What Is Adder Board? And Why Do I Need It?

So you’ve just received an estimate for new gutters and there’s a line item that says adder board that seems to be pricey and has driven up the overall bottom line total. You’ve even gotten other estimates from competing companies and no-one except Alo Seamless Gutters has included adder baord. Is this some kind of way to just get more money you ask? And why is Alo Seamless the only one who has suggested this item? Well, read on.
Let me first start by saying that Alo Seamless Gutters is all about quality, functionality, and longevity of gutter systems. We often add items that others overlook or decide not to include as their way of trying to get a low bottom line and just book a job. This kind of attitude does not serve the best interests of the customers and is not something we ever practice. We will even tell our customers upfront that if you’re shopping strictly by price, then don’t waste your time or ours by asking us for a quote. With gutter systems, like everything else in life, you get what you pay for. Simply put, if you are looking for the best in quality and materials to ensure the job is done right the first time, then we are your company. This is one reason that our estimates are a little different, because we do care and we do want to get it right the first time. But enough about that, you can read our other blogs which touch on this subject as well. So what is adder board and why did we suggest it?
Fascias come in all shapes and sizes. The picture below shows a new home with wide shadowboards and short fascias as a result (the shadowboard is the stepped out trim piece along the top of the fascia surface which usually supports a drip edge, the fascia is the flat surface below).

New Home with Wide Shadowboard and Short Fascia

New Home with Wide Shadowboard and Short Fascia

As you can see, the mounting surface for the gutters are stepped and not a single plane. An adder board, be it either primed and painted wood or PVC, is cut to fit the width of the fascia under the shadowboard to “flesh it out” so that there is one solid flat plane, resulting in full support for the gutters all down the backside. The picture below here shows a close-up of the area with a PVC adder board installed (prior to the gutters going up).
New PVC Adder Board Installed on Fascia

New PVC Adder Board Installed on Fascia

As you can see, the small piece (or adder) flushes out the fascia surface as one complete flat plane. Because the fascia is small to begin with and the shadowboard wide, if we were to hang the gutters from the shadowboard, they’d tilt forward over time with winter ice and snow loads because there’s no support on the bottom of the backside. If we were to hang the gutters from the narrow fascia, with pitch towards a downspout, by the time the gutter gets to the downspout spot, it is either hanging well below the fascia (again, no backside support and it looks ugly) or pitched off the fascia entirely. It is also set back an additional 3/4″ of an inch, lessening the “catch area” of the gutter. The adder piece allows us to use the whole width of the area under the shingle overhangs so we can get proper gutter pitch, the gutter is out far enough to provide adequate catch (important during times of torrential rains- not enough catch means overshooting), as well as providing solid support along the complete backside of the gutter. Here’s another perspective on the fascia with the adder board installed:
Perspective Showing Adder Board Making Flat Wide Surface To Mount New Gutters To

Perspective Showing Adder Board Making Flat Wide Surface To Mount New Gutters To

Most gutter companies just want your money, and they will hang their product either from the shadowboard, or use the fascia, with little or not pitch or pitched improperly or hanging well below the fascia boards at the downspouts. This is really not any kind of proper way to mount a gutter, and the companies that omit these details and considerations are NOT looking out for your best interests. An improperly mounted and/or supported gutter will cause nothing but issues over the long haul. It may look great and function OK for a time, but it will eventually come down on you because it is not supported properly, or it will pour on you because the gutter is too low and too far back from the shingle edges to be of much good use. This is why we add this item to certain jobs, which again are very dependent upon fascia configuration and overhang. It is not an attempt to just get more money, but to do a job right the first time knowing that it will hold up even under the most adverse of conditions. This is looking out for the customers’ best interests, as well as our own – ensuring it’s done right the first and only time.
Any Bozo can sell you gutters and tell you they’ll hang them from your fascias regardless of the configuration. And they probably can and will if allowed. But buyer beware! Shortcuts and low prices may be the quick inexpensive fix, but it will end up costing a lot more in the long run. And with your (probably) biggest investment – your home – on the line, I know I wouldn’t want to take a chance. I’d rather have it done right the first time. And that’s what we are all about. So if you don’t understand why you need adder board, or are unsure about it’s application, I hope the preceding has helped educate you on this matter. And of course, you can always call the us with any questions on any item(s) we propose.
A quick “Hello” to our hard working crew Mike, Alex, and Jon, and of course a big shout-out to our owner/operator Joe Alo. They’ve been busy installing adder board and blocks and new gutters and downspouts and replacing rotted fascias and removing old wooden gutters and the list goes on and on, but they are doing professional quality work as usual and we all really appreciate it. Thanks for the efforts in Concord and Chelmsford recently, and we are looking forward to the big seamless gutter job in Boxborough (with adder board) coming up soon. Keep up the good work guys – you make my job that much easier!

