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Damaged Rain Gutters - Should You Replace or Remove?

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Wed, Jan 02, 2008 at 2:40PM

When we think of rain gutters do we generally feel we need them to suit a purpose or are they simply decorative to make the home look nice? The answer is the purpose of a gutter and downspout system is to channel rainwater landing on the roof away from the foundation. If a house is surrounded by concrete patios, sidewalks or driveways sloping away from the foundation, a gutter system really isn't necessary.

If there is no hardscape surrounding the house to channel water away from the foundation and rainfall is greater than in the semi-desert region of southwestIdaho, gutters and downspouts are indispensabl

Gutters may alwo be used for use for catching the water coming off a roof over a doorway and channel it so that rain falling on the roof doesn't fall on your head as you enter or leave the house.

To enhance your homes beauty, gutters can provide some architectural interest to the eaves.

How much rain your region receives or the area around the foundation of teh home would be a factor to determine if you need rain gutters or not. Otherwise, you can use them for cosmetic purposes to make the home look pleasing to the eye.

Although your gutters are in bad shape, unless they crumble at a touch they can be saved. Most ugly gutters just need some scraping and sanding and a good coat of paint to rejuvenate them.The renewal process is similar to any other exterior paint job. The looks and longevity of the job are directly proportional to the quality and effort of the preparation. Do a thorough prep job and your gutters will look and perform like new. First, scrape off the loose paint. Next, feather the remaining paint so that the new coat blends in and you don't get unsightly ridges. A palm sander, a wire wheel attached to a drill motor or a combination of the two will do this job.Next, apply a coat of primer. We've used red oxide primer in the past. Today, we recommend you go to the local paint store that sells to painting contractors aQ: Are gutters on homes necessary? Our last home, built in the 1950s, didn't have gutters and seemed to be fine during the 10-plus years we lived in it. Now we live in a tract home, built in the '70s, and the gutters are in very bad shape.We're tempted to remove them rather than replace them but don't know if the need for gutters depends upon the style of the home. Both homes are boxes, essentially. We certainly don't want to do anything that would damage the house. What do you think?A: Why have gutters at all? The answer depends less on the style of the house and more on the grounds surrounding it. Virtually all houses are boxes, if you think about intend take their advice as to the right product. We also strongly suggest cleaning the inside of the gutters and giving them a coat of primer too. Seal any seams that might have opened with silicon caulk. After the primer and caulking dries, two coats of latex paint finish the job.Occasionally, if the gutters haven't been cleaned regularly, leaves and debris build up and trap water, and, over time, the bottom of a metal gutter rusts through.Gutters like these can also be salvaged. Thirty years ago, when Kevin was making a living with the tools, he did a job for neighbors in San Leandro, Calif. The bottom of their gutter looked like Swiss cheese -- lots of little pinholes. Kevin went to a local sheet-metal shop and had them cut strips of sheet metal to fit the flat bottom of the gutter, which he affixed to the inside of the gutter with caulking.He caulked the edges of the patches and primed the inside of the gutters and patches so that no water could penetrate. No more pinholes and the useful life of this gutter system were prolonged by many years.

If your gutters are this far gone, that is an alternative to new gutters -- or no gutters at

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