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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Selecting the Best Brake for Your Business

A quality brake can be one of the best investments you make for your gutter contracting business.  Being able to bend materials on the jobsite can save you valuable time and money.   When making a large purchase it is important to consider which features you will need.  Finding the perfect fit for your business will ensure that you’re left with a product you are happy with for years to come. 

Here are 7 features to look for when researching which brake is the right fit for your business:
  1. Throat Depth – Make sure the brake system you choose has the throat depth needed on the jobsite.  The Mark I, II, and IV Series each have a throat depth of 14” which allows for more custom bends.
  2. Easy Adjustment – An important aspect of any large machinery is how easily it is adjusted.  Especially for a one-man job, being able to quickly adjust for each bend is critical.  Van Mark promotes that their brakes never need adjusting but include independently-adjustable UHMW plastic wedges when the need arises.
  3. Bending Power – Both the bending capacity and bending power of a brake are essential features to consider.  The Mark II series features POWERslot technology offering greater bending power with less force making for a smoother, better end-product.
  4. Durability – Durability is often determined by the type of raw materials the brake is constructed of.  Using quality materials and a construction that is built to last will ensure your system will be dependable for the long-term.
  5. Portability – You don’t need to sacrifice the portability of a system for better quality.  In fact, there are many brakes available on the market today that are both durable and lightweight.  A lightweight system with handles makes for easier transport from jobsite to jobsite.  
  6.  Maintenance Needs – Servicing a brake system can take a lot of time and energy.  Brakes with minimal parts require less maintenance and repair needs, allowing you to stay on the jobsite and working. 
  7. Commercial vs. Residential – Do you need a brake that will work for both your residential and commercial needs?  Both the Mark I and the Mark II come in commercial and contractor models and feature dual locking, bending handles.
A quality brake can be one of the best investments you make for your gutter contracting business.  Being able to bend materials on the jobsite can save you valuable time and money.   When making a large purchase it is important to consider which features you will need.  Finding the perfect fit for your business will ensure that you’re left with a product you are happy with for years to come. 

Here are 7 features to look for when researching which brake is the right fit for your business:

The alloys and tempers of metal vary, resulting in a wide variety of bending capabilities.  For further questions on specific metals, contact our team at 1-888-909-RAIN (7246). 

At we are proud to carry Van Mark brand brake systems and accessories including the Mark Series.  Van Mark has been a worldwide leader in the brake industry, producing not only a superior product, but also making the job of the contractor easier.  To learn more about the features of each brake system we carry, visit us here.  You can also view our selection of quality brakes in our product catalog.

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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

7 Questions to Ask the Homeowner Before Starting a Gutter Guard Installation

Here are some questions to ask the homeowner when planning their gutter guard installation. Experienced contractors know that a smoothly-run project begins with a good conversation with the homeowner.  Asking the client the right questions can pave the way for realistic customer expectations that both you and your team can achieve.

  1. What are your current concerns?  Before you can offer a solution to match a customer’s needs you must first find out what those needs are.  Ask open-ended questions such as “What about gutter guards appeal to you?” or “What problems do you want to address?"
  2. What is your timeline?  It is always important to have a clear idea of how quickly the homeowner wants the system installed for a number of reasons.  First, it prevents you from over-selling your services.  You have the opportunity to discuss with them how long the typical project takes for homes similar to theirs.  Secondly, discussing timing opens the discussion on what the homeowner can expect from your company based on your current workload.  This ensures no one is left disappointed.
  3. How long would you like the system to last?  The gutter guard material a client chooses will play a critical factor in how long the product will last.  If they plan on staying in their home long-term, they may want to choose a durable, long-lasting product such as steel.  If they are preparing to sell their home shortly but still want to enjoy the benefits of a gutter guard system in the short-term, they may consider simple foam inserts or a vinyl system.
  4. What is your budget?  Knowing the customer’s budget restrictions will help you determine the best materials and products to offer.  While you can discuss systems that may be a little above or below their budget, steer clear of straying too far.  Quoting too high may send their business to a competitor.
  5. What type of vegetation accumulates most often in your gutters?  Knowing the type of vegetation that surrounds the area will help you and the homeowner find the right solution for their home.  When they clean their gutters, what do they find: large leaves and debris or smaller needles?  If their gutters become filled with small needles, you may want to discuss solutions which feature a finer mesh.
  6. How important is appearance to you?  Do they want their system to seamlessly fit with their current exterior or are its looks secondary to cost?  Gutter guard systems come in a number of colors and materials but not every brand may match the home.  If curb appeal matters make sure to guide the discussion towards solutions that not only work great but also look great too.
  7. What questions do you have?  Don’t forget to ask your customers if they have any question for you.  They may be too shy or timid to bring up concerns they may have so open the line of dialog for them.  Having clear communication will result in a smoother install as well as a more satisfied client.   

