Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Do Gutter Guards Really Work?
A few years ago gutter guards were all the rage. The thought of never having to clean your gutters again is a homeowners dream. We resisted the trend for a while, because we could not see how it was possible that the guards on the market would truly keep the leaves and debris out. Eventually they became so popular that we hopped on the trend.
There were so many different guards to choose from. We decided that we would start out with a product that was very affordable to our customer. It only took a few installs and months to see that our customers were not having great results. Leaves were getting stuck to the "fin like" design and they were a bright metalic aluminum that could be seen from the ground taking away from the aesthetic of the home. We quickly switched to another product which was priced a little higher but looked like it could work. We had great results at first, but a year or so with the system on proved problematic. The product was made of a pvc vinyl that would crack in the winter and the system eventualy clogged.
During the experimental years trying to find the right guard, we installed and uninstalled almost every product on the market. The homeowners called us to remove other companies products, because they no longer returned their calls and refused to back-up their product.
Determined to find the right product we hooked up with a franchise dealer of a "Gutter Helmet, Cap, Reverse-curve System" company mainly because of the sheer amount of advertising produced by these companies and the consumer awareness. If you have ever gotten a price or bought one of these systems you know that the price is very steep. A typical raised ranch would cost the customer between $1,500.00 and $2,200.00. The franchise provided great sales material, including videos, brochures, trade show displays and portable displays. We thought we finally had the product that was not only going to solve the leaf problem forever, but also bring in the sales our company was looking for. The bad news is that this product had too many trade-offs for us to continue offering to our customers. They constantly dripped, leaves got in them, bees loved them, they needed to be screwed into the roof often voiding the roofers warranty, encouraged gigantic icecles and put a deep hole in the customers pockets. We then decided to go back to our original stance that gutter guards don't work.
Then we found The Leaf Relief System. We were invited to a demonstration including free food for a product out of Canada called Leaf Relief. If it was not for the free food we would not have gone, but after seeing the demonstration we decided to give gutter guards one last shot. We have now been installing this system for about 5 years now, and have had great results. Just like other gutter guards we have found that it comes with a small set of trade-offs. On the positive side, it is low profile, does not screw into the roof, and no leaves can get in it. On the down side if a home is surrounded by pine trees or does not get a decent amount of wind, debris can sit on top of the gutter. The good news is the rain still gets through the guard, but you may have to get up on a ladder and clear off the top of the guards from time to time.
So if you are looking for a reliable guard that you cannot see from the ground that is priced affordably, Leaf Relief is the way to go.