Updated 1 / 2021
Aluminum & Our
exclusive 20oz Copper K-5 Style Rain-Gutter & Downspout Installation Quality
F. A. Q.
bookmarked links to the indevidual DMR Gutters advantages
This may be a lot more information than you care to know about gutters, but this
shows how I have personally put a great deal of thought to all of these details listed below
|1. Installation Experience
|13. Customized Solutions
|25. Better Downspout Mount
|2. Honest Free Bidding
|14. Better End-caps
|26. More DS Elbows
|3. More Detailed Bids
|15. Better Caulk
|27. Custom Dripedge Flashing
|4. Most Detailed Web site
|16. Gutter Leveling
|28. Free Color Selection
|5. Go Green!
|17. Longer Warranty
|29. Responsive to Calls & E-mail
|6. Shape, Design, & Size
|18. Rust-free Rivets
|30. Referrals & Awards
|7. Better Gutter Machine
|19. More rivets
|31. Honesty in the Final Cost
|8. Rust-free Gutter Parts
|20. Flattened Rivets
|32. Ethical Responsibility
|9. Not a Speed-demon
|21. Better Outlets
|33. My Minimum Charges
|10. Stronger brackets
|22. Stronger Downspouts
|34. Courtesy Gutter Cleaning w/Sale
|11. Strongest Attachment
|23. Riveted DS Parts
|Compare Debris Protection
|12. Expansion Joints
|24. Better DS Mounts
Even if you do not happen to be local to us in the Portland, Oregon area you would do well to use this information to help you interview local Gutter Contractors. Here's a link to a PDF file to print out with a check list of these important details: http://dmr-gutters.com/qs.pdf
DMR's Work Standards for Gutters
The list below explains most of the details regarding our 32 unique advantages over most any other local Gutter Contractors for just my basic gutter and downspout installations, which are well above Building Code. Many details you will not get from other Gutter Contractors at any price. I do not offer our Clients the option to use less screws, or not to use stainless steel screws to shave the cost down. These don't even cover a descriptions of the our 'more affordable' No-clog option advantages I've done on most gutter jobs over the last 2 decades. For a detailed comparison of leaf debris protection for gutters describing the many different concepts out there go to my No-clog Comparison web page, which is much more than just a check list you may have seen on other web sites.
To the right is a copy of our cover sheet I have as part of our presentation folder I give each client when providing them a bid. In this presentation folder I also provide a list of my current prices, a copy of the Better Business Bureau's NW Business Integrity Award for the year 1997/98 to show my long standing commitment to quality, 10 page FAQ, consumer protection information required by the CCB, along with other consumer protection pamphlet they wrote, and of course a detailed bid with a selection of color options for the pre-painted aluminum gutter parts.
I also supply a physical sample of the gutter I install with a Monster Hidden Hanger screwed in place w/stainless steel screws. If the Clients are present at the time of the bid I also have physical examples of the parts and a Leaf-catcher we custom make, which has a stronger stainless steel screen in them.
You can click on each picture on this web page to get a better detailed look or link to pages with more detailed information and photos.
1. My Installation Experience and Ethics Background:
I, David Rich have been working in forms of paid construction work since 1980 (over 40 years now). All while coming up with innovative solutions on most every project. I was tested in school to have a 99% mechanical aptitude, with a high skill in spatial arrangement, math, and an artistic back ground. The first paid gig for wood working and sheet metal fabrication was to build a large humanoid skeletal and muscular structure in a dramatic stance of a life-size Darth Vader with a detailed costume I designed and made for the promotions of the Star Wars sequel 'Empire Strikes Back' in 1980 as seen in the lobby of the exclusive showing in Salt Lake City Utah. Since they do not sell a 7' tall mannequin I had to build one from scratch. This demonstrated my early remarkable ingenuity at just 17 years old. My fellow classmates must have thought I was nuts building that in woodshop class, but I did not see anyone else selling their work.
Doing business as DMR I have worked local in the Portland Oregon area since 1985, helping homeowners here with unique solutions. Your new gutter parts will be installed by a seasoned professional who is also the owners of DMR Gutters, and perhaps along with an apprentice. I happen to run one of the only professional gutter installation training programs in the Country. I feel it is important to share what I have learned over these decades with as many gutter contractors as possible, as displayed on this comprehensive web site. Not have these trade secrets die with me, as so many others seem to think.
I certainly have a vested interest in my company's reputation. Where it is hard to pay others enough to care about my reputation in the same way. Ask their Sales Rep how much experience they actually have installing gutters personally. Did they walking around your house with you pointing out suggestions for improvements they will make that can be made to improve your rain management system? I do, if you are present at the time of the bid.
I would like to believe I am well worth the wait, as I have remained booked up over a year steady over the last decade, and all throughout the last recession. I imagine any reasonably decent Contractor should be booked up. If not that is highly suspect as to their reputation and or how fast they slap out their gutter replacements. I have had just a single dispute needing resolved by the CCB doing business under the one CCB #92250 since 1993 when I started as a Licensed Contractor.
