The Holbrook 20oz Copper Gutters, Stainless Steel Screens, Custom Scuppers, Storm-drain Pipes, Cat-walk w/Gated Railing, & Fascia Boards and Metal Project
5406 S. E. 39th, Portland, Oregon (6-7/08)

 Updated 7/27/2008

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Remember you can click on each pictures below for a better view

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This is a house I was asked to work on by the owners Ned & Sarah Holbrook, and we have yet to meet in person. They found me on this web site to work on this is a rustic 70's house that they are restoring, so they can move in from California.

I don't know how he got around it, but the builder had made this house without the benefit of gutters.  As you can see these steel caps did not save the wood from the elements. I had to remove each cap off the rafter tails. They extended a good 12" out past the roof, so I had to cut each back a 1/2" behind the drip edge flashing straight down to give me a workable surface to mount the new copper gutters onto, as you can see below.

For the long sides to have an expansion joint that dumps into a tray I had to make them this pair of custom scuppers. It also adds more headroom in those areas, in stead of the standard elbows and steeply graded downspout pipe between them. When you have a tray like this that has so little grade to it; it needs to be open on the top side to clear it out incase it gets clogged. Just like a gutter. It is 9" wide on the outside end and narrows to just 5" wide at the wall. The height drops from 2.5" to 4.5" at the wall. There is another set of bend along the top edges for added strength and to hide the sharp edges

The one above is over the window wash cat-walk, where I had to add a 2x6 fascia board because of the 4' spacing of the rafter boards in this one section. The one below is on the other side of the house. With no fascia board I had to get creative to make a way to secure the outside end on the scupper tray.

Since there were no gutters on this house; there were no storm-drain pipes to carry the rain water safely away from the foundation, so I had to add these 3" black ABS pipes to both sides of the house. Fortunately these will not be seen hardly at all the way the house is set on the property.

A serious problem with the screens:

For the last decade and a half I had felt the copper screens that were available were not strong enough, compared to what I use over the aluminum gutters I install. But those screens are steel with just a black powder bake finish and will start to rust within a couple decades. I had searched for a supply of better rust free screens, but could not find any other source designed for gutters. My hands were tied, but I now had to do something about it. I had used these same copper screens in the Leaf-catchers I make as well.

I now found it necessary to find an alternative source, because I recently ran into a problem with my supplier of copper gutter screens on the prior 2 houses. I discovered without warning the makers of these copper screens decided to make them with a thinner copper to save costs. So in stead getting better screens, they are now even flimsier. It seems they did this to avoid raising prices even further, with the high cost of copper. I cannot get them to budge on this issue, even after explaining how all clients getting copper gutters across the Nation are expecting better than standard. Not substandard durability.

I found a source for stainless steel mesh screen material that I could cut to size, which are about the same cost (without the hinge/clips to attach them) and tried them out on this gutter job, but they required a great deal more processing on my end to bend over the ends of the wires so they would not come apart like a frayed edge of fabric. I had to bend an arch in them, which scratched up my sheet metal bender. Then to put the clips on. I would be willing to put in the extra effort and they are stronger, but I am still not happy with the look and functionality. The hinge/clips are virtually useless and they are too irregular looking.

The biggest problem I have run into trying to find a better product is the cost. Being a small time contractor I cannot buy them in large volume to get a reasonable discount in cost. They want more than I pay for the gutter materials. I would like to keep the cost of screens well below the cost of the gutter it's self. My client after this decided to just go with the black steel screens for half the cost I was charging for the flimsy copper screens, realizing the would last just as long.

The cat-walk boards they had made to access the large plate glass window on the side of the living room were showing a lot of deterioration, even though they were well under the eaves of the roof. The big 4x12 beams they were mounted to were much worse, so the client had me do what I could to rebuild them.

Before I could do that I had to build a set of custom wood scaffolding to be able to access the gutters along this side of the house and across the back side. The roof was too steel to work on and the way the ground and trees were on this side I was not able to use ladders to access the edge of the roof here. It was all I could do to use my long 32' ladder to build this scaffolding.

I had not charged nearly enough for this work. The hard install charges barely covered the cost of the lumber I needed to build this plank. Below shows the scaffolding removed after the gutters were installed.

I ran into another little problem towards the end where I found there was a large bee hive up inside the attic space, right where I needed to attach one of the last gutters. I capture this photo to show the client where they were getting in though this hole large enough to pass an arm into if those nails were not sticking out. Luckily they were just bumble bees, so they did not give me any trouble.
Here at home I stained an varnished some new 2x3 boards to build the new cat-walk. It was very lucky with he timing of the weather to have some very hot dry days to do this outside.

Once I had the scaffolding out of the way I then had to remove the cap metal and the old cat-walk boards. they were held in place with just some finish nails driven in at an angle. It was not very difficult to remove them. As seen below; most of the nails remained and the old boards just cracked off the nails.

I trimmed a few inches off the ends of the beams, because they were so rotten. Half of them I had to cut back even further and added a short 2x4 to cover the gapping holes in the ends of these beams from dry-rot. I them covered them with a set of new 2x6 boards to give a 1" eave off the sides and a 2" eave past the ends. I stained them just before covering them with the 20oz copper cap metal.

With this 1" eave over the sides of the beams I was able to use this to screw the cat-walk boards in place from underneath to hide all the screws visually and also from the elements. I pre-drill all the screw holes, so the 2x6 boards are not going to crack as I drive the screws in.

I made the cat-walk about 2' longer on each end than before, so they can access it from the front deck much more safely. On the other end allows this to be used as a fire escape if needed from the back deck. I also added an extra row of boards for a 3" wider plank with some end boards across the ends of the cat-walk

I had to remove the railing in this area and build this hinged gate with a stopper to keep it from swinging any wider than this:

The hinges and latch are solid brass.

133 rater tails cut back - $700
309.58' of 20oz copper gutters & DS w/o removal - $4,319.70
Hard install  - $364.13
(not nearly enough)
8 corners to miter and expansion joints - $400
2 custom copper trays for high head-room DS - $270
200.58' of hinged leaf screens - $902.61
6 larger no-clog outlets - $330
3
leaf-catchers - $165
95' + 16 couplings 3" ABS storm drain pipe - $427
22' of 2x6 fascia board - $128
24' of rebuilt cat-walk and gate - $1,388.85

$9,395.29 Grand Total

From: Sarah Holbrook <orque@mac.c*m>
Subject: Re: Custom Wood Working
Date: Fri, 04 Jul 2008


Hi David,
Oh, wow. Thanks for the clear photo! Overall the job looks great; it's just over a month until we can see it in person! The downspouts are beautiful. I am disappointed by the look of the stainless steel screens. They look kind of wonky and uneven and don't blend in with the rest of the house. Hopefully they are not very noticeable from the ground. If you do find a new supplied for copper ones please let me know and maybe we could do a discount on a swap? The ones on your website just look so good that I had my hopes up for the same quality look, even if they had to be stainless steel.

Date: Thu, 10 Jul 2008

I think it's wonderful that you have so much information on your site so people like me can hire you without seeing the work in person. Everything looks great! I love the look of the cover coverings on the beams. I'm surprised the gutter check hasn't arrived yet but we are at the mercy of the postal service. I'll send off the catwalk one tomorrow and we should be squared up. I can't wait to see everything in person.

Thanks again for everything,
Sarah


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Below is a photo of our
Better Business Bureau's
NW Business Integrity Award
for the year 1998

1999 Better Business Award

We were also a 1997 finalist for this same award. See our referral web page to see how we managed to be honored with this special award

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