Old gutter technology is still hanging around

A lazy Sunday afternoon drive through Ottawa found many older homes displaying sagging eavestroughs.  In some areas, there were entire streets with unsightly eavestroughs! Bewildered, I asked my husband why and he told me about an old technology called Spike and Ferrule, which was once the standard method used by eavestroughing companies.  Okay, so that explained why I was seeing it on older houses but what exactly is the Spike and Ferrule method?

As it turns out, a Ferrule is a small hollow tube or cylinder. A Spike is a large nail with a smooth surface. The method involves inserting the ferrule into the eavestroughs at specific intervals to keep it from bending. The spike is then hammered through the gutter, into the ferrule and , ultimately into the fascia board. In essence, the spikes hold the weight of the gutter! Then a dab of touch up paint would be applied to the spike heads in an attempt to cover them up.

While this was a reliable water diversion method initially, over time some changes began to occur which lessened the aesthetic and functionality features of the method. Firstly, the touch up paint would begin to chip away thereby making the heads of the nails visible. Aside from being unattractive, the spikes (which have little grip) inevitably loosen up over time as the temperatures fluctuate. Expansion and contraction can lead to a stressed gutter and eventually it will pull away from the house.

The current technology used by most installers is the hidden hanger system which, as the name implies, does not show on the face of the eavestroughs. Additionally, screws are used  to anchor  the troughs into the fascia boards thereby allowing them to grip to the wood, unlike the smooth spikes which were previously used.

A quick google search found many companies still using the old Spike and Ferrule method and even teaching DIY’ers how to assemble their gutters using this method.

As a homeowner, you have the right to ask which fastening method your installer will be using. More importantly than that, make sure you select a company that will fix any issues and who will be there years down the road to honour their warranty. Don’t fall victim to the handyman who will give you a better price. You and your home deserve better!

What to expect when you are expecting us

Of all the home improvement projects you could be doing, new eavestroughs seems like the least important, right? I mean, how often have you had your neighbours say “Wow, what great eavestroughs you have!”?  My bet is never. While often overlooked, you have finally decided to invest in a water protection system for your home. You have called around to get some quotes. Now what? You may be wondering “Do I need to be present for the quote?” “Will I be involved in the process?” “How do I know if I can trust these guys?” These are all valid questions and you are about to get the answers!

On the day of your quote, we begin by taking a walk around the perimeter of your home. We make notes about things such as the slope of your land, any potential safety hazards our crew might encounter, such as bees nests, electrical wires, or uneven ground. After our inspection, we take the required measurements and determine the price. It is not necessary for you, the homeowner, to be present for the inspection/quote, although you are most welcome!

You are then left a detailed quote sheet with our suggestions for colour, downspout location and whether there is a need for leaf screen.  As always, we value your input and take your preferences into consideration! We are never more than a phone call away. We encourage you to ask questions, to seek verification and to read our excellent reviews from customers past and present. (www.homestars.com)


Congratulations! Installation day is finally here (sorry if you had to wait a bit for this day. We’ve been quite popular since word got out that we are the premium company for quality and service!)

For the average home, installation will be done in one day. We will arrive with our trailer already stocked with a coil of 0.032″ aluminum in the colour you have chosen. Each run of eave is measured individually and is run through our forming machine to create a seamless (continuous) piece of gutter that is custom sized to fit your home.

Our crew will work their way around your home, fabricating, installing and sealing each length and each corner as they go. Don’t worry, we will call you if we run into any unforeseen problems. We will never make changes to our agreed contract without your permission!

I almost forgot to mention that an owner is present at each and every installation, for your added peace of mind.  These are great guys who are very approachable!

At day’s end, we don’t pack up and leave until we have cleaned up and inspected your property. In fact, we have a post-installation checklist that we fill out leave behind for you!

Don’t worry if you aren’t home to pay us. We will leave our invoice in your mailbox and you can mail us a cheque later. If you want to collect those Air Miles you can because we also accept credit cards!

Voila! That was easy and painless huh? As always, if something we did is not to your satisfaction, we will fix it. Simple as that. We always GUT’TER DONE, although our jokes might need a little work!

Creative uses for your gutters

Normally when my husband replaces gutters for his clients, they ask him to remove their old ones. As these pictures show, there are alot of other uses that I have never thought of!

Rocking chairs for the cottage perhaps?

This looks like an elaborate way to direct water to the front garden.  Call me crazy, but I envision birds enjoying a mid-afternoon bath!

A brilliant and space saving way to grow your own vegetables!

Add a little flair to your shed!

A ribbon holder! I never would have thought of that.

Hmmmm……okay……maybe I’m not seeing the idea here!? That IS a gutter in the toilet, right?

This building is in Europe and the gutters have been designed to resemble musical instruments. The Wow factor with this intricate set-up is that it actually does play music when it rains!

I would love to see your ideas!

Water saving strategies

In light of the recent claim by City Council that Ottawa’s water rates are set to rise at a combined 74% over the next 10 years, it seems obvious that water conservation will soon be an essential practice.

The scale of human consumption has been gradually draining rivers, depleting groundwaters, eroding soils and wracking up ecological debts with consequences to our future.

With World Water Day approaching on March 22, we have put together a list of simple ideas to help conserve water and save you money at the same time.

1. Shortening your shower by even a minute or two can save over 100 gallons of water each month!

2. Turning off the water while brushing your teeth can save 25 gallons of water each month!

3. Want to know if you have a leaky toilet? Place some food colouring in the tank and, without flushing, if the colour seeps into the bowl within 30 minutes then you have a leak.  This can add up to alot of wasted water (and money) if it goes un-noticed.

4. Drop your kleenex in the garbage instead of flushing it and you will save water each time!

5. Keep a bucket in the shower. When it fills up, use that water to flush your toilet or water your plants.

6. All those flushes add up. Perhaps you could consider adopting a “if it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down” philosophy for your home.

7. Make sure your hot water thermostat isn’t set too high. The hotter your temperature is, the more cold water you will waste trying to cool it down.

8. That cup of coffee that got cold sitting on your desk? Reheat it instead of making  more.

9. The average pool takes 22,000 gallons of water to fill and, if you aren’t using a cover, you will lose of hundreds of gallons per month to evaporation.

10. Mulch, mulch, mulch! A big layer of mulch around your gardens will help the soil retain its moisture.

11. When you wash your car, why not wash it on your lawn so your grass gets watered at the same time!

12. Use a rain barrel that is outfitted with a spigot and a suitable cover to collect the rainwater that flows through your eavestrough system. Use this water instead of turning to the hose for flower pots, gardens and window boxes. Rain water is actually better for your plants as it does not contain any chlorine and is at an ambient temperature. Keep your rain barrel covered to prevent mosquitos and for safety reasons.

These simple tips can amount to a large savings in water consumption (and waste!).