I was an auto mechanic at my Father's shop specializing in Honda 600 cars for several years. I've specialized in custom rain management sheet metal fabrication and installation since 1992. In most cases I redesign the replacements to improve their rain management system from what was there before in numerous different ways. Largely not offered by other Gutter Contractors. Like: expansion joints, adding or moving downspouts to improve drainage, wood work with screws, other custom work, and much better dormer rain management to mention a few.
Tia Rich (my Wife) back in 1999 had decided to set aside her career in Nursing and Social Work to join David in this line of work full time for a few years, so she understands this work intimately from all angles. Tia is also very artistic and has a positive influences on this presentation and the work we do. She still loves being active in this business, but she has built up her business as a Midwife, so getting her hands covered with spray paint, caulk, and cuts from working with the sheet-metal would not be good for her line of work these days. She does not physically work with me much any more, but is often found with him writing up bids. Her web site for her business is: http://inner-serenity.org.
Our adult Son, Torrin works with me part time for the last couple years in the family business and is showing great promise. He has also built numerous custom copper projects for clients across the Nation under my Copper By Design sheet metal business.
Other than coffee and tea, we don't use artificial stimulants or depressants on or off work. I have written web pages on the philosophy of good ethics in business and one's personal life to express my feelings on our personal ethical responsibility in this world. You can read more about my background on my Company History web page and Biography web page if you are so inclined.
I encourage you to get several bids to appreciate the advantages I offer. I do not claim to be the cheapest per foot out there, but my bids have still come in thousands less than other prominent Gutter Contractors. Even if my bid is more than other bids you will be hard pressed to find a better value elsewhere for what you get with my service. Use the information on this web page to help interview other Gutter Contractors. Here is a PDF file to print out with a check list of these important details: http://dmr-gutters.com/qs.pdf
Other Gutter Contractor's salesmen may claim to have a lower price per foot (without the advantages we offer), yet I've heard from many Clients how their bids had been hundreds more than mine, if not thousands? I suppose that is very telling of what to expect of such dishonest salespersons. This can only mean they had falsified and inflated your actual measurements to pad their bid, so they can claim a lower price per foot, yet still make more money than I.
If you are just doing research for a future date, or you're a bit nervous about suffering a high-pressure sales pitch, you can go to my Latest News page to see just how easy it is to write-up an estimate for yourself. This will give you a good idea of what costs to expect. More importantly it will help keep you from getting swindled by less ethical Gutter Contractors with inflated measurements if you know your numbers beforehand. You can also have me work-up a free no pressure bid through e-mail with those measurements with a few digital photos to see if there are any complications to factor in.
Another important detail you are not likely to get from any other Contractor is how our bid puts a ceiling cost on the project, unless more work is added to the contract, but the final price is usually a bit less than the original quote. I will use the final measurements I get after the installation is completed to recalculate your cost down to 1/4" of what actually stayed on your house, so you are not paying for the loose measurements listed on my bid, or any cut-off waste. At the same price per foot you only pay for what remains on your house. I have been doing this on each gutter job for the last 20+ years. This detail is even listed on our bid sheet, as shown in the image below.
You can read more about my thoughts on Ethical Responsibility.
Detailed Bid and Presentation:
Here is a link to a 'pdf' file for easy printing:
My bids are free to you as long as you are local to us in the Portland, Oregon Metro area.
4. Most Detailed
Site You Will Find:
I have been focusing on my custom copper work web site more these days, but gutter replacement is still what we book with most. It's just nice to be more creative and work out of the rain at times. I have also added my more recent work photos on my Facebook business profiles. Please check them out and 'like' my business profile.
I clearly seem to have the most comprehensive website on rain management in the world. I challenge you to find a Gutter Contractor's web site anywhere in this country that is even 1/10th as comprehensive as this. Just finding a site with images that enlarge to full screen to get a better look seems to be very rare. Not to mention the cost of this comprehensive web site. This shows how a good presentation, details, and shared information is very important to me and my attention to detail in my work as well.
Environmentally Friendly - 'Go Green!':
I also have worked with thousands of Out-of-State clients on-line, so I am better able to handle many bids through e-mail, with a little help from savvy Homeowners like you (given you had taken the time to read this far), which can save on road trips.
I have yet to discover a quiet saw to cut downspouts with, but my 24v Bosch cordless miter chop saw does cut downspout to length at least 10 times faster than a hack saws used by other Gutter Contractor's workers. This help to minimizing the drawn out time of that shrill noise. Which is another reason I refuse to install steel gutter parts, since this saw cannot be used on steel, as that would break off the carbide teeth of the saw blade. My impact drill for running screws in is a bit louder than a normal drill, but still quieter than hammering in those 7" nail spikes still used to this day by most Gutter Contractors.
To help minimize this
noise in most cases we prepare the gutter parts here at our shop. As
long as they
are not over 45 feet long, which is a good 95% of the gutters I've installed
with the use of expansion joint rarely done by other Gutter Contractors.
