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FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

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Aren’t all rain gutters the same?

The answer is NO. All rain gutters do the same job. They catch the rain water that falls from your roof, then contain and control this water to the ground.

However, rain gutters come in all shapes, sizes, materials, colors and quality. Some are pre-formed and joined together with connectors (such as the gutters you buy at your local lumber yard), and some are custom made specifically for your home (seamless).

Because the seamless type of rain gutter is custom made, the material used, the various component parts, the layout plan, the installation, and the quality of workmanship will not be consistent from company to company.

Why do I need so many choices?

If you were shopping for a roof for your home, would you buy from a roofing contractor that only carried one kind of roof? Of course you wouldn’t.

People’s tastes are as different as their homes. In addition, some homes may need one kind of gutter, while another may require a different style. Instead of trying to make “one kind fits all”, San Diego Rain Gutters carries over twenty-one types of rain gutters. By doing this, you can be assured of getting exactly what your home requires with no compromises. We are happy to assist you in selecting the proper rain gutter for your home.

Why don’t your competitors offer as many choices?

Properly outfitted installation trucks can cost up to $45,000 each. Most of our competitors cannot or will not invest in the proper equipment, inventory, and training necessary to carrying the variety of gutters offered by San Diego Rain Gutters.

Our commitment to you is to offer the best selection, the best quality, for the best price.

What’s the difference between your rain gutter and another company’s?

San Diego Rain Gutters offers six brand name products; Storm Master, Black Thunder, Titan, Rain Star, Euro-Classic and American Half Round.

These brands are unique to San Diego Rain Gutters, and are recognized in the industry as the brands to emulate. We start by buying only American made metals and materials. Among some of our suppliers are companies such as Reynolds Aluminum, Alcoa Metal Products, Barmett, Englert, and Owens Corning. These parts and materials are assembled and installed by experienced, journeymen technicians into the strongest, longest lasting rain gutter systems available. Each system carries our reputation and guarantee.

Am I going to be sold something I don’t really need?

Absolutely not! First of all, we don’t consider our estimators to be “salesman”. Our estimators are knowledgeable professionals with experience in the rain gutter industry. Their job is to help you select the rain gutter that will exactly fit your home and budget. You will never be “closed” or convinced to buy something “cause that’s the only kind we have”.

Our quotes are good for two weeks, so you have plenty of time to think it over, or shop around.

My wife and I work during the day, do I have to be home for an estimate?

No, you don’t have to be home. Naturally, we would prefer that you be home so we can answer any questions you might have. Many of our customers, however, have purchased rain gutter systems from us and have never seen our estimators or installation people!

You carry leaf screens, but do I really need them if I don’t have trees in my yard?

We carry several kinds of leaf protection products. These are featured on our Leaf Screen page. But, even if you don’t have trees in your yard, we strongly recommend having leaf screens installed on your new rain gutters. Keep in mind that any object on your roof will eventually end up in your gutter and may clog the downspout. The last thing you need to be doing is trying to unclog a downspout in a rain storm. It’s dangerous, uncomfortable, and dirty. Adding leaf screen to your new rain gutters will assure you of year round protection from overflowing gutters and clogged downspouts.

Why do I need rain gutters?

Uncontrolled rain water falling from your roof can lead to many problems. Flooding basements, water under the house or slab, water intruding into the home through sliding patio doors or french doors, ruined landscaping, dead or damaged plants, soil erosion, stained concrete, swollen siding, rotted decks, stained or damaged stucco, and cracked slabs due to soil expansion, are just a few of the problems that can occur.

In the Southern California area, the lack of rain gutters has exacerbated the problem of homes sliding down banks and cliffs, and complete cliff erosion. Many inexperienced homeowners, in their rush to fix up their new house, forget about installing rain gutters. This often leads to costly repairs, redoing parts of the landscaping again, and then installing rain gutters so it doesn’t happen again. This expensive mistake could have been avoided if they just realized the potential damage that falling roof water can cause.

What is the best kind of rain gutter?

