Perhaps you are one of the millions of Americans who take pride in making small home repairs and remodels by yourself, and saving the money you would have spent on hiring someone to do it for you. Though this approach is commendable, it’s important to know your do-it-yourself limits — or you could wind up making things worse for your home and your health.
Gutter installation is a project which some homeowners feel they can tackle on their own. But here are half a dozen reasons why DIY is not the best choice for this type of endeavor.
- Materials costs will add up quickly. Even at the seemingly low price of a few dollars per 10-foot section, aluminum guttering expenses can easily run into the hundreds of dollars. And when you tack on hangers, clips, adhesives, couplings, and downspouts, your wallet will be reeling (even more so if you want copper or stainless steel gutters). Professional gutter installers can buy their materials at wholesale prices and then pass the savings on to you.
- Transporting your materials may be problematic. Remember, you’ll have to get dozens of ten-foot gutter sections from the store to your home without bending them, which is nearly impossible without a trailer or a pickup truck with a roof rack. And if you want seamless gutters, those sections are anywhere from two to six times as long; so you’d better think about getting a tractor-trailer. Many professional gutter installation businesses can actually make both standard and seamless gutters on site — so transport issues are removed from the equation.
- Your gutters can bend during installation. Once you’ve gotten your supplies, you have to be very careful while putting up aluminum gutters. Though they are lightweight, they are also very pliable; which means they will bend easily if you bump them hard on your roofline or lean your ladder against them. Experienced gutter installers can avoid this issue; and if a gutter section does get bent, they can simply buy (or make) another one.
- Roof repairs may be necessary before you begin. Nothing is worse than being fully prepared to hang your own gutters, but then discovering that your roof has some low spots due to settling from your home’s foundation. In order for your gutters to function properly, these issues must be addressed before new guttering is installed. Luckily, many gutter contractors are also roofers, so they have the expertise to fix the roofing problems before gutter installation begins.
- It’s very difficult to balance gutter pitch with your home’s aesthetics. You know that you have to slightly angle your gutters “downhill” toward your downspouts. On the other hand, you don’t want the slope to be noticeable to the naked eye because it looks bad. Balancing form and function when hanging gutters is harder than it seems; but professional installers take pride in achieving the perfect equilibrium between the two areas.
- You could fall and injure yourself … or worse. Tens of thousands of Americans go to emergency rooms each year because of falls from ladders. Even if you do manage to escape serious injuries like fractures, concussions, or paralysis (or even death, which is more common than you think), your medical bills will likely push the total “cost” of DIY above what it would have been for a pro to handle it for you in the first place.