Too Many Types! What Should I pick?
Lets clear the air. Leaf guards are referenced by many different names and titles. Some of these names and titles are actual brands and others are simply a name used to describe the product's function. Don't let all these terms confuse you. Some function terms are as follows leaf guards, leaf protection, gutter protection, and gutter guards. The part that gets tricky is that "Leaf Guard" And "Gutter Guard" are also well-marketed brands. Now that you know this let's see if we can get you educated.
What Exactly is a Leaf Guard?
Leaf guards are used in covering the top of a rain gutter system to protect it from filling with debris such as dirt, roof granules, leaves, pine needles and all the other things that trees seem to continuously drop in your gutter system while they cycle through the four seasons of each year. Protecting the rain gutter system simply means that the system remains clear enough of debris so that when it rains the roof water can flow unobstructed down the gutter and out of the downspout drains to the ground and ultimately a safe distance from the structure's foundation. This is the main purpose of a leaf guard system but this endeavor is not so easily accomplished. The main challenge is the ridiculous variety of debris that is present in most cases. So the trick of it all is to identify what all is actually is falling in the gutter system. Once that is assessed it is imperative to not pick a guard that could fail under a particular season or type of debris. At the time of this writing, there is no guard that is 100 percent. Maybe because we haven't invented perpetual motion or completely discovered renewable energy yet either. However, back to leaf guards, the answer to the difficult question is to find a leaf guard product that works 90% of the time and not if, but when, maintenance is needed the maintenance is simple, and the easiest to do. Leaf Guards are the alternative option for cleaning gutters at least two times a year. Clients are often concerned by the initial cost of installing leaf guards. Unless you clean the gutters yourself, the minimum maintenance costs can often be much higher within just two-three years. The value of eliminating interior gutter cleanings and the long-term protection of your home that comes with having leaf guards on your gutters is often more than worth any additional up-front costs that you incur.
Solid Surface Nightmares!
Many leaf guard products have become mainstream and popular because of the coolness of their technology instead of the longevity of their usefulness. In the example to the right, you will see the aftermath of just a few short years and the impact the debris has had on the solid surface leaf guards that use surface tension technology. There is no denying that surface tension technology is awesome and it works by using waters' natural ability to stick to smooth surfaces, flat or rounded and carries the water and debris out over the edge of the front of the gutters. The surface tension then pulls the water into the gutter systems and the debris is dropped to the ground like magic. The only thing that this guard has trouble with on the first examination is that the roof granules still go in the gutter with the water, and leaves and the occasional pine needle can fall just right and enter the gap at the front of the guard to start a clog or run over instantly. Upon further use (1-3 years) the problem is that the material used for this solid surface guard is not always smooth. In fact, as soon as it is not sparkling clean like a freshly washed car, the dirt begins to grab the surface and stick like glue. When this begins it is game over. The dirt compounds in a way that is worse than even the inside of normal gutters that have no guards. I know what you are thinking, well you will just have to clean them. Wait, let's not forget that weren't we buying guards to eliminate us having to clean the gutters out. Also, these cant just be dug out like the old cleaning job, these have to be washed with soap and water to restore the
smooth surface to the solid top leaf guard system. Stop right there! Soapy water! Soapy water and ladders are a bad combination even for the best of pros who live on ladders every day. Wet feet and a little soap on a ladder rung will send you or your ladder to the ground in a hurry. Second, over time the painted surface of the solid guards begins to weather and pit. When this happens there is no way to ever restore the factory smoothness that the guards once had. The debris begins building and your investment quickly becomes a liability. There are two other concerns with this style that we have seen over the years. One is that they provide the best home for wasps. They build relentlessly under the solid surface gutter helmet making them nearly impossible to exterminate without removing the cover. Oh yeah, soapy water, ladders, and wasps are also very bad combinations. Two is that some small critters and birds can find there way through cracks in the helmet, although this is usually found around poor installation.
