thing he told me is that the biggest risk mentioned by the other companies — water leaking behind the gutters and causing the fascia boards to rot — is not in fact a risk at all, because my fascia boards are covered by aluminum. Neither of the other two companies mentioned this. Either they both intentionally misled me about the risk of rotting fascia boards, or they were both too clueless to understand that it isn’t a risk when the boards are covered.
Stephen also said that none of my gutters need to be replaced (“I hate to say it, but those gutter cleaning companies don’t make a lot of money cleaning gutters; they make their money selling gutters”) and that he only sees them pulling away from the house slightly in one place, which he said he could repair for about $100.
Stephen strongly recommends against gutter covers for two main reasons:
- They don’t really keep everything out of the gutters. They may keep enough of the big stuff out to prevent the gutters from becoming completely clogged, but they let dirt and small stuff get through and build up at the bottom of the gutters. This has all sorts of negative ramifications, e.g., slower water flow through the gutters to the downspouts; extra weight on the nails / screws causing the gutters to pull away from the house; providing a breeding ground for mosquitoes; etc. Furthermore, in a good ol’ New England deluge, the covers don’t let the water into the gutters fast enough and it comes pouring over the side.
- The supposed lifetime warranty applies for as long as the covers are attached to the house, but what they don’t mention is that they put screws through the bottom row of shingles when installing them. When you replace your shingles, the covers have to be removed; say good-bye to your warranty!
I called New England Gutter Kings and asked them to fax or email me a copy of the full warranty on the covers, since the informational packet they gave me contains only a “summary” of the warranty. They said they would email it to me “right away,” but it never arrived. This could have been a simple email transmission problem, or perhaps it was a passive aggressive attempt to prevent me from seeing the full warranty before paying them to install the gutters.
It looks like I’ll soon be another satisfied customer of Stephen Frederick.