How to Safely Hang Christmas Lights on Your Gutters

The holiday season is upon us and it’s time to put some sparkle on your home. Christmas lights are one of the easiest ways to be one of the most festive houses on the block! Here are some easy tips to follow to ensure both razzle-dazzle as well as safety.

Which Lights Work Best:

C7 or C9 light bulbs and icicle lights are the most popular Christmas lights for hanging across gutters and roof overhangs. C7 bulbs are the classic Christmas light size and a favorite among Christmas enthusiasts while C9 bulbs are slightly larger, perfect for creating bold, high impact lighting that can be seen from longer distances.

Which Light Clip is Best?

Vertical or horizontal? When installing Christmas lights on gutters, some clips will allow bulbs to face either direction while others can only provide one hanging option. By first determining which direction your lights will hang, will help you choose the proper clip for hanging.

How to Hang Christmas Lights Across Gutters:

  1. Attach a clip to the base of each light in the direction you plan for your lights to hang.

  2. Place your ladder on the side nearest your outlet. This is where you will begin hanging your lights.

  3. Plug a strand of lights into an extension cord long enough to reach from the outlet to the edge of the roof with enough slack for the extension cord to follow a path along the ground against the wall upwards, then vertically up to a corner of the roof line. Set the male end of the extension cord near the outlet and check that it stays in place as you climb upward toward your roof.

  4. Attach your first light clip beside the extension cord to the edge of the gutter.

  5. Keep your light string fairly taut as you continue to clip each bulb across your gutter. You will need to reposition the ladder as you go so be sure not to overextend yourself or shift your balance away from your ladder.

  6. If necessary, plug a second light string into the first. Then continue to clip your light bulbs in place as you did with the first.

  7. When you come to the end of your gutter, either run the remainder of the strand down the side of your house or continue upward to your peak. Light caps or electrical tape can be used to cover unused sockets, protecting them from the elements.

Finally, be safe! Each year there are countless injuries caused by people falling off ladders while hanging Christmas decorations. If you're not sure if your up for the task, hire a professional. Sometimes it's the little projects that seem like 'no big deal' that lead to serious injuries. Here’s wishing you a very Merry Christmas full of holiday cheer and a Happy New Year!

Helpful Gutter Tips

The gutters on your house are one of the most important, yet often overlooked necessities of your home. Gutters equip your home with the ability to prevent potential damages due to storms and other unforeseen weather events. Here is a list of helpful hints that will allow you to take better control over what happens to your home during a storm.

  • In years past, gutter spikes were used to hold your gutters in place but often times they miss the rafters entirely, usually because the spikes have worked their way out of their holes over the course of many years. It’s a good idea to invest in screw brackets so that your gutters are securely fastened. This helps to prevent your gutters from draining poorly.
     
  • Another thing you want to look for are sources of any leaks or drips, including holes in your gutters and cracked caulking in the seams. If you’re unsure of what to look for this is a great time to call and have an expert take a look.
  • Also check out the screws or rivets on the downspout. Frequently, they’ll be loose or will have dropped out completely. This is something that can be addressed by your gutter expert as well. They will go through and make sure all screws and rivets are properly secure and tight.
     
  • Once you’ve finished with the mechanics and secured your gutter, you can attend to cleaning them.
  • If your gutters are rusting, then they are VERY old. Gutters are now manufactured solely in aluminum and copper now. These don’t rust. If you witness rust on your gutters, you should replace them.
  • A splash block is a very important element. It keeps the water coming out of the downspouts from digging a trench next to the house, and it keeps water away from the home’s foundation.
  • Finally, unsure of what to do with all those decomposed leaves from your gutter? They make great mulch or compost which you can use for landscaping projects. Remember, if leaves and debris are clogging your downspout, water won’t drain properly, and along with mildew and mud, the extra weight will pull on your gutters, causing them to hang, pull away or even completely fall. All of this leads to the potential of water entering and damaging your home.

Call Zander Gutter Contracting today and let us ensure your gutters are ready for any storms that head our way!

Common Types of Gutter Guards: Explained

We’ve talked a lot about the integral part gutters have in protecting your home from environmental damage. Gutter guards are an added feature intended to reduce the possibility of damage caused by clogged gutters, as well as limit the frequency of cleanings and maintenance. There are many different types of gutter guards, and all claim to be the best. However, before we discuss which gutter guard we prefer, let’s take a look at the design options available on the market today.

