Alcoa Leaf Relief System

 
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Old 07-31-2006, 03:36 PM   #1
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Alcoa Leaf Relief System


The plastic mesh covers on my gutters seems to cause the water to just run over top of them. I'm looking at having some other sort of gutter guard installed. I know about the Gutter Helmet and other franchise type gutter deals out there but they all seem way over priced. I could almost buy a new motorcycle for what these guys charge. I got an estimate to have the Alcoa Leaf Relief stuff installed and it was about an of the 1/8 the cost. My Gutters are only a few years old and in perfect shape so I don't see the need to replace them. Does anyone have any experience with the Leaf Relief System? Do they work? I'm told my Gutters will never clog and if they do They will be cleaned for free. Blah Blah Blah and my house will rot to ground if I don't empty my pockets right now. You guys know the drill.

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Old 07-31-2006, 03:39 PM   #2
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Re: Alcoa Leaf Relief System


All leaf guard dystems are a scam IMO, only because they promise alot more than they deliver. I have never tried the alcoa system but if they promise anything they are scamming. Leaf guards are about 85% effective IMO... and most, in heavy rains, are useless like the gutters aren't even there. So you trade off one problem for another. Problem a) clogged gutters, problem B, erosion and foundation leaks.

Do a cost comparison, on the average house someone can hire us to clean their gutters twice a year for 5 years, OR they can pay us to install gutter guards once... BUT by installing the guards you still need to occasionally clean the gutters and have a whole slew of peoblems mentioned above. So the question is why install guards at all?

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Old 07-31-2006, 04:25 PM   #3
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Re: Alcoa Leaf Relief System


Hey Grumpy,

I know we talked before about this but have you looked into LeafDefier gutter protection system yet? I was a skeptic at first too but am a firm believer of it now.
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Old 07-31-2006, 04:56 PM   #4
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Re: Alcoa Leaf Relief System


I've seen smiliar type products. How do they not clog? You'd have to take these out once every year or two and clea them IMO. If you are going to pay to have these installed then pay to clean them, why not just have your gutters cleaned?

So to answer your question, yes I have seen them and
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Old 07-31-2006, 06:05 PM   #5
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Re: Alcoa Leaf Relief System


Trust me grumpy they do not clog, you just have to try it. I installed it in my home gutters first to test 2 yrs ago and haven't had an ounce of trouble with it and never once cleaned them out, matter of fact it looks the same (no discoloration). It handles the heavy rains even at the valleys. Granted some debris will lay at the top when it is wet but once it is dry it will blow away with the wind. (If it blows there it will blow away.) If there is debris laying on top, water will still filtrate through.

I am not trying to push anything on you, I just think it may go well with your business.

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Last edited by gutrman; 07-31-2006 at 06:10 PM.
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Old 07-31-2006, 06:08 PM   #6
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Re: Alcoa Leaf Relief System


Actually I would prefer to clean the gutters. This is like getting paid to do an estimate because if we see anything wrong with the roof, gutters or siding we provide them with an estimate. We have sold a few jobs this way.

However setting that aside, I still think these leaf guards are mostly a scam.
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Old 07-31-2006, 06:11 PM   #7
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Re: Alcoa Leaf Relief System


Why do you think they are a scam?
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Old 07-31-2006, 06:24 PM   #8
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Re: Alcoa Leaf Relief System


Quote:
Originally Posted by Grumpy
All leaf guard dystems are a scam IMO, only because they promise alot more than they deliver. Leaf guards are about 85% effective IMO... and most, in heavy rains, are useless like the gutters aren't even there. So you trade off one problem for another. Problem a) clogged gutters, problem B, erosion and foundation leaks.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grumpy
I've seen smiliar type products. How do they not clog? You'd have to take these out once every year or two and clea them IMO. If you are going to pay to have these installed then pay to clean them, why not just have your gutters cleaned?
For the reasons I already stated.
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Old 07-31-2006, 06:57 PM   #9
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Re: Alcoa Leaf Relief System


How can you make those assumptions when you have never tried the product? I would take merit in what you are saying if you actually tried it and had those problems.

