Monday, 30 March 2009

[Progress.152] Leaf Guard Problem

As mentioned in this post, we like the gutter installation service from ABC Seamless in our previous old house, and as below, we have lots of leaves blocking the gutters at the back of the house, so we arranged to have leaf guard installed on all the gutters around end of January by ABC Seamless.

Unfortunately the quality of their leaf guard installation was quite disappointing. After waiting for almost 2 months with some email/phone conversation, an invoice and an inspection, the issue still hasn't been resolved, I am now covering "my version" of the details in this post and would like to hear your opinion.

I know we are quite fussy, but please let me know if you think the quality is acceptable, okay, or unacceptable if this is what's been installed on the brand new gutter of your brand new house...

Here it goes...

They sent 2 young blokes on the very hot day of 21/1 and 22/1 (about 2 weeks before the Victoria Bush Fire, Black Saturday) and they worked extremely hard under the hot weather. Just look at how much leaves and rubbish they removed at the beginning of day 1. Those smaller, curly mesh in the previous/following photos were those temporarily "cheap" leaf guards which I bought from Bunning's Warehouse and installed myself mid last year.

When they finished their job around the early afternoon of day 1 (it's too hot and dangerous to continue), we noticed something not quite right.

I will just use the same roof valley mentioned above as first example, and other areas will be covered below. Have a look at the photo below which was taken at the end of day 1. We were expecting those areas marked in red to be sealed with silicon. Also, the lower left hand side wasn't done properly and has huge wave shape which looks really ugly.

They said it will be fixed in day 2, but on the next day before lunch time, they said everything was done and they have to rush to the next job. We were very disappointed to see that only the waved shape part was slightly improved and those areas we requested to be sealed were still not sealed. I also quickly check around and found a few more problems but they only have time for some rough fix/repair.

We knew they worked very hard, but the quality of work is really disappointing. During the short chat before they left, we found that:

1) the leaf guard installation of ABC Seamless is actually subcontracted to Ultramesh. The company has a "under construction" web site, but I found their details form this page on the yellow pages.

2) one of the young blokes only have 2 months experience and other one is just slightly better. Well, that explains everything...

Don't think it's their fault, I wouldn't mind they use this job to train new staffs, but their boss should have a more senior person on site supervising the quality of work!

I took the following photo yesterday, only after 2 months, as expected, there's already a huge hole/gap on the leaf guard!

Have a look at their brochure below, 15 years manufacture's warranty. But on what? Guarantee that the mesh won't melt under the sun?

In the following week we have a few email/phone conversations with both companies. The boss of Ultramesh promised he will come and have a look after we sent them detail photos by email. But they sent a different guy instead for inspection, who agreed to almost everything we said, and promised they will re-do most of the work.

Be very careful with the details on the Invoice!
Then surprisingly we received the invoice asking for payment on the next day after the inspection. We thought since they promised to re-do most of the work, we should wait for it to be completed first.

For the next few days we didn't get any update, we then accidentally found that on the invoice there's a fine print as shown in photo below: "Should we not hear from you within seven days, then we shall assume that you would prefer that we utilise the credit card details previously provided at the time of deposit".

That's not very nice!

This also gave us the bad feeling that they were actually waiting for the 7 days to past and could then charge us on the credit card! And the credit card details was only provided because we didn't have enough cash for deposit on the day of ordering the job and definitely not for the full payment, and the work wasn't even properly completed yet! If we were charged in full amount, we lost control of everything!

We quickly contact our bank about this, contact ABC Seamless and left voice mail as it's already after hours, and follow up with email to stop this unauthorised transaction.

The following week they started responding. Ultramesh said they will come and fix everything, but we were concern if this is going to cause even more damage as they have to drill more holes on the gutter and move the roof tiles around during installation. We request for detail explanation in writing about how are they going to fix it without causing more damages before starting any work, and since then we never heard anything from either company.

So we now have a not-so-nicely-installed leaf guard, which we only paid the deposit. Have to wait and see what's going to happen next...

Examples of other problems we found were listed below.

Other Details
I am guessing the main reason for the leaf guard installation to look so ugly is the way the corner/hip roof area been treated. I was expecting all the last row of roof tiles to be moved/adjusted, the mesh will then be slide between the last and 2nd last row of roof tiles, with the last row fully covered, joined to the gutter, the roof tiles on the hip area properly re-sealed.

