Byers’ Leaf Guard Gutter Systems
Perhaps it is time for a face-lift for your home, or maybe you are finally
tired of cleaning out your gutters and are having them replaced. The downspouts may not be the first thing on your mind, however, many people are abandoning the traditional conduit type of downspout for hanging chains of decorative metal, commonly called ‘Rain Chain’.
“Most of the time where we see chain downspouts, [it] is more an architectural element.” reported Jeff Fierstein, General Manager for Byers’ Leaf Guard Systems. Though traditionally a Japanese gutter element, the variety of styles and applications offer homeowners new options for designing exteriors and tying their homes into their landscaping. “In the past people have wanted chains and that had caused some problems.” Jeff recalled. “One of the downfalls of a chain downspout is you have to have an obstruction right in the outlet to direct the water onto the chain.” Since the outlet into the downspout is the most common place for an obstruction, the potential for clogging was a considerable drawback.
Jeff described their solution, “Now we’ve developed a system where the water
will fall out and then hit a ball and wrap around, much like it does our gutter
design.” The new design is effective as well as adding an attractive element to the product. The copper ball solution works by permitting them to use a large downspout hole that does not clog. “That allows us to keep the guarantee when people are using the chain downspout.”
Once the copper ball directs the water onto the downspout chain, the waters’ own surface tension will make it follow the chain like a guide. “Which is pretty cool.” Jeff added. The redirecting balls are made of copper for a couple of reasons. “Most of the time, when people are putting up chains, they’re using copper chains.” Jeff said. With the ready availability of copper chain and the wide variety of styles and textures, copper has become the material of choice. Jeff surmised, “So it made sense to go with the copper design that would lend itself to the copper drain chain.”
Another reason to use copper as the material was the cost of producing the pieces. “It was easier to get a copper ball made than it was to get a steel ball made.” Jeff reported, continuing, “It seems a little strange, but copper balls are readily available.”
For the gutter material there is also an option to have them fabricate a seamless Leaf Guard System from solid copper. “Most of our gutter is definitely aluminum,
but we do have a few people that want copper.” Jeff said. The look of copper on the exterior of a home can have a defining effect over the years. “It looks fabulous and it patinas real nice.”
As copper ages exposed to the air, it will tarnish into a deep green “patina” color. However, you do not necessarily have to wait for years to achieve the old-copper patina. “We also have some jobs that we’ve put a solution on that force patina’d them, and it really looks rich.” Jeff explained.
Even though it is not a common choice for typical homeowners, the longevity of copper gutters maintains a demand for their installations. “A lot of the jobs we’re doing in copper are for either high-end homes, or wineries.” Jeff reported, continuing, “Something that’s going to be there for a hundred years.”
Because of the extra weight, copper gutter installations take a little longer than aluminum and require higher strength fasteners. “It’s harder to work with, for us, but the cost is the major difference.” Jeff explained, continuing, “Copper is a much more expensive material.” It is also available in a range of grades and thickness.
“The type of copper we utilize is 16-ounce copper, and it is very heavy duty.” Jeff said of their choice.
The Leaf Guard machinery and method are the same regardless of material, but copper installs require some extra attention. “We have been very fortunate. The people that we have, our crews, are just amazing guys.” Jeff said of their employees.
“Most of our guys are seasoned and they are very adept at hanging the copper.” Aluminum or copper, conduit or rain-chain, a protected gutter system is a nice upgrade.
With other companies offering similar products of varying design, Byers’ Leaf Guard has the experience and crews to compete. “More importantly, it’s the guarantees that are out there.” Jeff commented, pointing out the exclusions often limiting their competitions’ policies. Jeff explained Leaf Guards assurance, “Our guarantee is unconditional…literally anything that would happen that would clog your gutters, is covered under our guarantee.”
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