Spring Is Finally Here, and so are Gutter Issues

It’s been a very long and cold winter, but we are finally open for the 2014 guttering season as of April 1st. We’re working through a backlog of pre-booked and postponed work, and the calls keep coming in – for which we are very appreciative of. We’re doing new gutters and replacement gutters for many new customers in Concord, Lancaster, Bolton, and we just picked up several in the same neighborhood in Stow. Many calls have been about the ice and snow tearing off gutters and even fascias and the subsequent need for replacement. Joe and the crew are doing some great work as usual in ensuring that the installations are done professionally, and with the addition of our newest crew member Jon this year, we’re in great shape to really get some good things accomplished. Besides the new gutters and downspouts and replacements, we are also booking several jobs involving wood or PVC adder and replacement, roof straps and wedges to accommodate wide crown molding, and of course those pesky Hicks vents jobs. But I do have to personally shout out to all our guys – Joe, Mikey, Alex, and Jon – for doing consistently fine and professional work. It really makes my job of selling easier because I know it will always be the highest of quality and the best of standards. Thanks guys. I’m keeping this one short as we busily move forward into the season, but please remember that our estimates are always free, and our website has many good resources and information about what we do and what we use. We do gutters – from fascia and cornerboard replacement and/or painting to installing new gutters and downspouts, give us a call.
Spring Install

At last, a warm day to work!

At last, a warm day to work!

The Advantages (and Disadvantages) of Being Honest and Ethical

First a quick hello to Joe Alo and the boys, Mike, Jordie, and Alex. Mike has recently returned to us after a long hiatus, and we welcome him back as he is a great addition. Recently we’ve been struggling to keep up with the last minute demands placed on us, but Joe and the crew have been out to Southborough, Marlborough, Hopkinton, Northborough, Shrewsbury, Sudbury as well as towns more locally (Acton, Concord, Goton, Ayer, Harvard, etc). We’ve had a lot of great installation of both new aluminum seamless gutters and downspouts, as well as some “fancy” elbow work and downspout work – something we call a “marriage”. See the following picture:Downspout Marriage
This is a great way to solve some difficult downspout drainage issues sometimes, and something that we do very professionally and extremely well. Actually, Joe performs the more intricate and specialty work himself whenever possible, and as I’ve mentioned before, he’s a very very fussy man. So that’s just a taste of something different that we do, but I’ll get on to the topic at hand.
When we get contacted either by phone or e-mail for a quote request, yours truly sets up an appointment to meet with the homeowner and discuss their needs and also get good and accurate information to translate into a fair and understandable estimate. Unfortunately, and especially with removals, not everything can be known until any old systems are physically removed first. They may cover a multitude of sins. Witness the picture below. The original install was recently painted and the fascia looked great at the time we did an estimate, but take a good look at what the underlying fascia looked like after getting the old gutters off:
Fascia Damage Under Old Gutters
Unfortunately, this added considerable costs to the original job as quoted because this was an unknown and unforeseen situation. However, we could have just put the new gutters up covering as much of the damage as we could and then re-painted the wood, but we don’t operate like that. Joe and crew have instilled in them (myself as well) that the customer’s needs come first, and if we are going to address those needs properly, then we will do it honestly and fairly and we won’t do a half-ass or unprofessional job. Now, this customer understood about the whole process, but we recently had one that was, shall we say, a little less than understanding that her old system just plain couldn’t be repaired and if she wanted the proper job, then the entire mis-hung system needs to be replace. She was outraged that the estimator (me) hadn’t caught that in the first place, and that we were just basically trying to pick her pockets. Joe explained that it had him fooled as well until he actually got up onto a ladder and had to figure out the poor and improper system that was used to hang it in the first place. Now, mind you, we could have done the original repairs that were proposed but she would have not been happy with any of the results. So we re-proposed the entire project for a properly hung system that would last a lifetime. However, we haven’t heard back from her and there’s the disadvantage to being honest and professional. We may well lose some jobs because we run into unforeseen underlying issues that need to be addressed and the customer is not happy with the extra expenses involved, but we’d rather lose those jobs than do a job that is neither professional nor functionally long lasting. Joe Alo and Alo Seamless Gutters are dedicated to providing the highest quality rain control services and materials available, and we just won’t cut corners or hide anything. We strive to be as upfront and honest as we can, providing a high level of professional service, and we simply won’t compromise our ethics or principles. Estimates are just that, based upon my years of experience and my ever-expanding experiences (no 2 homes are the same), but sometimes what is proposed is not always the entire work required due to unforeseen issues, and sometimes, Joe and his storehouse of daily practical experience may need to make changes as necessary to ensure the best possible job. We don’t do this without consultation with the homeowner, but what we do is always in the homeowner’s best interests. This is what sets us apart, and also is indicative of the quality and care that is put into all of our gutter and downspout products.
Keep up the great work Joe and the boys. I think Joe is going to be taking some during and after pictures of current jobs for me to post here soon, so keep your eyes peeled for the next edition.