To me cleaning gutters is a scam because it never truly provides a prolonged solution to the homeowners problem. The minute one leaf blocks the outlet the gutters will overflow. To truly remedy the problem with cleaning you would need to be at every house before every rain and clean the gutters out.
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Old 07-31-2006, 08:40 PM   #10
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Re: Alcoa Leaf Relief System


I put some cheap home depot plastic "helmets" (not screens) on my house 3 years ago. Cost about $1.25 a foot for material cost. While I would not try to sell them as a product to anyone, I am very pleased with how they work on my house. My pitch is a 4/12. My house is surrounded by large trees that dump leaves, seeds, etc year around.
Last weekend my neighbor bought some and I put them on her house as well.
I will say in an extremely heavy rain they do not hand all the water, but a large chunk. Haven't cleaned my gutters now in three years...

I used to have to clean them before every rain in the fall if I wanted them to work.
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Old 08-01-2006, 10:47 AM   #11
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Re: Alcoa Leaf Relief System


Quote:
Originally Posted by gutrman
How can you make those assumptions when you have never tried the product? I would take merit in what you are saying if you actually tried it and had those problems.

To me cleaning gutters is a scam because it never truly provides a prolonged solution to the homeowners problem. The minute one leaf blocks the outlet the gutters will overflow. To truly remedy the problem with cleaning you would need to be at every house before every rain and clean the gutters out.
How can I say that? Common sence my man. The "guard"you had shown is a filter. Repeat. It is a filter. Filters clog. Yes I can see how large leaves and sticks would collect, dry and blow off, but smaller debris would certainly clog the filter causing the filter to need cleaning.

Do I sell leaf guard systems? yes, but only first after telling the customer my warranty only specifically covers that the guards will remain intact (not blow away). I also explain the potential problems and if they want to go ahead, great. If not no loss to me because I do not want a customer thinking this snake oil is going to solve their problems when it will not.
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Old 08-01-2006, 03:45 PM   #12
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Re: Alcoa Leaf Relief System


I will have to agree with Grumpy. These are a scam. IMO. All the big companies that install these and warranty them not to clog or they will clean them for free, have subs that go out and clean the gutters for them. That is all they do. That is why they are so expensive you are basically paying for your future cleanings. Plus, when they do clog and they will, the damage to the facia is already done, because the gutter is covered and you can not tell if the rain is coming off the leaf guard or the gutter is overflowing. We do not install them and I explain to the HO why and what it would cost for them versus cleanings. If there are pine trees around these guards don't stop the pine needles. Just my opinion.
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Old 08-01-2006, 05:05 PM   #13
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Re: Alcoa Leaf Relief System


This could go on for years... I was as skepitcal as you guys too. I thought I would try to give some helpful info. Pretty much all I can say is to just try it. You don't have to do a whole house with it. Do one piece of gutter and watch it. That is how I was sold on it.

The warranty on this product actually comes straight from the manufacturer (in business for 30 yrs) not the distributor like most leaf guards.

Quote:
If there are pine trees around these guards don't stop the pine needles. Just my opinion.
Actually this product works great for pine needles.

Quote:
How can I say that? Common sence my man. The "guard"you had shown is a filter. Repeat. It is a filter. Filters clog.
I agree in some situations most filters do clog, but not in this case. Just get a free sample of it, look at it, and watch it during all seasons of the year. You will be surprised.

Ok I'm done. Anyone else burning up in these temps?!! Oh no! That will be the next downfall of LeafDefier... it will melt!!!!

