My sister Cheryl and I had planned all along to set up a system to catch the rain water which would run off our various roofs, and utilize the water in some way. After the recent 6″ of rain this past couple of weeks, which ran right off the corrugated metal roof and into an increasingly soggy corral, I got busy and bought some gutters for the barn roof. I have a large watering trough that we can direct the flow into, which will lessen our dependency on the poor water flow we have with our well. Plus, catching the water will keep the corral a whole lot less soggy!
My daughter Melanie and I went to Lowe’s and I bought the vinyl snap together gutters, with the rubber gaskets built in. The system looked easy to put together, they were light weight, and I wouldn’t have to mess with caulking or sealant. I felt excited to get busy installing them, I imagined the job would be quick and easy!
We had a few dry days so I got busy assembling the vinyl gutter system . . . or at least I started. I found out the system which looked so easy was NOT. The rubber gasket made the task extremely difficult. I even asked my 16 year old daughter, who is plenty strong, to help me push the pieces into place so they would snap into position. We struggled. We pried. We brought out the wrenches. With as much awkwardness as a team of student trappers setting a double figure four deadfall trap for the first time, we finally got the two pieces to snap into place, though we broke the coupler between the two 10 foot sections in our effort. Then I realized I couldn’t put up any more of the brackets to hold the gutter mid section up because the brackets had to be put up before the gutter. I had not put the brackets up first because assembling the pieces was even more difficult when standing on ladders. I had had enough. I took the part of the system we had installed down, and had my kids put the all the pieces back in the car so I could return the whole frustrating, poorly engineered, thing.
When I took everything in to Lowe’s, a lovely blue haired young woman at the return desk saw that some of the pieces were dirty and had caulking on them.
I mentioned that I had cut one gutter to size as well, and another piece broke when we were working to put two pieces together, but I wanted to return even the used pieces anyway because the system was too difficult to put together.
The young woman said they could not take returns of pieces that had been cut, caulked, or broken.
I said, “Don’t you think that if a person bought something that doesn’t work, even if they messed up a few pieces trying to install it, they should be able to return all of it and get their money back, even if parts of it were ruined?”
She thought that made sense (intelligent girl).
Then I showed her the coupler piece, which was still on the end of the cut and used gutter. I asked her to help me take it off so I could show her how difficult it is to put on the gutter. We both pulled, and the coupler piece slowly and reluctantly slid from the gutter. Then I asked her to try to put it on again. She tried. She tried again. Several times she tried to put the coupler back on. She stopped trying and agreed it seemed impossible. I told her it had taken both my daughter and I, two wrenches, and a lot of time, to put that one coupler piece on the gutter. I wanted to just return it and get a different gutter system that was easier to put together.
She agreed and with new perspective took everything back, even the cut, caulked, and broken pieces.
I was happy she agreed with me, but had she not, I would have taken the matter to her superior because I felt quite justified in my expectation. The young women and I had a nice conversation as she rang up the refund. She was a confident and smart young lady.
Then I looked at the other vinyl gutter system, the one that does not have built in rubber gaskets. I was looking a little perplexed because I could not fine all the parts I needed for that system. A young man who worked there stopped and asked if I needed any help.
I explained there were missing pieces to the system.
He looked for the missing pieces and when he couldn’t find them he had to admit it was true. He said he would be sure to let his boss know about the missing pieces.
I also told him, plus another young man who stopped to help, about the problem I had with the rubber gasket system, so they would know to inform their other customers.
LOL! I sound like such an old busybody lecturing those two young men! Ha ha!
Finally, I decided to go with an aluminum gutter system and some sealant. The two employees who were helping me gathered all the parts as I asked for them and helped me check to see if I could fit the pieces together well. They were very attentive and helpful! I joked that they didn’t stock all the parts for the other vinyl system so I would buy the more expensive metal gutter system (Hmmmmm)!
Possibly this is a blessing in disguise, though. I imagine the aluminum gutter system will last a whole lot longer in the sun than the vinyl. I’m pretty sure I can do the job, but some of the metal pieces will need a little bending as I put them together. I will let you know how it goes.