Our Current Blog Articles
January 11, 2018
Ice Dams and Your Gutters
Alpine Gutters & Downspouts is the first place to call for valuable information on ice dams and your gutters. When the dead of winter rolls around, your gutter systems are at extreme risk if you don't have this powerful knowledge to keep them in the best shape possible to withstand the havoc that old man winter can bring. Here are some do's and don'ts of dealing with ice dams and your gutters.
What is an ice dam?
An ice dam is a clump of ice that forms at the edge of a roof during cold winter snaps. Ice dams will put an entire gutter system at risk of being damaged, not to mention possibly destroy the roof, inside your home, foundations, landscaping, paint, and even mildew and rot if the insulation gets and stays wet. Ice dams are severe, and if they break free, they will more than likely destroy the gutters, even fall on cars, shrubs or pets.
What causes these ice dams to form?
Ice dams form when the roofing over an attic warms up enough to melt the layer of snow on the roof. The water eventually makes its way down between the layer of snow and the shingles until it reaches the eaves, which stays cold naturally because it reaches beyond the side of the house. This is where the water freezes, eventually forming into a stubborn mound of sheer ice.
If snow and ice build up high enough in your gutter system, it will cause an ice dam. Depending on the angle of your roof pitch, the problem can worsen. If you are unfortunate to be dealing with ice dams and your gutters already, here are some of the steps you can take to deal with it.
- Remove the ice dam by breaking it free, but do NOT use an ax or sharp tool because you will more than likely damage your shingles. By tapping lightly with a blunt mallet, you will make more progress and cause less damage. Hiring someone to do this job is your best option, as there is a great risk for falls.
- Next step is to clear out your gutters and downspouts. This is not an easy job, and there may be some damage either to plastic or metal gutters and spouts along the way.
- Melt troughs through the ice dam with calcium chloride ice-melter, which is available at most hardware stores. Whatever you do, do not use rock salt! It will damage paint, metals, plants, and nearly anything it lands on. You can make a trough melter by using a tube of cloth, such as a leg of nylon stockings or a sock. Fill it with calcium chloride, tie off the top, and lay it vertically across the ice dam, this will slowly melt down through the ice dam, to help water free flow.
More Ways to Get Rid of Ice Dams
If you are one of those do it yourself kind of people, here are a few recommendations for you to try. Again, if you are uncertain what you are up against, dealing with ice dams and your gutters can be a nasty task, please call on the professional gutter experts to get the job done quickly, and safely.
- Ice melting cables are an option, but they require installation, which may need a roofer or electrician. These are installed on the lower 2 feet of your roof and sometimes along gutters.
- Add blown-in insulation to your roof and attic; this will help eliminate heat loss in your attic. This is a very inexpensive alternative and will save you bundles in heating costs in the long run.
- Improve your attic ventilation by hiring a roofer to install a new ridge vent or soffit intake vents. It will all depend on the type of roof you have, so get an expert opinion.
- Metal ice belt roof panels. These can be expensive, but worth it. However, you can also just use sections of metal panels in areas near your gutter system to cut down on cost.
- Specialized ice melting roof systems are also available and somewhat high tech, but if you have the money to spend, it may be well worth it in places where snowfall is heavy, and ice dams are a frequent occurrence.
- Ice melting pucks. These are similar to the sock or nylon which contains the calcium chloride, but these pucks can be strategically placed. Not a significant investment, as they seem to only work in the areas they are placed.
So, you've dealt with an existing ice dam. Now the key is to PREVENT having to deal with ice dams and your gutters. Here are some steps to take:
- Whenever you get a big dump of snow, use a snow rake to rid the burden of weight on your roof. Again, if you’re not good with getting on a ladder, or the weather is not great, don't do the job yourself and possibly get injured. Call on the professionals.
- The other option is to replace your shingle roof with standing seam roof, or metal roofing. This may still dam up, but will help deter ice dams somewhat.
- Seal all points where warm air leaks from the living space into the spaces immediately below the roof sheathing.
- Properly insulate to prevent conduction and convection of heat escaping through the ceiling.
- Vent the space between the insulation and the roof, so any heat that leaks through is carried away from the source.
How will this all save you money?
If your gutter system is installed correctly, and you have taken the proper procedures for avoiding ice dams near your roofline, your heating costs will be significantly lower, your home more comfortable with the appropriate heat distribution, and we all know, saving money is a good thing.
Dealing with ice dams and your gutters come with living in a colder climate. Taking these steps will help to ensure that your home stays protected from the elements that can affect our area. Just be sure to get ahead of the game by calling Alpine Gutters & Downspouts for all inspections, maintenance and repairs of your gutter system. We’ll give you peace of mind that your home will be protected year-round.