The End-Of-Season Crunch

Joe and the crew have been hard at it and straight out recently, with no immediate end in sight.  We’ve just completed some seamless gutter work in Acton, Harvard, Boxborough, and Concord, with visits to Newton Center, Marlborough, and Shirley next week.  The crew is doing a great job, and with Joe onboard at all the jobsites, it makes my job a lot easier as I know it’s going to get done right, period.  Thanks for the great work guys!  Which leads me to the topic above, our end of season crunch time.

As most people are aware, the weather is getting colder and the days shorter.  After November 3, 2013, the daylight hours are shortened even more in the afternoon.  We have been getting a lot of phone calls lately for last minute jobs, always with the plea “can you work me in before your end of season?”  Well, the answer is not as simple as it seems.  Currently we are booked out a full 4 weeks, placing new work squarely into November, up until mid-November now.  However, we will work as long as we can with a few considerations.  The cold weather doesn’t lend itself to painting or installations involving roof straps.  Any new inquiries coming in that we estimate that involves either of these options will by necessity have to be postponed until Spring to ensure a quality and professional job.  We just won’t cut corners, plain and simple.  Now, many potential customers have asked “can’t you do my work anyways – it’s only so little and won’t take too much time?” to which we need to reply that if you want the job done right and professionally the first time, we are not going to compromise our values or our customer’s home.  If we cannot do it right and properly the first time, which sometimes involves waiting for warmer weather to paint or use hidden roof straps, then we are simply not interested in getting the job.  That may sound tough, but it’s what sets us apart from everyone else – we truly care about the level of work we perform and our customers’ complete satisfaction, and we will never compromise our ethics just to add to the bottom line.  In short, because the time is getting short for this season, we cannot satisfy everyone immediately.  We work up until we cannot, usually in December at some point, but that is very weather dependent.  If, say, we had a major snowstorm accompanied by long periods of very cold weather, that stops us.  It’s dangerous and foolhardy to try and squeeze in work when the outside conditions are not conducive to working outside – ladders have to be placed on walkways or patios or driveways, as well as roofs – and if they’re covered with snow and ice, can make for a very dicey and unsafe situation.  Not good for us, nor for the homeowner.

