It’s important to vet a gutter installation contractor before hiring them. Read on as we highlight key qualities to look for in your contractor.
The number of years a contractor has been working in the industry should give you a good idea of their level of expertise. Keep in mind that some gutter systems are tricky install, so you should ask your prospective contractor about the type of gutters they’ve worked with.
Active Web Presence
In this day and age, there’s just no excuse for not having a website or at the very least a social media presence. The lack of a website is a red flag.
Here’s a tip: skim through the reviews on a contractor’s social media page to get a good idea of the level of customer service you can expect from a contractor. Keep in mind that a few negative reviews aren’t necessarily a red flag. Miscommunication happens sometimes, after all. What matters is how the contractor responded to customer complaints. Did they take time to respond to customer complaints? And if they did, was it done in a professional manner?
Of course, online reviews can’t give you the whole picture. The info gathered from online reviews should be supplemented by references. Ask your neighbors or friends if they’ve ever worked with a particular gutter installation contractor before.
The Advantages of Hiring Local
Here’s a tip to narrow down your options: focus your search on contractors near your area. They’re easier to vet because they have local references. Also, they’re more familiar with the local climate and building codes, so they can make better recommendations on which type of residential gutter or heated gutter systems best suit your home’s needs.
Solid Reputation Within the Local Community
Local contractors always add a personal touch to their services because the success of their business depends on their reputation as well as the support they receive from the local community.
Evaluating a Contractor’s Reputation
Online reviews and local references should give you an idea of a contractor’s reputation within the local community, but there’s an easier way of doing that: check the contractor’s rating with the Better Business Bureau. The BBB is an independent non-profit that aims to achieve its goal of advancing marketplace trust by assigning ratings (ranging from A to F) to companies. In general, these ratings indicate the level of customer service you can expect to receive from a contractor.
What would it take for a contractor to receive an A-plus rating? And what would an A=plus rating mean for consumers? A contractor needs a total score of 97 out of 100, which requires a near-perfect score in all the 13 categories used by the BBB to calculate ratings. The number of complaints received by the BBB about the contractor and the extent of the contractor’s experience in the industry are just some of these factors. As such, you can rest easy knowing that your gutter installation will be handled properly by a contractor with an A+ rating from the BBB.
Warranties are not only a form of protection against manufacturer defects and installation errors but are also a guarantee that a contractor is willing to stand by the quality of their workmanship.
High-Quality, Reputable Brands
It’s impossible to separate the quality of a contractor’s workmanship from the quality of materials they’ve used. After all, even if a gutter system was properly installed, it’s not likely to last if it was manufactured using substandard materials. That’s why it’s be a good idea to ask a prospective contractor about the brands they usually work with.
Questions to Ask a Gutter Installer
Of course, online research can only give you so much info, which is why you should directly ask your prospective gutter installer a few questions to gauge their level of expertise.
You can start by asking them these questions:
Are There Any Upgrades You’d Recommend?
This should help you gauge a local contractor’s level of expertise. Local contractors should be more familiar with the local climate and should therefore be able to give recommendations on how to extend a roof or gutter system’s lifespan.
Some contractors might recommend installing seamless gutters in homes near forested areas. Seams are the weak point of a conventional gutter system. If too much debris accumulates in the gutters, sections of your gutters may start to pull apart at the seams, causing gutter leaks. Seamless gutters don’t have any joints, which means they’re more durable and less leak-prone than sectional gutters.
A gutter installer may also recommend installing gutter guards or gutter heating systems for homes near forested areas or in areas that frequently experience heavy snowfall. Gutter guards prevent leaves and other debris from entering and clogging your gutters, reducing gutter maintenance needs. Gutter heating systems prevent ice dams from forming near the edges of your roof. Ice dams are problematic because they add to the weight load your gutters have to support and may cause snowmelt to back up onto your roof, increasing the risk of leaks.
Gutter Helmet® and Helmet Heat®
It’s also important to take note of some the brand and gutter features your contractor recommends. For instance, a primary feature of Gutter Helmet® is that it’s low maintenance. While most gutter guards can only reduce, not eliminate, a gutter system’s maintenance needs, Gutter Helmet actually comes with a Never Clean Your Gutters Again® guarantee.
How does Gutter Helmet allow water to enter while keeping leaves and other debris out? Through surface tension—the principle you see in action when water in a glass gathers into a dome right before it spills over—and its patented nose-forward design. Gutter Helmet takes advantage of the principle of surface tension to divert rainwater to your gutters the moment it hits the gutter guard’s textured-and-ribbed surface. And thanks to its patented nose-forward design, debris doesn’t enter your gutters.
Helmet Heat heated gutter systems feature a self-regulating heating cable, which keeps your gutters warm enough to prevent ice from forming but not too hot that your gutters become hot to the touch. Plus, Helmet Heat is fully compatible with Gutter Helmet and is hidden from view under gutter guards, so you don’t have to worry about your home’s exterior design being disrupted.
Do They Use Subcontractors?
Hiring subcontractors is a fairly common in the industry, but can be problematic. The problem with using subcontractors is that it’s almost impossible to have strict oversight over the quality of their work. When a contractor hires a subcontractor, they’re essentially hiring someone else to do the job you paid them to do. If the subcontractors didn’t undergo proper vetting, your gutters might not be installed properly. That’s why it’s best to hire gutter installers who have full-time employees.
One more thing: home improvement projects are essentially collaborations between homeowners and contractors, so you need to hire a contractor you can easily get along with. A quick phone call or in-person consultation should help you decide whether you’ll be able to get along with a certain contractor.
Looking for experienced roofers in your area? Barry Best Seamless Gutters has nearly three decades of experience in the industry. We offer professional gutter installation services as well as premium seamless gutters and gutter protection systems.