Keep cool.
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Old 08-02-2006, 05:51 AM   #14
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Re: Alcoa Leaf Relief System


anyone ever try this kind?

http://www.njguttertopper.com/i've never really pushed any kind of leaf guard for the houses we renovate or put an addition on. most times i have steered them clear of any leaf guards. this company is in NJ and i see some of their trucks around, and i've seen the product close up. seems like a better idea than the ones that just have a plastic screen across it.
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Old 04-27-2009, 09:52 PM   #15
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Re: Alcoa Leaf Relief System


Hey Grumpy,
I know there are a lot of gutter screens and other stuff out there, but leaf relief is the best product I have found. I have been doing gutter work for 30 years, and using Leaf Relief for more than 5. I have only had one complaint, and that turned out to be a problem with water running over a valley. It might also save your wife from having to collect on your life insurance.
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Old 09-23-2009, 01:23 PM   #16
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Re: Alcoa Leaf Relief System


I am not a gutter guru, my specialty is cement and gypsum construction products and specialty composites. However, I know enough about materials science (and physical science in general) to see into this debate. I have looked at all available gutter guard products for installation at my house, and found deficiencies in all, some worse than others. Cost was not considered (because I don't care), only inherent physical and practical limitations or lack thereof. I ultimately sided with a product named GUTTER BRUSH. Here is why; 1. Easy to install and remove for periodic cleaning; 2. Allows maximum use of gutter opening area in heavy rain and leafy conditions while still providing sufficient surface area on bottom of gutter for water to flow good in properly sloped gutters with large (4 inch) downspouts; 3. No over-splash typical of "helmet" systems during heavy rain; 4. No small pores that can slowly (over many years) clog with fine sediment, as with porous polymer products; 5. Full sunlight and associated ultraviolet exposure into the entire gutter which are conditions bees and other nesting insects avoid building in, and poor growing conditions for moss; 6. Maximum aeration of gutter during dry times to prevent biological growth such as fungus.

GRANTED, the bristles are plastic which will eventually degrade and become brittle after many years of UV exposure. However, porous polymer (like Leaf Defier) and other plastics are used in various leaf guard products. Only limited concentrations of UV stabilizers/inhibitors can be added to any given plastic or other polymer, and UV will win the fight always. Why do you think shingles have stone granules, and tar flat roofs are covered by gravel, because stone is not affected by UV. Even polymers like EPDM roofing membrane and rubber roof coatings are far from immune to the effects of UV attack. Also, the inner core of the brush is galvanized steel, which will eventually rust after the zinc coating has sacrificially corroded beyond a certain percentage of surface area, but this should take many years. I personally would have designed the entire brush and core of stainless steel, but this would likely be cost-prohibitive and could possibly promote dissimilar metals corrosion upon exposed areas of aluminum inside the gutter (haven't fully researched that one yet). Also, ALL biocides (fungicides, algaecides, etc.) sacrificially dissolve until none is left, eventually leaving no protection against biological growth, regardless if they are employed within porous polymers (like Leaf Defier) or other construction products like roofing shingles, self-leveling floors, deck sealers, paints, or EIFS finish color coat (exterior insulating and finishing system, ie: synthetic stucco), etc, etc. The term "biocide protected" IS "snake oil" for all practical purposes in most construction product promotional literature, and just a marketing trick (the same can be said about the term "UV protected"). This is because biocides (and UV protectors) are VERY expensive, and contribute significantly to RMC (raw material cost) even at relatively small weight percentages typically used in most products (less than 2 percent), causing the manufacturers to skimp on the amount used in order to lower RMC while maintaining the same sale price, thereby increasing profit margin. As a formulator, I am put under incredible pressure to pull every formulary trick from my sleeve to lower RMC without any noticeable difference to the end user of the product, and often times the manufacturer doesn't even care if some loss of performance occurs from a formulary change because it will usually be too late for the customer (or the installer) to make a warranty claim with the manufacturer by the time any problem occurs, or if the problem occurs within warranty period, the factory will conveniently point the finger back at the installer (manufacturer warranties are rarely worth the paper they're written on). This is why I feel for the installer, because you are stuck in between a picky customer and manufacturers of the products you install who always strive to cut corners to fatten their profit margin.

Exactly how many years GUTTER BRUSH will withstand the elements before needing replacement for one reason or another, and overall performance over many years of service is yet unknown to me, but given the relative ease of cleaning and replacement it seems to be a non-issue.