Instead of towing our gutter
machine trailer out to your house and need to block the street and parking
spaces in front of your house:
I know this is quite unorthodox, but we follow Oregon State road safety regulations transporting long loads like this, and over the last 2 decades of doing this I have not been involved in an accident while transporting gutters this way, or even been ticketed for such. I am a careful driver and have not even had a work related moving violation over the last decade +.
This means that we are needing to be there at your house with equipment and noise around half as long.
The Type or Style of Gutters I Install:
Let me explain: I have had very little request for the larger more expensive K-6 gutter. Something to consider is how the outlet size matters more than the gutter size. If the outlet is still the same small size then the size of the gutter would not help it continue to function with minimal intervension. Even if the gutter were as large as a bath tub it would not work any better with such a small outlet that cannot drain any faster and is quick to clog.
Classic Half Round Gutters: Where it comes to other gutter profiles I will not install an inferior gutter due to my rigid quality standards and ethics. I have turned down several high-end copper gutter jobs, because the Builder insisted on the old style half round gutter profile that was made obsolete a century back for good reason. Half round gutters would not be worth installing if they were half the cost. Although, they are more expensive. My FAQ web page goes into those details about why other gutter profiles are so dysfunctional. Once you better understand the history and development of gutter profiles throughout the last century it will make much more sense to you. It explains why the K-5 design came about in the first place.
It is a wrestle to balance function, aesthetics, longevity, and cost together, but there are some inherent problems with each of the other gutter profiles. A larger gutter for houses is pointless: when the outlet clogs you may have 5 minutes, in stead of just 3 minutes before it overflows. A larger outlet w/o a strainer in it will make a much greater difference to keep the outlet from getting damned up with debris. My aim is to build you a system that will continue to function, so you do not have to scale the roof in the worst of weather when you realize you have a problem.
Fascia Gutters: These are very commonly seen on houses built within the last 4 decades, but I've been contracted to replace so many of these gutters on numerous houses less than 5 years old due to their inherent flaws. Long before they started to rust out. That should tell you something about how poorly they function managing your rain run-off.
Continuous aluminum gutters used to be the standard back when I was a kid. It was used in most of the ads as the buzz words, and Homeowners began to expected all metal gutters were made with aluminum. Although, new Construction Builders continued to install cheap steel gutters at least 90%, since it is not required by Building Code to have rust free gutters. All they are required to offer is material that will hold up to a one year warranty and steel sufficed. Sadly this demonstrates their clear lack of ethics. Think about what other corners they cut building your dream house. Even gutters seen on the Street of Dreams homes do not compare to what we do on each job.
My K-5 style rain-gutter roll-forming machine produces a gutter that has numerous advantages over all the other gutter profiles, ie: a wider bottom, which lets the debris travel sideways easier, and allows for a larger outlet option, which can reduce the most common area of rain-gutter failure. (see 'faq' section for more details). I appreciate a Clients concerns for their aesthetic interests, but with such strong disadvantages with the other gutter profiles they are just not practical and I will refuse to install them. There simply is no need for more options when you have the best gutter profile on the market at a reasonable cost.
This style is also making a big come back in housing fashion, since the fascia gutters had been predominately used for new construction in the larger cities since the early 70's and has become passé. Housing architecture is going away from the plain boxy look, and towards a more classic ornate styling with wrap-around porches and 8 sided turrets, so this wood molding shape is a good accent to these styles. Much like you see with the finest kitchen cabinetry these days moving away from the plain modern look that started back in the 60's.
The most important issue to me is not the shape of the gutter, but how well they are installed and function with minimal maintenance. In a word; planned obsolescence. Most homeowners are familiar with those long gutter spikes coming loose, and the clear advantage of screws. what would you rather have? A pair of stainless steel screws every 2', or 1 large nail placed 4' apart? I've removed heavy steel gutters that were only a few years old pulled off with my bare hands with very little effort. Some gutters we've removed were nailed as little as an 8' span with just one nail, and nails what were too short no less.
Higher Quality Well Protected Gutter Machine:
It may not be uncommon to have a portable rain-gutter roll forming machine used to run out custom continuous lengths of seamless sheet-metal gutters (pictured here), but very few Gutter Contractors have their machine in a covered trailer, so it is not a dirty rust bucket, like most roll-forming gutter machines you've see on the road.
Most Gutter Contractors leave their gutter machine exposed to the elements on the back of their truck or on an uncovered trailer so they tend to have a very limited life-span, and you will not know at what end of that life-span their machine is at the time. The manufacturers of roll forming gutter machines may install a few stainless steel rollers, but they do not make these machines with stainless steel bearings or frame. They are not even galvanized steel. Many of the rollers are just raw mild steel as well. Many of the bearing races are in direct contact with the pre-painted gutter material, so pretty much all other gutter machines out there are riddled with rusty rollers and bearings within the first year of operation, which will scratch the paint and even dent the new rain-gutters. Within 5 years those gutter machines are only worth their scrap metal value.
