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The Gutter Guard Products We Are Testing

Hinged Screen Gutter Guards

The first product we installed for our tests is called "Premium Hinged Gutter Guards" by Amerimax Home Products, Inc. We purchased it at our local hardware store. It is 3 feet long and attaches to 4, 5, or 6 inch gutters by pushing 2 clips onto the front lip of a standard K style gutter. It can then be opened up to clean out your gutters. Maybe I'm missing something here, but isn't that why one installs gutter guards in the first place; so you don't have to clean out your gutters?

Actually, we ended up installing this product on a garage with a flat roof covered with granulated asphalt roll roofing, since we could not slide anything under the roofing material as required by several other types of gutter guards. This product was easy to install and appears to be well suited for this particular application. We did have a little trouble with a few of the clips that didn't want to stay attached. We pulled the offending clips back off the gutter and squeezed them closed by hand, then snapped them back in place.

The Waterfall Gutter Guard The next product we installed is The WaterFall™ Gutter Guard System manufactured by Crane Plastics in Columbus, Ohio. It is the contractor version of the PermaFlow Gutter Guard System. PermaFlow is sold to homeowners in 3 foot sections. It works with standard 5 inch K style gutters, and is only available in white. The WaterFall is sold to contractors in 8 foot sections and there are adapter pieces that allow them to be used with 6 inch gutters and 1/2 round gutters as well. It is also available in a darker color called clay, shown in the picture on the left. We first discovered these products on the Benjamin Obdyke Incorporated Web site. They are the largest distributors of the wholesale version on the east coast.

Both versions of these products work on the principle of surface adhesion. If you remember your physics lessons, water tends to cling to surfaces as long as possible. So, the rainwater runs off your roof, across the top of the vinyl material, and wraps around the two leading edges and falls into the slots. The leaves and debris are supposed to continue on down the slope and fall off the edge. Anything that is small enough to go through the holes in the bottom of the slot should wash out of your gutters without clogging them, and anything larger than the slots is supposed to be blown away by the wind. The WaterFall Gutter Guard System

The guards are installed by sliding the upper edge under the first course of shingles and then snapping the downhill edge over the lip on the gutter. I had a little trouble trying to snap the front edge of the first piece onto the gutter because I couldn't fit my fingers into the channels or otherwise get a grip on the product. I needed something to hook into the channel so I could pull it, and the claw of a hammer worked well. Later, while reading information on the Crane Plastics Web site, which is very good, I was pleasantly surprised to see that they were already recommending the "hammer trick". You will also have to come up with a system that works for you to continually work the leading edge of the product onto the inside lip of the gutter. However, it didn't take long to figure that out either.

We ran a hose on the roof, which is not an accurate test, but it was really pretty amazing to see how the water wraps around the channels. Don't know yet whether or not leaves, acorn caps, twigs, or seed pods will get stuck in the grooves, but we will continue to take pictures and monitor the effectiveness of this product over the test period.

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