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Friday, June 19, 2015

The Basics of Ladder Safety

As professional gutter contractor, climbing up and down a ladder hundreds of times a day is just part of the job.   It can be an exhausting and treacherous task and one of the main reasons why homeowners hire a professional to do the work.  In fact, the Center for Disease Control reported that 43% of all fall fatalities in the last decade involved a ladder.*  The height at which the fall may occur only makes the risks of this jobsite hazard even more dangerous.  For this reason, it is important that all contractors keep ladder safety in mind each and every time they climb.

Follow these guidelines for proper ladder safety:

Before you begin working

Prior to setting up your ladder, check out the area in which you’ll be working.  Is it a high traffic area where adults or kids may be passing through?  Are there any signs of bee’s nests, birds nest, low-hanging branches or other environmental concerns?  

Visually inspect the existing roof, gutters, and building’s general exterior for signs of deterioration.
Assess the levelness of the ground looking for areas of unevenness or dips.

Consider the weather conditions.  Ladders should not be used during periods of high wind or storms.

Wear the right gear to stay safe.  Slip-resistant shoes are a must.  For better traction, clean the bottoms of the shoes soles prior to working.  You also want to utilize gear which helps you remain hands-free while climbing up and down. Consider wearing a tool belt or having a helper hand you tools and material.

Selecting the right ladder:

Size the ladder right for the job at hand. The ladder’s Duty Rating should be sufficient enough to handle the climber as well as all tools and supplies.  It should also be tall enough that the climber does not need to use the top rung to reach the working area.

Inspect the ladder prior to use.  Check for loose or damaged parts.  A ladder that leans or sways should never be used. 

Using the ladder properly:
When climbing a ladder, use slow, deliberate steps avoiding sudden movements.

Never attempt to move a ladder while you are on it.

Avoid overreaching while on the ladder.  A good rule is to keep your belt buckle in between the ladder’s side rails at all times.

Follow the Three Point-of-Contact rule at all times.  To minimize your risk of falling maintain three points of contact to the ladder while climbing up or down or working from it.  Keep either two hands and one foot or two feet and one hand on the ladders steps, side rails, and/or rungs.

At, we know how important ladder safety is to your business.  Helping keep you and your employee’s safe on the jobsite, we offer equipment such as the Ladder-Max ladder stabilizer and more.  Browse our extensive website to learn more about our large selection of safety products.  We make it convenient to order right online for all of your gutter supply needs.

*Occupational Ladder Fall Injuries – United States, 2011

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Thursday, June 4, 2015

A Professional’s Guide for Soffit Installation

If you have a home plagued with peeling or rotting soffits and fascia, installing new aluminum replacements may be the best solution to this common problem.  It can also save you the time and hassle of scraping and painting the wood edges. Like many home renovations, the quality of the installation has a great impact on the durability and overall finish of your soffits.  Knowing which materials to use and how to best install can help leave you with long-lasting results.

Before Beginning
Before beginning a soffit or fascia installation it is important to fix any underlying roof issues.  If the home experienced water damage in the past the problem is likely to persist into the future.  Although aluminum is less susceptible to the damaging effects of water, the wood underneath is still prone to it.  Ice dams, sagging shingles edges and broken shingles are all common problems to look for. 

Your Materials Matter
To take on this type of project you also need both the right materials and the correct quantity of them.  Most soffit panels come in 12’ lengths and are 12” wide.  Purchase a good mix of both solid and vented soffits.  A good rule to follow is 80 percent solid and 20 percent vented.  Aluminum soffits are often pre-painted so make sure to choose a color that will blend well with the existing exterior.  You also want to consider the profile of panel you choose.  At, we carry both Double 6 and Triple 4 profiles to fit every need.  

Here are a few soffit installation tips to follow for a professional finish:

  • For better end results, follow an installation sequence. Many suggest starting by leveling your existing wood soffit with the bottom of your fascia board. Install the J-Channel then moving to the soffits, then fascia, then drip edge.
  • If installing vented soffits, remove any existing vent covers in that area for better airflow.
  • Use the right trim nails for the job.  Make sure your trim nails are at least 1 ¼” long.  Also make sure to select a color that matches the materials you are installing.
  • Utilize a carpenter’s square to line up the first panel correctly. Install the panel perpendicular to the home with the groove side facing the direction you are installing.
  • If you have an existing frieze board below your wood soffit you can cap this with the material you will be using for your fascia. When bending your frieze board you should create a (Z bend) allowing the aluminum soffit to be level with the bottom of your fascia. Then install your J-Channel over the aluminum frieze board.

When installing soffits and fascia onto a home it is important to both prepare and plan for the project.  One way to make sure you have the right materials and tools for a professional finish is by choosing the right partner for your supply needs. is one of the nation’s largest online suppliers in the gutter industry.  We not only carry a large selection of both soffits and trim but also the quality tools you need to install them including tin snips and utility knives.

