Connecticut Contractor reg. #0055617
92 Camp Ave, Suite 5
Stamford, CT 06907
Fax: (203) 461-8562
7 Island Brook Ave.
Bridgeport, CT 06606
Get the Facts - Free Report
Get the Fact$!!
Sounds good, but Buyer Beware!!
Am I really saving money?
Is this really "maintenance free"?
What exactly is under warranty?
With many choices for gutter protection, how can you determine which one is the right one for you? Should you just forget about protection altogether and have Gutter Guys® clean the gutters regularly? This page is intended to give you enough information so that you can determine the best solution for keeping your gutters clean and collecting rain water while avoiding overflows.
Our purpose here is not to promote or tarnish any one company's reputation or discredit the performance of any one product, but to solely express the opinion of Gutter Guys, LLC which is based on our long standing experience in the field of rain gutter installation, gutter protection and gutter maintenance.
Gutter Guys, LLC Experience:
Gutter Guys, LLC has been in business for over 20 years. Having completed over 50,000 jobs, we have installed or removed almost every type of gutter or gutter protection that exists. In those 20 years we have never encountered a single type of gutter or gutter protection that did not need regular maintenance. Due to regular wear and tear, gutters need to be adjusted and resealed. Roofs in wooded areas need to be cleared of debris and of course even high-quality gutter protection needs to be maintained in order for it to perform properly.
Our official position is: any type of gutter protection may help keep your gutters clean, but your expectations have to be realistic and some maintenance will be necessary. Perfect gutter protection, one that is completely maintenance free, does not exist.
Regular gutter maintenance is often the best and most economical way to keep your gutters functioning. In fact, there is nothing more reliable than a real person cleaning the gutters, removing roof debris and evaluating the conditions of your gutter system routinely
What "sensible" gutter protection does Gutter Guys, LLC work with?
Gutter Tunnel (see illustration and description) is one of the best products available. It is simple, sturdy, and in the right application, cost effective. As with any gutter protection, your roof and gutters as well as the trees surrounding your house need to be prequalified. Additionally, we recommend that customers who want gutter protection realize that they need to have the roof, gutters and gutter protection cleaned and maintained at least once per year or as otherwise recommended. Unlike some companies who provide gutter protection, we do not make claims that your gutters will be "clog free for 25 years or a lifetime." Rather, we view gutter protection as a tool to reduce the frequency of gutter cleaning and maintenance.
Would you install gutter protection other than Gutter Tunnel?
We get requests to install gutter protection that homeowners buy on the internet or from hardware stores and we are happy to install those products and accommodate our customers with our informed opinion regarding them. The price of installation will be determined by the price of gutter cleaning and the difficulty of the job. We will also provide the homeowner with a gutter cleaning price with the gutter protection in place and suggest at least a once a year cleaning and check-up for the system. We will not obligate ourselves to stand behind the performance or the warranty of a particular product, but we will insure that the gutter protection is installed properly.
What about the 25 year no clog warranties?
If you are considering installation of a gutter protection system, then please read the fine print in the manufacturer's warranty. Terms like "lifetime" warranty or "never clogs," are the type of language designed to get the end-user to think a particular gutter protection product is completely maintenance free. For your convenience, a sampling of gutter protection systems is listed below with links to each product's website. If you do not find a detailed warranty on the website, you should request one.
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is, but if you are determined to install gutter protection, let Gutter Guys, LLC recommend a sensible system for you or instead have your gutters cleaned on a regular basis.
Here is what we found out: Most warranties originate from the manufacturers, not installers of gutter protection products. They often offer what appear to be excellent warranties that are in fact so good that they are unbelievable. While the gutter protection is warranted not to clog for 25 years or lifetime, the warranty will often spell out that periodic or occasional cleaning is necessary or that a special brush will be supplied for the homeowner to periodically brush off the fine screen mesh or filter. Rather than just listening to the hype about a revolutionary product that promises to save you time and money, please read the fine print of the full version of a warranty for conditions, exclusions, prorating and remedies to any problems. Lastly, what does common sense tell you: are you buying a great product that will work, or are you paying for a warranty?
The following is a sampling of some of the more common metal and plastic gutter protection:
(when installing any of these products to existing gutter systems it is important to qualify the gutter system for appropriate installation and function)
Metal gutter protection products range in design from simple expanded sheet metal to solid sheet metal pieces with holes punched in them to formed sheet metal covers with complex and inventive reverse curves and holes. These sometimes come covered with state of the art stainless steel micro mesh, of those some can even be custom fabricated on the job site in a variety of colors.