So while we scramble forward to get to all the outstanding work we have, there may be many new jobs that we just cannot do because of time and/or weather.  There may also be several booked jobs that cannot get done if Mother Nature isn’t cooperative.  However, we are offering a special pre-book discount for Spring of 2014.  Anyone who can wait and is willing to guarantee a booking for the Springtime (and we’ve had several already), will enjoy up to a 10% discount based on size and scope of work.  We will try to guarantee our current pricing through then (unless aluminum products and gasoline go through the roof, which we’re hoping and expecting won’t happen).  So it comes down to a choice sometimes – do we wait, or do we get it done now?  While there are other companies out there that will do work we won’t at this time of year, you have to ask yourself, what is their motivation?  Are they really thinking about the best application possible for me, or just adding to their bottom line before the year runs out?  Nobody likes to turn away work, but as I have explained above, sometimes it just needs to be postponed.  After all, we are looking out for the best interests of our customers.  They will always come first.  So if you’ve been holding off, and are now getting nervous about the winter approaching, my suggestion is to at least get a call in to us, and we can come and look and estimate and let you know upfront if it’s something we might be able to do before the season is over, or something that needs to be postponed until warmer weather.  No 2 homes are the same, and because our estimates are always free, it really doesn’t hurt to give us a call and see what we have to say.

Thanks again to our fantastic crew, and to Joe Alo, for keeping up with the very hectic pace we’re experiencing, and ensuring that the customers I sell to are as happy with the final outcome as is possible.  Our minds and thoughts may be on gutters and downspouts, but our business code is definitely not in the gutter.  So if we say, “hey Mr. and Mrs. So-and-So, you’re better off served waiting until next Spring to get this done” you can be assured it’s because it’s in your best interests.  I’ll be back soon with more words of “wisdom” (depending upon who you ask), so keep an eye out here.  And remember, if it’s a rain control need your experiencing, then Alo Seamless Gutters are the experts to call.

What is reverse flashing?

Now that I have figured out how to post video clips, it’s almost past time to talk about reverse flashing.  But I have to keep my boss happy (doesn’t everyone?), and I’ve been promising this for a while now, so we’re going to now investigate the option of reverse flashing.

First I just want to say a quick hello to our owner/operator Joe Alo and crew.  They’ve been very busy with all the work I’ve been booking, and what a great job they’re doing!  We recently finished installing new seamless gutters in Acton and Concord that came out wonderful – one had removal of an old system, and the homeowner commented that the difference is night and day.  Joe and the boys have recently spent 2 full days in Leominster as well, working for one of our long-time customers at a large condominium complex, and the amount of gutter they installed while there was phenomenal!  Great job guys – you make my job so much easier.  And just knowing that Joe is on site for almost all the work ensures complete functionality and customer satisfaction every time.  Thank you.

So what is reverse flashing and how does it work?  And why do we mention it in our cover letters and many times on-site?  Well, let’s get a little background first.  A typical home has a drip edge installed under the first row of shingles and down over the very top of either the fascia, or if installed, the shadowboard (sometimes referred to as a frieze board, the square type of trim at the top of the fascia).  This small piece of metal is to cover the tops of the wood fascia (or shadowboard) and the resultant small gap where the fascia is mounted on the rafter tails.  It is designed to keep water from wicking back into the home and causing damage, directing any drips downward and away from wood joints where gapping occurs.  When we install new gutters on a home, any home, we always attempt to manipulate the drip edge out a little so that any drips will fall directly into the gutter.  If we left it flat against the fascia or shadowboard, any drips would follow the wood down and get behind the gutters – eventually rotting any wood, staining both wood and PVC composite board, and sometimes even dripping on entryways and stairs.  This is due to wicking action – when the rain slows down and the roof is just dripping, the slower moving droplets will follow the contours down from the shingle edge, actually run back up under the shingle and then down the drip edge.  So by pulling it out and away from the surface it’s flat against, the water cannot wick back and has nowhere to go except directly down and into the gutter.  Sounds like a foolproof solution, but it’s not that easy.  Some drip edge cannot be manipulated due to it’s thickness (think of old galvanized thick metal), or because it has deteriorated over time and any movement would cause complete degradation.  And even when we do manipulate the drip edge to catch 99.5% of all drips, Mother Nature can be very sneaky and either push the drip edge back flush over the winter with her ice and snow, or can overcome the manipulated drip edge by blowing a hard wind against the home – driving the rain back and down between the gutter and fascia.  This is where reverse flashing comes in – also referred to as drip edge extender by other companies.  Here’s a picture of what aluminum reverse flashing looks like installed in a new gutter:

