Don't Have the Foggiest Idea as to How to Choose the Right Gutter Guard?
Great in theory but in a practical sense the lesser expensive flimsy ones have one of two major problems:
Of late there are more sophisticated screen or filter system available: Englert Micro Guard gets screwed in and is not flimsy. Then there's Gutter Dome, Leaf Filter, Rhino, and Gutter Glove. You can Google them and notice that the last three are stainless steel mesh guards. Whereas the Englert Micro Guard costs about $6 or $7/ft to install, the other three can be $17 or more per foot.
How they work: Water washes with it leaves and blossoms onto the screen. The micro mesh gutter protectors accept the water at which point the debris stays on top of the screen where it accumulates. After a year or so under heavy debris conditions an impenetrable layer of debris covers the micro mesh and the rain water streams over the gutter onto the ground.
Maintenance: Someone has to climb up a ladder and clean the mesh. Some products have poles and brushes for this task, but how are you going to see if you effectively cleaned the top of the screen from the ground.
Recommendation: Only use screens in light debris conditions—trees over 75 feet away. Because of the inherent problems with screen gutter covers, inventors went to work.
The second type of gutter protector designed was a single fin gutter guard. There are several on the market—Google their names: Elko Gutter Guard was probably the first. Gutter Helmet was the next and since the patent has expired there are many knock-offs--Leaf X, Royal Gutter Guard, and Niagara Gutter Guard. Leaf Guard is of the same basic design.
With this basic design the tops of the gutter guards are solid and there's a fin along the front edge. The water and debris flow over the top and to the front fin where the water is directed downward into the gutter. In practice its ideal as any debris flowing with the water is supposed to be separated from the fin and be jettisoned onto the ground. However, practical experience shows that about 8% of the debris that flows over the fin also flows into the gutter. In fact with this design full sized leaves can be washed into the gutter.
Leaf Guard, although it is a basic fin design, is an all-in-one device meaning that the gutter and the gutter guard is one unit. The company is the only company that offsets the reality of debris getting into the gutter by installing new and large commercial downspouts with every installation. The theory is now any debris that does get in will be washed down the larger downspouts. You can see the reality of how the all-in-one actually works by clicking here (Link to leaf guard page on this site)
These basic designs work well for light to moderate tree debris conditions and range in price from around $12 to $20/foot.
Maintenance: When gutters clog a service man must be called to service the system and clean out clogs from downspouts or gutters.
Because of inherent problems with the designs shown above in heavy debris conditions, inventors decided to break up the single fin by either making a louver of determined length or a trough in the product to limit the size of debris getting into the gutter.
The third type of gutter guards are: Gutter Topper, Leaf Proof, and Care-FreeTM
There is also one that is a hybrid and instead of a solid top has openings in the top. They work much the same as the single fin types.
With the ones having a recessed trough there is still about 8% of the debris getting to the trough where in heavy debris conditions it either clogs the trough or the debris passes through the trough in sufficient quantity to clog the gutter.
With the Care-FreeTM design, the trough is not recessed so only about 2% of the debris actually gets into the gutter--a substantial difference. The Care-FreeTM design is a hybrid between the louvered systems (discussed next), and the recessed trough design. All of them sell for about $12 to $18/ft.
Recommendations are for light to medium debris conditions—not high debris conditions.
Maintenance: When gutters clog, a service man has to schedule an appointment to go up a ladder and clean the downspout and or gutter.
The fourth type of gutter cover—the double row louvered systems. There are two: Waterloov® Gutter Guard The Number One Gutter ProtectorTM
Instead of one long fin, there are two rows of louvers. What water is not collected by the first row of louvers is collected by the second row of louvers. The size of the debris that can enter these two gutter guards is from ¾" to 1" The amount of debris that can get washed into the gutter is approximately ¾ of one percent—dramatically down from 8% or 2%. This design is the one design that never lets enough debris into the gutter to cause a clog of either the downspout or the gutter after 20 years.
Maintenance: In heavy debris conditions, debris will accumulate on the face of the louvers which is easily visible from the ground. Instead of having to call for servicing, the homeowner uses a telescopic pole and brush to remove the debris. Both products range from $18 to $30/ft installed. The Waterloov® Gutter Guard System was highly rated by Consumer Reports. Google them for more information
Looking to get rid of dealing with clogged gutters by installing leaf guards?
|Not all Gutter Covers,
Gutter Guards, or Leaf Guards Fit All Applications.
Wouldn't it be better to find out beforehand rather than to have gutter covers, leaf guards, or gutter guards installed (no matter how great they are supposed to be) only to find out later on that there was a misunderstanding or an oversight? Maybe there are roof pitch limitations, or the particular gutter covers, leaf guards, or gutter guards you selected are not recommended for certain types of roofing or guttering... Wouldn't it make sense to discover this before hand? As a homeowner, before you invest in any gutter cover, ask
the representative for answers to questions that are pertinent to you from the questionnaire we submitted to all the major manufacturers. Click here for the list questions
|Some gutter covers (in spite of what the salesman
says) may cause you more problems.
Problems that can make you wish you hadn't been more careful
when looking for a gutter protector.
1. After the gutter cover is installed, it’s found that the gutter cover
doesn’t collect all the rain water.
|Every catastrophe could have been avoided with a little research on the
part of the homeowner. After all, wouldn't it be better to find out
before hand rather than to have gutter covers, leaf guards, or gutter
guards installed (no matter how great they are supposed to be) only to
find out later on that there was a misunderstanding or an oversight?
Maybe there are roof pitch limitations, or the particular gutter covers,
leaf guards, or gutter guards you selected are not recommended for
certain types of roofing or guttering... Wouldn't it make sense to
discover this before hand?
After all if a gutter cover does everything it’s promised to do it could be worth $50 per foot or more when you compare the cost of a hospital stay from a fall from cleaning gutters.
As a homeowner, before you invest in any gutter cover, ask the representative for answers to questions that are pertinent to you. Click here for the list questions
Click here for an all-in-one installation
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