How we found the best Gutter Guards

After being in the gutter business for over 15 years, we have seen a lot of gutter guards.  Our crews have been out in the field and came across every different type of guard there is on the market.  Every week companies are sending us samples of their guards trying to earn our business.  Almost 25% of our business today is installing gutter guards.

When we started out, we did not even offer a gutter guard because we thought, like many people, that they didn’t work and didn’t want to waste our time. So how did we go from not offering any kind of gutter protection to installing it for 25% of our clients? There was a lot of trial and error, hands-on field experience and testing that went on before we found the best gutter guards that we believe in and wanted to be able to offer to our customers.

Our first experiences with gutter guards started with installing Lowes or Home Depot gutter guards that customers had purchased themselves.  These were usually a plastic type guard that would snap into the gutter.  Unfortunately with these guards, the plastic often becomes brittle from UV rays and winter cold over time and they begin to fail. The hot and cold causes them to warp, leading to the guard popping out of the gutter. Theses guards don’t typically last long.

We considered offering the reverse curve gutter guards, like Gutter Helmet, to customers but, we were never happy with the design of this product. The guard is obtrusive and stands out on a home and the front of the curve quickly becomes dirty and stained.  Debris clings to the dirt on the curve of the guard and eventually gets pulled into the gutter.  We found that we spent more time uninstalling this type of guard for customers because it had failed.

Failed_Gutter_Guard_Systems2When we seriously started looking into options for a gutter guard we could offer our customers, we started testing different kinds of guards.  The owners would install the guards on their homes as a way to test in real weather conditions what worked best. We tested the simple metal guards with holes in them. ( I am part of the office personnel but when the samples arrive, even I can  tell these guards won’t work well and will clog easily ) We found that water would pour over the top of them in a heavy rain, or that the holes became clogged with sticks and other debris.  Even though his type of guard is fairly inexpensive, customers were unhappy with the performance when it became clogged and felt it was not worth the money.

We also tested the sponge type guard that installs into the gutter collecting leaves on top while the water passes through the sponge.  We found that those still needed to be cleaned, and that it was a mess to clean.  We had to remove them wipe the leaves off a soggy mess, then stuff them back in all while trying not to break them.

When Leaf Solution first came out in 2002 we were impressed with the design of the product.  We liked the medical grade stainless steel mesh and felt that it would be effective in blocking debris.  We loved the fact that it was installed on an angle so that it would be self shedding and require less maintenance for the homeowner.  We were also impressed with the sturdy construction. (techie people can click here for more details) However we were concerned that customers would not be interested in it because of the higher cost.  We soon realized the best way to see if it really worked was to try it.  So we decided to make Ryan our guinea pig and we installed it on his house in 2007.  Ryan is still happy with his Leaf Solution today, and is even happier that his wife no longer makes him go out in the rain to clean his gutters when they are clogged!

Shortly after that, Rhino Guard came to the market with the same stainless steel micro mesh guard but, it is installed flat on the top of the gutter.  Rhino guard is an effective leaf guard at a lower price point and is great for installing on roofs with a lower pitch and on half round gutter systems as well.

There are many different guards on the market today. You will want to research your choices carefully before making a decision. Also, make sure your expectations of a gutter guards are clearly addressed. It is a leaf guard system that is designed to keep leaves out of your gutters. It will not eliminate icicles or prevent ice dams. There might be leaking or dripping in the winter if you are putting a metal guard over your gutters and it freezes. Unfortunately there is no such thing as a completely maintenance-free gutter system yet. We are still hoping to find one to offer our customers!

Stay tuned for more information about what to expect from a gutter guard during different weather conditions.