When ready to purchase the supplies for your next job trust America’s #1 online supplier of gutter tools and supplies -   We carry one of the largest selections of gutter guard systems and accessories so you can take on any job, any time.  Browse our large inventory of professional-grade products or call us at 888.909.7246 to learn more. 

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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Ornamental Accents That Wow

When it comes to offering your customers complete gutter systems, it is often hard to stand out from
the competition.  A gutter system is just a gutter system, right?  Wrong.   Offering your clients more than just the ordinary can help you separate yourself from the others while increasing your add-on sales. Ornamental gutter accents are a great addition to any home and can be the finishing touch that wows.  And you don’t have to be servicing mansions to get in on the action.  These products come in a variety of price points, styles, and options sure to fit any project and any budget.

Ornamental Gutter Products

Whether your customer is looking for traditional appeal or a more unique flare, there are many ornamental options available in today’s market. 

Gutter Medallions – Gutter medallions are a beautiful way to add the finishing touch to k style gutters. Each piece is constructed of cast iron and features a pre-punched hole on the top to easily screw it into place.  With both flower and leaf design options, you can help your customers add beauty to their home with these simple, easy-to-install medallions.

Leader Heads
– Leader heads, also known as collector’s boxes, can add great architectural appeal to many homes. Coming in a variety of materials from aluminum and copper to pre-weathered zinc, leader heads can be matched to property’s existing system adding a special flare to the exterior.  With one of the largest selections in the industry, carries over 30 leader head options.

Gargoyles – Gargoyles are not just for European castles anymore.  Once used in medieval times to defend a home from evil spirits, these detailed pieces of art can serve both function and form as a decorative spout for the gutter system.  Many of the gargoyles offers are custom fabricated ensuring your customer receives the highest quality product available online.

Ornamental Outlets & Downspouts
– Half round gutter outlets offer both function and beauty when it comes to system design.  These accents have a larger opening than standard outlets allowing leaves and other debris to more easily flush out preventing bottlenecking.  Twisted spiral gutter downspouts are yet another way to help your customer’s home stand out from their neighbors.  Available in both thin and wide spiral designs, each downspout is made by hand with the highest quality supplies and craftsmanship. 

Ornamental Brackets
– Downspout brackets can be the “icing on the cake” when it comes to gutter system design.  They add the finishing touch to complete the project and can be found in many design aesthetics from contemporary to a more traditional appeal.  There are also many pipe bands and clips available to complete the look.

If you are looking for beautiful gutter accents, browse’s large selection of ornamental products.  We offer both traditional and unique leader heads, downspouts, and more all sure to satisfy the needs of even the most challenging clients.  Click here to learn more about the huge variety of ornamental gutter accents has to offer or contact us at 888-909-RAIN.

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Thursday, March 12, 2015

10 Gutter Installation Tips from the Pro’s

Are your gutter jobs taking you too long and leaving your customers with only so-so results?  If so, it may be time to brush-up on your skills.  Knowing the tricks of the trade will not only help you cut cost through less waste and time on the job but also leave your clients with a better product in the end.  Read on to learn more about how to work smart when out in the field.

Here are 10 tips for professional Gutter Installation:

  1. Use a Material List – Begin by compiling everything you will need to complete the job.  This not only ensures your truck is loaded properly but also can help you plan the cuts that will make the best use of your material eliminating waste.  Taking time in the beginning to plan helps you work smarter in the end.
  2. Join Sections on the Ground – It is much easier to join your gutter ends from the ground than high up in the air.  Assemble your system from below and then adjust as needed when on the ladder.
  3. Good Snippers are your Best Friend – A good pair of snippers is helpful for almost any task at hand.  Invest in a quality pair to work quickly and cleanly.
  4. Cut Out the Downspout Outlet – To make your work look neater, cut the downspout outlet
    out of the gutter rather than using a small section with an outlet already installed.  This practice eliminates two seams leaving a much more finished look.