There is no “best gutter.” There is the best gutter for the job. As with most products, there are strong points and weak points in the various rain gutter systems. Putting up a rain gutter in an environment that it’s not well suited for, is a waste of time and money.

For most homeowners, seamless aluminum (continuous aluminum) rain gutter will give you the most bang for the buck. It’s usually available in about 20 colors from a local rain gutter contractor. Aluminum coil usually comes painted from the factory. Avoid seamless aluminum if it will be subjected to abuse (like basketballs, tricycles, etc.). Aluminum is soft and dents easily.

Also avoid using aluminum in high salt areas. If you can hear the ocean, you’re too close for aluminum. Seamless Steel rain gutter has come a long way from the old galvanized kind. Although galvanized is still available, the new seamless steel comes with an enamel coating. They will usually last a very long time but not as long as aluminum. Remember it’s still made of steel and subject to rust. Steel come in various colors but not as many as aluminum.

Also, many rain gutter contractors don’t offer Seamless Steel because the parts are harder to find. Vinyl is not suitable for the Southern California area. There is too much heat and ultraviolet rays. This causes vinyl to dry up and crack very quickly. Vinyl gutters also expand and contract to a great extent. This causes a warped and wavy look whenever the weather turns hot.

Seamless Copper is considered the top of the line. It can last for many, many years. Copper carries a certain “status”. It is, of course, more expensive. Although copper doesn’t take paint well, few people who buy copper actually want it painted. Copper will oxidize and the oxidation is turquoise. This is similar to rust on steel, except it is not caused by the metal breaking down (corrosion). The resulting “patina”  or “verdigris” finish is a very sought after look. This turquoise marbling adds texture, color, and a richness to copper that is unequaled by any other metal. But like rust it can stain. If you live in an area that has a heavy marine layer, be aware that you may experience some staining from the condensation that drips off the copper gutter.

What is the best hanger?

Once again, there is no best hanger, just the best hanger for the job. How your gutter is fastened, is just as important as the type of gutter you select.

There are basically four kinds of fastening systems. Each system has variations.

These are:

1. The Spike and Ferrule
This is a two part system. The ferrule is a tube that is inserted inside the gutter. A ferrule keeps the width of the gutter uniform and gives it strength. It will usually take the full weight of a ladder with a person on it and not bend. The spike is driven through the face of the gutter, through the ferrule, through the back, and into the fascia board and/or rafter. This firmly nails the entire gutter to the fascia board.

2. The Hidden Hanger
The hidden hanger is a bracket that clips under the top of the front gutter hem and is secured to the back. The bracket is then screwed into the fascia board with a wood screw. Since it’s inside the gutter, it is not visible. This system also allows easy removal of the gutter, should it ever become necessary. On a slanted fascia board a “gutter wedge” is necessary.

3. The T-Bar
The T-Bar system is a suspension system. It hangs the gutter from the sub roof as opposed to fastening the gutter to the fascia board. It is usually used when tile or shingle projection exceeds the useable width of the gutter, or where the fascia board or rafters are set back too far to allow fastening.

4. Free Floating
The Free Floating system is a mounting bracket that is attached to the fascia board. The gutter is then set into this bracket. This system allows the gutter to expand and contract. It is commonly used with vinyl rain gutters, or on any gutter in which expansion and contraction is a factor (such as exceptionally long runs).

Unless all the homes in your area are build alike, avoid contractors that sell only one system to the exclusion of all others. If a contractor recommends one system over the rest, ask him why he recommends it. Reputable contractors are just as interested in keeping their gutters from falling down as you are!

What is the best Leaf Screen?

This is one of the most often asked, and most controversial questions in our industry. Again, I’ll state “there is no best leaf screen, only the best one for your job, budget, and appeal.” There are three ways to keep leaves, debris, and other objects from clogging gutters. These are leave strainers, leaf screens, and solid gutter covers.