Rebecca

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The benefits of Gutter Guards

Why install Gutter Guards

We are seeing a trend here at The Brothers that just do Gutters; many homeowners are choosing to install gutter guards. Yes they are an upgrade and unlike a new floor they are not something you will notice every time you look at your home. So why are people choosing to install them?  Lets looks at some of the benefits of gutter guards:

  • Less Maintenance
  • Protection for you home
  • Safety for yourself

Clogged GuttersThe number one reason people install gutter guards is so they have less maintenance.  If you install a quality gutter guard once you should not have to worry about your gutters being clean.  We are all very busy with work, family, sports, and socializing.  Do you really want to sacrifice your leisure time to cleaning your gutters every couple of months?  Now I am not promising you that you will never have to think about your gutters again.  Even if you have a guard you might still have to maintain it.  Occasionally you might need to wipe debris off the top of a guard, but that is much simpler than having to clean out clogged elbows or downspouts.  If you have debris on top of your guard then your guard is doing its job and keeping the leaves out of the gutters.  Some homeowners find that when they have the correct guard installed they are virtually maintenance free.

Clogged gutters can pose a treat to your home.  No one wants to have to deal with water getting into their home from a clogged gutter.  A customer called today, they had water getting into their finished basement from a gutter that was clogged.  The basement had a spare bedroom that they don’t always use and they didn’t even realize they had a water problem until the mildew smell was coming up the stairs.  A clogged gutter can also result in damage to plantings and landscaping around your house.  Installing gutter guards can help protect your home from the risk of water damage.

Safety is one of the last things people think about when they consider a gutter guard, but it is an important consideration.  We have installed guards for homeowners who have literally fallen off their roofs while attempting to clean their gutters.  Maybe the risk isn’t worth saving some money in this case.

Whatever your reasons for choosing to install a gutter guard there are some important considerations.  Every house is different, what worked for your neighbor might not be the right fit for you.  Also every guard is different, make sure you do your research before investing in a guard.  After 14 years of being in the gutter business we have seen many different types of guards and worked with several kinds.  We have found that the Leaf Solution and Rhino Guard guards to be the best on the  market, and work the best on many different styles of homes.  We have also seem many guards that have failed and add to peoples misconceptions about gutter guards.  There are several types of guards we won’t use.

Lastly remember the job of a gutter guard is to keep the leaves and debris out of your gutter, not to prevent debris from getting on top of the guard, or to prevent ice dams or icicles.

If you are interested in finding out more information on gutter guards and how much gutter guards cost we would be happy to provide you with an estimate.  Please follow the link to our website and fill out the form, and we will be happy to contact you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Cost and Value of Gutters

What exactly is the difference between price and value and how does it relate to the cost of new gutters? Cost is the perception of the value received at a price paid. Let me share an example with you.

My boss Ryan recently had to purchase a new bulb for the projector in his movie room. A new bulb normally costs a few hundred dollars. He decided to check the internet and see if he could possibly find it for less. Of course he was able to find it on Amazon and it was only $50! He was torn; $50 was a great price but, what if it didn’t work. You know the saying, “if it sounds too good to be true it probably is”. He decided to try it, what’s $50?

When the bulb came, Ryan felt great. It looked almost exactly like the old bulb.He plugged it in and it worked!How great was it that he just saved over $250 dollars!  About 5 hours later halfway through a movie the bulb blew up.

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Talk about shattered expectations. Now he knew exactly why it cost him only $50. Luckily for Ryan it didn’t damage the projector and cost him more money in the long run, but he was still out the fifty dollars plus the cost of a new bulb.

Gutter Cost Thinking
When people need to replace their gutters, the first thought that most frequently comes to mind is how much its going to cost. Most people have a budget in mind on what they want to spend, and they will go out and call several companies for an estimate. Once they have these estimates they start making the hard decision of who to go with. 

You need to consider who is giving you the best value for your money.
There will always be a company that is the least expensive and on paper they might look almost exactly like us. But are you getting the same value for your money?  When the gutters are installed on your house they might look almost exactly like gutters we would install, but are they?  What factors contribute to value? These are all parts of the value you receive from us. 