From a scientific perspective, I think the overall principle of GUTTER BRUSH is the best chance to go beyond snake oil. Will let you all know how my experience with this product goes over the years.
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Old 09-23-2009, 01:39 PM   #17
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Re: Alcoa Leaf Relief System


Just to bring this debate back, I installed a similiar system in 2007... almost exactly the same as the defilier, but it was not the defiler, but damn they looked so similiar they could be private labeled brands.... I am purposely not saying the name because I do not want to be sued for slander. Again it was not the defiler but looked just like the defiler.

After one winter and one spring in 2008, the customer called us about her gutters over flowing. There was a film of scum collected across the top. Exactly what I predicted in my above comments would happen. The only reason we installed this system is because they were copper gutters and we wanted something that would be hidden. I have now come to know that Leaf Relief makes a copper guard. FWIW I just completed my installation certification for Leaf Relief. Anyways the gutter guard manufacturer in this case said that cleaning the gutters is normal and natural. I asked what about their "self cleaning technology"? These guards did not clean themselves. The sales rep was so arrogant my suggestion to the home owner was to sue the manufacturer for false advertising and failure to honor their warranty. When the rep called me a few weeks later to talk about opportunities with his product I told him I would never install or recommend his product to anyone ever and if anyone ever asked me about his product I would tell them about their so called self cleaning technology. I also told him to lose my number.

Further more I went to do an estimate on a roof, and as part of my roof estimate I pull up the gutter edge to see how many layers. They had a guard similiar to the defiler and it was compeltely covered with scum on the top of the guard. Again it's a filter and filters do clog. I wouldn't install a product like the defiler if it was given to me for free because in my experience installing similiar products is nothing but a head ache waiting to happen.


As of now the product I trust for gutter guards or gutter protection in my Chicago area would be the Waterfall or Leaf Relief. Everything else I have seen or tried are junk.
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Old 09-23-2009, 05:56 PM   #18
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Re: Alcoa Leaf Relief System


I agree with your theory that filters are inherently going to clog sooner or later. The smaller the pore size, the more susceptible and sooner it will happen, it's pure physics, and one of the reasons why porous polymer products scare me concerning maintenance and longevity. Leaf Relief was actually my second choice from a theoretical perspective (after Gutter Brush, which is a totally different design theory), and seems to be the best designed of the perforated products available. The holes in Leak Relief seem to be just about the right size, not too big, not too small. How easy is Leak Relief to remove for periodic cleaning or inspection?
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Old 09-23-2009, 06:53 PM   #19
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Re: Alcoa Leaf Relief System


Leaf relief is available in two models. retrofit and new construction. The names are a little misleading, while new construction is strictly for new gutters, but we do alot of gutter jobs on existing homes. The new construction leaf relief is a PIA to remove since it becomes the fastening method/bracket that holds the product to the Fascia. We do NOT install the new construction product, and ONLY install the retrofit product.

The reason? I can't figure out how to install a gutter flashing with the new construction product and they don't have a spec for this or anything so we stick to the retrofit product. Some areas don't intall gutter flashing for what ever reason, here without it the fascia board will rot out in 5 years. Gutter flashing is a must.
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Old 10-12-2009, 12:06 AM   #20
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Re: Alcoa Leaf Relief System


One issue I thought of clarifying this morning concerning polymers employed in gutter leaf protection products is that the marketers/manufacturers of these products likely have no control over the weight percentages of UV inhibitors and biocides contained in their products, as the formulated polymers are likely manufactured by someone else as commercially available raw materials they select from, and only the fabrication phase is under their control. This could be the bristles in Gutter Brush, the porous polymer in Leaf Defier, or the polymer in various helmet or perforated type systems. Polymers also have inherent limitations. Regardless, corporate profit margins often pull heavy weight against performance issues in today's world. I am not knocking polymers, as they have many properties superior to any metals and other known materials. Polymers and polymer/fiber composites will continue to break barriers in performance vs. price ("bang-for-the-buck") unimagined with previous materials employed in construction product science for the foreseeable future. May the best "bang-for-the-buck" leaf control product win in the marketplace (metal, polymer, or otherwise).

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