No, you’re not seeing the classic gag that people pull off every April Fools’ Day. Nor are you looking at a design test for the common Christmas decoration of Santa hanging off a gutter: click this link to see two grown men doing pull-ups on a gutter system they’ve just installed. It’s actually a demonstration of how much weight a gutter can take, and it’s pretty impressive on its own. But it’s also an illustration of why testing is important … and how your gutter is only as good as the way it’s installed.
First, let’s talk about why these gentlemen are working out using a local grocery store’s rain removal system. They’re from a roofing company located in Maine, and they wanted to demonstrate that the gutter system they installed, replacing a plastic system, could take the weight Maine winters regularly dump on the Pine Tree State’s roofs. Caribou, for example, sits near the Canadian border and gets an average of 116 inches of snow per year (for those disinclined to do the math: roughly 10 feet), and on bad winters like 2010, can get up to 160 inches or more. The average annual snowfall in the southernmost part of the state is a relatively light dusting: five feet. So if you’re a homeowner in Maine, you need a gutter system that’s as strong as possible.
The configuration you’re seeing in the photo is a seamless aluminum gutter with a leaf guard. So how is a bendable metal like aluminum taking the weight of two manly roofers? The leaf guard they installed also acts as a hanger, and it’s installed all the way around the roof. In short, it’s not a couple of hangers taking the weight, it’s a lot of them, each pitching in and providing support for the gutter.
In other words, it’s a well-installed, well-designed gutter. But, despite the photo evidence, it’s not going to keep you off your roof. An important factor in any test like this, and conducted by any reputable seller of hanger systems, is weight over time. For example; say you go visit family for a week over Christmas, and while you’re away, ice dams form on your roof. You’re not going to rush back home and start breaking up those dams; heck, hopefully you’re not even checking the weather back at your place. So you could be in for a somewhat nasty surprise to start off the New Year.
In short, it’s great for a system to be designed as strongly as possible, especially a system that gets as hammered by the elements as your gutter. Use as many hangers as you can and anchor them to important architectural features, like beams in your house or your roof. But remember, weight over time is a factor as well, so either get a gutter guard that will help snow slide off your roof, like Gutter Helmet, or get up there with a shovel.
Just be careful. After all, you know your gutter system can take the weight, but grabbing onto it when you fall off is not the best way to test it out.