If you have any questions contact us or call us at 888-909-RAIN.

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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Gutters and Gutter Guard Myths Debunked

How much do homeowners really know about their gutters and the guards installed to protect them?  What they think is fact can be a far cry from the truth.  It is important to be aware of these misconceptions so that, as contractors, we can inform our customers on how gutters work, the function and purpose of a quality gutter guard system, and the best practices for maintaining both.  Below are some common myths about gutters and gutter guards.

The best person to clean my gutters is me….

Gutter cleaning is not just another chore that easily be accomplished by any homeowner.  The height at which you work and the difficult of this task can both make cleaning the gutter virtually impossible for some people with limited abilities or range of motion.  An experienced contractor with the appropriate ladder and tools to complete the work is often the best person for the job.

Few trees mean no debris in my gutters….

Just because a home has few or no trees, there are still many ways debris can get into the gutter system.  Wind-blown leaves from surrounding homes are often the common culprits  While properties with less trees may require fewer cleanings, they still need regular maintenance and inspections.

Gutter guards eliminate the need to ever clean my gutters again….

Installing gutter guards or gutter toppers can make necessary cleanings less frequent but does not completely eliminate the need for them. Virtually any system will allow at least some debris into the gutters themselves.  Gutter guards do however greatly reduce the amount of buildup while reducing the likelihood of blockages occurring. 

Gutter guards are ineffective….

Despite being a growing, thriving industry, many still believe that gutter guards are unnecessary for the average homeowner.  While every home and property is unique, many people can benefit from installing a quality guard system onto their home’s exterior.  These systems can greatly reduce the amount of debris within the gutters especially for homes with many trees and foliage.   For these types of properties, they can also lower the frequency in which gutter cleanings are necessary.

Metal is best when it comes to gutter guards….

Many believe that metal guards are far superior to any other type of system including vinyl.  While metal is a smart, durable choice the most important aspect to consider when choosing your gutter guards is which overall system is best for your unique home.  The climate in which you live, the foliage around your property, and the home’s architecture all play important parts in determining the right system for you.

If common myths have lead your customers to ignoring this important part of their home’s exterior, inform them on how to best to care for their gutters and gutter guards.  Stress to them the importance of annual maintenance and inspections.  Also make sure they know how critical quality installation by a trained professional can be to the durability and effectiveness of their system.  At we are dedicated to keeping both professionals and homeowners informed on the best practices within the gutter industry.  Click here to learn more.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

6 Reasons to Become a Registered Contractor Today

Have you heard about’s contractor program?  In a continued effort to better serve our customers, we have a special section of our website just for professional contractors and other businesses in the industry.  Our contractor partners enjoy many benefits from special pricing to custom printed materials and more. Whether you have shopped from us for years or have just recently discovered our site, we invite you to learn more about this special program.

Here are 6 reasons to become a registered contractor today:

  1. Enjoy Special Pricing – Want to get quality gutter supplies at great prices?  Our contractors enjoy special pricing on our large selection of products. You can also buy in bulk for those bigger projects.

  2. Receive Free Customer Sell Sheets – Customized sell sheets can help take your business to the next level.  We can add your unique business logo and contact information to sell sheets for our most popular products such as Gutter Guard, Micro Mesh, and Filter Flow.  Our sell sheets come in full color with a custom imprint made just for you.

  3. Easy Online Ordering – Entering in your contact information, address, and payment each and every time you order is a pain not to mention time-consuming.  Registered contractors enjoy easy online orders with much of their information securely saved for future use.  All you need to do is select the products and quantities you need for that specific order.

  4. Access to Thousands of Products – Those in our professional contractor program enjoy access to over 3,000 gutter products. ensures each of the products we offer are made with quality and durability in mind. Our gutters come in 12 metals along with hundreds of different sizes and styles.  We also carry some of the top brands in the industry including Van Mark brakes, New Tech gutter machines, and more.

  5. Quick Online Quotes – We know that the professional gutter contractor is often busy and on-the-go all the time.  That’s why we offer instant online quotes so that you can get what you need and fast.  No need to wait around for an emailed response.  You can take care of all of your ordering needs right through our website.

  6. Support from Our Technical Experts – If you have a question about a specific product or need help in selecting the materials for a unique application, contact our team of technical experts for help.  Whether you prefer to email or call, we have people standing by during standard business hours ready to help.  Learn more about how to contact us by visiting here.

If you are a professional contractor looking for great products at affordable prices, sign up for our contractor program today.  Just fill out a quick questionnaire and provide one business reference to get started on enjoying all the benefits of our professional partners.   If you have other questions about our contractor program or want learn more about it, visit us here or call 1-888-909-RAIN (7246). 

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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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