Since it costs anywhere from $6,000 to $11,000 to replace your roof, you want to ensure that the job gets done correctly. Many homeowners ask a recurring question: “do gutters have to be removed when replacing a roof?” The answer depends on the type of roof, but you should remove your home’s gutters before replacing your roof in most cases.
Now, you’re probably thinking, “do I have to pay more for a contractor to remove my gutters?” Contractors might charge you extra to remove and reinstall the gutters. They’ll undoubtedly charge you more if they replace the gutters with new ones. Before signing a contract, it’s critical to sort out the details beforehand. The last thing you want is an extra $2,000 charge on your bill.
Why Do Gutters have to be Removed When Replacing a Roof?
Because of their home’s construction, some people don’t have to remove their gutters before replacing their roof. They can get away with this because the gutters connect to a fascia board instead of the roof. Since there’s not a direct connection between the roof and the gutters, roofers can put on the new roof without the gutter system getting in the way.
What Are Fascia Boards and How Do I Know If My House Has Them?
Most homeowners don’t get up on their roofs, so it’s understandable if you don’t know what fascia boards are. Manufacturers construct these boards with wood or polyvinyl chloride (uPVC). Builders nail the boards along the perimeter of the roof, resembling interior molding. Many homeowners prefer fascia because it gives the house a clean and finished look.
Perhaps you just bought a new home or have a super-high roof and don’t know if your house has fascia boards. In that case, you should use a ladder to see if your gutters connect directly to the house or if there’s a layer in-between. If you see that extra layer, those are the fascia boards. However, you don’t need to make this assessment yourself. When a roofer comes to give you a quote, they will determine if you need to remove your gutters.
The Benefits of Removing Gutters Before Replacing Your Roof
As a homeowner, it’s in your best interest to protect both your roof and your gutter system. Since you’re on the verge of paying thousands of dollars to replace your roof, you want the contractor to do a superb job. Likewise, you don’t want to cause any damage to your gutters that would warrant the repair or replacement of your gutter system. Since the average price of replacing gutters is $3,000, you must protect their structural integrity before beginning to tear off the shingles.
Aside from the apparent reason for protecting your roof, here’s an in-depth look at the primary benefits of removing futters before replacing your roof.
You Could Find Damage Hiding Behind the Gutters
By removing the gutters, you can uncover damage to both the roof and gutter system. Moreover, when you remove the gutters, you also get to check on areas of the roof repaired in the past to see how they are holding up. If you keep the gutters on, the chances are slim that you would find these hidden issues.
Perhaps it’s autumn, and you have two large oak trees near your house. You haven’t cleaned your gutters this season, so they’re filled with leaves. If you didn’t clean and subsequently remove the gutters before replacing the roof, you would be oblivious to any damage. And remember, damaged gutters can lead to roof problems, so it’s imperative to keep your gutters in good condition.
It’s Safer for the Roofers to Work Without the Gutters
Although you should always hire a contractor with adequate insurance, replacing a roof without taking off the gutters is a bit riskier. Attempting to replace a roof with dirty or damaged gutters is like walking on a balance beam. It’s easy to fall off, and the job takes longer. This is also true when you get a roof over existing roof.
Many contractors prefer to remove gutters for this reason, especially if you haven’t cleaned them for a while. The only caveat to this is if you have fascia boards, as mentioned earlier. And if your gutters are dirty, then there’s a high chance that your roof is also messy, making the job even more hazardous for the roofers.
It Might Be Time to Replace the Gutters, too
If you’re already taking off your roof, why not replace the gutters at the same time? While this isn’t a good plan if you have brand-new gutters, you may be able to save money by replacing your gutters and roof at the same time. You should have a professional contractor inspect your gutters every once in a while, so you can better gauge their condition. Here are a few telltale signs that it’s time to replace your gutters:
- You see nails lying around the perimeter of your home
- There are visible cracks in the gutters
- The gutters are sagging or starting to separate from your roof
- You notice water leaking
- The gutters are starting to rust
Replacing Your Roof Could Inadvertently Damage Your Gutters
When you have a crew of workers on your roof, there’s always a remote chance that one of them could step on your gutter and damage it. Also, the debris from your roof could land in your gutters, clogging them and potentially leaving marks.
Given that roofers use hundreds of nails, a handful of spare nails might end up in your gutters. Unlike loose shingles, these nails can actually puncture your gutters and cause leaks. And, as you know, damaged gutters can lead to roof damage. The last thing you want to do is pay thousands of dollars to replace your roof, only to have to replace it again because your gutters damaged it.
Gutter Removal May Already Be Included in the Price of the Roofing Job
Most roofing companies have contractors that can remove and reinstall your gutters. Due to the nature of the job, some companies might remove and reinstall your gutters for no additional cost (i.e., the price is built-in to the roof replacement job). Why not take up the offer and avoid damaging your gutter or your roof?
If your gutters have damage, you may be able to negotiate with the contractor to have your roof and gutters replaced at the same time. Doing so could save you money over hiring another contractor to replace your gutters later in the year.
Removing the Gutters Beforehand is an Industry Best Practice
Simply put, removing the gutters before replacing your roof is an industry best practice. Not only does it protect the structural integrity of your home, but it also protectors the roofers. Taking off your gutters also allows for better transparency; it’s easier to discover damage that could lead to more severe problems later. Unless your gutters do not connect to your roof, you should plan on having your contractor remove your gutters before they begin to replace your roof.
Frequently Asked Questions
Want to learn more about the topic “do gutters have to be removed when replacing a roof?” Although we have covered a lot of the common questions, here are a few others in case you need additional information:
How Long Does It Take to Remove a Gutter System?
Depending on the size of your house and the steepness of your roof, it can take between one to five hours to remove your gutter system.
How Long Does It Take to Reinstall Gutters?
Reinstalling gutters takes about the same time as it does to remove them (unless you’re getting brand new gutters). You should expect it to take between one to five hours.
Should I Get New Gutters When I Get a New Roof?
You don’t have to get new gutters just because you’re getting a new roof. However, it’s a good idea to get new gutters if your current gutters have any type of damage. You might also want to get new gutters to boost your home’s curb appeal.
Do I Need to Request that a Contractor Remove My Gutters?
You should have this conversation before your contractor begins replacing your roof. Ask them if they plan on removing the gutters and if there are any additional costs.
Can I Remove Gutters on My Own?
You can remove gutters on your own, but we do not recommend it. Unless you have experience, attempting to remove your gutters solo is very dangerous. Not only could you fall and injure yourself, but you could also damage your roof.
Will Contractors Clean My Gutters Before Reinstalling Them?
Yes, contractors will clean your gutters before reinstalling them if you ask them to do so. Don’t expect them to clean the gutters without an extra charge.
A Final Look at Why You Should Remove Gutters Before Installing a New Roof
You should now have better insight into the answer behind the common question, “do gutters have to be removed when replacing a roof?” The answer is yes, for the most part. Removing the gutters beforehand is an industry best practice, protects the structural integrity of your home, and reduces the risk that roofers will injure themselves.