Gutters. (Gene Hamilton / May 5, 2014)

The job of a gutter system -- directing water away from the foundation or lower level of a house -- is hardly noticed until it stops working. But the water damage created by a faulty system will only get worse over time and more costly to replace. So when it rains and puddles of water settle around the house, or worse, in the basement, don't wait to replace them.

To replace a 100-foot section of damaged gutter and downspouts with a new vinyl system, a contractor will charge $509, which includes the labor and material. If you have carpentry skills and tools, and like working on a ladder, you can buy the material for $225 and do it yourself, pocketing a 56 percent saving. You'll find sections of gutter and downspouts and fasteners sold at most home centers and lumberyards. You'll need a measuring tape, straightedge, chalk line, carpenter's level, cordless drill and hacksaw. It's a good idea to have a helper who can hold the components in place while you install them, so you'll need two ladders.

Before installing the new components and after you've removed the old ones, it's a good time to paint if it's needed. Also take a look at the siding and trim to see if there's any damage, and make the necessary repairs.

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Pro Cost -- DIY Cost -- Pro time -- DIY Time -- DIY Savings -- Percent Saved

$509 -- $225 -- 5.1 -- 10.0 -- $284 -- 56 Percent