Investing in leaf gutter protection systems (or leaf guards) is a significant step towards saving money while protecting your home and eliminating maintenance at the same time. For many homeowners, installing gutter guards is an excellent way to have peace of mind and, although it might cost them at first, they know that it is a wise investment worth making.
Why Do You Need a Gutter Leaf Protection?
Consider all the money, energy, and time you spend on cleaning your rain gutters and repairing water damages now and then. Think of all the hours you have spent on dangerous ladders to clean your gutters from leaves and other debris. How many times did you run the risk of falling and suffer a serious injury?
Not to mention that having gutter guards adds more value to your home, which is great if you want to sell it at some point later on. Besides, with water flowing freely, without having to worry about leaves, pine needles, twigs, and other debris that can cause the clogging of your gutters (and everything that comes along with that), you can now heave a sigh of relief.
If you also consider the fact that installing gutter leaf protection is also a handy way to prevent ice dams and the consequent damages to your walls, roof, foundation, and siding, among others, one can clearly understand that the benefits are overwhelming.
Finally, gutter and roof debris create a fire hazard around your roof, which is particularly serious if you live in an area at risk for fire. Installing gutter leaf protection systems will save you from potentially catastrophic results.
The question is, what is the best gutter leaf protection you can get for your home? With a wide array of options (>40 variations), making a decision can be challenging. Below, we explain the different types of gutter leaf protection systems available right now, with both their pros and cons, so everything is less confusing.
Gutter Leaf Protection Systems
1. Solid Cover
Besides a solid top (hence, the name), this system also comes with a curved front surface that allows the water to run downward and into the gutter. Also referred to as Leaf Relief Gutter Guard, this system is based on the principal of surface tension. The gutter covers are made from aluminium and work well at preventing twigs and leaves from entering your gutter. They are covered with tiny holes, which allow the drainage of the water. These panels are secured with screws under the shingles.
On the downside, the tiny holes tend to get clogged by seed pods, sand, and very small leaves, which act to reduce the water flow; hence, the system’s ability to act as a drain. Also, the fact that the screens are slanting from both sides means that the wet leaves have no way to fall off on their own. So you will need to clean the accumulated debris, at some point, and also remove the nests of any insects that may have turned your gutters into their cozy home.
However, having an aluminium, solid cover gives you a plus because aluminium is a metal that doesn’t rust easily and is considered one of the most durable materials that can easily last for many years with no sign of rot or decay whatsoever. That aside, although the panels are not very thick, then do provide sufficient snow resistance, except for heavy snowfalls, of course, when you will need to keep an eye on them and manually clean some snow to prevent the bending of the panels.
Installation Tips: For optimal results, it is best to instal the Leaf Relief Gutter Guard lower on the fascia than you would normally do, to prevent debris and leaves from collecting behind the gutter, which would allow water to back up under the shingles, causing damage.
2. Gutter Filtering Foam
It is an easy-to-instal, DIY product that effectively prevents debris and leaves from entering. This system is a type of leaf guard made from a porous material that fits in the gutter. However, it calls for high maintenance, and you can rely on it being effective in keeping your gutters leaf- and debris-free for only a couple of years. Eventually, the debris piles up over the filter and gradually works its way into the filter as it (the debris) decomposes. The result? Total obstruction. Regarding their cost, these foam filters are 2X more expensive than solid covers.
3. Wire Mesh
The problem with that type of leaf guard is that the wire mesh is extraordinarily thin, and, although there are many different types of wire mesh, they all end up with debris caking over them within a particularly short time after their installation. At first, the screens will indeed do a good job preventing debris and leaves from entering the gutters. However, it won’t take long before they clog to the point they no longer allow water to pass through.
4. Plastic Screen
Another DIY product that you can find in most home improvement stores. It features a lightweight screen that is too fragile to support some decent amount of debris. Just a few small twigs are enough to cause it to collapse on itself and block your gutters.
5. Downspout Strainer
We would not recommend this one either. The purpose of having a downspout is to keep your downspouts unclogged. Nevertheless, within a short period of time, the downspout strainer will be covered with dirt to the point the downspout is completely closed off. As a result, the gutter will overflow.
6. Expanded Metal Screen
A cost-effective option made from galvanized steel. Expanded metal screen are hardly noticeable due to their black powder coating. Their installation is pretty easy and also allow for easy inspection and cleaning of your gutter without removing them. You simply spray water through the screen from your garden hose and you are done. The debris will be flushed downward and end up onto the ground.
Don’t expect them to keep out all debris, though. You will need to use a level to slope the gutter toward the downspout from time to time so that you can make sure debris will effectively flush out next time it rains. Plus, you will have to deal with debris accumulation issues, which calls for quite frequent inspections and manual removal of leaves and debris.
However, this is true with every leaf gutter protection system you instal. Inspecting and cleaning the gutters will still be part of your to-do tasks, although much less often than before. Also, always check behind the inside corner splash guards for trapped debris and leaves and remove any debris that becomes a confused mass in the screens.
Important Considerations Before you Choose a Gutter Leaf Protection System
It is very important to learn how to clean your gutters. It is not difficult, as long as you are not afraid to climb a ladder and don’t mind getting a bit dirty. For those of you that are not familiar with the best and easiest way to clean a gutter, we will elaborate on that in a later post.
Also, know that no solution of the ones available right now is permanent. Gutter cleaning issues will continue to exist, and you can’t cross gutter maintenance tasks out yet. That being said, though, a gutter leaf protection system is indeed a sound investment that drastically reduces maintenance requirements and helps you keep your rain gutters running freely for a longer period of time than without them.
Before you ask for a type of leaf guard, bear the following information in mind:
1. The Type of Gutter – We suggest opting for seamless gutters, rather than sectional ones. Seamless gutters are much less prone to leaks at the seams and significantly less likely to fail, compared to their sectional counterparts, and are made of a continuous piece of metal, welded at the downspouts and corners.
2. The Material – Of all materials gutters can be made of, we recommend aluminium. It is lightweight, durable, affordable, and highly resistant to corrosion. You may also find gutters made of steel, vinyl, and copper, though (if you are seeking for a more cost-effective solution).
3. The Installation – It is a critical part of the process that can determine the overall effectiveness of the system. Only trust reputable contractors around your area, who come with a wealth of experience on gutter leaf protection installation and genuinely care about their customers and their homes. At CANPOS, we only employ factory-trained installers that know how to safely and securely place your gutters and leaf guards so that they add value to your property and help make your life in it as stress-free an experience as possible.
Go for larger outlets that will allow the debris to be flushed out through the screens in a heavy downpour.
Install a gutter leaf protection system that best suits your needs and budget, but do make sure it keeps, at least, the larger debris out so that you prevent your gutter system from clogging quickly.
Consider installing your gutters with a slight grade toward the outlets (with screws so you can adjust them if necessary). That way, you can protect your gutter system and not allow that much debris to get trapped in the gutters. It also helps with preventing standing water.
Of all types of gutter guard mentioned above, we firmly suggest the Leaf Relief Gutter Guard. It is a definite protective form of gutters and very effective in keeping your gutters clean and clog-free. Despite some features that may render them unpopular to some people, our experience has shown that they serve the purpose much better than most types of gutter guards out there for sure.