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  • Writer's picturemyaun1

The largest problem we see hands down, bar none, is with Gutters. Short and simple; if you have small 5 inch gutters with spike nail heads showing on a 15 year or older home, its probably time to change them out. But don't trust this article look for yourself. You don't need to be an expert to tell if your gutters are shot.

Go outside when its raining pretty hard and see if your gutters are over flowing. If they are you have a problem. Check your down spouts make sure they are not clogged. Check the drain pipe in the ground to make sure its not clogged.

Look for rotten wood at the corners of your fascia. Rotten doors, windows, frames, brick molding and siding are huge signs of gutter problems. Look for evidence of dirt, pine straw or mulch that is washed away.

Look for wavy or dips in the gutters. A gutter should tilt toward the downspout.

Look for gutters that are bent forward or pulling off the house. An empty gutter does not weigh that much, but if its full of water it can weigh a few hundred pounds depending on the length. That weight can pull the gutters off of the house or break the fasteners holding them up.

Sometimes all an older gutter system needs is a good cleaning, but be careful. I don't know how many times we have gone out to a home where the gutters were recently cleaned, but still needed to be replaced. We had a case where the gutters were pulling off the house, rust holes, leaking at the miters (corners), miss aligned, missing nails and not big enough to begin with; yet a company still cleaned the gutters out and got a check.

Is it possible to repair older gutters? If you only have one or two small areas that are leaking or dumping water you can try to have them repaired or cleaned, but usually we see multiple areas that have issues. My advice is if you see multiple areas with problems, gutters are nailed up, 5 inches or less and 15 years or older its probably time to have them changed.

Most of the homes in our area, North Atlanta, used small 5 inch gutters when they were built. A 5 inch gutter is too small for most of homes in our area. They get full of water and pull off the house in many cases. Many of the gutter systems were installed with large nails or spikes, galvanized steel gutters, which rusts, and not enough down pipe. All of that plus multiple leaks, clogs, or overflow areas means you probably need new gutters.

A 6 inch gutter holds almost twice as much water as a 5 inch gutter.

Today we use big 6 inch seamless aluminum gutters, hidden hangers with screws and 3x4 downspouts. The gutters also come with a factory finish to match the color of your home. We use common sense and building code to figure out the best way to install your system. Sometimes we need to use larger gutter and more downspouts to handle the amount of water in an area. So don't be suppressed if your gutter man wants to change your system a little bit.

Look for a gutter company who will repair and paint rotten fascia. Always, always, always repair rotten fascia or rafter tails before you install new gutters. We have seen gutter companies put brand new gutters up over rotten wood before.

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  • Writer's picturemyaun1

Rot damage can be an unwanted and expensive surprise. Proper maintenance and quality repairs will keep you from facing costly rot damage. Use our free guide to help locate small problems before they become a big ones.

Small amounts of water can cause huge problems with rot and bugs, especially on stucco and masonry. We have seen many houses where the siding did not look bad, but behind it the framing was rotten. If you have evidence that water is pouring off your roof or gutters and down a wall get it looked at asap. Siding, stucco, brick or masonry are not designed to handle the water coming off of your roof or gutter.

If you locate rotten wood, peeling paint, mold or algae look for the source. Most of the time there will be a gutter or roofing issue that has caused the damage. Get to the root cause of the damage or you will be making the same repair again.

If you find rot replace the full piece of trim if possible, especially around windows & doors. Replacing the full piece of wood or trim is considered the, "best practice repair method." It costs a little more, but it will protect your home and bring it back to the original design. Epoxy should be avoided at all cost, it is only a band aid. Sometimes a scarf joint will be used. Pay attention to scarf joint repairs, the joint can crack over time and they look horrible. If rot gets into the window frame or sash the window may need to be completely replaced. So, check your home before it gets this bad.

Replacement materials have come a long way. The industry now uses Fiber Cement, PVC, Composite, and Treated Wood Trim to replace rotten wood. Be careful using PVC; too much sun or dark paint will cause it to twist and expand. Treated trim is not something you can get at a big box store yet, but it is a great option. It is wood trim treated with a chemical that resists rot. It matches existing materials and does not twist and expand like PVC.

Try to use like materials in the area you are replacing. If you have a wood trim, use wood replacement trim, unless you can replace the full run. If you have fiber cement trim use fiber cement replacement trim. The idea is to use materials that will expand, contract and wear at the same rate. This will reduce wear on your fasteners, caulk and paint.

Avoid using epoxy unless absolutely necessary, which is usually a financial decision. Epoxy does not expand and contract at the same rate as wood, which leads to cracks where water can get into. If all of the rot is not removed it can and most of the time will continue to rot. Rot is caused my microorganisms eating the wood. It does not go away with epoxy and can cause extremely expensive repairs down the road.

There is a reason some repair quotes are cheaper than others. Find out how your repairs will be made. What kind of materials will be used? Make sure they sand and prime repair areas. Inspect your home yourself. Locate the rot or problem areas for yourself, sure you may not catch everything, but you can use that information to vet your painter of carpenter. Some painters will just caulk or worse, epoxy over rot cracks or just paint over them. In about a year or so the area will need work and the rot can spread into your framing. Quality long term repairs will return the home to its original look and protect it from future problems.

Save yourself money and time by properly maintaining your home. Before you plan on doing any interior remodeling, check the outside of your home. Once you are confident the exterior of your home is in good shape tackle the inside of your home. Remember you can not turn off the rain and sun. Our checklist will go a long way to help prevent rot damage on your home.

Mike Yaun

Primars Windows, Siding & Doors


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  • Writer's picturemyaun1

Our customers are extremely happy with the way this project turned out. We tore off the original siding, trim, and corners. We wrapped the home in house-wrap, 8 1/4 cedar-mill, 6” corners, 10” freeze, 4“ window trim, window overhang, bed molding and cedar shake in the gables.

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