I have one of the few gutter roll-forming machines that has been kept out of the elements since it was new. I have already had to replace about a dozen bearings in it due to rust just from condensation in the air. I also keep my machine free of gutter coil when not in use; as recommended by the manufacturer. This avoids dust and debris build-up from settling in the partially formed gutter, which can cause dents in the gutter, and cause rust to develop on those rollers that much faster.
This is a serious issue most people would not have considered. When getting bids ask them to show you what condition their gutter machine is in. As an example I had to rent a K-6 gutter machine for a large copper gutter job I did back in 2000. That machine was just 2 years old, but the guillotine was so rusted it would not move. It took me several hours to free it up with WD-40 and hammers. Then I tried to just rotate the spool holding the copper coil, which was going the wrong direction, but the bolt to loosen the lock was so seized up with rust. It broke off instead of turning. That bolt must not have been even galvanized. Luckily I was making copper gutters and did not need to worry about scratching up a paint surface, but I was not happy with the results of those gutters run through that relatively new gutter machine.
You can see and read more about the design and fabrication of the trailer shell I made to cover my gutter machine and keep it as dry as possible on my Gutter Machine web pages.
Rust Free Gutters:
Aluminum sheet metal had become cost efficient back in the late 60's and was used as a catch-phrase in advertising, so most of the Gutter Contractors in this area had converted over to aluminum gutter parts. Although, still to this day new construction had never stopped using painted steel sheet-metal for gutters and roof flashing, which is not even galvanized. It is cheaper and the CCB only requires a 1 year warranty on any construction preformed by a Licensed Contractors, so they are able to get away with this sort of shoddy workmanship.
If called on it, those Gutter Contractors will claim they use only steel for your benefit. They will try to convince you steel gutters are much stronger than aluminum. This is a lie and they know it. Beside the fact that; damaged gutters accounts for less than 10% of gutter replacements, compared to the replacement of rusted out steel gutters, which is around 70%. The steel being used for gutters is much thinner than aluminum. These Gutter Contractors cannot get steel which is as thick as the aluminum used for gutters. Even if they could, it would destroy the bearings in their roll-forming gutter machine, and bog it down, burning out the motor.
As an example: it would not change the cost of a car more than 5% to be made of a rust free metal, yet all the Auto Manufacturers remain stuck on using steel in their frames and most of their body panels, even though they have been using aluminum in the engine block for several decades. Think about how long they have been making most ladders with aluminum without any paint coating. The Acura sports car shown here demonstrates how we had the technology to do it right over 3 decades ago. Even the suspension parts were engineered in cast aluminum alloy. It would be great to see aluminum or other light weight strong materials used more, so there is much less wasted labor and materials, not to mention a greater landfill problem, since many rusty steel and plastic gutters are not recycled.
At the time they came out with aluminum gutters building code officials required a much thicker aluminum sheet metal to be used to compensate for this issue of aluminum being a softer metal. A very high grade of aluminum alloy sheet metal is used for gutters. For example; the recycle value of that aluminum used for rain gutters is higher than most other grades of aluminum.
Another extreme example: I replaced some super thick custom steel gutters on 2 of the local Stuart Anderson Cattle Co. Restaurants back in 1997. Those steel gutters I removed were so thick they had to be formed in a shop on a powerful hydraulic bender in 10' sections and welded together end to end. I had to use a steel cutting blade on a circular saw to cut them apart with sparks spraying out! Even though they had paid a fortune for those custom steel gutters, they still did not last. They had rusted through the bottom within a couple decades. Don't be fooled by a slick talking salesman. It is only a matter of cheap materials and their profit margin they are really interested in, which is why they try to push steel gutters on you.
Don't just take my word for it; call any metal recycler and ask them how much steel is worth versus aluminum, you will find aluminum is worth over 20 times as much per pound. Scrap steel is worth only about 1 to 3 cents a pound, where aluminum goes for around 25 to 45 cents per pound. Although, the new material price spread is not nearly that wide. Where it comes to gutter coil it is actually about the same cost for the aluminum that is thicker than steel gutter coil, so you must consider their motivation for pushing steel on you, if it is not for the single purpose of planned obsolescence. One must conclude they get a sadistic thrill to know they have taken advantage of your trust in them.
9. Taking time to do it
I trust you will see this slow pace as my most important advantage, instead of a drawback. Being booked out so far I have lost more sales as a result than I am able to schedule in, but I will not sacrifice quality for a larger production volume. Sometimes I have been late getting started, because of unexpected work required to finish the previous gutter jobs. I would have to say I take at least 3 to 5 times longer to replace a gutter system than the average Gutter Contractor per man. Think about that for a bit. What are they NOT doing to be able to slap up gutters so quickly?
One reason I am so slow is because I am willing to do aspects of prep and construction work other Gutter Contractors are not capable or willing to do at any price. A common problem I run across is finding that the drip-edge roof flashing was not installed, installed incorrectly, or so rusted it needs be replaced. Some times the wood is too rotten to attach the new gutters onto and needs replace, but often I would not find this out until I have attempted to install the new gutter. With my 15 year installation warranty (instead of only 1 year), I need to make sure it will hold up. With the screws I use to install gutters I know each time if the attachment is good or not, since the screw will strip out and keep spinning if the board were to crack or there is just too much dry-rot around the screw threads. It will not synch down tight and kick back the drill. I do not use the clutch on my drills to baby this like others might. In stead I use an impact driver.