I think nowadays it was done in a different way to cut cost down. The middle parts are still done as mentioned above, but the most critical corner/hip area where 2 gutters joined at an right angle, they simply cut the mesh to fit the "V" or "U" shape (the green line in photo below) of the special hip roof tile (this might not be the correct term, but I think you can guess what I mean), and then seal the mesh around it with silicon. This way, they don't have to touch that corner roof tile and re-seal the roof tile.
Corner A
Unfortunately, if the mesh wasn't cut/sealed properly by an "experienced" person, it will be like the areas I highlighted in red below, very ugly... The photo below was taken a the end of day 1. Let's call this "Corner A".

They said they will fix it, but at day 2, as below, "Corner A" still looks pretty much the same.

The photo below is what "Corner A" looks a few days ago.

Corner B
The followings are photos of "Corner B", which is right next to the valley mentioned at the beginning. Remember the waved shape part at the end of day 1? I have to say this corner is the worst!

This is "Corner B" at the end of day 2. Notice the huge gap in the middle red box. I think they try to flatten the waved shape part by pulling it away from the gutter, but that reveals the huge gap at the corner.

This is a closer look at the gap, with the mesh pulled away from the dried silicon. Don't think they can fix it without re-doing the whole lot!

This is another close look at different part of "Corner B", notice the silicons are only applied in the 2 areas marked in green. Leaving huge gaps in between. If the mesh could be cut another 2 cm longer, then it can be properly sealed to the 2nd row of roof tiles...

This is what "Corner B" looks like a few days ago... Don't know what to say about it... What's the point of installing a leaf guard with huge gaps everywhere?

Corner C
"Corner C" has a different problem. This is what it looks like in early day 1, before any silicon been applied. As highlighted in red, even with the screw installed, it wasn't joined properly. I pointed this out to them and again, they said it will be fixed the next day.

At the end of day 2, they added another screw and it does look a bit better.

There's another problem at the other side of "Corner C", with a huge cut...

Not sure if it's the mesh been stretched too badly or the 2 screws not been installed properly, this is what "Corner C" looks like a few days ago. Did someone mention 15 years? It can't even last for 2 months!

Corner D
This is "Corner D", they said due to the hot weather, the silicon can't dry & stick properly.

But then I pointed out to them about a different corner (see below), which is one of the "better" looking ones. I asked if "Corner D" can have a nice finish like this one.

They said they will try and this is what I got at the end of day 2...

This is what "Corner D" looks like a few days ago.

Other Corners at the front
This is one of the corners at the front on day 2 where the silicon was applied on the roof tile with certain areas not even touching the mesh at all. I pointed this out to them before they disappeared and it was fixed.

Another one with huge gap due to improperly cut mesh...

This one is the last corner at the front and it's quite ridiculous. They were in a hurry to go and just leave it like this. Lucky I saw it, took this photo and got them to stay back another 20 min to fix it. I really felt like punching them on the face when I first saw this been left like that - no silicon, not joined to the gutter, ^%$%^$#$%#*^*@!#!@!

New discovery on 1st floor
I just bought a JVC Video Camera with 10x zoom, much better than the digital camera's 3x one, and I discovered a few more problems on the 1st floor leaf guard which we never notice before!

So, how do you feel about the quality of the work? Let me know!


The Browns said...

Mate, don't pay the mongrels a cent and contact the Dept. of Fair Trading by email sending the link to your blog, CC the Gutter Guard company too. You will get a quick response this way and the DFT will likely contact them too.
All the best with it, companies like this ruin our home building experience.
Let us know what happens...

Anonymous said...

I own a seamless gutter business in the USA, and I would say that you have a nice home judging by the pictures...Why would you have such a cheaply made product installed on your home? I would have chosen a different company to work with. I find that referals and "word of mouth" references are our best way to find great, reliable contractors. I am sorry for your luck, but your should have used better judgement.

I agree, dont pay the bill . demand reimbursement! plus damages to your rainwater management system. If that dont work legal help.

We at
have never had a unsatisfied customer. We use two gutter gaurd products Tru-Guard and a powdercoated screen. In a bind we have been known to use Leaf Relief. I would recommend that for your application with a 6" seamless gutter. Good Luck