Ask the Engineer: How to Choose the Best Gutter Guard to Sell
Keeping your customer’s gutter clean and free flowing is what you need the best gutter guard to do. The best leaf guard to represent would require no servicing or maintenance the installing contractor (you) except for gutters knocked down by storms. Maintenance, if required, would be done from the ground by the homeowner for the best gutter cover. The best gutter guard would last your customer more than twenty years. Find this one and you will have the best gutter guard business opportunity.
One would believe that dozens of gutter guards would live up to these expectations, but no there are not. In fact most gutter covers installed eat your profit by needing routine maintenance to keep your customers happy. I mean do you think your customers will be happy having to call you routinely to maintain their gutters? They will not be the kind of customer who will refer their neighbors and relatives to your business.
Just how do you choose the best gutter cover to sell and represent? Do you choose the cheapest? Is it the size of the manufacturer? Maybe design? Do you go by ease of installation? Perhaps guarantee?
To pick out the right gutter protector you do not go by size of the company, warranty, ease of installation or price. The answer is that you go by the design of the gutter guard to find the best gutter cover to sell.
First I suggest avoiding dispersal units as they do not disperse rain water in slow rain falls creating a rut all around the home. Likewise stay away from flip and clean systems as they warp and the hangers freeze. Like the plague avoid detachable downspouts as they are not gutter guards and they do not keep the gutters from clogging at inside and outside joints.
Stay away from screens or filters of any kind. Dozens of different types exist. Simple ones are cheap made of plastic or metal with many different sized openings with or without hinges. Some are made of surgical stainless steel micro mesh. One goes inside the gutter as a nylon mesh. One is a spiral brush. The basic ones will clog on top (keeping water from getting into the gutter) and also let enough debris into the gutter to clog it. The more expensive ones may not let debris into the gutter but after a year or so enough debris will collect on the top of the mesh to block water from entering the gutter. A telescopic pole and brush is recommended by one manufacturer to clean the tops of the mesh gutter screen. But, you can not see the top of the micro mesh screen to see if the debris has been removed. The reality is that accumulating debris on top of the mesh is out of sight. You can bet that what is out of sight will be out of mind to the homeowner and he will not think of servicing it.
No worry. There are still dozens of other products from which to choose. But before we go on, the single fin or rounded nose type with a solid top is to be avoided. Cheaper types use clips which easily dislodge from the gutter requiring maintenance. However, most of these gutter guards do not dislodge. To see a basic design of a low end gutter protector Google “Niagara gutter guard”. The solid top is a plus but leaves and blossoms in heavy debris conditions accompanies the rain water over the fin or rounded front nose of the gutter cover and stick to lower section of the gutter cover gutter protector where the leaves and blossoms of any size can go into the gutter. The reality is that in medium to heavy debris conditions these gutter guards need maintenance meaning that the gutter cover has to be removed and the gutter cleaned. One variation of this design is a gutter cover which in addition to the rounded nose or fin has a trough to keep larger debris from going into the gutter. This trough, however, is located below the upper gutter lip meaning that the debris is stuck there. Experience has shown that lots of debris passes through the apertures in the trough which in reality is a screen with big apertures, and clogs the gutters. The trough can also clog. Another variation is the basic Niagara type of gutter guard with small sieve openings in its top making it a screen hybrid. This is not the best gutter protector to sell that will be free of you needing to service it in mild to heavy debris conditions.
What can be done to improve the design? Limiting the size of the apertures above the gutter lip is the answer. A step up from the rounded nose would be a gutter guard with one row of openings in the vertical front surface located just under the rounded nose. To get the water into the openings and thus into the gutter the openings or apertures would need to have louvers. If you Google “Care-free solid top gutter protector” you will see an example of this design. Over the basic rounded nose or fin it is a definite improvement. The largest size debris is three fourths of an inch that can get through the Care-Free gutter protector. But look at the juncture where it meets the gutter. The problem is that debris that has fallen onto the gutter lip can be washed into the gutter. This design is definitely a great design to offer as a good gutter guard for medium debris conditions but it is not the best gutter guard to represent.
Many homeowners will not require the best leaf guard so this design could be offered to your customers for a few dollars less than the best gutter cover. The question is how can the design of the Care-Free gutter guard be improved upon?
If we could find a leaf guard with two rows of louvers we would have a solution. Likewise an improvement would also be to not have any apertures at or below the gutter lip. To see an example of this design Google “Waterloov gutter guards”. You can see another design if you Google “Number One Gutter Protector”. Two rows of louvers are common to both designs which keep out anything large enough to clog the gutter inside. Neither one has any of its openings at the gutter lip so nothing can wash in from the gutter lip.
How about maintenance? Any debris that may accumulate on the surface of the louvers is easy to see and likewise easy to remove by the homeowner. There is no guessing where the debris might be accumulating as with the micro mesh screens. Where the debris is collecting with either the single or double row louvered gutter protectors is highly visible and with a telescopic pole and brush assembly, long enough to reach two and a half stories (longer ones available), the debris can easily be knocked of the front surface of the leaf guard.
In summary the two row louvered design is the best leaf guard to sell. It is easily maintained by the homeowner. Experience has shown that this basic design will last over twenty years in service and keeps profits in your pocket which will in turn keep you in business a long time with the best gutter guard business opportunity.
Richard Kuhns B.S.Ch.E. Engineer and inventor of good gutter guards www.niagaraguttercover.com, better gutter guards www.carefreegutters.com, the best gutter guardswww.numberonegutterguard, and the ultimate www.waterloov.com