To gutter, or not to gutter?

naWith all the rains we've been enjoying (or perplexed by, depending on your perspective); I thought it would be appropriate to address a topic that helps handle those rains - GUTTERS.

There has been a lot of discussion for the past decade on whether gutters are even needed. And while I wouldn't blindly put them on a house, I do believe in their use in certain situations. Another controversial topic in this arena are the "gutter protection" systems that help keep gutters from clogging with pine needles and leaves. Obviously, if you live in a densely wooded area, and you have gutters, you need them. But the controversy, to me, is in how many companies are attempting to install these protection systems, and how they are over-charging for the service.

So, let's start with the need for gutters. In areas where the slope of the roof is such that it will run off and wash out a potential landscape, there is a need for gutter systems. Home improvement experts in years past, used to balk at the addition of gutters and their potential threat the facias & soffits . But the technology is such these days that if you hire a reputable company, this shouldn't be a concern these days.

As for the gutter protection systems, I realize there are way too many of them on the market, but for me it boils down to sticking with the local companies, that understand our rains and our trees. Also by working with a local company, that hopefully manufactures everything here too; you will be saving a lot of money. Lastly, in my concerns about gutter protection systems to block leaves and debris, I think it is ultimately important to find a company that will install a protection system over existing gutters versus those companies that automatically put in an entirely new system, gutters and protection and all.

Also, if you can avoid companies that use subcontractors, it will save you any future headaches. That's because of warranty work or repairs. Those that rely solely on sub-contractors will always pose the threat that they can't get the same crew out there to do the follow-up work if need be. While that may not sound important to you, I promise you that a company with it's own full-time, on-site crews will always be better at the Customer Service side of this equation.

Randy Lemmon is the host of the GardenLine radio program on Newsradio 740 KTRH. Randy has been doing GardenLine in one capacity or another since December of 1995, for all three of the now Clear Channel AM stations - KTRH, KPRC & KBME. When Randy took over GardenLine, he replaced long-time Houston radio veteran and GardenLine originator, Bill Zak. For those who remember that far back, GardenLine was a weekly radio staple on KTRH from 10 a.m. to Noon Mondays through Fridays - along with a Saturday show as well. Now GardenLine is heard exclusively on Newsradio 740 KTRH on weekend mornings.