It is always interesting to watch the power of advertising in action.
Today I want to talk about the advertizing used to support the various guard-guard systems that are available on the market. Of course if you look at the promotional advertising from all of these companies they will each tell you exactly why they are the best.
In the field, as a Seattle Home Inspector, I get to see the “truth” of these various claims.
On a recent inspection, one of the gutter-guard systems that advertises heavily around here (and that spends a lot of advertizing dollars ripping one of the other more famous gutter-guards) was clearly not functioning as advertised.
I think the idea of gutter-guard systems is a good one, as many people injure themselves in the terminal job of keeping gutters clean. When I am inspecting homes I try to see which ones are functioning as advertized. During times of heavy rains is the best time to see how well they are functioning. As you can see in the following picture, this micro-filter type guard is completely clogged with algae and actually holding water to the point it is running over the edge. Impact marks all around the home were consistent with this lack of proper function for some time.
As you can see in the following video---water is freely running over the edge all along the edge of the gutter.
Another type of gutter-guard are ones that rely on a rolled edge at the front of the gutter. The concept of the design of these gutters is that water follows the rolled edge by "surface tension" and drips off into the gutter while the leafs and light-weight debris fall by gravity past the face of the gutter. Of course the screen-filter type cover company's advertizing states that this does not work. Of the dozens of these roll-type gutters I have inspected, I have yet to see one that was clogged. Now perhaps I have just been lucky---but I doubt it.
All the ones that attempt to filter the water across the top surface appear less functional over time than the roll type.
Gutter Helmet and Leaf-Guard are two of the most common roll-type guards I see in this area and I have yet to see one that was not functioning as advertised---but I am still looking. I am not sure who made this gutter but it is a fairly typical front edge roll-type gutter.
I think the lesson here is to not always believe what you hear and make sure you verify what you hear. Otherwise it might be your money that is going down the gutter.
Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle
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WA State, Home Inspector Advisory Licensing Board