Installed Aluminum Reverse Flashing

Installed Aluminum Reverse Flashing

As you can see, it slips in under the existing drip edge, gets fastened with non-corrosive stainless steel screws, and goes directly to the inside of the seamless gutter.  There is no way for any drips to occur behind the gutters.  Even Mother Nature can’t push it back in the winter because it is inside the gutter, and she can’t overcome it with wind.  Check out this video of aluminum reverse flashing in action:

Reverse Flashing In Action

This is why we use it and recommend it frequently. But there are other considerations as well – it is all aluminum and adds to the overall expense, and some homeowners don’t mind a few small drips here and there.  As I stated earlier, normal drip edge manipulation will catch up to 99.5% of the drips, and we have many homeowners who want to see how things perform before investing any more into their gutter system.  If, however, you want to totally eliminate all drips, then our reverse flashing is the solution.  We guarantee its’ effectiveness.  Keep in mind that any gutter system that doesn’t have reverse flashing is susceptible to the occasional drip now and then – this is not a function of the gutters, but rather the roof edge/drip edge combination.  We ensure a tight fit and minimal drips by adding stainless steel tacks between the bar hangers so the gutter is flat and tight to the fascia, and by gently manipulating out the existing drip edge.  But this is not always effective at total elimination of drips, and reverse flashing becomes the best solution.  We’re always glad to add it to a quote as an option – just ask.

Stay tuned for more good stuff coming along.  Joe and crew are doing some great specialty downspout work in the next few weeks and hopefully I’ll get some pictures to post.  And remember, call us with any questions or concerns as we believe a well-educated consumer is our best ally.

RealGuard Leaf Protection In Action Under Adverse Conditions

Well, I tried getting this video inserted into my latest blog, but it just won’t cooperate – so I have a separate blog now to show you how the RealGuard works, even in the most adverse of conditions.  This video was taken at a customers home who’s lot is loaded with pine needles.  Note that even with large piles of needles everywhere, the RealGuard still allows the water flow into the gutter – this is the beauty of this system.  So check this out.
Real Gaurd in action.

Leaf Screens? Leaf Guards? Debris Protection? I’m Tired of Cleaning!

It’s been a while since I last blogged about us, but that’s only because we have been extremely busy over the past couple months, and I thought it was about time to check in.  Joe and the crew have been hard at it and straight out, performing some great work in the Carlisle, Concord, Acton area as well as broadening our horizons down in Wellesley, Newton, Natick, and Arlington too.  The “boys” have been busy with new installations of seamless gutter (and downspouts of course), lots of reverse flashing, as well as a lot of very specialty-type  work in wood and PVC fascia, shadowboard, and cornerboard replacements.  We have also been getting a great number of calls lately for people to get on our Fall 2013 cleaning schedule, which is due to start in late October or early November.  Which brings me to the point of leaf protection and cleaning.  Joe and co. have recently done some homes in the Groton, Townsend, Boxborough, Littleton, and Harvard areas that have all requested information about what we recommend for some type of leaf and debris screen or guard.  Well, read on……………..

Most people think that primarily any type of leaf and debris protection is used to eliminate those pesky clogs and any type of maintenance.  That’s a good thought, but it’s wrong.  Some of our competitors will tell you that, but it’s still wrong.   No matter what type of system you have or are considering, and there are many many different leaf and debris protection “remedies”, not a single one is maintenance free.  Leaf protection systems do have to be cleaned and maintained, not as often as unprotected gutters, but there is some maintenance involved.  The tops need to be cleaned off once in a while at least, and the system does need to be inspected occasionally, inclusive of the inside areas of the gutters and the downspouts.  Please don’t ever let anyone tell you that they are maintenance free.  And there’s more……….

We do carry a great leaf protection system, and all aluminum product called RealGuard, made by our friends at Raytech Manufacturing in Ephrata Pennsylvania.  And we do install it regularly.  However, unlike most of our competitors, we do not push it.  Why?  Any type of leaf protection system is not usually necessary everywhere and for everyone.  Everyone, regardless of the amount of trees and their placement or distance, has a micro-climate around their homes.  This creates very specific wind patterns and weather conditions around the house, and so a maple tree that is within 10 yards of your home may not get any of it’s “twirly birds” or “helicopters” anywhere near the roof or gutters.  We always advise homeowners to get the gutters installed first, see how they perform, and then have us return for a cleaning when we can identify any areas, if there are any, that may benefit from a leaf protection system.  We also understand as homeowners and working people ourselves the value of the dollar and a good leaf protection system is a significant investment.  And the best part is that it can be added at any time down the road if needed.  But that’s only part of the story.

