I started out in the construction industry 20 years ago, installing siding, windows, and gutters. At one point I had a full-time crew dedicated solely to gutter installation. Eight years ago, when I partnered with a friend to form Access Builders Corp., a general contracting firm, I held on to my gutter machine. It was paid for and I figured I could use it on our projects. Lately, with the downturn in the market, it’s been getting quite a bit of use as we pick up gutter jobs to fill in the schedule.

Customers often ask me, “Why do I need gutters if I don’t have a wet basement?” My answer is always the same: “It will add years — maybe decades — to the life of your foundation.” Here in Minnesota, the ground can stay frozen from late November until the end of March, and the frost can reach 5 to 6 feet deep. Many areas around the Twin Cities...

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