Gutter Questions

Just moved into my house. The downspouts are shot, and need to be replaced, so I'm trying to figure out if I should get the gutters replaced at the same time.
Before I get someone in to give me an estimate, what are some good tips for inspecting my gutters? They're fairly old, half round painted metal seamless gutters. There don't appear to be any leaks, checking from the ground during a rain storm, but obviously leaks could be disguised when it's raining.
The home inspector said the gutters were OK, but old, and I should expect about 5-10 more years from them.
Should I stop up the downspouts during dry weather and flood the gutters to see if anything comes out? I'm concerned that the weight of the water might cause its own problems.
Assuming I do find problems, at what point does it become pointless to patch the gutters and I should just replace?
Anything I should examine with regard to the fasteners?
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greygoose wrote:

If it were me and I were replacing the downspouts, on gutters that I expected to last 5-10 years, I would have them all replaced.
Things should fit better, look better and you have only one person to complain to if they don't work.
--
Joseph E. Meehan

26 + 6 = 1 It's Irish Math
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I'd just visually inspect them. If they are steel or copper, they should show some rust or corrosion stains where are any leaks. Also look on the ground directly under them where drips might occur - you may be able to see a spot where the ground looks a little different because of the water (I have a leak in a seam in one of my old galvanized gutters and it's left a nice extra clean spot on the driveway that is right under it).
I wouldn't fill the gutter with water, for the reason you mention, but simply placing a garden hose at the end away from the downspout should give you enough water to see if there are leaks. Then you'll need to decide if it's bad enough to require a total replacement, or a simple patch-job.
As for replacing them, 5-10 years is a long time if they still have that kind of life left in them. Besides, you probably aren't going to get the 1/2 round kind as you have, so think of what a more tredititional gutter might look like in appearance. If you decide to keep them, clean them good, let them dry, then paint the inside with some good rust-proofing paint. That'll add some extra time to their life. replace the spouts and your only task until sometime around 2010 will be cleaning them out a couple times a year if necessary!
Mark

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If you do get gutters be sure to have the old ones removed and inspect and repair the fascia before installing new ones.

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