The bad news is, the roof granules and or dirt that we mentioned earlier are going to be a problem for a while longer. We have been on thousands of homes, and seen all of the guards, we promise, it is not solved. Maintenance-free is A LIE so don't buy it! Sorry to burst the bubble! There is not a system on the market that completely solves this issue. The dirt and or granules clogs micro-screens, pours into the gutter, flows over with the water on the surface tension systems and into the gutter and goes through the small holes on our favorite system. Granules and or dirt are inevitable for the time being so now, we will just have to clean up after them. Many thought metal roofs wood solve the issue and it does, to some degree however, water flow speeds, on metal roofs pose a whole new set of leaf guard problems. Water speeds on a metal roof cause water to race over all of the solid top systems, flat top, and surface tension. With one of our guards, the gutter will stay clear of debris but in heavy rainfall, the water will simply run over the front of the gutter system defeating the main purpose of the rain gutters. Our stainless mico screens do the best here but they need to be installed before the metal roof is installed making aftermarket applications extremely difficult. It can be done, congrats, that solved granules but then there is still dirt! Over time dirt will clog a micro screen and it will need to be cleaned. So what is the bad news? The bad news is "maintenance." So we decided to bite the bullet, and make maintenance as easy as possible! Guess what? We have the guards that work and are the easiest to maintain! A solution at last.
Leaf Guards We Recommend and How To Pick One.
You should know now, that what you are looking for, is a low/easy maintenance leaf guard, and not another "maintenance free" television lie.
Our two main leaf guards are:
#1. Leaf Dog
#2. Stainless Mesh Screens
In order to decide which guard is right for you, you need to answer the next two questions.
First, do you have leaves and debris, or pine needles and debris? Pine needles and debris
requires the use of the Stainless Mesh Screens. Though the Leaf Dog works with pine needles it can hold some needles in an upright position, making the roof and gutter look messy and un-kept.
Second, is what type of roofing do you have? Is your roofing smooth metal, asphalt shingles, or a granulated metal? Smooth metal roofing requires the Stainless Micro Screens and we recommend a minimum 6-inch gutter with smooth metal roofing.
The Summary Is:
Leaves and debris, and/or asphalt shingles, or granulated metal roofing. = Leaf Dog
Pine needles and debris, and/or smooth metal roofing. = Stainless Mesh Screens
Leaf Dog, hands down, is the easiest guard on the market to maintain. If any debris begins to build up on the leaf guard for any reason, you can sweep it off, blow it off, wipe it off, brush it off, it's up to you. The hardest part will be climbing the ladder. No worries call us, call a friend, the job is as easy as it can get, considering all the other options. The best part is, Leaf Dog will only need to be wiped off every three to four years and you can rest assured your gutters and downspouts will never be clogged.
Stainless Screen Mesh, Is our secondary
recommendation. It is by far superior to the other guards other than Leaf Dog. Due to its constant finish and extreme durability. The high flow capabilities are second to none. The reason it ranks second is that it is slightly more difficult to maintain. Granules but mostly sediment is the downside of this guard. Once it becomes dirty in a year or two the flow can be restricted. This cleaning requires spraying with a standard garden sprayer, scrubbing, with a scrubber or pressure washing.
When Should I Get Leaf Guards?
As soon as possible, but especially during the fall months, whatever you call them you need to get them sooner than later. The leaves are constantly falling into your gutter system. When the rain begins or the wind blows, the leaves and debris begin to fall. Is there a good way to keep my gutter cleaned maintained for the long haul? The answer is a resounding "yes"! Here at Blue River Gutters, we provide 3 styles of leaf guards. No matter what technical term you use, we are here to help solve your clogged gutter problems. Clogged gutters are a hassle and during heavy rains, they do not function properly and water spills out onto the sides of your house. In order to prevent water damage, it is a good idea to install leaf protection so that the gutters do not get clogged in the first place. Keep your gutters clear and leaf-free by letting us install a leaf guard system. Call us at (256)-616-6760 for a free estimate today or use the button below to schedule online now!
Blue River Gutters services the following areas: Huntsville, AL, Decatur, AL, Athens, AL, Madison, AL, Hartselle, AL, Moulton, AL, Cullman, AL,