RealGuard Leaf Protection

This is the product we use above.  Let me tell you, it is superior to almost all other products out there.  We know, from trial and error and experience.  When we first started up in the early 2000’s, we tried almost all the other available products out there.  And nothing worked very well.  The diamond plate type material lets pine needles through.  The screen-door type materials clogged with broadleaves.  The solid-covered systems (helmets) allowed most large broadleaves to either stick on the outside of the gutters or get partially stuck in the opening (they also will dent in the winter under heavy ice and snow loads).  Most systems didn’t fit tight, were not well supported and tended to bend and buckle, and in general required almost as much hassle-prone maintenance than a system without any coverings.  And then, about 10 years ago, we discovered this product above, RealGuard.  It’s all aluminum, conforms to fit existing and new systems, and only requires the occasional blow-off to maintain it’s complete functionality.  We found it not only great for any size broadleaf, but pine needles and twirly-birds as well.  6 years after installing RealGuard on a client’s home in Maynard whose property is loaded with pine needles, we went by to inspect because this client had never called and we wanted to see how the product was holding up in the most adverse of pine needle conditions.  The client had piles of pine needles on the roof – maybe 3′ high or more, and pine needles all over the tops of the RealGuard.  Joe asked the client how everything was and if she needed a cleaning (after 6 years).  Her response confirmed our faith in this product – the client said  that although the pine needles didn’t look so good, the looks weren’t bothersome, and the gutters were working absolutely fine!  Joe and the crew then went and checked inside the gutters, and believe it or not, there wasn’t a single leaf or pine needle anywhere.  (Being the great professional that Joe is, he cleaned the gutters and roof of pine needles for free – he’s fussy about stuff like that)).  It is by far one of the best investments in a leaf protection system that you can get.  This is what we use and recommend – but only when necessary and beneficial.  But make no mistake, no system is entirely maintenance free, and the installation of this leaf protection system is not inexpensive either.  But if you need it and it makes sense to have it in certain areas (upper rears, high fronts, places not easily accessible by most homeowners), then this is the product to get.

So to answer the direct question of what can I do as I’m tired of cleaning my gutters, consider all your options.  Hopefully we’ve provided enough information for anyone to make an informed and sensible decision.  Visit our Gallery section and see pictures of the actual installation of this product.  And keep an eye here. I promised a bit about reverse flashing, and I’m still figuring out the logistics of adding this great video that Joe took recently of how it performs.  As always, call us for your rain control needs.  Seamless aluminum gutters and downspouts, RealGuard leaf protection system, aluminum reverse flashing, fascia and cornerboard replacements (surfaces the gutters and downspouts are mounted on), gutter replacement and repair, cleaning and flushing – we do it all.  And lest I forget, a special welcome to our new friends in Ayer and Acton – we’re looking forward to working with you.

Repair or replace?

