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Do you need protection?
Before we get started, lets deal with the impression you have that I am trying to make a buck by selling you eaves protection (because lets face it, it's all about the money - I couldn't possibly care about my customers).
Yesterday (a long time ago now) I installed a little less than 200 feet of GutterFilter® in a customer's eavestrough. This cost her almost $1000.00 and took me half a day to clean the eaves and install the filters. And everybody out there thinks... "man, you made a killing". So lets look at the reality. $800.00 of that went to the distributor for the product leaving $200.00 for me. Still, 200 bux for half a day's work ain't too shabby. And what did I do for that $200.00? I cleaned and flushed her eavestroughs, tightened some brackets, installed GutterFilter® and lost $1000 of income over the next 10 years because she won't need me to clean them (and if she does need them cleaned in that time, it will be free because I promised her that it wouldn't need to be done).
So please. . . Stop thinking it's all about the money.
I can make a LOT more from you by cleaning your eavestroughs than I ever can by installing protection systems.
The first thing you need to understand about gutter protection systems is that they are generally not "get it and forget it" solutions. Virtually all will need some form of maintenance (ranging from sweeping them off every now and again to complete removal and reinstallation to clean under or around them).
Here are some General questions to help you decide if you should have eaves protection (and maybe some tips on deciding which is right for you)
Do you have eavestroughs?
If yes then you need to protect them (just kidding - well... sort of).
You can assume you don't need protection if you have lived in your house for 10 years and never cleaned the eavestroughs and never had them overflow (although you really should have them cleaned a little more often than once in 10 years even with no trees around).
Do you clean them (or have them cleaned) on a regular basis
(or do you just notice every few years that they're overflowing)?.
If you only clean them when you see them overflowing and that only happens every few years (think 5) then you can probably get away without any protection - just consider having them cleaned every 4 years or so as a precaution.
When you call to get your eavestroughs cleaned do you need them done " right now"
(because they're overflowing and causing leaks in your basement perhaps)
or can you wait
(because you're calling ahead of time because you know that even though
they're not a problem right now, they will be).
If you need them done "now" (more than once) it's really time to consider some protection - either to give you more time before the problem occurs or to avoid it completely. If you can wait (because you think ahead) then you can probably do without the protection but it wouldn't hurt to weigh the pros and cons.
Have you ever had a plugged downpipe?
If you answer yes to this then you should be doing something to stop the refuse from getting into the downpipes.
If you look up at your eavestroughs...
can you see some areas that sag or look especially dirty (compared to the rest of the eavestroughs).
If so then you probably have an overflow in that area and should have a look the next time it rains hard. You may need to have the eaves re-fastened to the fascia. This is usually caused by poor drainage (although not always) and someone should have a look to determine if (once repaired) you should have gutter protection.
Are you planning to live here for more than a couple more years?
I hate to put it this way, but eaves protection won't increase the value of your home by one cent (although the damage it prevents could stop some significant decreases in your home's value). If you're planning to sell your home in the very near future, then unless you have actual problems related to the eavestroughs, you can probably skip adding protection (at least until you move into your new home).
Is this a property you rent to someone else?
Often properties rented out get neglected by the tenant and forgotten about by the owner. In these instances it is a sensible precaution to add the best eavestrough protection you can get (because the property's eaves will likely go unattended for great lengths and you'll want something that can weather being ignored for long periods.
Are you one of those unfortunate people who can honestly say...
"I've tried all kinds of things and they just cost me money - none of them work."
You need a protection system. But more than that, you need a product that works and you need an installer who will stand behind the product he installs (and not lie to you about how good it really is) and a manufacturer that stands behind the product they make. If this is the case talk to me. I am willing to go that extra mile for my repeat customers. And I've even been known to go an extra few steps for people I've never seen before or since. But in any case, if I'm selling you a gutter protection system, it's because you need it, not because I'm going to make a fortune off of it (see my note above).
Does your eavestrough cleaner hate cleaning your eaves?
If so, we generally hate it because there's too much stuff, or portions of it are too difficult to reach (or to clean properly). Sometimes it's because the downpipes clog regularly, or something as simple as the roof pitch is too steep for us to walk on the roof (and we hate putting the ladder up every 6 feet).
Have I ever suggested that you need some kind of gutter protection?
If I have, then you really need something because up until recently I have hated virtually all the existing systems. And if I recommended one in spite of that, then perhaps you should consider it.
Honestly, if left to my own devices, I am going to try to convince you to spend the money to have me install GutterFilter®. I'll do this because that system will require the least amount of attention (and in some cases could be the last time you ever clean your eaves). If I can't convince you to spend the money for the better solution then I may still try to convince you to go with the aluminum hinged gutter guards. In many cases it will allow you to skip a year or two (depending on how much and what size of debris you get) and in most cases it will at least stem the disaster potential by giving you more lead time before the system clogs or overflows.