If it is not a secure hold I want to know right then. If so I know I have to back out the screw to re-angle it, switch to a longer screw, or move the bracket to a more solid section wood. Sometimes I find the boards are so rotten they need replaced. No one wants to hear bad news, but I believe the Homeowner would want to know if there is a problem like this, and I am taking this extra care on their house to do it right. Not because I want to inflate the cost of the job. Fascia replacement has been less than 15%, so clearly I am doing my best to work with what is there.
Another issue is how most Gutter Contractors do not want to bother with pre-drilling a hole and then switching over to hand riveting tool. It takes too long, so they have their installers use steel zip-screws in stead, which will not only rust out in short order, but have a 4X larger heads that show on the outside of the gutter parts.
Leveling the gutters properly is also another reason my work takes longer. From what I have witnessed from the thousands of gutters I have removed most installer just mount the gutter straight with the roof line and call it good without using a level or any water test. They don't care how well the gutter drains. With most of them installing cheap steel gutters this is a seriously neglected detial. I live by the level. I work hard to get a slight grade to drain towards each outlet. I even crimp the back wall of the gutter over each outlet to make the gutter dip there at the outlet, so it is sloped downwards on both sides of each outlets. Another detail I have yet to see any other Gutter Contractor do.
Also, implementing expansion joints is a detail rarely considered by most Gutter Contractors. It clearly has been the single most important issue, yet the most neglected detail of gutter jobs. I simply explain this clearly to the Homeowner in advance what it is and why, so there is no issues with them once I am done. Yet, apparently way too much effort for other Gutter Contrctors to do.
Expansion joints are critical to relieve the tension off the corners, and also to avoid the sideways sheer strength of the gutter, which can littlerally break off the screw heads holding the gutter on. I had seen this happen to my earlier gutter replacement prior to 2004, so I am careful to work this in where possible in lengths over 35' to 40' long. Especially if there are corners at the ends.
10. Stronger Support Brackets:
Sales here in the N. W. of professional gutter parts to Licensed Gutter Contractors show that over 80% of gutters are still installed using the old school 7" nail spike and ferrule tube to support gutters. They don't install them that way because nails are better. It is not even because nails are cheaper or easier to use. They are not easier. It is simply because the Gutter Contractors are too cheap to buy and replace a powerful $300 18v cordless impact driver like I use, each time their employees steal, damage, or loose them. That is the real reason those other Gutter Contractors will not graduate into the 21st century.
Nails are for Neanderthals!
I used nails one time, back in early 1991 while working for a general contractor (before I had gotten my own Contractor's License). I realized right then how terrible those nails were for installing gutters. I knew there had to be a better way to do this. I did some research and found this more modern approach to gutter installation. I have not use nail spikes to install gutters since. Not on any of job in over 24 years now (since 1992). I now have found a better source for even stronger brackets than I had first used. (see my Snow Damage web page for details on durability)
Before they came out with a stronger 18v cordless drills back in 1997 I would have to find a place to plug in, some times at a neighbors house. Then drag my corded drill up and down the ladder to install gutters with screws instead of nails, because I cared that much about quality and my clients satisfaction.
I have even tried to encourage other Gutter Contractors to switch over to hidden hangers, but they are simply not interested. I am too small an outfit to be any sort of real competition to compel them to change over in order to compete for business. If we are to ever see things change it is up to you to demand better parts and service from Contractors you get bids from.
Installation w/Stainless Steel Screws:
Common sense and the over whelming evidence proves nail spikes do not work. Most Homeowners are familiar with these long nails working loose, and then need pounded back in place each time they're up there to clean out their gutters. Not that I would ever do this, but even if I were to hammer the screw in; the abrasiveness of the threads would hold in better than a nails.
Just say 'NO' to nails!
The only down side to screws is they are more brittle than a nail, which is why I insist on SS screws, which are less brittle than deck screws. Also, a pair of #9 deck screws would give you an 18, where a pair of #12 SS screws gives you a 24 in the strength rating per bracket, so that's 150% stronger than what another Gutter Contractor would give you if they claimed to do the same, but not use our #12 SS screws. Although if they made such a claim you would know they were lying to you, since they would not know where to get these 2 and 3 screw hole hidden hangers I use.
If there is too much dry rot for a good hold, or the board crack and splits, I will always know it, because the drill will keep spinning, since the screw had stripped out the wood and lost all grip. Most importantly; I will know every time when these screws have a good grip and should hold long term. If not, I will change the angle of the screw, use a longer screw, or move the attachment to find some good wood near by. In cases where there is not enough solid wood in close proximity of where I need to fasten the gutters, I can then discuss with the Client options for replacing of those rotten boards. This also allows for simple adjustment or removal of the gutters latter on, if needed.
