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Anonymous
Posted on Monday, November 21, 2005 - 06:00 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I hope that this is OK to post here. I am looking to buy an old house with a slate roof. I hired a proper slate roof contractor to come out and evaluate the roof as part of our home inspection. The slate contractor called me the other morning and while I was glad to hear from him, he woke me up and because of this, I wasn't thinking 100% at the time. He mainly called just to inform me that he had been on the roof and made his inspection and that his report would be out to me this week but he did touch briefly on a few key things. While the roof is in good shape (peach), the contractor stated that the gutters were replaced at some point and he seemed to have had issues with how they were installed. He stated that the old copper gutters were cut away from the roof and the new ones installed w/o removing the underlying copper(??). I was under the impression that along the bottom of the roof under the slate is still old copper that should have been removed but wasn't. Being a newbie at this thing, I didn't think to ask at the time what type of gutter *should* be mounted on the house vs. the probable cheap stuff that the previous owner had installed. I also didn't think to ask if the current gutter system is adaquite or detrimental to the house. His report should arrive in the mail this week, so I'll have more info once I get it in my hands.

In poking around the 'net, it seems that K-style and half round appear to be the common types of copper gutters on the market - can someone please explain to me what the differences are between these 2 styles (besides their appearence) and is one style better than the other for slate roof applications? Does it matter? Also, what advantage is gained by using lead coated copper? The house is solid brick tudor style with a slate roof, chimneys on both sides of the house and a gable on the right front of the house where the front extends outward from the main house by several feet (the footprint of the house would look like a stubby "L" from the air).

I have no idea what was on the house before the newer aluminum stuff was thrown on and am thinking it might be worthwhile to restore the gutter system to a more original and correct style for the house than the modern aluminum stuff. I would appreciate any info - especially concerning the differences in the gutter styles.

Thanks!
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Anonymous
Posted on Tuesday, November 22, 2005 - 08:59 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Well, that really is a matter of preference. First our company reccommends 1/2 round gutter on any and all slate roofs. Why? Just have found (after 54yrs. in buisness) that they function better and we have seen a longer life. Also we are firm on using copper. Why? Well you can solder the copper gutter like a water pipe and it will last a looong time. The aluminum gutters have to be silaconed (I don't care what ANYONE says there is NO SUCH THING HAS A 50 YEAR SILACONE) gutters always seem to have moisture in them the silcone --after about 3-5 years will separate from the gutter thus a leaky gutter. Solder won't separate from the gutter. Next the reason for the flashing under the roof is to catch all the water in the gutter, provide added strength for the gutter and last but not least protect against back-up that can be caused by gutters--mainly un-cleaned gutters. That comes from a man who installed slate roofs in the 20's not a quess here. Should the remaining (cut of copper) be removed, only if you don't like it, it is causing you no problems. Actually it may be a positive if they cut it off long enough to go into new gutter. Now if you where to install new gutters (in a restoration fashion) I would advise to remove a install new gutters as original was. I would never advise my customers to use aluminum gutters, that's not saying their is anything wrong with them just from our YEARS of EXPERIENCE it has become our buisness practice to advise for copper wheather it be raw, lead or zinc coated. The main thing they can be soldered and properly done will out live aluminum gutters 10 to 1 on a slate or tile roof. PERIOD. Has far as lead coated the contractor (if that's what they propose) might be concerned with green streaking down your bricks once the RAW copper turns green. That is one of the main reasons for lead/zinc coated copper is to prevent that. But, I would look at what was originally there and if it was RAW copper and you see no visable green streaking then I would go back to that (RAW copper is cheaper than lead/zinc coated copper) If you notice green streaking then you have a decision to make. Any way you go make sure they are hung correctly (your gutters) the outter (front edge) of your gutter should be hung lower than the roof pitch to allow snow and ice to pass over gutter while gutter only catches the water. You do not want a snow and ice dam at the eve of your roof (will cause more problems) you want (thus the term the original slate, tile and gutter guys used) rain troughs. There is alot to think about when it comes to your roof and gutter system. The cost it HIGH to have this type of work done so have it done right so it will be $ well spent. Be on top of it, your smart to ask questions especially here where alot of professionals dwell. Your welcome!
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Anonymous
Posted on Friday, November 25, 2005 - 10:21 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Adding a little to my original post.

The roofer expanded on the situation with the gutters. The original copper gutters were cut away from the roof leaving the copper flashing that extends under the lower row or so of slate in place. The new aluminum gutters were slapped up and the roofer added a "tinning" (I think that was the word my slate guy gave) to mimick the original copper gutter and it now tucks up under the bottom slate a ways. My slate guy stated that this is an issue since we now have aluminum in direct contact with the old copper. My slate guy said that this should cause premature failure on the newer aluminum gutters taht were installed.