Our professional crew, and our owner/operator Joe Alo have been hard at it lately, installing new seamless gutters in the various communities of Westborough, Shrewsbury, Northborough, Framingham, Marlboro, and Sudbury. They’ve also accomplished some spectacular wood and composite jobs, corner boards and fascias and rake ends in the towns of Carlisle, Concord, Acton, Littleton, Groton, and Ayer. Today our professional crew is working in the towns of Harvard and Boxborough, doing some painting of fascias, some custom mitre and downspout work, and of course, those aluminum seamless gutters. Our latest work can be seen next to Westward Orchards on Mass Ave in Harvard (east side of farm stand). If you’re in the area, stop in at the store there and say hello to our friends Don and Kathy Green, or their daughter Stephanie. They’ve got some great produce and a little bit of something for almost everybody. And they own the house on the east side that we just finished putting gutters on – a great chance to find out what we at Alo Seamless gutters are all about from a new customer’s viewpoint.
Because of the heavy rains recently, we’ve been inundated with calls and questions. One of the most frequently asked questions is: “I already have gutters, but they are leaking, have some pipe pieces missing, are sagging a little, and look very dirty. Can you help me?” Then the customer will always ask – “can you come and fix them?”. Well, honestly, we will take a look at your existing system (our estimates are always free within our service area), but what the question really comes down to is, how old is the system, what shape is the fascia in, how are the gutters hung, and what exactly is wrong? Repairs are great if they can be quick and simple and don’t interfere with the integrity of the existing system – adding a few bar hangers, adding a lost elbow on a downspout, re-attaching a loose and intact downspout, re-sealing an end that’s dripping. However, adding a few bar hangers or elbows or caulking will not always ensure any type of long term fix and could end up just being a waste of hard earned money. Many of our customers don’t understand what is involved in older systems. Very old systems typically use spikes and ferrules to attach to the home – basically a large nail driven through the front upper lip of the gutter, through a tube inside the gutter, and then into the fascia and house structure. Many other systems use the Canadian Bar Hangers, usually attached with a drywall screw or nail. (We use a 297 pound test bar hanger called HangFast with a proprietary beefier/longer screw) When these older systems start to pull away in many spots, it’s just a matter of time before they come all the way out and possibly damage the fascia and/or home. If some have worked loose already it’s logical to conclude they all will soon enough. Many times repairs end up like a Band-Aid over a severed artery – looks ok for a little while, but absolutely won’t work in the long run. That’s just what adding extra hangers sometimes is – an attempt to “prop-up” a failing system, but not really effective in the long run. Older systems can also have a lot of hidden damage. The older sealants used, typically silicone, dries out and cracks after seasons of cold and thaw and can cause lots of leaks – we use Alumabond Sealant, a liquid aluminum product that stays pliable over the life of the gutter. Sagging gutters because the hangers have pulled out may indicate soft or rotted fascia underneath. Leaking mitred corners may indicate a complete failure of the mitre on both it’s seams and with it’s sealant. Dripping downspouts may indicate blown seams and/or separation of the joints. Gutters that run over the top may indicate improper pitch as well as the possibility that they’re clogged. Most of these issues (other than clogs) cannot be solved by simple repairs, at least for any length of time. We will always evaluate a system for its’ needs, but many times repairs would only make the situation worse down the road. That’s not to say that all rain control systems are like that – definitely not. Usually however, older systems that have not been maintained generally cannot be adequately fixed. And repairing of older gutters and downspouts carries no warranty because the work is only as good as the existing system, which couldn’t have been too good to begin with or there wouldn’t have been any major problems. Our philosophy is that your home is your single largest and most valuable possession, and if you’re going to protect it with gutters and downspouts, then you should not have to keep dumping money into ongoing repairs of an older and possibly ineffectual and failing system. Many times, the difference in cost to remove and replace is only slightly higher than a complete repair of the existing gutters. What it comes down to is, if you are having issues with your present system, as professionals we will come and evaluate it and make our best recommendations based upon what you have. We will always be open and honest about our opinions and findings and leave the final decision up to you.
Check back here for more updates and pictures of some recent works and works in progress. We’ve got a very large and complicated job coming up in Wellesley on a restored Victorian, and another new architectural wonder awaiting us in Weston. In the meantime, the crew will be out in Bedford, Chelmsford, and Westford doing what they do best, putting up new gutters, downspouts, mitres, fascias, and RealGuard leaf protection. Thanks for your professionalism and attention to detail guys!

Seamless Gutter Specialty Application

Here’s some shots of a very large seamless gutter job with Hicks vent application we are currently doing in Marlborough, MA. Our guys, led by Joe Alo, owner/operator of Alo Seamless Gutters, do a fantastic job on every home they work on, from gutters and downspouts to fascia wrap and trimwork. And it’s in these specialty applications that they really shine, as you can see from the pictures. This home has roof edge, or Hicks, vents that are quite substantial as you can see from the pictures. We used an Azek-type composite block in what is referred to as 5 quarters (a full inch plus) to set the seamless gutters on so they’d be out far enough to provide adequate catch from the shingle edge and still allow the Hicks vents to breathe properly. This is critical in that, if you were to simply mount the gutters on the existing fascia, as some of our less expensive competitors do, the gutter would not only be too far back from the shingle edge to provide adequate catch – especially during periods of heavy rain- but also it would not allow for any air convection up and into the roof edge venting – critical in keeping your home vented. There are a few choices with the Hicks vents, but we believe our approach to this particular home provides the best and most cost effective solution.