December 12, 2017
Should You Repair or Install New Gutters
The team at Alpine Gutters and Downspouts in Denver is here to answer questions about your gutters. Wondering should you repair or install new gutters? We can come out to get everything cleaned up so that we can take a closer look at their condition. We’ll then provide you with all the answers you need.
Here are some important facts to consider in your decision process. Look for these signs, and you'll be on the right track to deciding should you repair or install new gutters.
- Paint peeling on your gutters or orange spots from rust are tell-tale signs that water is going places it should not be. There may be even more severe damage when inspected closer.
- If you have a crack, it will eventually get bigger, which will ultimately cause water to seep through and wreak havoc on your fascia boards, shingles, and foundation. If you notice cracks or splits, have it looked at right away. A small gutter crack can be fixed, but if it’s too far gone, new gutters may be in order.
- Puddles of water or mildew around your foundation is a sure sign that water is not falling away from the perimeter. This situation may indicate a clog in the gutter or other damage to the system.
- Water damage or marks are a good indication of severe leakage. Be sure to check your system out on a dry day with no rain if at all possible. If you notice water spots in specific areas or water damage just below the gutters, repair may be necessary.
- Sagging gutters are a significant cause for concern. It usually indicates that the system is not the correct size for the home or amount of rainfall, or there was a serious issue with installation. You may even notice them pulling away from the house. Alpine Gutters & Downspouts can help rectify the issue.
Of course, the choice is yours as to should you repair or install new gutters, but asking an expert on the best options is your best defense. If you notice small things, such as loose hangers, localized damage on sections, small cracks or holes, you can probably get away with just a gutter repair. But, if you notice more troubling signs such as excessive holes or rust spots, sagging or incorrect pitch, lots of water damage, or direct damage like a buckle or dent, opt for a gutter replacement instead.
There are many types of gutter systems out there in a variety of materials such as copper, aluminum, vinyl and more – each with their own advantages and disadvantages. Depending on the style of your home, your budget, and the aesthetics you want, you can easily find the perfect fit for your home.
Should you repair or install new gutters? Well, at Alpine Gutters and Downspouts, we hope that this bit of information will help you make a wise decision. If your gutter system is not performing correctly, you can also give us a call for a free quote on repair versus replacement costs. We’ll provide the information you need and go the extra mile to keep your home safe and dry.
December 1, 2017
Advantages of Seamless Gutters
Do you know the advantages of seamless gutters? If you haven't even given it any thought, Alpine Gutters & Downspouts would like to share the many beneficial reasons why you may want to consider these types of gutters, and how they can protect your home. Seamless gutters provide a smooth ride for rainwater and unwanted debris, channeling the runoff to where it should be going, which is away from your home, foundation, and landscaping.
Seamless gutters are gutters without seams, except where they stretch around any corners. Traditional gutters have sections. At every section, there is a seam which can sometimes pose problems including clogging, dripping water and weakness in the system itself. This, in turn, causes all kinds of issues such as the foundation cracking, soffits and fascia boards rotting, ruined landscaping, even water entering the home or basement! Here are the advantages of choosing seamless gutters.
- Less Maintenance: We all want a system that does not require a lot of repairs or unclogging from high up on a ladder. Naturally, seamless gutters ensure less cleaning, less chance of weeds growing at the seams, and less chance of pests building their nests inside.
- Minimal Leakage: The only joints you will find on seamless gutters are at the corners and the downspout. This means the rest of the gutter system is a streamlined slide for water to go down.
- Many Options: With seamless gutters, you have ample choices in materials and colors to pick from such as copper, aluminum, and steel. The colors to choose from can nicely accompany any roofline or house color you have in mind. You can also get a baked on enamel finish that never has to be repainted!
- Customized Fitting: Alpine Gutters & Downspouts will professionally install your seamless gutter system to your specific dimensions, ensuring a perfect fit that will last throughout the years.
- More Bang for your Buck: Although your initial costs for seamless gutters will be higher than conventional, your savings and home protection will mean fewer expenses on repairs, and less maintenance in the long run.
- Curb Appeal: Aesthetically speaking, seamless gutters make the home look more appealing because of the streamlined look and color options, which in turn will provide you with a better resale market value if you choose to sell your home in the future.
These are just a few of the advantages of seamless gutters, and if you find yourself in a situation of repairing or replacing your gutter system due to its age or damage, seamless gutters are an excellent option worth checking out. Some factors you will also need to consider and can discuss with your professional gutter installer include the type of weather prone to your specific region, including rainfall and snow, the pitch of your roof, and of course, the materials used for installation.
So now that you know the advantages of seamless gutters, give Alpine Gutters & Downspouts in Denver a call today for a free quote and to check out the variety of seamless gutters that we offer. We provide exceptional workmanship and fair pricing. We look forward to your call!