  5. Remember the ¼” for every 10 ft. Rule for Slope – Sloping is one of the essential ways that water is eliminated from the system so you want to make sure you get it right.  Each gutter should be sloped toward the downspout at an angle of 1/4-in. for every 10 feet of system.
  6. Apply Sealant Properly – When applying sealant always apply a liberal amount on the inside of the gutters.  Gutters must be dry so make sure to wipe any condensation off the parts when working in the morning or after a rainfall.
  7. Good Crimpers make Downspout Installation Easy – Downspout crimpers make it easy to prepare the downspouts for installation.  Good quality crimpers will make a factory precision crimp each and every time.
  8. Use Screws to Install Downspouts – When installing downspouts use screws rather than standard rivets.  The screws make it easier to remove the downspouts when cleaning out debris or clogs.  A 1/4-in. hex screw is a good one to try.  Just make sure it is pre-painted to match the rest of the system or it will stick out like a sore thumb.
  9. Always Have the Crimp Face Down – When installing elbows and downspouts always have the crimped ends facing down.  This is key to preventing leaks at the joints and ensuring a functional system.
  10. Clean Up after Yourself – Every good professional knows how important it is to leave the customer’s property as clean as it was when you arrived.  Make sure to take with you your leftover materials and supplies leaving them with not only a soundly-installed system but also a great impression of your company. 

When purchasing materials for your next job, visit for all the top-quality supplies and tools you need.  Not only do we offer a huge variety of gutters in every material imaginable, we also carry the best tools in the industry. For professional gutter products at the best prices, contact our expert staff at 1-888-909-RAIN (7246).

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Monday, February 23, 2015

Are Galvanized Steel Gutters Right for Your Home?

Many homeowners are unsure about the different options to choose from when deciding on which gutter system to install.  But did you know that there are many different styles of gutter material to choose from?  It is important to discover all the options available to you including galvanized steel.  Galvanized steel is becoming increasingly popular due to its durability, cost-effectiveness and low maintenance. 
Galvanized steel is among the most durable material options when choosing a gutter system.  With the addition of the galvanized steel coating, it adds another layer of protection to guard against harsh conditions during the winter and spring months. 

Low Cost
During the decision process, many homeowners weigh heavily the cost of the different gutter systems they are comparing. Galvanized steel systems are among the most cost effective because, once installed, they can last up to 20 to 30 years.  This offers a great return on their investment.

Low Maintenance
Galvanized steel gutters are very difficult to damage and require little maintenance.  They are able to endure heavy rain, ice, sleet, and hail without showing any dents or scratches.  These gutter systems also can resist water, cold, heat, and foul weather all while holding their shape and continuing to function properly.
Whether you need a minor gutter repair or a complete gutter system installed, Custom Installations is here to help.  We have experience working with many types of gutter materials including galvanized steel, copper and aluminum.  Let our experts at Custom Installations help you make the right decision for your gutter system while addressing any of your other home exterior needs.  

Contact us  for more information or to schedule a consultation.

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Thursday, February 5, 2015

Pricing Gutter Installations: 5 Tips for Accurate Estimates

The accurate estimating of jobs is not only a science but often an art form that takes many professionals years of experience to master.  One must take into consideration both the cost of materials as well as labor and time.  Keeping both aspects in check ensures that both you and the customer are happy when the job is complete.  Your client receives what they expected and “signed up” for and you can enjoy the profits made from the job.  On the flip side, poorly priced quotes can leave your small business floundering.  Estimate too high and you may lose out to lower bids.  Price too low and you end up eating the cost of the overages.