COMMON TYPES OF Gutter GUARDS

Gutter screens come in several varieties including roll-out, hinged, and snap-on. They are typically manufactured from plastic or metal. These type of guards are usually promoted as easy to install and inexpensive.

One significant issue with gutter screens is that the ends of the sections aren't sealed-off.  This creates gaps where leaves, debris and sticks can get through.  It also creates opportunities for small animals such as squirrels and birds to wedge their way under the screen to nest.  Another problem that arises is leaves, sticks and stems getting caught in the large screen openings, creating a greater problem of built up debris. Oak tassels and helicopters are also notorious for finding their way in and getting caught on top.

Also, if the screens simply roll out or lay on without secure fasteners, they can blow out of position or completely off the gutter altogether.

Bottle brush guards simply lay in the gutter channel. Pretty much the only positive thing about this type of guard is that it isn’t visible from the ground. The brushes may help a little with large leaves, but actually trap smaller debris and seedlings in the gutter. The bristles snag almost all types of debris and actually hinder it from being washed away with a normal rain. Plus, if you’re looking for easy maintenance, this most definitely is not your option. In order to clean out your gutters you will have to first clean the brushes by removing them completely and shaking out all that clogged debris. At least when cleaning gutters with no guards at all it is easy to scoop and bag the debris.

 

Gutter inserts are the least effective of leaf protection options. They come in different formats, from foam to the rounded bristles we discussed above. Inserts are designed to be placed into the gutter trough and repel leaves and debris while permitting rain to pass through the membrane or brush. They seemingly work for about a year, then the material begins to deteriorate. This product has also been found to trap fine particulate matter in the gutter, making it more difficult to clean effectively. Another issue with inserts is that they can't absorb rainwater fast enough.  Even with moderate rainfalls, the water runs directly over the gutter, causing landscaping and drainage issues.

 

Permanent gutter covers are professionally installed systems that are designed to allow rainwater to flow in and debris to fall away. They are permanently attached with nails to the roof or under the bottom couple rows of shingles. Anytime you put holes in a roof you increase the risk of roof leaks. These systems advertise the water adhesion theory. It’s a dome type system that the water is supposed to adhere to as it falls and wrap around the cover. The issue is that with heavy rains the water shoots right over the guard. This issue also applies to any solid gutter cover. Another  problem with these type of guards is that the opening will allow for debris to enter (especially maple seeds) and for small birds to enter and build nests. Since the covers are fixed, permanent systems, there is no way to get into the gutter to clean it out without ripping out the system and risking roof and/or gutter damage. 

Through all of our years of business and experience, Zander Gutter Contracting has researched and tested several types of gutter protection. In our opinion, The LeafTech Gutter Protection System is by far the most effective system out there for the price and is the only product we will stand by.

LeafTech Gutter Guard will: 

  • Protects your gutters from leaves, seedlings, pine needles, birds and squirrels

  • Fits securely over the gutter while still enabling water to flow over and through

  • Can be used on all sizes of K Style and Half Round gutters, including copper

  • Pays for itself within 3-5 years by eliminating annual cleaning costs

  • Comes in many colors & copper

  • Ends are sealed to prevent animals from nesting

Click here to learn more oh how the LeafTech system works.

It’s often a commonplace practice of many roofing contractors and builders to offer a gutter guard system either free or at 'extreme discounts' as an added bonus of new construction.  These “cost effective” gutter guards often result in homeowners discovering a clogged mess when it comes to cleaning time. We are constantly removing all types of dysfunctional gutter guards. Removing these covers to clean can result in additional fees for time and labor. If you are in the market for a new roof or gutters and are offered free or discounted gutter guard be sure to ask what type of guard it is, if there is a no-clog warranty, and consider it carefully before having them installed.

It’s important to remember that even with the best and highest quality gutter guard system, your gutters still need to be checked periodically to make sure they are functioning properly. It’s tempting to assume that with a gutter guard you can forget about regular maintenance. Winter snow and ice, falling tree limbs, and industrious animals can cause damage that is often undetected until water damage occurs. Regardless if you choose to install guards or not, keeping your gutters maintained is critical to avoiding water damage to your home.

For more information about gutter guards or any of our services:

The Importance of Cleaning out your Gutters

Gutters are imperative for maintaining the structural integrity of your home. The quality of their performance, however, hinges on proper maintenance throughout the year.

With proper gutter maintenance and cleaning, you can:

  • Avoid expensive home repair and painting from damage due to gutter failure.

