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Q & A

Answers to commonly asked questions from the experts on Thumbtack.

How can I find out if a roofer is considered an essential COVID-19 service provider?

To find out whether a roofer is an essential service provider during the COVID-19 pandemic, start by visiting your state or city’s government website. Local governments are providing up-to-date information for residents during this time.

A national guideline is available on CISA’s website, Identifying Critical Infrastructure During COVID-19. This page addresses 16 different categories of essential infrastructure sectors, but note that not all jurisdictions follow CISA’s definitions of critical infrastructure.  

Is it worth it to hire a roofer?

There are several reasons why it’s worth it to hire a professional roofer instead of attempting it yourself. The first is safety. Roofing is inherently dangerous, as a fall from a roof could seriously injure or kill you. Roofers have specialized equipment and training to help prevent accidents.  

Next is experience. Roofers know how to spot problems (leaks, missing shingles, moss or mold growth, etc.)  in your roof that could potentially save you from costly repairs down the road. 

And finally, roofers save you time by getting the job done quickly and with a high degree of quality.

Why is it important to clean your gutters?

Rain gutters, those easily-forgotten trenches that hang off the edge of your roof, protect your roof, walls and foundation from excess rainwater. When they get clogged with leaves, sticks and other wind-blown debris, they can no longer direct water away from your walls and foundation, and may become homes for pests and insects. They also become heavy enough to pull away from the house, preventing proper rainwater drainage and spoiling the appearance of your home. Experts recommend inspecting and cleaning your gutters twice a year, once in spring and once in fall, as part of your regular landscaping schedule. Gutter cleaning and maintenance is a fairly easy DIY job for some homeowners, especially on one-story homes. However, professional gutter cleaners have ladders tall enough to safely reach rain gutters, as well as the necessary tools to clean out the downspouts. Most gutter cleaning professionals can also make any necessary quick repairs.

What’s the best way to set up a consultation or an appointment with a roofer during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Because social distancing is important during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s recommended that you message roofers after narrowing down your choices through an online search of local roofers near you.

Ask if the roofer is willing to conduct an assessment via video chat rather than a traditional site inspection. Additionally, strategize on what other steps you can collectively take to make sure you’re following guidelines on social distancing during this time, including conducting a virtual payment.

How do I find and hire a professional gutter cleaning service?

To find and hire a reputable pro, start by comparing gutter cleaning services in your area online. This may include companies that solely offer gutter cleaning, as well as companies that provide roofing, pressure washing, lawn care or general cleaning services. Read their ratings and customer reviews, paying close attention to any reviews that include photos for evidence of their workmanship. 

Next, check to see if the pros you’re considering have the proper credentials (licenses, certifications, insurance, etc.) in your state. Your cleaner should be insured against all work-related injuries and damage. 

The final step is to compare quotes and estimates from the pros you’ve selected.

How much does gutter installation cost?

Gutter installation may cost anywhere from $700 to $2,500, depending on the materials you choose and the cost of labor in your area. On average, homeowners should expect to pay around $991 for new gutters. But to find out how much it will cost to install (or replace) gutters on your home, get free cost estimates from the best gutter professionals near you.

PVC, vinyl and aluminum are cheaper options, while steel and copper are more expensive, but will also last longer. Your price will also vary by the size and slope of your roof, the number of stories of your home, and the climate and labor costs in your area.

To learn more about gutter installation prices, read “How much does gutter installation cost?” 

Do you need a permit to install gutters?

You may or may not need a permit. It depends on your location. In some cities, you may need a permit if you reside in a historic district or if the gutter installation project impacts the right of way. 

Check with your local public works office, permitting center or government office to see the requirements in your area. You can even contact gutter installation pros near you and ask if they know what the permit requirements are in your city.

Is it worth it to hire a gutter cleaning service?

It’s almost always worth the money to hire a professional to clean your gutters, especially if you’re unable to clean your gutters yourself. 

Because your gutters see a lot of debris and abuse from Mother Nature, it’s essential to keep up with maintenance. Gutter cleaning is not terribly expensive, but it’s risky — working at the height of a gutter is dangerous. A professional gutter cleaner not only has experience, but also has insurance to cover any injuries. A pro also has the equipment and know-how to keep gutters in top shape and remove clogs from long downspouts. 

How often do you need to clean your gutters?

Gutter cleaning and maintenance is an important part of keeping up a home. Not only are clogged gutters unsightly, they can also lead to water damage in the house’s walls and roof. The best way to prevent that is to clean your gutters at least twice a year — experts recommend making it part of your spring cleaning and fall landscaping schedules. In the fall, trees lose their leaves and, in the spring, release seedpods and flower petals, all of which tend to end up in rain gutters. It’s a good idea to also have a professional gutter cleaner clear out your downspouts, too; clogged downspouts can make gutters backup and overflow.

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