Some common drawbacks to metal gutter protection are:
- Some are flimsy and do not retain their shape
- Some types of metal covers need to be kept clean to function properly
- Can be very expensive
- Some are impossible or very difficult to work with when gutters need to be cleaned
- Cheap screens or meshes have dangerously sharp edges
Here are some examples of metal gutter protection and their descriptions:
Slotted Gutter Guard
Website: Unknown / None
This product can be installed without being screwed in but tends to be blown off by strong winds. The solution is to screw it in to the front lip of the gutter, but this makes regular cleaning a very time consuming job.
Description: Made of 3-foot sections of aluminum sheet metal with slots punched in the covers.
Benefits: low profile product only slightly visible from the ground. Does not void any roof warrantees. Keeps squirrels out and for a period of time. Seems to work
Drawbacks: These homeowner-quality screens are flimsy and often get bent out of shape by heavy snow and ice. Smaller debris still makes it inside and accumulates on the bottom of the gutter, eventually allowing seeds to sprout and block the water flow inside the gutter. The weight of this debris puts quite a strain on weaker gutters. Wasps tend to build nests under these screens.
Any maintenance is time consuming and repeated removal and reinstallation damages the cover. The nose, or reverse curve, must be kept clean in order for water to adhere to it and for it to direct water into the gutter functionally. For that reason any cover with a reverse curve or nose must be kept clean even if it means scrubbing it periodically.
LeaFree, www.leafreeguttercovers.com, is one of the variations of this system.
Description: Made from 3-8 foot sections of formed aluminum sheet metal. Features a common reverse-curve which directs water into the gutter using the principle of liquid adhesion.
Benefits: Keeps most of the debris out for a period of time
Drawbacks: Water pulls wet debris around the curve and into the gutter where this debris stays wet and too heavy for the slow current to flush it out. This debris quickly accumulates and causes blockages by the outlets. Gutter Helmet has a high profile, meaning it is highly visible from the ground and it alters the appearance of the roofline drastically. Gutter Helmet is prone to unsightly staining and grime build-up. This causes it to lose liquid adhesion which results in water completely missing the gutter, defeating the purpose.
This product is designed not to be maintained in any way, which makes maintenance difficult and involved. The nose or reverse curve must be scrubbed clean periodically because it only works properly when it is clean. When the gutter cover and shallow gutter work properly, debris is pulled into the gutter and for that reason it is inevitable that a power washer or a hose with a strong nozzle must be used to flush it out.
Gutter Maxx,www.guttermaxx.com, is one of the variations of this system.
Gutter Guys® often replaces these systems with open gutters only a few years after the competition has installed them.
Description: Product is fabricated on job site from continuous aluminum coil material; gutter and gutter protection all in one. It features the common reverse curve which directs water into the gutter using the principle of liquid adhesion.
Benefits: Product has relatively consistent appearance and it does not void any roof warrantees. Keeps squirrels out, and for a period of time, works well.
Drawbacks: Water pulls the wet debris around the curve and into the gutter where this debris stays wet and too heavy for the slow current to flush it out; this debris quickly accumulates and causes blockages by the outlets. Product cover and gutter portions all-in-one design is made from standard gutter coil resulting in a very shallow gutter portion that unable to hold large accumulations of debris and drain water at the same time. It is virtually impossible to clean and maintain this gutter system other than complete replacement.
This is one of the most expensive gutter protection systems but it still requires maintenance.
Description: Gutter cover consisting of a sturdy aluminum frame fit over the top of the gutter. The gutter cover features: "XELA FilterShield made of stainless steel to prevent corrosion and it blocks particles larger than 5/1000 of an inch in diameter from entering your gutter." Low profile product which is custom fitted to each gutter.
Benefits: Virtually cannot be seen from the ground. Because of the stainless steel filter it really does not let anything other than water into the gutter.
Drawbacks: Price! Compared to regular cleaning, Leaf Filter is arguably the most expensive; it takes a good number of years to pay for itself and certainly costs way more than a brand new good quality open gutter system. Also, if you read the fine print in the warranty you will find out that the screen needs to be brushed off periodically.
Originally the manufacturer intended it to have two sets of screens installed one on the bottom of the gutter (not in above sample picture) and another on top (as depicted). Through experience we realized that the bottom portion offered no substantial benefit and only impeded our ability to clean gutters. We now only sell the top portion of the Gutter Tunnel. Gutter Guys® believes that this product is one of the most effective and reasonably priced gutter protection systems available. It works well as long as gutters protected with the Gutter Tunnel top are maintained at least once per year or as needed when it is dry, preferably in summer.