  • Avoid replacement costs of damaged gutter due to material overload

  • Prevent water from trapping and freezing in the gutter, weighing down the gutter and causing damage to the gutter and the roof.

  • Prevent organic matter and water from settling in your gutters which can lead to the formation of mold, which contributes to the further clogging of the gutter.

A gutter that is full of debris will not function properly. The accumulation of dry leaves and debris will prevent the proper flow of water through the gutter system, leading to excess rainwater pouring out of the sides of the gutter onto the siding of the house and flooding the surrounding foundation and landscape.

The number of cleanings your gutters will need every year depends on various factors, such as the amount of trees surrounding your home. We recommend at least 3 times per year. Once in the Spring after the trees have shed their seedlings and twice in the fall to make sure no debris is left from that beautiful fall foliage. Thorough maintenance ensures that when precipitation occurs, water will flow freely through the gutter and into the downspout preventing damage.

Protect your home investment.

Contact us today to schedule your gutter cleaning.

The History of Rain Gutters. (Yes, they have a history!)

We talk a lot about the importance of a quality gutter system for your home. It’s pretty much a given that if you own a home it has gutters. Most of us, however, have probably never given much thought that rain gutters have a “history” and it’s actually half way interesting.

The original implementation of a gutter type system dates back to ancient times when barrels were used to collect rainwater for drinking and bathing. The first “constructed” gutters were made from bricks and burnt clay, developed to serve as a type of less than modern day water-based toilet system. Eventually, civilizations in Egypt and Greece introduced gutters  that took on a more architectural style in the form of gargoyles resembling a lion’s head.

These were used in the more traditional sense to divert water from structures by acting as water spouts. The Romans also had their own take on the early gutter system, transforming road development through the creation of crowns, slightly higher elevation in the middle of the street, to create a runoff of water into gutters.

Eventually the innovation of the gutter spread, heading into northern Europe, and as changes in roof styles evolved, gargoyles became the dominant and sole gutter system.

As modern civilization continued to develop so did the function and style of rain gutters. The early 1700s introduced us to cast iron, a very plentiful and cheap material. This material quickly gained popularity and eventually replaced lead as the main metal used in the construction of gutters. As the century progressed so did the use and functionality of these systems, with wooden gutters being placed on to public buildings and wealthy homes. Due to the aesthetically pleasing nature of the wooden V-shaped gutter, combined with functionality, this style continued well into the 20th century.

The 20th century showcased how to implement new technologies and materials in gutter systems. For example, the invention of metal rolling machines led to half-round steel gutters being installed on buildings. Then, during the World War II era, plastic was developed and this material became the dominant ingredient for creating gutters. Finally, in the 1960s, the gutter industry was completely revolutionized by the invention of the seamless aluminum gutter machine. Stronger and lighter than other metals used to create gutters, aluminum continues to be the dominant metal used in guttering today.

So that’s it in a nutshell! Your very own crash course on a system that has become integral to the structural integrity and longevity of your home. Gutters have come a long way from a wooden barrel collecting rainwater, to say the least! Today, gutters not only offer functionality but also style and appeal to your home. Call us today for your free quote and to learn about the wide array of colors, designs, shapes, styles, materials and configurations available to add the finishing touch to your home.

The Beauty and Durability of Copper Gutters

We’ve already discussed the importance of gutters and the value and protection they add to your home. The next decision is to look at the different materials and styles available for rain gutter systems and decide which one is right for you and your home. Copper gutters are gaining in popularity so let’s take a look at why and if copper gutters are the right choice for you!

  • First, copper rain gutters are extremely durable. They can weather extreme climate changes and seasons from subzero winters to sweltering hot summers. They also will endure constant exposure to the elements without weakening, rusting or rotting.

  • Copper rain gutter systems are long-lasting, often spanning 60-100 years without need of significant maintenance. This tremendous benefit offers the ability for homeowners to recoup the higher initial installation cost of copper with fewer replacements needed over time.

  • The visual appeal of copper rain gutters also offers instant interest and appeal. Initially, the vibrant color and glimmer of the golden hue is a unique eye catcher. Then over time, through oxidation, copper gutters form a coat of patina.  This can create a unique, stunning weathered look in just a couple of years.  Homeowners enjoy the rustic look of this patina effect.

  • Next, copper gutters require minimal maintenance.  While they still need to be cleared of leaves and debris, they rarely sag or need replacement. However, it is vitally important that copper rain gutters are professionally installed to ensure they remain securely and properly attached to the structure.

