Ask the Engineer: How to choose the best gutter guard to represent.

Keeping your customer's gutter clean and free flowing is what you need the best gutter guard to do. The best gutter guard to sell would require no servicing or maintenance from you (the installing company) except for gutters knocked down by storms. Any servicing of the best gutter guard could easily be done from the ground by the homeowner. 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.

 You would think there there are dozens of gutter covers which would meet this criteria, but no there are not. In fact most gutter covers installed chew up profits by requiring routine service calls to keep homeowners satisfied. 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.

So the best gutter guard to represent and sell is chosen by how? Do you go by price? Do you go by how big the company is that manufactures the gutter guard Maybe design? Maybe by simplicity of installation? Or is it warranty?

 The reality is with leaf guards you do not go by warranty, size of the company, price or ease of installation. 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.

Filters or screens of any kind should be eliminated from consideration. Dozens of different types exist. Simple ones are cheap made of plastic or metal and have various size 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. With the simple types enough debris gets into the gutter to clog it as well as clog the top of the screen and keep water from getting into the gutter. The more expensive ones will keep debris out of the gutter but the debris will accumulate on top of the gutter guard to the point that after a couple of years the debris has to be physically removed. 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. The reality is that what is out of sight is out of mind.

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. The basic ones are clipped to the gutter which dislodge and will require you to service them. The more substantial ones have more substantial clips which do not dislodge. If you Google "Niagara gutter guard" you will see the basic design of this low end type of gutter guard. The solid top is a plus but leaves and blossoms in heavy debris conditions follow the rain water over the fin or rounded front nose of the gutter protector and adhere to lower section of the gutter cover gutter cover where the blossoms and leaves 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. Recognizing the basic problems with this basic design an improvement was made to add a trough to the bottom of the fin to keep large debris from going into the gutter. Unfortunately the trough is located beneath the top gutter lip which means that the debris stays 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 company recognizing the deficiency of the rounded nose type added small sieve openings in its top resulting in making it a screen hybrid. This is not the best gutter guard to sell as in mild to heavy debris conditions you will be constantly needing to service it.

How can this design be improved? Limiting the size of the apertures above the gutter lip is the answer. An improvement on the rounded nose design is a leaf guard with a row of apertures in the just below the rounded nose. Louvers are located in the apertures to get the water into the gutter. If you Google "Care-free solid top gutter protector" you will see an example of this design. It is definitely an improvement over the basic fin or rounded nose. 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. Any small debris falling onto the gutter lip can also wash into the gutter. Even though it is not the best leaf guard it is a great option for light to medium debris conditions.

Many of your customers will not require the best leaf guard so it make sense to offer this design for a few dollars less than the best leaf guard. So how can the design of the Care-Free gutter guard be improved?

If we could find a gutter guard with two rows of louvers we would have a solution. And if we could find a gutter cover that did not have any openings at or below the front gutter lip that would be an improvement. To see an example of this design Google "Waterloov gutter guards". Google "Number One Gutter Protector" and you will see another design of a double row louvered gutter cover. Two rows of louvers are common to both designs which exclude 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 servicing? The homeowner can easily see and remove any debris that collects o the face of the louvers. 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 gutter guard.

In summary the two row louvered design is the best gutter protector to represent. It is easily serviced by the homeowner. This basic double row louvered product has lasted over twenty years meaning that your profits stay in your pocket making this the best type of gutter guard business opportunity.

About the Author

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 guards www.numberonegutterguard, and the ultimate gutter guards www.waterloov.com