Sure the guy with the truck can come out the same day you called to give you an estimate, but why isn’t he busy that day? Yes his estimate might be cheaper, but who is he hiring to do your installation?  Does his crew have years of experience? Has he invested time training them on the best ways to install gutters?  Is the crew OSHA certified?  How about insurance – does he maintain the proper coverage to protect you if there was an accident?  What quality of material does he use? If someone put a lower quality gutter on your house, you might not be able to tell right away when you look at it however, when the gutters fail prematurely you will absolutely notice the difference.  Do the gutters come with a warranty?  If there are problems how does the company address them?

When it comes to your home, please consider value carefully before you decide to work with a contractor who offers the lowest price.  Although the price of new gutters is always an important consideration, not doing the job right the first time is always more expensive in the long run. Having gutters installed that don’t work properly is never the best option. The cost of replacing your gutters is more than just appearances, it is also the functional role they play in protecting your home from water damage. 

Our crew leaders have an average of 5-10 years of experience installing gutters and they are OSHA certified. We train with them weekly. We also maintain full insurance coverage and we will be happy to provide you with proof of insurance at your request. We install .032 gauge aluminum gutters.  After years of experience working with different guards we have  chosen Leaf Solution and Rhino Guard which we feel are the best guards on the market. If you are considering replacing your gutters please give us a call and see for yourself the service and value we provide.  If having your job done right the first time is important to you The Brothers that just do Gutters is the right company for you.


How to effectively communicate on a gutter estimate

In any relationship, communication is the key, to getting the most out of it.This also holds true when hiring a gutter contractor who will be working with you.We often get customers who call and ask us if they have to be home for the estimate.They feel that gutter installation is obvious and they should not have to take the time out of their day to meet with us for a gutter estimate.We feel that this is simply untrue and, in the long run, unwise.Miscommunication on the first step of the process is critical. It can result in disappointment, unexpected costs and wasted time.This is the first step in your journey, it is best to start it out in the right way.

I love this example of miscommunication from comedian Carl Hurley:

A woman drives up to the cabin of a local artist who has become renowned for his portraits. She tells the man she would like to have her portrait painted and that money is no object. She would pay him $10,000. Her only request was that he paints her portrait in the nude. The painter said he wasn’t sure and that he would have to ask his wife if it was okay, and told the woman to come back tomorrow. When the woman returned the next day he told her he had spoken to his wife and she had said it was alright for him to paint her portrait. His only condition was that he would have to leave his socks on so he had somewhere to wipe his brushes! See how a little miscommunication can get you the totally wrong result.

Effectively communicate on your gutter estimate by following these tips:

  • communicate effectively on your gutter cost estimatePersonally meet the gutter solutionist
  • Get clear instructions on how the job will be done
  • Cover all expected costs
  • Ask for a list of materials to be used
  • Cover the terms of any applicable warranty information
  • Find out about insurance coverage

First things first, you should absolutely take the time to meet with a gutter solutionist you are considering working with. When interviewing them, ask important questions like, how long have they been in business, what you can expect from their products, what the warranty covers and how they address warranty issues. Have they won any awards or special achievements?

There are many important considerations for a gutter installation such as downspout placement.You want to be sure you are not dumping water onto a driveway or close to a basement window.You want to consider how the gutters are going to affect the look of your house. Do you want them to blend in, or do you want them to contrast with your house color?Would Half Round gutters suit the style of your home?How much do copper gutters cost?How long will my gutters last me? Do I need 5” gutters or 6” gutters?Do I need a gutter guard?What will the gutter guard do for me?What won’t the gutter guard do?

We find that when a customer does not meet us for the estimate they are usually the customer that is unhappy with the outcome of their project.Why, because they never received a clear explanation and description of how their new gutter system would work and how it would look.It is well worth it to take 1 hour out of your day to meet with us for the estimate and to know that all your questions have been answered and that we are all on the same page. When we can meet with the customer and give them a through description of how their gutters will look and work many homeowners choose not to be home for the installation. They are confident that the gutters will be installed the way they want and that they will function properly.