Hicks Vents and Composite Blocks

Hicks Vents and Composite Blocks

As you can see, the blocks are all evenly spaced and fastened with stainless steel marine screws, with the blocks doubled up at the corners to provide maximum mitre strength (more on mitres in another blog).

Sectional detail of gutter on block

Sectional detail of gutter on block

Then you can see the how a gutter will look and sit on the blocks, and finally

Showing gutters and allowance for airflow from below

Showing gutters and allowance for airflow from below

what an installed gutter looks like from below and the adequate breathing space that we’ve allowed the Hicks vents. We use high-strength 297 pound test bar hangers that a grown man can hang from, and we are assuring the hold by using a proprietary extra long and beefy screw that insures a full, deep bite that won’t come loose. There will be some before, during, and after shots tomorrow of this same job, including the downspout placements that will show just how functional yet unobtrusive our systems are – and how they also kind of finish off a home. Seamless aluminum gutters and downspouts are not glamorous by any means, yet they provide an important and integral part of your exterior structure in keeping your interior safe and sound – and dry! And with this particular work we show just how much care and attention to detail we have to ensure that the new rain control system not only works properly, but doesn’t impede with the function or requirements of having a roof edge vented home. Good job guys – a team you can really depend on to perform high-quality, long-lasting work – I do.

Gutters and Roof Strap Applications

Hidden Roof Straps Close-Up 2 Hidden Roof Straps Close-Up 1 Hidden Roof Straps Going UpAlo Seamless Gutters has a variety of ways to solve your rain control needs. Most everyone knows what gutters are, and a good majority know that they are needed to protect your biggest investment – your home – from water intrusion and foundation erosion. Not everyone knows about how gutters are hung from their homes however. A straightforward, flat fascia that is present usually calls for the installation using a high-strength bar hanger – we use Hangfast bar hangers that are rated for 297 pounds test (see the application under the gallery – Our Products). However, not all homes have nice flat fascias on which to install gutters. Lots of homes these days have Hicks Vents (see our earlier blog about cutting corners), angled (or “canted”) fascias, and older homes from the 1940’s and earlier typically have a crown molding detail around the roof edges or built-in wooden gutters. It is these older homes we will address today. We recently completed a job in Bedford MA that had old wooden gutters on the home. When a previous homeowner had the roof re-done, they opted to have the new roof go right over the existing built-in wooden gutters. We do see more and more of this as homeowners struggle with costs associated with any type of re-roofing, and this is one way to keep costs down in any major re-roof project of this type of home. Now the new homeowner wants functioning gutters on the home, but what can be done with the old wooden gutters now essentially an immovable part of the structure? We have an answer, and it’s called roof straps. Now that sounds like something ugly and intrusive – straps sticking out every couple feet or so, and up over the roof edge and nailed over the top of the shingles. Indeed, a lot of our competitors do it this way, and most consumers are turned off by any mention of roof straps. But we at Alo Seamless Gutters have come up with a way to hide the roof straps so that most applications that they are used in cannot even be seen. There are a couple of pictures here that show just what we mean – we actually took the extra time to hide all the straps under the existing shingles so that they are not noticeable at all. We can also paint the straps to closely match the roof shingle color for those cases where hiding them under shingles is not possible – such as on rubber roofs, or even where the shingles don’t lend themselves to be gently manipulated. Roof straps are also extensively used in cases of wide crown moldings on the fascias when the homeowner doesn’t want any original structure removal or modification of the crown molding, yet wants a protective and functioning gutter system. No matter how we have to attach the new gutters, all of our work carries our 20 year guarantee on materials and 10 years on labor. We have yet to be called back on any job because the gutters didn’t function properly or came down under heavy ice and snow loads – something we cannot say about our competitors’ products. In short, if you want it done properly and professionally the first time, then give us a call. All of our estimates are free, and we can be very creative in solving your rain control needs with minimal alteration of existing aesthetics.