Below are five tips to generate the most accurate estimates for your gutter jobs:
  1. Ask the Right Questions.  The best estimates start with the right questions.  On your initial consultation with the customer, review their material, sizing and style options.  Cover with them any insurance claims and warranty questions.  It is also important to do a complete visual inspection of the area you will be working on to note any structural issues or other concerns to consider.  This is also a great time to ask if there are any other exterior repairs you can assist them with!
  2. Always Round Up.  When determining how long a job will take, it is best to always round up.  Some contractors swear by the success of doubling the projection time.  While this practice may be too much of a risk for your business, it is usually a safe bet to add at least an additional 25% of the projected time onto the bid.
  3. List Every Material Needed.  When compiling your material list try and not leave anything off.  Include every piece of material you will be using down to the last nail.  Now you may not have to get that detailed but the point is to remember to factor in those smaller, less expensive supplies into your bids.  In the end, you need to buy the nails for the job just like you need to buy the gutters themselves.
  4. Consider Hidden Conditions. Jobsite Concerns.  During your visual inspection of the property, note any areas of concern you find.  It may be quickly determined that these repairs will need to be fixed in order to complete the job or you may just need to include a estimation of the work in case it needs to be addressed.  Also take into consideration other jobsite concerns such as the height of the building, the property’s distance from your office, and whether you need to clean-up materials every day for an occupied home or if you can be more lax working on an unoccupied unit.
  5. Communicate Effectively.  In the end, the best estimate is one that clearly outlines both the contractor’s and homeowner’s responsibilities and expectations.  If the job changes along the way, as many of them do, simply update the contract and share this with your customer.   Great communication and customer service can go a long way in a both a successful job and a happy customer.

Following these tips will ensure both you and the customer come out winners when the job is complete.  Another tool that can be helpful in pricing out bids is’s Quick Shop.  The Quick Shop provides a simple, easy way to gather a material list for each unique job.  By selecting your material, style, size, and color, you can quickly see what materials you’ll need.  Learn more about the Quick Shop and the other contractor services we provide by visiting our website at

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Friday, January 23, 2015

The Contractor’s Guide to Staying Safe on the Jobsite

For gutter installation contractors, much of their work is completed outdoors and often at heights that would make the average person a little queasy.  The nature of the job carries with it many hazards to avoid especially when working alone.  Staying safe on the jobsite is not only important for your health but also for the success of your small business.  Imagine being hurt on the worksite and not being able to work for weeks.  Taking just a few extra precautions, using some simple protective tools and being smart about how you work can all help keep you protected while on the clock.

Here are a few safety rules that every gutter installation contractor should know:

Use the Right Gloves for the Job
Thick work gloves should be used when working with nails, screws, gutter debris, and other hazards.   Leather Palm Gloves work great for everyday use and prevent punctures.  Gloves designed specifically for copper handling such as the Copper Wonder Gloves keep unsightly fingerprints from getting on the material.  

Stay Safe Working at Heights
Be smart when working at heights.  You may want to invest in fall protection for extreme heights while at other times relying on simply common sense.  First, never attempt to work on a roof when there is an accumulation of ice present.  Also never lean over the edge and be cautious of utility lines that may be near you.  You may also want to invest in equipment that frees your hands for better body control.  Products like the Gutter Mate allow you to work quickly and safely using both hands.

Be Smart About Ladder Placement
Ladder safety is a must in our industry.  First, always inspect the ladder before each use.  Secondly, always place the ladder on stable, level ground and away from doors, sidewalks, and other general walkway areas.   When ascending the ladder, never step up onto the last two rungs.  Depending on the height of the property you are working on, a four-step ladder or longer extension ladder can be used.  Lastly, never place the ladder directly onto the gutter. This places additional weight and pressure on the gutter and may cause it to dent, crack or collapse making the ladder (and your footing) unstable.  A ladder stabilizer can be a great tool to add needed support.

Protect Your Eyes
Whether you are cleaning gutters or working with rivet and nail guns, it’s important to protect your eyes from flying debris. Use glasses or goggles that are lightweight enough to be comfortable to wear but provide protection from every angle.  Goggles can also be used but many find them cumbersome to put on and wear. 

Use Rubber-Soled Shoes
Rubber-soled shoes provide the grip and traction you need when working on rooftops or in slippery conditions.  Keep in mind that many shoes are listed as “slip-resistant” but don’t provide adequate support.  Before investing in a pair, make sure the sole is constructed of 100% rubber and not polyurethane or polyvinyl chloride (PVC).  Rubber provides better slip-resistance.

One of the best ways to stay safe on the jobsite is by investing in the right gear.  At, we carry a number of products all designed to protect you while you work.  From leather working gloves to ladder stabilizers, we have one of the largest selections of gutters supplies and tools all at great prices.  Click here to learn more about the safety protection that carries or contact us at 888-909-RAIN.

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