  • Finally, copper rain gutters can be a great way to help a home stand out in the neighborhood.  Adding a stately appeal, this material choice not only increases the value of the home but can also be a great selling feature when it comes time to put the property on the market.

Copper gutters come in K style and half round. The experts at Zander Gutter will help you decide which style is best designed for your home. So, whether you are attempting to stay true to the historic structure of an older home or simply want your home exterior to make a unique statement, copper rain gutters are a stunning and long-lasting solution. Give Zander Gutter Contracting a call today. We would love to give you a free estimate and help you create a beautiful and secure home that will last for years to come!

Meet the Team

Born and raised in Chester, N.J., Steve Zander always dreamed of owning his own business. Through hard work and determination he witnessed his dream become reality. After working with Jim Frey, the original “Gutter Guy” of New Jersey for several years he was offered the opportunity to buy the 45-year-old business in 2004. This was just the beginning of an exciting journey providing quality craftsmanship, surpassing customer service, and a core team of hard working experts.

Our Team

Some affectionately call us “The Gutter Guys” … heck, we call ourselves that, because that’s what we’re all about - gutters. Really, though, after installing gutters for more than 18 years, a more appropriate name would be the “Gutter Masters.” We love all things gutters … from classic aluminum to incredibly stunning copper … to K-Style to Half-Round … from finding the best gutter protection (we use only Leaftech as it’s the best we’ve found by far) to answering all your questions about seamless gutters.

Steve Sr.
The Gutter Gator

Topping Playlist:  The Avett Brothers, Dave Matthews, Bob Marley
Takes his Taylor Ham: Sandwhich with egg, cheese, salt, pepper, HOT peppers and ketchup (where else but Jersey?!)
Go to Classic Movie: Groundhog Day
Doppelganger:
He wishes: Robert Redford as The Sundance Kid
More like: Adam Sandler as Happy Gilmore
Favorite Movie Quote: “Who are those guys?” ~ Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

And yes, he likes alligators!


Steven Jr.
Sunshine

Topping Playlist: “Lights'Come On”~ Jason Aldean
Takes his Taylor Ham: The Works with a side of Tums!
Go to Classic Movie: Any Given Sunday
Doppleganger:
He wishes: Josh Hartnett in Pearl Harbor
More like: Spock in Star Trek
Favorite Movie Quote: “Do or do not, there is no try”~Yoda

Graduate of Fairleigh Dickinson University: Business Management

OK, we admit it, he’s pretty darn good at golf!

 


Brooke
Brooklyn

brooke_gutters1.jpg

Topping Playlist: Anything by The Chainsmokers, Eminem, or Sam Smith
Takes her Taylor Ham: On a buttered piece of toast!
Go to Classic Movie: 'Step Brothers', or 'Bridesmaids'.
Doppelganger:
She wishes: Christie Brinkley
More like: Miss Piggy
Favorite Movie Quote: "Is butter a carb?" Regina George, 'Mean Girls'.

Graduate of Kean University: Business Management

Would rather be hanging with her best canine bud Mobin!


Nick Z
The Youngin'

Topping Playlist: “Thunder Struck” ~ AC/DC
Takes his Taylor Ham: No Frills! Just Ketchup.
Go to Classic Movie: Jaws
Doppelganger:
He wishes: Matt Damon in Bourne Identity
More like: Jason Bateman in Identity Thief
Favorite Movie Quote: “Every champion was once a contender who refused to give up!” ~ Rocky Balboa

Graduate of Valley Road School

And yes, Baseball is his life. Just call him Ace!


Rich

Topping Playlist: Bob Marley, Sublime
Takes Taylor Ham: Salt, pepper, ketchup all day    
Go to Classic Movie: True Romance
Doppelganger:
He wishes: Seinfeld
More like: Kramer
Favorite Movie Quote: "Don’t waste my time” Al Pacino in “Heat”

I’d rather be playing football for Notre Dame


Christine Raymond
Office Ninja

Topping Playlist: Dave Matthews, Grateful Dead, anything with a seriously funky groove
Takes Taylor Ham: Sandwich with Egg, Cheese, & pepper (not nearly as exciting as the other sandwiches - whaaaa!)
Go to Classic Movie: Robin Hood: Men In Tights
Doppelganger:
She wishes: Cindy Crawford in the Pepsi Commercial
More like: Molly Shannon in Superstar
Favorite Movie Quote: “There’s no crying in baseball!” - Tom Hanks, ‘A League of Their Own’

I’d rather be scuba diving!
 

We’d love to meet you … please call us today to set up a free estimate!