The house is 39' long and 24' wide with a gable that is approx 14' wide and extends outward about 4' on the right side of the house. The footprint of the house looks like a letter "L" for lack of a better description.

Also at issue is that they installed gutters too small for the roof. They installed 5" K-style gutters and my slate guy is telling me that the roof should have used 6" gutters to handle the water volume of the roof. The roof on the left side of the gable feeds into the main gutter on the front of the house. There is only 1 downspout on this gutter located on the far left of the house and it handles approx 85-90% of the drainage for the front of the house including the added water coming off of the left side of the gable roof. The right side of the gable and the remainder of the main roof feed into a small 2 foot or so long gutter on the right side of the house that has it's own downspout. My roofer stated because of the volume of water being sent to a single downspout, that the current gutters are inadequate for the task at hand.

I don't have the raw numbers handy (they weren't specified on the estimate), but the front gutters are being quoted at $3400 for copper and $4400 for the rear (copper again) - with downspouts all around and it's a 2 story dwelling.

I am wondering if my roofer in on target with his evaluation with respects to the copper on aluminum issue and also the gutter sizes/water volume.

Thanks!
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Anonymous
Posted on Saturday, November 26, 2005 - 09:32 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Here are some photos of the front roof:

http://set-in-led.0catch.com/images/roof1.jpg
http://set-in-led.0catch.com/images/roof2.jpg
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Anonymous
Posted on Saturday, November 26, 2005 - 02:08 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I guess if you wish to get new gutters and pass the cost onto the current owner by having it deducted from the purchase price and they agree then go ahead and have the gutters replaced - but from your pictures the gutters do not appear in poor condition,as far as the copper reacting with the aluminum I do not see much of a problem since the aluminum has a baked on protective coating that would help delay any negative reaction between the two metals.As long as the gutters are installed properly(no hangers nailed on top of the slate,a roof apron that goes into the back of gutter ect.) If you wish to change the gutters to copper at some point go ahead and negotiate to lower the cost to help pay for them at a later date,1/2 round gutters would look and function very well on this house,also the 6" would be a good choice combined with 4" downspouts,the Slate look to be in good condition,I do not think I would call them "Peach"?(is more a color of describing some tones of sea green slate or Peach Bottom is a hard Black slate that is not quarried anymore)-sea green,gray black ? it is hard to tell from the photo.I would also call 1 or 2 other Contractors for estimates.
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Anonymous
Posted on Saturday, November 26, 2005 - 05:28 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hi.

Thanks for the reply. I wasn't really looking for anything when I went into this mess - this is the stuff that I was told needed done by a local slate roof specialist whom came recommended by folks on this board (the slate guy we used was a SRCA member, BTW). The only reason that the roof contracter was contacted in the first place was that my insurance company told me that I'd have to carry $80,000 worth of insurance on the roof system because of the high replacement cost of the slate roof. I was extremely concerned with the health of the roof once I found out what it would cost to replace it and decided I wanted someone to tale a closer look at things. The roofer was then called in to inspect the condition of the roof and found the flashing and gutter issues while on the roof.

The copper was explained to me to be at the end of it's life (the roof is 70 years old). The roof itself is in great shape and only needs minor attention (12 new peach bottom slates in green/purple mix, 4 snow guards, and the ridge caps need resealed).

I agree, the existing gutters *look* fine. You can tell that they are newer gutters. I was concerned with what my roof inspector reported back about the status of the system in regards to the copper gutter flashing being in contact with the new aluminum (a search of the message forums here yielded confirmation from numerous folks that you want to avoid metal on metal contact of different metals) and also the use of the smaller gutters, especially along the front where so much of the drainage is being handled by a single downspout.

The sale of the house has been terminated, BTW. The sellers balked at the notion of fixing anything or dealing with the issues in any manner what so ever, and there were a lot more issues besides the roof stuff I posted here.

Probably all for the better. Damn nice house - it's a shame that it wasn't taken better care of.

Thanks!
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Walter Musson
Posted on Sunday, November 27, 2005 - 11:07 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

If you only need more downspout capacity then why not add more "drops" to the gutter that you now have.When this system wears out in 15 or 20 years then replace it with copper at that time.
With proper number of drops you could still use 5" ogee gutter like you have.
The side that has the short gutter is a tough one all around.There is so much water in a large rain that even a 6" gutter would be hard pressed to handle that much water.You might consider removing that one and letting the water hit the ground-after proper preparations.

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