Description: Product is manufactured from 27 gauge aluminum. Comes in three foot sections. It is shaped so that it is virtually impossible for water to go anywhere else other than inside the gutter. The holes are small enough to keep most clog-forming debris out but large enough that small debris won't clog the cover. Each section attaches to the top lip of the gutter with stainless steel zip screws.
Benefits: This product is low profile and for that reason can't be seen from the ground, and it does not interact with the roof or void any roof warranty. Best of all it is very sturdy and it will maintain its shape even with the heaviest snow and ice accumulations. It is designed to be removed and reinstalled for regular gutter maintenance relatively easily without damage.
Drawbacks: Should be maintained by a professional at least once per year. Return on investment may take several years, if without the covers; one would have to clean the gutters less than three times per year.
Plastic gutter protection, like metal screens or helmets also come in many forms and shapes. They come as simple mesh covers, three foot section screens and also more complex systems or inserts. Here is a sampling of common plastic gutter protection that Gutter Guys, LLC have worked with.
Some common drawbacks for plastic gutter protection are:
- UV rays (sun exposure) break down the product despite claims of UV Ray resistance, making the plastic brittle and fall apart easily
- Squirrels chew through the plastic, birds nest easily inside
- Snow and ice will often push the covers inside the gutters permanently deforming them
- When removing the cover for cleaning, they are harder to reinstall than when they were new and often are rendered functionally obsolete
Plastic Snap-In Guards
This homeowner-quality product is often installed because it is inexpensive and it is indeed one step up from flimsy roll-out mesh. It is inexpensive but also not very effective. Installation is cumbersome and this gutter protection needs to be removed for cleaning and any maintenance
Description: Snap-in plastic screen with diamond shaped openings, comes in 36" sections
Benefits: After "proper installation" this product can be low profile, not seen from the ground and will work for a while
Drawbacks: The name suggests that the sections should snap in, but they don't. Back of the screen is inserted under the shingles, which may void the roof warranty, and the frond should be fastened using zip screws need to be used to keep the cover from blowing off. Instructions on the label state that periodic gutter cleaning is needed.
This gutter protection often gets pushed to the bottom of the gutter by snow and ice. It is not squirrel or bird-proof and bees tend to build their nests under the screen.
Cleaning of the slotted openings is the biggest complaint. Removal and reinstallation of WaterFall in order to clean out accumulations from the gutter is cumbersome and time consuming and can damage the shingles and the gutter protection product..
Description: Comes in white plastic eight foot sections. The product snaps in on the front lip of the gutter, the back of the WaterFall is inserted under the shingles.
Benefits: when the slotted openings are clean it is effective.
Drawbacks: Product cannot be installed if the gutter is installed too low below the roof line, and it does not lend itself to proper installation if the roof is steep. The slots quickly get clogged with small debris, and in strong rain water simply flows over the cover and over the gutter. For cleaning of gutters, the removal and installation of this product is very difficult. Squirrels often chew through the plastic and bees and other insects including ants like to build their nests under this type of cover.
Any product installed or fastened through or under the shingles will usually void the roof warranty and may cause roof leaks.
Leaf Defier or Gutter Filter or Gutter Stuff
When Leaf Defier first came on the market, Gutter Guys, LLC was very enthusiastic about it. However, after just a year we started to see some serious problems. Some of our customers experienced overflows, resulting in call backs, refunds of money and installation of substitute products. We offered remedies to our customers. On the other hand, the manufacturer incurred no liability and no claims were filed against them. It was just not worth it.
If anyone wants this product, we still have it in stock and are willing to sell it at cost, on an as is basis.
Description: All of these products consist of shaped open-cell "sponge". They claim to be UV ray resistant and all have a no-clog warranty. Products come in four foot sections which are to be installed inside the gutter leaving the bottom open for water flow beneath the "sponge".
Benefits: Low profile and does not alter the look of the gutters or roof line. Works as described by manufacturer so long as the debris that it keeps out of the gutter is large.
Drawbacks: The open cells in the "sponge" become saturated with roof shingle grit, pollen, dust and compost resulting in slow percolation of water to the bottom of the gutter. This results in overflows to the front and back of the gutter. Moisture retained by the saturated "Filter", "Defier" or "Stuff" attracts insects, including mosquitoes and ant colonies. Cleaning of Leaf Defier, Gutter Filter or Gutter Stuff is impractical because this material, once removed from the gutter, requires a lot of work to be properly cleaned. It needs to be shaken or rinsed out and will usually never fit the same again. UV protection is not uniform resulting in crumbling of these products within a few years especially while cleaning.
With any questions or comments please call
our Stamford, CT office at 203-327-1346.
Any of your feedback will be greatly appreciated.
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