Repair or replace?

Our professional crew, and our owner/operator Joe Alo have been hard at it lately, installing new seamless gutters in the various communities of Westborough, Shrewsbury, Northborough, Framingham, Marlboro, and Sudbury. They’ve also accomplished some spectacular wood and composite jobs, corner boards and fascias and rake ends in the towns of Carlisle, Concord, Acton, Littleton, Groton, and Ayer. Today our professional crew is working in the towns of Harvard and Boxborough, doing some painting of fascias, some custom mitre and downspout work, and of course, those aluminum seamless gutters. Our latest work can be seen next to Westward Orchards on Mass Ave in Harvard (east side of farm stand). If you’re in the area, stop in at the store there and say hello to our friends Don and Kathy Green, or their daughter Stephanie. They’ve got some great produce and a little bit of something for almost everybody. And they own the house on the east side that we just finished putting gutters on – a great chance to find out what we at Alo Seamless gutters are all about from a new customer’s viewpoint.
Because of the heavy rains recently, we’ve been inundated with calls and questions. One of the most frequently asked questions is: “I already have gutters, but they are leaking, have some pipe pieces missing, are sagging a little, and look very dirty. Can you help me?” Then the customer will always ask – “can you come and fix them?”. Well, honestly, we will take a look at your existing system (our estimates are always free within our service area), but what the question really comes down to is, how old is the system, what shape is the fascia in, how are the gutters hung, and what exactly is wrong? Repairs are great if they can be quick and simple and don’t interfere with the integrity of the existing system – adding a few bar hangers, adding a lost elbow on a downspout, re-attaching a loose and intact downspout, re-sealing an end that’s dripping. However, adding a few bar hangers or elbows or caulking will not always ensure any type of long term fix and could end up just being a waste of hard earned money. Many of our customers don’t understand what is involved in older systems. Very old systems typically use spikes and ferrules to attach to the home – basically a large nail driven through the front upper lip of the gutter, through a tube inside the gutter, and then into the fascia and house structure. Many other systems use the Canadian Bar Hangers, usually attached with a drywall screw or nail. (We use a 297 pound test bar hanger called HangFast with a proprietary beefier/longer screw) When these older systems start to pull away in many spots, it’s just a matter of time before they come all the way out and possibly damage the fascia and/or home. If some have worked loose already it’s logical to conclude they all will soon enough. Many times repairs end up like a Band-Aid over a severed artery – looks ok for a little while, but absolutely won’t work in the long run. That’s just what adding extra hangers sometimes is – an attempt to “prop-up” a failing system, but not really effective in the long run. Older systems can also have a lot of hidden damage. The older sealants used, typically silicone, dries out and cracks after seasons of cold and thaw and can cause lots of leaks – we use Alumabond Sealant, a liquid aluminum product that stays pliable over the life of the gutter. Sagging gutters because the hangers have pulled out may indicate soft or rotted fascia underneath. Leaking mitred corners may indicate a complete failure of the mitre on both it’s seams and with it’s sealant. Dripping downspouts may indicate blown seams and/or separation of the joints. Gutters that run over the top may indicate improper pitch as well as the possibility that they’re clogged. Most of these issues (other than clogs) cannot be solved by simple repairs, at least for any length of time. We will always evaluate a system for its’ needs, but many times repairs would only make the situation worse down the road. That’s not to say that all rain control systems are like that – definitely not. Usually however, older systems that have not been maintained generally cannot be adequately fixed. And repairing of older gutters and downspouts carries no warranty because the work is only as good as the existing system, which couldn’t have been too good to begin with or there wouldn’t have been any major problems. Our philosophy is that your home is your single largest and most valuable possession, and if you’re going to protect it with gutters and downspouts, then you should not have to keep dumping money into ongoing repairs of an older and possibly ineffectual and failing system. Many times, the difference in cost to remove and replace is only slightly higher than a complete repair of the existing gutters. What it comes down to is, if you are having issues with your present system, as professionals we will come and evaluate it and make our best recommendations based upon what you have. We will always be open and honest about our opinions and findings and leave the final decision up to you.
Check back here for more updates and pictures of some recent works and works in progress. We’ve got a very large and complicated job coming up in Wellesley on a restored Victorian, and another new architectural wonder awaiting us in Weston. In the meantime, the crew will be out in Bedford, Chelmsford, and Westford doing what they do best, putting up new gutters, downspouts, mitres, fascias, and RealGuard leaf protection. Thanks for your professionalism and attention to detail guys!

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