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Thread: Rain Gutters...Grrr

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    ABQ NM
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    Rain Gutters...Grrr

    Over the past month or so I've had an ongoing project to remove and replace the rain gutters on our house, and get the house trim repainted.

    I removed the old rain gutters myself over the course of a couple weekends. Knowing my back it not really up to the task, I contracted the painting and the new gutters. The painters washed, scraped, patched, primed and painted the trim last Saturday and Sunday. They did a great job. It was done by two guys who work during the week as painting inspectors for the LA Unified School District...they have a contractor's license and they do house painting on the weekends for extra money. They know what a quality job looks like, and how to achieve it.

    The gutter company started what should have been a one-day job last Thursday. They sent out a relatively new guy, and on the first day, a totally inexperienced "helper". They got the gutter up Thursday, and were supposed to finish things up Friday. Well, Friday came and went, and the new guy (with no helper this time) spent all day caulking corners (the gutter itself is seamless), and driving additional hanger spikes. Then he spent all day Saturday installing four downspouts. This guy was beyond slow. It took him about an hour and a half just to install the 90º elbows at the bottoms of four downspouts. (I could have done it in 20 minutes and still had time for a cigarette afterwards.) Anyway, after he left Saturday late afternoon, I decided to see how things drained, so I went up on the roof with a garden hose. It became obvious real quickly that there was no attention whatsoever paid to the slope of the gutters. Things slope away from the downspouts. Water runs over the edge of the gutter before it even gets to the downspouts. Every corner leaks, despite being "sealed" with silicone caulk. There are numerous marks where he missed the hanger spikes and instead banged the face of the gutter with his hammer. And some of the holes where the spikes penetrate the rim of the gutter are wallowed out big enough to fit two spikes. Very sloppy, amateur work. (The guy was real nice, and a good woodworker. He even showed me pics of some of his woodworking, and he knows what he's doing in a wood shop. Unfortunately, he didn't have a clue about hanging rain gutters.)

    Today, the owner of the company came by to do a few finishing touch-ups. When she called to say she was coming over, I told her there were some problems, so she showed up with her husband, the lead installer. They both readily agreed with my evaluation of the problems, and the end result is that they will be replacing nearly half of the gutters, and re-hanging most of the rest. So, on the plus side, they are going to fix the problems, and eat their losses. On the minus side, I'll again have to work my schedule around them coming back out to fix things. Also, there are now going to be a bunch of new holes in my freshly-painted facia that will need to be caulked before the new gutter goes up. (So I need to be here to ensure they do get patched.)

    No much I can do at this point but wait for them to get it done, and I'm confident they'll eventually get it right, but it's aggravating nonetheless.

    /rant
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Elgin, IL
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    442
    The good thing is you dont get much rain. Hopefully the get it fixed before it does.

    Randy
    Last edited by randy street; 08-17-2008 at 11:32 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Kansas City, Missouri
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    13,437
    That's too bad Vaughn. At least they are fixing the problem. Have a co-worker that paid one of those "College" painter companies to stain his house. They showed up on the morning after it rained (oil based stain) and started, then called to let him know they had started. They didn't cover any of the landscaping and killed a bunch of his shrubbery. He ended up firing them and doing it himself. To top it off they refused to give back his deposit, which was about $1500 and he had bought the stain himself. Needless to say he's taking them to court over it.
    Darren

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    75

    Question Angie's List

    There is a company called Angie's List which, for a fee, ( I think it's about $50/yr in the NJ area),will recommend good contractors, has anyone used them?
    Dennis

  5. #5
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    Nov 2006
    Location
    Mountain Home, Arkansas
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    11,825
    Vaughn, would you, or anyone, mind telling me how much I should expect to spend (per foot) for the non-clog type of gutters? We are about to start shopping and, if possible, I would like to be prepared before the salesmen start making their pitches.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Fusco View Post
    Vaughn, would you, or anyone, mind telling me how much I should expect to spend (per foot) for the non-clog type of gutters? We are about to start shopping and, if possible, I would like to be prepared before the salesmen start making their pitches.
    You might want to wait a bit although this may not be true as far south as you are. I got mine put on in February (in Michigan) for about half price and allowing them to put a sign at my 'curb' (if that's what you call it on a dirt road).

  7. #7
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    Dennis, I've looked into Angie's List a bit in the past, and if I was having a lot of work done, I think it might be worth the fee.

    Frank, I'm paying about $3.00 per linear foot for the gutters, and about another $3.00 per foot for screens on about half of the runs. (Just putting screens on the parts that are under trees.) In my area, I think that's a relatively low price. I didn't do a lot of price shopping...I went with this company because they were local and family-run.

    Chip, you bring up a good point. Here in SoCal, I don't know if there's an "off" season, but in other areas it makes sense to check around.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  8. #8
    I am not trying to be a jerk on this, but rain gutters can also be regional in style. What I mean is, they are NOT a New England thing. Once you cross from NY into New England, the number of houses with gutters just falls off. They are unheard of here and of the few houses that I know have them, all are broken. Its because of the snow and the ice.

    I don't blame anyone for having them, just thought I would point out that what works great in some areas of the country, don't work at all in other areas. I figure I might have to shovel snow every 3½ days in the winter Vaughn but that makes up for the one day a year I don't have to clean leaves out of the gutters. (Wait a minute, my math is not adding up on that )
    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    new york city burbs
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    10,188
    vaughn, never underestimate the value of correctly hung gutters.
    Years ago, (I live in a relatively small cape), I had a buddy, not a close friend, but a buddy who was a "light" type of carpenter, painter, handyman.
    Business was not going well for him,(should have red flagged alerted me) and I wanted new gutters as mine were basically falling off and in bad shape, besides, the trim of the house was brown and they were white.
    He heard me asking around the park one day, some of the guys who they used, and he said its easy work, he would gladly hang new ones and charge a fair fee.
    Me, trying to be a nice guy, accepted his offer, learning eventually cheap is always expensive.
    He put them up incorrectly, which I didnt know on the side of the house that faces our neighbors driveway, the side with only a small strip of land and we basically never go on that side of the house or yard.
    The water, like water does, found the openings and got into the walls, again, we had no clue.
    When I hired a contractor(years later) to install some new windows in my back room, he informed me he has to rebuild some walls, since the water rotted the walls away inside. He showed me and I was just able to pull the frame work apart with my bare hand. I guess sooner or later the wall would have fell down.

    You are 100% right to complain until you get the job done right.
    An experienced company should never have sent someone incompetent in the first place.
    (in the end, I havent seen or contacted this guy anymore, since it was years later, and Im sure he would have denied doing it incorrectly, but the contractor showed me how poorly he did the work. I trusted people back then, now I check and recheck everything, and only hire people who come highly recommended.)

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    ABQ NM
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    Quote Originally Posted by allen levine View Post
    vaughn, never underestimate the value of correctly hung gutters...
    No doubt. I spent part of a summer doing foundation investigations on 50 or 60 houses on an Apache reservation that were failing. Seems the houses were built on expansive clays, and the BIA housing had no rain gutters (nor the proper grading) to move the water away from the foundations. We investigated some houses with 1" wide cracks running the full length of the concrete floor slab. I've also seen houses on sandy soils with similar problems, except they were sinking, not rising.

    My wife doesn't understand why I'm so picky about water staying right next to the house. She hasn't seen what it can do.

    Travis, I agree that New England snow and ice would not be a good mix for most rain gutters. (But you don't have to work about water seeping in around the foundation, since everything's frozen there all the time, right?)
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

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