There's a lot to choose from when it comes to selecting upgrades and features for your new home. Picking out the "fun" features like engineered wood floors or that kitchen back splash you've been drooling over can take center stage, but what about the not-so-fun selections like gutters?! They may not be glamorous, but could be essential to protecting the foundation of your home, and on this episode we bring in the expert to tell you why. Michael Rich, owner of M&M Gutters, walks us through the importance of having gutters, how to maintain them and its many benefits, especially in this rainy spring season. If you're on the fence about adding gutters to your home and want to learn more, this is the episode for you!
S3_Ep5 Why Gutters Are Important (M&M Gutters).mp3
Intro: [00:00:03] Welcome Home, a podcast brought to you by John Houston Homes. Join hosts, Chelsi Frazier and Whitney Pryor, as they walk you through the exciting adventure of your home buying and building journey.
Whitney Pryor: [00:00:18] Thank you for joining us on today's episode of the Welcome Home podcast. I'm Whitney and I have Chelsi here with me. Hey!
Chelsi Frazier: [00:00:26] Hi!
Whitney Pryor: [00:00:27] So, it's good season to talk about this, April showers, bring May flowers. Today's guest, is going to be an important one when dealing with the showers and the rain that we're getting and are going to get, right?
Chelsi Frazier: [00:00:42] Yes.
Whitney Pryor: [00:00:43] We've got a great guest today that's going to talk to us about getters, right?
Chelsi Frazier: [00:00:47] Yes, today we're talking with Michael Rich. He's the owner of M&M Gutters. They are a local company and they work all over. We were just talking to him about everywhere that he does business, a lot of stuff here in Ellis County and in this area. With outdoor living being our series and our topic, we were just talking with the Master Gardener's about April being one of the rainiest or wettest months of the year, great timing to think about gutters and all the questions we get. Should I get gutters? Does my home come with it? Your new home doesn't always come with gutters, so we do get questions about them often - what you should do, how to maintain them, etc. We brought Michael in to be our guest expert on the topic and give listeners all the things they need to know about gutters. Welcome to the show, Michael!
Michael Rich: [00:01:35] Thanks for having me. How are you all doing today?
Chelsi Frazier: [00:01:37] We're good! Why don't you start off, just tell us a little bit about yourself, your background and how your company got started.
Michael Rich: [00:01:43] I started doing gutters in 2004, right out of High School. I actually had a teacher, her husband owned a gutter business, and she asked me what my plans were after High School. I didn't really have a whole lot of plans. I just told her I was going to be a business owner one day. She said, "would you like to come and work for my husband?" I said, "sure!" I started with him in 2004, right out of High School. The economy got bad, so I worked for him from 2004 to 2008, then ventured off doing some AC work and some other work with some friends that owned businesses, to make ends meet. In 2008, he reached out to me and told me he didn't care if I started my own gutter business. We took off from there. It kind of started out slow and just ramped it up.
Whitney Pryor: [00:02:33] Starting out, what are gutters and what do they do?
Michael Rich: [00:02:37] Gutters are a trough that goes around the eve perimeter of your home. Whenever the water comes off the roof, it hits the gutter, goes down the downspouts and is moved away from the foundation.
Whitney Pryor: [00:02:51] Can you kind of explain what the importance of the gutters are because they don't always come with the home, but they are pretty important to have in the long run. Can you kind of give us some details as to why it's important to shed that water away from the house?
Michael Rich: [00:03:06] Yeah, absolutely. You don't want to create a drip line without gutters. You're going to create a drip line, that moves soil away from the foundation of your home, so we can bring it down in certain locations. If you have any water pooling around your house or anything like that, we can move it to certain locations and put the water to where it needs to be.
Whitney Pryor: [00:03:29] Great! I think gutters are kind of like one part of a system, right? There are the gutters, which are super important for moving that water away from the foundation. But in the Summer, it's keep the area moist so that that soil doesn't mess with the foundation. Whenever Texas rain comes down in sheets, it kind of moves that water away from the foundation.
Michael Rich: [00:03:53] Yeah, that's really important. Whenever you're watering a foundation, it is important to keep it watered equally. As the soil dries out, it expands. You'll have some areas that stay wetter than others, so you'll have some lifting and you'll have some settling. It's important that you just water that foundation equally. If you got some areas that don't get a lot of sun, maybe we need to move water out of that area.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:04:18] Watering your foundation just sounds so strange. It's like an odd thing to talk about to me. It's like watering your plants, watering your foundation, that's just so weird.
Whitney Pryor: [00:04:27] Right? Sometimes I say, "I need to go water my dog." I'm like, "why did you say that?"
Chelsi Frazier: [00:04:33] Well, you kind of are! So, should you have them on your whole house or is just the front okay?
Michael Rich: [00:04:40] It's real important to have them around your whole house. I tell all my homeowners that's probably the cheapest insurance policy that you can buy for the biggest asset that you own. It'll help you keep all your flower beds in real good shape. It'll prevent any staining to the brick, like we talked about earlier. It helps with moving the water away from the foundation, avoiding the drip lines, killing your grass and bringing the soil away from your foundation.