November 21, 2017
Common Gutter Problems
Are you aware of the common gutter problems that can cause unnecessary damage to your home? Alpine Gutters & Downspouts in Denver wants you to be armed with important information, so you can keep your gutter system running smoothly for years. On average, gutters should last about 20-30 years, depending on the maintenance done, weather conditions of your area, and type of gutters installed. If you notice any problems on your existing gutters, don't delay with repairs!
Here are some common gutter problems you may encounter:
- Clogged Gutters- Without seasonal gutter cleaning, the accumulation of leaves, nests from animals, seeds, snow, etc., will cause some severe backup of water and eventual damage. Not only will it start to decompose, but it can also be a fire hazard and a significant problem for your roof and shingles. You may also get flooding in a basement, foundation cracking, soil erosion, dry rot of fascia boards, paint damage, window damage, mold, and landscaping damage.
- Sagging Gutters- The weight of all that debris clogging your gutters will now pose an even more significant problem with a sagging gutter. Look for weak areas that may be close to breaking off or bending. If you notice this issue, you will probably need to replace the hardware hangers that support the gutter system. If it is too far gone, you may need a complete gutter replacement.
- Leaks or Holes- This is one of the most common gutter problems in Denver homes. If you notice water leaking from any point along the system, you will need to either replace that section or seal up the holes. There are various patch kits available, but again, you may want to have a professional come as they have the proper equipment and products to ensure a clean gutter repair.
- Damaged Gutters- Gutters that are dented or dinged by weather, debris or ladders slammed against them, should be dealt with promptly to avoid worse damage. Inspecting for damage often will keep you one step ahead of the game!
- Improperly Pitched Gutters- This issue will cause standing water to form in the gutters after a rainstorm. The general rule of thumb for a properly pitched gutter is a quarter inch for every ten feet of gutter. This is something you may want to consult with the professionals at Alpine Gutters & Downspouts about.
- Inadequate Gutter Systems- Each home is unique with what type of gutter system it will need. There are many to choose from, such as copper, aluminum, vinyl, and more. Depending on your budget, size of home, weather conditions and roof slope, let the professionals help you out with what new gutter options will suit your property best. With maintenance at least twice annually, you should never run into any serious problems.
Common gutter problems are just part of being a homeowner, but the right gutter system is your best defense against the elements. Get a heads up on information about the best gutter system, repairs, maintenance, and more from an honest and qualified company like Alpine Gutters & Downspouts in Denver. We have everything you need under one roof and we are enthusiastic to get your home ready for winter. Call today for a free quote.
November 11, 2017
Choosing Commercial Rain Gutters
When choosing commercial rain gutters, Alpine Gutters and Downspouts in Denver can help out enormously. We are the specialists when it comes to protecting your business with commercial rain gutters that will fully protect your commercial property from the elements and keep you in compliance with current laws and codes.
Gutters come in various sizes, styles, and materials. Here are some of the options to ponder when choosing commercial rain gutters:
The nice thing about aluminum is it can be painted to match your structure, whatever color you choose. They are high-quality aluminum usually, and therefore won't rust. This commercial gutter can prevent dangerous leaks that often come from sectional gutters, and they use screws instead of long nails, which gives them a more permanent fit, and they fit easily in budgets.
Very appealing to look at, copper gutters are often used when restoring historic homes, creating that old-fashioned look. If your business is located in a repurposed residential space, you can create a classic look by adding copper gutters, but material costs are higher than conventional gutters. As far as durability, you will get many years out of this type of gutter.
Galvanized Steel Gutters
Seamless galvanized steel gutters are great for a large roof, such as a commercial building, because they can handle an immense amount of water flow. They do tend to rust easily, which can lead to leaks. However, an ongoing gutter maintenance program and tending to rust early with repairs will keep these gutters in great shape.
Gutter Styles to Choose From
K Style Gutters
Square or angular commercial gutters are popular but will require some maintenance and cleaning from time to time.
Half Round Gutters
These drain water a lot better and are recommended for commercial buildings.
Choosing seamless or seamed gutters is a choice, but for a commercial property, it will almost always be the seamless version. Seamless gutters and downspouts will rarely leak because they do not have a seam or weak area of construction. Virtually all professional installers for commercial properties can custom make them fit the dimensions of your building.
Downspouts vs. Rain Chain
Downspouts do a great job of taking a significant amount of water from the roof and directing it away from your landscaping, foundation, and other areas of the property to where you want it to go. However, they can make the building or home look unattractive. If you are going for a unique look, the Rain Chain, which comes in many colors, materials and can even be ornamental, can give an appealing look to any structure. However, it will not take large amounts of water pouring down it, and may not be suitable for all spaces.
Alpine Gutters and Downspouts want you to know that choosing commercial rain gutters is a breeze when you have the professionals helping. We take into account your budget, concerns, size of building or home, and weather patterns. Let us help you get the right commercial rain gutters installed as soon as possible!