Costs are an extremely important part of any estimate and they should be spelled out clearly on a written proposal that you sign.Unfortunately the days of doing the job on a handshake are done.I have personally had a contractor tell us that a job would cost a few hundred dollars and then been handed a bill for almost $2000!There needs to be a written signed proposal before you can move on. This protects you from any sticker shock.Even with a written proposal there can be unforeseen expenses.We can provide an estimate for gutter replacement, but we often don’t know the condition of the fascia underneath the existing gutters.Our customers however are aware of this possibility because they meet with us for an estimate to discuss the project.

A list of materials to be used is necessary if you want to compare different estimates.You need to know exactly what you are getting and what the quality of the material is. There are different thicknesses of aluminum available for gutters and this will affect the price. If one estimate is much cheaper than another you need to clearly be able to compare what each company is offering. Of course a cheaper aluminum is going to result in a less expensive estimate, but is the cheapest really the best for your home.

The warranty is often overlooked as a detail, but it is very important. Yes you will probably pay more when a company has a warranty, but isn’t that better than having no recourse when something goes wrong? The contractor who does your job for such a low price that they are barely making any money on isn’t going to want to come back and do repairs for free. If you are going to be spending money on a home improvement project, you should have the peace of mind that, if something should go wrong, the company has the resources, as well as the dedication to your job, to come out and fix it. No one wants to feel like they are being ignored once the contractor has gotten paid for the job. Does this product come with a warranty? What is the company’s process for handling warranty claims? Do you feel they would be responsive if you had a problem? For example we have a field supervisor on staff who handles warranty issues within 48 hours of calling the office.

Please always ask for proof of insurance. If an accident should occur when someone is working on your property you want to be certain that the company can take care of it. You do not want to be financially responsible is something should go wrong. We provide all our customers with proof of insurance when we do the estimate. Not having the proper insurance coverage is another way contractors save on their overhead to offer lower costs to the customer. But is the cost really lower to you if someone got injured or your property got damaged and your contractor is not properly insured.

We also want the opportunity to review the scope of the project with you. An average gutter installation can cost $1,000. If you are going to spend the money you should know exactly what you are getting. Call us at 845-223-6111 or visit brothersgutters.com.

Expectations Of A 5-Star Contractor

When it comes to finding a contractor, you may not know what to expect when hiring a five-star contractor. We all know what to expect when we go to a five star restaurant or stay in a five star hotel; luxurious surroundings, excellent service, the highest quality in every detail. But what exactly does it mean when you hire a 5-star contractor?

FiveStarThe Brothers that just do Gutters are an established seamless gutter contractor serving the New York, New Jersey, Virginia and Connecticut areas. Although we cannot provide an exquisite meal, or Swish massage in a tranquil spa (sorry ladies), what we do offer is an unparalleled experience for your gutter installation.

The first time you call you will speak to our professional and friendly office staff. Rebecca and Karen will schedule a gutter Solutionist to come to your home at a time that is convenient for you to discuss your gutter needs. Don and Kyle will review your gutter needs and concerns with you. They will then offer you the best solutions for your gutters in a proposal that is clear and easy to understand. When it is time for your installation our courteous and highly trained gutter installation crew will arrive at your house within your 3 hour time window. The installers will review the project with you before starting and after finishing the job. We use the highest quality materials and back our work with a warranty. We strive to offer friendly, professional service and to make your gutter installation as easy for you as possible.

We all know the frustrations that can arise when dealing with contractors that are less than professional. Remember the sticker shock when the bill came and you had not received a written estimate (I have been there)?  How about the workers who come to your door that can’t even communicate with you, or worse, the ones who make you feel uncomfortable in your own home? That lingering disappointment you feel when the workmanship is shoddy or doesn’t meet your expectations. Maybe it was the contractor who won’t return your calls after he had collected your money.

Why choose to be disappointed when you could have The Brothers that just do Gutters install your new gutters? We are rated 5 stars on guildquality.com, houzz.com and A+ on Angie’s List (membership required). Still not convinced?  Read our reviews to see for yourself.