Whitney Pryor: [00:05:07] Most people have flower beds right by their house. When it rains, like it does in Texas, it just creates this river of mulch, flowers and all the stuff down your sidewalks. I think having gutters is super important.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:05:24] Yeah, don't want to spend all that money on your landscaping and then just let it wash away.
Whitney Pryor: [00:05:28] Let it wash away in the next rainstorm.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:05:30] Yeah!
Michael Rich: [00:05:31] That's actually when we get the call, when it's too late, whenever the water has already taken the flowers, all the mulch and put it out in the street, they just spent all their money on. Then they're calling us and saying, "hey, our builder didn't put the gutters on our house." Normally, you want to put the the cart behind the horse.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:05:49] Mmhmm, it doesn't happen that way.
Michael Rich: [00:05:50] No.
Whitney Pryor: [00:05:51] Do you also replant the flowers that are in the driveway?
Michael Rich: [00:05:54] No, ma'am. We tell them to call their landscaper back out. The landscapers love us because they get to do their job twice sometimes. They get to make double the money on the same project.
Whitney Pryor: [00:06:06] Yeah. Do you guys also offer, like the guards over the gutters? I don't know what they're called.
Michael Rich: [00:06:12] Leaf guards, that's a great topic. They come in, on a low budget to sky's the limit, with the price on leaf guards. If you've ever been to a trade show, you've see some of the companies out there, and their prices are astronomical. Everybody runs off of a budget. We have a price range that fits everybody's budget, of what they're trying to prevent and where they're trying to go with that project.
Whitney Pryor: [00:06:44] Right. With new construction, you don't have to worry about it as much because your trees are little. As they get bigger, it's something that I think a lot of people think about probably.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:06:54] If you don't have trees, do you still have to clean out your gutters? Is is likely that other things would get in there?
Michael Rich: [00:07:00] Well, it's a funny you bring that up because a couple of years ago I actually had a guy that lived four houses down from me. He called me and he was pretty upset. His gutters weren't working properly. I told him it wasn't a big deal and that I would come over there and check it out. I get up there and he had four downspouts on the back of his house. Every single downspouts had a tennis ball from where his kids were playing wall ball or whatever they were playing in there. It clogged all of them up. They'd been up there long enough that they were growing moss on the tennis balls.
Whitney Pryor: [00:07:32] Oh my gosh!
Michael Rich: [00:07:32] Gutter guards are are great, if you're going to maintenance them and maintain the system. You can keep birds, squirrels and tennis balls. Everybody says, "oh, there's no balls up on my in my gutters. We don't have kids." And I'm like, "well, there's going to be kids in the neighborhood."
Whitney Pryor: [00:07:53] Is that the craziest thing that you've seen or heard of in the gutters that you found?
Michael Rich: [00:08:01] I mean, you find all kinds of stuff up there, you know.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:08:04] That you can say on the podcast.
Michael Rich: [00:08:07] Yeah.
Whitney Pryor: [00:08:09] You know it's bad whenever you see plants growing out of your gutters. You're like, "I think it's time to clean those."
Chelsi Frazier: [00:08:14] Oh my gosh, yeah!
Whitney Pryor: [00:08:15] It's probably too late at that point.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:08:17] Yeah.
Michael Rich: [00:08:17] Yeah, it gets pretty bad up there.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:08:20] How often should you clean your gutters?
Michael Rich: [00:08:22] I would say quarterly. I would say at least four times a year is probably a good number to go with because if you clean them to less, then the project is more extensive. When you get up there, you can create any kind of problems. When you get up there, make sure that all the corners are cocked good, that'll create any kind of future wood rot in your fascia or any deterioration of like Hardee board, etc.
Whitney Pryor: [00:08:54] Also, in Texas we get hailstorms, right? Sometimes that can kind of mess with the gutters or they might need maintenance as well, right?
Michael Rich: [00:09:02] Yeah, absolutely. A lot of times, we work hand in hand with roofing contractors. Whenever your roof gets replaced, your gutters do too. Typically, gutters are supposed to last a couple of decades, but here in Texas, the hailstorms are pretty frequent. Your gutters get replaced, I would say, on an average of 2 to 5 years.
Whitney Pryor: [00:09:24] The process of making gutters is neat. I used to work for a roofing company. I had no idea about gutters and how they worked. When I worked for the roofing company, they had a gutter crew come out and I didn't realize that they're made on site, the seamless gutters. Can you kind of tell us how that works and what happens with that?
Michael Rich: [00:09:44] Everything that we buy, it comes in flat coils. It's either a five inch gutter or six inch gutter. The five inch coal is 11 7/8 inches wide and the six inch is 15 inches wide. We put the coal on top of our machine and it spits it out into a gutter.
Whitney Pryor: [00:10:03] That's so neat!
Chelsi Frazier: [00:10:04] It comes as a flat piece of some of some material?
Michael Rich: [00:10:07] It's a big roll.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:10:08] Oh, it's a roll?
Whitney Pryor: [00:10:08] You guys measure however long it needs to be on site and then just make it onsite with the machine, how long it needs to be?