I also place the rain-gutter hidden hangers every 2 feet, which is twice as much as building code calls for. This makes the rain-gutters especially sturdy when leaning a ladder against them and other causes of dents. They are over twice as sturdy as any conventional installations for that fact alone.
Expansion Joints Where Needed:
Shown below is an outlet expansion joint of my own design. I make this custom tray that is riveted to one end of the gutter, so the other gutter can overlap and dunp into this small tray that only drops the first elbow dow n just 3". With this 2X larger elbow attached and sealed under this tray makes for a Super Outlet with the whole floor of the gutter cut open 9" wide.
This copper gutter pictured was for a Mark Church in Canton Ohio, after having shipped an order of roof flashing to them. Yes, we littlerally drove 2,500 miles one way for this copper gutter job in late 2013, because he could not find a local Gutter Contractor who was willing to do what I do at any price. I later made him a 5' wide bell shaped copper fire pit cover.
Sadly, implementing expansion joints is a detail rarely considered by most Gutter Contractors. It clearly has been the single most important issue, yet the most neglected detail of gutter work. I simply explain this to the my clients in advance about what it is and why, so there are no issues with them once I am done. Yet, apparently that's way too much effort for other Gutter Contrctors to do. I have seen where a 40' run of aluminum gutter can have enough sideways movement that it has sheered off the screw heads at the end of that gutter. Think of what it is doing to your corners as it pushes even a just 1/4" over and over again year after year. This is the main reason so many gutter contractors push for short life-span steel gutters, since it has less expansion. They would rather not bother to install aluminum gutters properly.
Shown below I split the gutter in the middle, sealed the ends with a pair of end-caps facing each other leaving a 1/2" gap between them. I then have a template for making a special cover for over those 2 end-caps and also add a 12" long piece of gutter placed from underneath with the floor of it bent 1/8" wider to fit over those end-caps to hide this gap. Another benefit is how this modular design allows you to only have half of the gutter to replace if one side were to get damaged.
Expansion joints are critical to relieve this tension off the corners, and also to avoid the sideways sheer strength of the gutter, which can littlerally break off the screw heads holding the gutter on. I had seen this happen to my earlier gutter replacement prior to 2004, so I am much more careful to work out within lengths over 30' long. Especially if there are corners at the ends of those gutters.
Customized Solutions (not offered by other
I have begun to sell a great deal of custom copper work to clients across the Nation through my other web site http://copper-by-design.com, which now accounts for a good 50% of my work. I've begun an training and apprenticeship program to find young workers who may share my ethics for quality. Here is an example of my custom copper work designing in building this decorative copper chimney for a client's Victorian home in California clear back in 2007:
See my Custom Sheet Metal Fabrication web pages for more examples of my creativity and problem solving skills. At the risk of vanity I seem to have very little competition through out the USA in this area of expertise.
Better End-cap Options:
They do cost a little extra; counting the same as a corner, since it takes about the same amount of labor. I do not claim they will last any better, but they are a little stronger. It really just an aesthetic detail. They are more durable with a thicker sheet metal than the standard end-caps seen on the left. I am not one to insist on a detail like this. It's only about 10% to 15% of my aluminum gutter Clients who go for this option. I often do not even mention it, So many of them may not even know they have this option. With our Copper Clientele it's more like 90% who want to keep his option.
Caulk for Sealing the Gutters:
Because of the high cost and low demand for a better caulk from the other Gutter Contractors in this area I have to make a special trip to a window seal supplier called Pacific Putty to buy the best caulk they sell, which runs over 3X the cost used by most Gutter Contractors. It is called PRO-SEAL 34 out of Redmond WA (1 800 349-7325). This is a higher quality caulk than any of my competitors use, since it is so expensive and not sold at the local wholesale professional gutter parts suppliers.
Using their M-34 Polycarbonate sealant technology, this caulk remains soft and flexible and is rated at 350% expansion after curing, compared to the others at 25 to 50% expansion, since it does not become brittle over time like the most common gutter seals do.
We also double seal each corners and cover the rivet ends inside the gutter. Then I press the caulk deep in the seam with a finger. We then smoothen it out again with a finger using spray paint as a solvent, finding places we may have still missed (most installers do not want to get their fingers sticky with caulk). I then spray paint over that, to keep the UV of the Sun off this caulk. I have been using it for about 15 years now, and I have had no caulk related warranty issues.
I started using Geocel 2300 for the first few years, but I have been using Proseal 34 for the last 15 years to seal corners and end-caps in aluminum and copper gutters. It is pricy, but it seems to work well, and can be applied in wet weather. It has a plastic tube, so it will not burst when the tube gets a little wet. It may not do well with an extreme pull test, since it's chief advantage is it's claim to a 350% expansion rating.
Although, the most common failure is not the sealant releasing.