Leaf Strainers are screens or devices put over the hole to the downspout. If you can keep the hole from being blocked, the gutter will not overflow. However, this is not a substitute for frequent gutter cleaning.
Leaf Screens do just that, they screen out leaves. They are made of heavy wire mesh and when placed on the gutter, will let water in and block the leaves. However, they will let in dirt and smaller debris. Therefore, gutters still have to be cleaned, but not as often as gutters without leaf screens.

Gutter Covers are solid metal covers that fit over the gutter in such a way that they actually separate the debris from the roof water. They work on the principal of surface adhesion. That’s to say that water will stay attached to metal even when the surface changes angles. That’s where the debris separates from the roof water. It’s fascinating to watch, and it’s very effective in preventing debris from entering the gutter. Unfortunately, it cannot be used on all roofs here in Southern California.

In deciding which one is best, you need to consider several things. How bad is the problem, how much will it cost, what will it look like, how often will I need to clean the gutters, and how effective is it for my situation? This is where the expertise of a local, reputable, and experience rain gutter contractor is invaluable. Deal with a contractor who offers a variety of products. Do your homework and ask a lot of questions.

How do I choose a Rain Gutter Contractor?

As with any profession, there are people at the top of the ladder, at the bottom of the ladder, and some who can’t even find the ladder. Rain Gutter Contractors are no different.

Because rain gutters are not a large investment, homeowners often put to little thought into purchasing them. They take the first bid they get, or worse, take the lowest.

If you have never purchased rain gutters, do a little homework. Talk to your friends and neighbors and find out what kind they have and if they’re satisfied with their choice in rain gutter. Were they happy with the contractor? Talk to people who have had their rain gutters on for years, then find out who the contractor was.

  • If you live in a new area, ask around. Don’t rely on your developer. Keep in mind that they put on the cheapest product they can find.
  • If you use the yellow pages or the Internet, talk with several rain gutter contractors.
  • Consider selecting those contractors who have been in business the longest, and have solid reputations. These are the ones that do it right.
  • Be cautious when a company claims “20 years experience” and a 24 year old “owner” shows up.
  • Some contractors will advertise “I’ll beat anybody’s price!” What they don’t tell you is that they’ll cut every corner to do it. If you don’t invest in a solid, long lasting system then you’ll be replacing it in the near future. That bargain price won’t seem so attractive then.
  • Ask for references, talk with past customers who have had their gutters on for at least five years.
  • Ask for trade affiliations, copies of their liability insurance, workers compensation insurance, business license, and contractors license.
  • Ask what kind of license do they have? A C-43 License is a sheet metal contracting license. You need to demonstrate competency in all phases of sheet metal and must pass a written test.  A D-24 License is a Metal Products Contractor. They require no testing for competency and are extremely easy to get. It’s the difference between a doctor and a LVN.
  • Check with your Better Business Bureau and your Department of Consumer Affairs, Contractor License Board.
  • You will rarely offend a legitimate contractor by asking these questions and asking for copies of insurance certificates.

Keep this in mind, if a contractor cuts corners by not carrying insurance and proper licenses, he won’t hesitate to cut corners on the quality of your job.

Fly-by-Night companies give the industry a bad name. We all want to see them out of business!

When should I replace my gutter?

If you have steel or vinyl gutters, you will need to replace them eventually. How you tolerate maintenance on you home will determine when you should replace the gutter.

If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t want to be bothered with the time and money repairs demand, you should replace your gutters at the first signs of rust. Rust will often show up as little orange speckles that show through the paint, rusty colored stains at the end of the downspouts, or at gutter seams that are separated and leaking. Gutters rust from the inside out. When they begin to show rusting on the outside, the inside is rusting through. Often, however, because of standing water, the gutter may need to be repaired in just one or two areas.

If you’re handy and don’t mind a few hours working on a ladder, you can repair the gutter yourself, and avoid replacing it for years. Keep in mind that just like a worn suit, you can’t keep patching it forever. You may want to repair them for the rainy season, and plan on having them professionally replaced during the off season, when gutters are usually on sale.

My existing gutters are not working properly, can you tell me what’s wrong?

We’ll try. We’ve designed a special troubleshooting guide. There you should find the answer to your question