Michael Rich: [00:10:18] That's correct.
Whitney Pryor: [00:10:19] That's so cool!
Chelsi Frazier: [00:10:20] That is neat.
Whitney Pryor: [00:10:20] That's how it's seamless, right?
Michael Rich: [00:10:20] Yeah, you can go Home Depot and buy them in ten foot sections, that's how some people prefer to do them. You're dealing with seams over ten foot that have to be sealed or you can go with a company like ours, which are seamless, that means corner to corner, so we only have a joint on every corner.
Whitney Pryor: [00:10:38] Okay, that's so neat.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:10:40] Now I know what that means.
Whitney Pryor: [00:10:41] Yeah. What is the difference between five inch and six inch?
Michael Rich: [00:10:46] Five inch and six inch.
Whitney Pryor: [00:10:47] Okay, so how would you choose which one to do?
Michael Rich: [00:10:51] It's all about the volume that comes off your roof. A five inch gutter, it'll accommodate 1.2 gallons of water per foot. In a big heavy range, you're going to need a little bit more, so six inch will accommodate two gallons of water per foot. The houses they build these days, are 12 pitch roofs and aesthetically pleasing to the house, you don't want to have every down spout every ten feet. A lot of people don't like looking at downspouts, so to minimize the downspouts, we can jump up to a six inch gutter and push the water further.
Whitney Pryor: [00:11:26] Okay, I was wondering what the purpose was for that. That makes sense.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:11:29] What color should you choose for your gutters or is that a choice?
Michael Rich: [00:11:33] We've got about 35 different colors that they come in. Typically, we try to match the paint of the fascia. If we can't match the fascia paint, then we'll go and try to match the roof color, so you're not having three different colors that you're having to look at the - fascia, the gutters and then the roof. We try to make it blend in.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:11:49] Yeah, it all blends, that makes sense. We've all kind of faced similar challenges in the construction and building industry. I'm sure you have probably felt some of those similar things. What kind of challenges has the gutter industry faced in the light of the pandemic?
Michael Rich: [00:12:05] Well, first off, pricing has really gotten us. Everybody has faced that. The first thing they do is, they go up on prices. The prices have just skyrocketed. I think they were up 50% to 75% higher than they were a year ago. Then, the second band hit us of being a shortage in material. We were having to travel to Houston or Austin, hours away just to get materials to fulfill orders and complete our jobs. You get some jobs that you can't even find it in the state of Texas. Then you got to wait maybe or two just to get a couple of elbows, offsets OR end caps. They're not producing every single one of them, out of 35 colors. They're trying to minimize the colors that they're offering because of the supply shortage.
Whitney Pryor: [00:13:09] Yeah, it's amazing how far reaching those issues go. I think it was O.T. on the podcast, talking about paint. There's a paint shortage because the resin factories got hit by Hurricane Ida, I think, but you just don't think about those things whenever they happen and how it affects everything, right?
Chelsi Frazier: [00:13:31] Right, and months down the road, even.
Whitney Pryor: [00:13:33] I think we all see it with the grocery stores, right? There's things that we can't get at the grocery stores right now, but we just have to be patient and live through it.
Michael Rich: [00:13:43] Yeah, the struggle is real out there for sure. A couple of things that we went in with, I guess you'd call it company guidelines, when we come through here, we started ordering everything in bulk. We reached out to our big builders and said, "hey, listen, this is what is going on," which, you know, they already knew between windows, brick, roofing and gutters. Just like everything else, there's shortage out there. We said, "I need to know what the majority colors you're going to be painting your house." Then, we started buying it by the truckload. It's hard to close jobs, close houses and make closings whenever your jobs are not complete.
Whitney Pryor: [00:14:24] Right.
Michael Rich: [00:14:24] That's what we did to to stay ahead of it.
Whitney Pryor: [00:14:27] To offset it, yeah. Is there anything else that you want people to know about gutters that we haven't talked about?
Michael Rich: [00:14:33] I mean, gutters, like I said, they protect probably your most valuable asset that you have. You put all that hard work and all that time into your home and that's probably the cheapest insurance policy. I can't stress that enough to protect your foundation. We don't have a lot of people that reach out to us with foundation issues that have gutters. If they do have gutters and they have foundation issues, it's related to the soil or something like that. They needed soil injections, piers or something like that.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:15:09] Well, thank you so much. You've provided so much information for our listeners and answered a lot of questions. We'll definitely be putting your info in the show notes if they have more questions that we didn't talk about or want to reach out to you and get those gutters on their houses. If they maybe only have them on the front and you've convinced them that they need them on the whole house or anything similar like that, so thank you so much.
Michael Rich: [00:15:30] Yeah, thanks for having me on the show.
Whitney Pryor: [00:15:32] Thank you and thank you listeners for joining us on today's episode of the Welcome Home podcast. We will definitely be linking to M&M Gutters information in the show notes, so check that out or check us out at jhoustonhomes.com. Feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or check us out on Facebook or Instagram.
Chelsi Frazier and Whitney Pryor: [00:15:54] Welcome Home.