It's because the Installer failing to implements the expansion joints
needed in long gutter runs. If a gutter is more than 40' with corners on
each end I split the gutter in the middle capping off the ends. I then
cap over the pair of end-caps, so it cannot leak between them. I also
add a 1' piece of gutter with the floor bent a little wider to cover the
end-caps, so the 1/2" gap is hidden. This relieves a great deal of
tension from the corners as temperatures change and stretch the metal
different than the wood structure.
How many gutters have you seen leak at the corners and end-caps?
I have found that most installers do not even use a level. They just place them straight with the roof-line and call it good. Often times I've seen where it only takes and inch of debris near the outlet to cause the gutter to over-flow at the other end of the gutter. Then those sloppy Installers just say 'how it is not their responsibility to keep your gutters perfectly clean'. Although, this means even when they are clean those gutters may have as much as 3" to 5" of standing water in the other end of the gutter. How crazy is that?
Ask about this issue when getting bids, and have them put it in writing how they will make sure there is no standing water in the new gutters they install. Also, tell them you will be checking them for yourself when they're done with a garden hose. Watch them to see if their employees do as that salesperson claimed they would and check the new gutters with a level. You will need to check it yourself with a level or do a water test, so you can insist they return to install them correctly, but most likely they will damage the new gutters removing the nail spikes trying to grade them differently.
Most fascia style gutters cannot even be leveled, let alone given a proper grade towards the outlets, because of the inward lip on the back wall of the gutter that has to rest over the plywood of the roof.
DMR even crimps the back wall of the gutters over the outlets, so they will dip at the outlet and drain downwards from both sides. Another detail I have not seen any other Gutter Contractor do.
Many Gutter Contractors will intentionally mislead their clients with a 20 year material warranty, as if it was their installation warranty. They will not be obligated to stand by their work when push comes to shove beyond that first year of completion. The problem you run into with most Contractors is how the CCB requires Homeowners to have filed a valid complaints within 1 year period from completion of any work by Licensed Contractors, or it is thrown out as invalid. How likely is it that you will discover a problem within that first year? Then have exhausted your efforts to resolve this issue with your Contractor, after he does all he can do to stall you for as long as possible, before you find the need to file a complaint in time with the CCB, once you've realized they will not fix the problem? I've even heard clients tell me they were threatened with physical violence by their Contractor if they pursued a complaint.
This short warranty time-frame is what has detrimetally shaped construction work over the last 50+ years.
More Rust Free
Rivets used, in stead of a few steel zip-screws:
Simply speaking rivets are the best fastener to use to hold sheet metal parts together where parts cannot be soldered or spot-welded together, but most Gutter Contractors do not want to bother with pre-drilling a hole and then switching over to hand riveting tool. It takes too long in their mind-set, which says a lot about what they really think of quality workmanship.
More Fasteners in Each Corner:
Look closely at the gutters you have now to count the fasteners holding the corners together. If you have ever closely look at aircraft construction they use a lot of rivets very close together.
20. Double Sealing the Corners and Flattening the
To clarify; I do not worry about flattening the rivets in the front and back wall of the gutter. Just the 5 rivets across the floor seam. For an opposing force I use a heavy steel palm size weight used for auto dent work, which has a slight convex curve on one side. I hold it under the floor of the gutter with the rise centered under the rivet head I'm going to hammer down flat. This helps to makes it so there's less to catch debris on there in the corner. It also makes it a lot easier to spread the caulk over them to make sure they are fully sealed. I use that as motivation not to get lazy and neglect to flatten them down with each corner.
21. Better Outlets:
I have 3 outlet options which are all larger than standard. Ever since my humble beginning of gutter replacement in 1993 I remain one of the only Gutter Contractors in the country to secure the first elbow under the gutter before installation of our gutters.I have 3 outlet options which are all larger than standard. Ever since my humble beginning of gutter replacement in 1993 I remain one of the only Gutter Contractors in the country to secure the first elbow under the gutter before installation of our gutters.
At the outlet drop we also bend the floor of the gutter down into the elbow to rivet through the side of that elbow in to that floor flange bent down in order to secure the elbow to the gutter floor. Also sealing it with caulk before and after assembly. This leaves no obstruction in the floor of the gutter to catch debris, which would form a dam within the gutter. This is consistent with the concept of water flow and leaves a 125% larger opening than a preformed outlet part used by other Gutter Contractors, of which many use a universal 2" round outlet, which restricts the size of their outlets to only half of what our standard 2X3 outlets are.
Even though it went against the norm of gutter construction, I (David Rich) was able to figure out how this is process is the only way gutter assembly should be done. We see too many elbows become dislodged from the gutter, so this should be the only way to do it, yet I seem to stand alone with practice. I challenge anyone to come up with a logical argument against this.
The larger 3X4 outlet option is accomplished by using an industrial size elbow right under the gutter. Then using a reducer we make to bring it back down to a standard size 2X3 downspout, since you do not need such a large downspout for the dead drop. This helps minimize the look and cost with no disadvantage. This one details is what LeafGuard ® hinges their no-clog warranty on. Although, they insist on the 2X larger downspout pipe all the way down your siding with a reducer there to be able to fit within your 3" round storm drain pipe. This offers no physical advantage, but they do get to over charge you for those huge ugly downspouts you'd rather not see on your house.
For an added cost I even have a Super Outlet we make, which lets us cut open the whole floor of the gutter 9" wide for even better functionality if you want. Again I have yet to see any other local Gutter Contractor offer this sort of advantage.
If you're savvy enough you have wondered why all the debris from the gutter should be allowed to be driven down into your underground storm drains to jam them up. Our most popular feature why Homeowners hire us is the Leaf-Catcher we make that has a stainless steel 6X6 weave screen in it mounted at hip height for easy access. This allows you to manage this debris without getting up on a ladder; in the worst of weather when you finally notice you have a problem. This opening can also make gutter cleaning a breeze by covering that screen with cardboard or plastic temporarily, so you can just rinse out your gutters, driving all that debris and roof sand down into your downspouts, which you would never think to do before. Then even the smallest debris will pour out the mouth of the Leaf-Catcher, dumping on the ground, scoop it up, remove the screen covers, and your done. No more scooping out the stinky gutter gunk out of your gutters with your hands. Wouldn't that be nice?
As for copper downspouts; I am the excusive dealer for 20oz copper DS pipe, where 12oz and 16oz copper is what the local suppliers stock. I would not suggest they are indestructable, but they are noticeable sturdier. I cannot squeeze them with my bare hands.
Double Riveted Downspout Connections:
Also see my 'Downspout Comparison' web page to see more about this issue.
Better Downspout Pipe Wall Mounts:
(instead of the straps nailed into the siding, which most Gutter Contractors have their installers do)
You might think 'isn't a larger DSP better?'. I can charge you more $ for the 2X larger DSP LeafGuard ® insists on using (and over charging for), but I have found them to be irrelevant to the function of a gutter system, so I use the reducer up high in stead of down low like they have to in order to fit in your storm drain pipes. Either way it's getting reduced, unless you happen to have the very rare 4" pipes under ground. Most Homeowners would like to see no DSP if that were possible, but they certainly have not like the appearance of those industrial sized DSP.
More Downspout Elbow Options and Custom Fabrication:
I stock over five times as many different types of downspout elbows and manufacture what I cannot buy to provide my clients with a more custom fit to their special house's needs, where most Gutter Contractors prefer to minimize their inventory down to only 2 different types of elbows; the most common 'A' elbow and the 'B' style shown here over the stone work.
I use the following elbow configurations:
Also see my 'Downspout Comparison' web page to see more about these options.
Flashing and other custom flashing needs:
The only drip edge flashing sold to Roofers has just one profile: 1" drop with a 3" diagonal flange made in a thin painted steel. It is made for only a 6/12 pitch roof.
Also, to form fascia board covers and many other unique applications, like how I also make matching custom diagonal rake edge board covers to hide old flaking paint and cracked boards with ugly knots in them, which is usually cheaper than to have a Painter come prep and repaint.
This chart is just to give you a good idea of what colors are available. There are 30 color chips on this chart. The colors shown here are a close approximation. Your monitor may show them differently and they are likely to print out much different than the colors shown on your monitor, so these colors shown here are not to be relied on for an exact match. If you need one of these color charts mailed to you for an exact match-up let me know and I will get you a set.
The new gutters can be painted to match your trim, but the paint used on this high quality aluminum sheet metal is a baked-on enamel finish, so it is better than any paint that could be put over them.
You can read more on this issue and concerns at http://dmr-gutters.com/ag/colors.htm
28. Responsive to
Calls & E-mails:
Referrals and Awards:
30. Honesty in the Final
No one's perfect, but I tend to go beyond the call of duty to provide quality workmanship for my clients. Other Gutter Contractors see Building Code as a thorn in their side, yet it was meant to be just a guild as the least a Contractor can get away with. Not a statement of how the work is suppose to be done. They may be able to crack out several gutter replacement a day, but I typically spend a week or more on the average gutter job. You can see the 300+ photos and description of a large copper gutter job I did in late 2004 on a house out in gutter job. You can see the 300+ photos and description of a large copper gutter job I did in late 2004 on a house out in Forest Grove for the Kistlers that took me a month of full time work to complete properly.
As stated above, I am willing to do other improvements that would add-up to that minimum charge, but you need to have a good idea of what else you might want me to do, as I may not have those other parts with me at the time.
Comparison to My
No-clog Gutter System
Above is an actual LEAFGUARD® gutter cross section profile that I have to show clients the clear difference
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Helpful Roofing Information
For some valuable advice with regards to roofing and rain management issues check out my:
web pages for answers and solutions that could save you thousands of $ and a great deal of anguish.
If you do find this information very helpful, feel free to send us a $ tip for the assistance I so freely have published on the web here for your benefit, like you might tip a waitress. Heck, send us a gift certificate for a candle lit dinner for two. <LOL>
Below is a
photo of my
I was also a 1997 finalist for this same award. See my referral web page to see how I managed to be honored with this special award
F. A. Q.