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Gutter Covers
Old 10-01-2011, 01:01 PM   #1
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Gutter Covers

I've read some old posts on these and the results sound mixed so perhaps the only way to answer is to try it. Thought I'd start w/ just one experimental section....found some inexpensive plastic stuff on sale for $1/ft. It's flat, in 3 ft sections, is designed to slide under the shingles and then snap on the edge of the gutter. First thing I found is that I can't see how it can snap on the edge of the gutter which has some dimension to it (it doubles back on itself) but more important, it's difficult to lift the asphalt shingles enough to slide the gutter cover underneath.

I know my neighbor said to do it on a hot summer day. I tried it when the temp was 70F and was surprised by how difficult it was....don't know if the shingles are stuck to the roof, or if they are not flexible enough at that temp, if I'm just a basic chicken afraid I will damage them , or some combo of the various factors. I guess also in the back of my mind is that someday I might have to get into the gutter to clean things out and this stuff might be semi-permanent? having aged in sun and gotten brittle, or having glued itself and the shingles to the roof w/ exposure to the environment,etc. Any experience or advice?

We have lots of messy trees around so I have to clean multiple times a season. It's not horrible...single level home and still reasonably fit but worry about aging me in future yrs or DW dealing w/ it in future and seems now is a good time to get some data.
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Old 10-01-2011, 01:37 PM   #2
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I participated in some of those past threads on gutter covers. Here's an update: I paid someone to install "Leaf Relief" (formerly Alcoa) gutter covers on my house and shop/outbuilding. I'm very happy. We've got a lot of maple trees that drop lots of "helicopters", leaves, and bud debris and these gutter covers do the trick. I did brush off the tops of the covers a few months ago, as some debris was accumulating, but it was a 20 minute job and not perilous/dirty. I think we paid about $5 per foot, and somebody else did the install for that price, assured the gutters had proper slope, and guaranteed to remove the covers and clean things out if the gutters ever clogged up. The covers are aluminum, so I'm not worried about how they'll hold up in UV, etc. I was temped to try the foam inserts that are a simple DIY job, I still think they might work okay, though I think the sun and elements will eventually destroy them, and I suspect they'll get covered with ich on their tops and be harder to clean than my smooth aluminum covers. Kaneohe, I had tried the cheap plastic covers you're talking about but didn't have much luck-- they came unclipped from the gutter edge and blew off.
The $5 per foot hurt, but I was able to rationalize the cost away ("So, in 5 years you're up here cleaning the gutters. How are you gonna feel about saving that money as you're tumbling 15 feet to the concrete driveway below?" etc)
Anyway, good luck.
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Old 10-01-2011, 02:16 PM   #3
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I installed the metal mesh type from Lowes, cannot remember the cost but it was minimal (less than $0.50 per foot). The material came in 3 ft sections and fit great on my gutters. The fit will obviously depend on gutter width but just a slight amount of bending allowed them to lock in place. I have had them for 7-8 years with no issues at all - have not had to clean any debris out of the gutters at all.

After the gutters were initially installed, I went without guards for a few years -- lots of work cleaning the gutters 2-3 times a year since my lot is wooded (mix of large pine and oaks). I still use a leaf blower on the roof once a year since I get a lot of leaves and pine needles, but no need to clean gutters.
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Old 10-01-2011, 02:46 PM   #4
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I installed the kind you're referring to on a shingle roof and a flat, 0.5% pitch roof too. For the shingle roof, these gutter screens should slip in fairly easy. If not, a colder day is better than a hot day, but you may be having other issues here...like an improperly installed roof or someone tarred in the 1st set of shingles?

For my flat roof, I had to manually site fit each screen, marking and cutting with metal snips and then using twist ties to hold them down on the gutter supports. I didn't want to buy the sponge inserts since they charge $15 per 3-4 ft for the stuff and I know over time the debris will build up on them. I also have a maple tree above my flat roof and so far the custom fit is doing a lot better than not custom fit I tried last year, the overhang (over 1") trapped all kinds of stuff.
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Old 10-02-2011, 02:21 AM   #5
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Thanks , sc, Ld, and dsk, for the wisdom of your real world experience.
It is greatly appreciated. Kind of sounds like a pro installation works best unless some customized job can make the inexpensive stuff work better.
dsk........nice to know you can cut that stuff w/ metal snips and securing the screen to the gutter supports is an interesting idea. I do want to be able to easily remove the screen in case an obstruction develops so you've given me some food for thought before I throw in the towel and go for a pro.
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Old 10-02-2011, 07:41 AM   #6
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I tried the foam inserts a few years ago. After one season, they were clogged and rain would just flow over them and the gutter. The inserts weren't cheap but as they had a 2-year warranty and I had purchased them at Costco, I returned them for a full refund. Love Costco's return policy
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Plastic Mesh Tubes
Old 10-02-2011, 08:45 AM   #7
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Plastic Mesh Tubes

Three years ago we hired "Mr. Gutter" (that's the name of the company). His guys cleaned out the gutters of our home, rebalanced them, and put in all the gutters a black plastic screen. It is has about 1/4" holes. He had the stuff precut in ten foot section by like one foot wide. His guys rolled these into tubes and put them in a of the gutters securing them with wire to the points where the gutter nails go through. I was skeptical at the time because the cost for the entire job was $300. Four guys did the entire home with this stuff in two hours. Three years later -- this year, we had them back and they took some pieces on the sunnier side of the house and replaced them. Again $300. We have just gone through Hurricane Irene and these things are there and doing the job. Not sure if Mr. Gutter is a franchise, or what, but this has been great.
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Old 10-02-2011, 12:53 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lakedog View Post
I installed the metal mesh type from Lowes, cannot remember the cost but it was minimal (less than $0.50 per foot). The material came in 3 ft sections and fit great on my gutters. The fit will obviously depend on gutter width but just a slight amount of bending allowed them to lock in place. I have had them for 7-8 years with no issues at all - have not had to clean any debris out of the gutters at all.

After the gutters were initially installed, I went without guards for a few years -- lots of work cleaning the gutters 2-3 times a year since my lot is wooded (mix of large pine and oaks). I still use a leaf blower on the roof once a year since I get a lot of leaves and pine needles, but no need to clean gutters.
I'm a little surprised at your report. We had the metal mesh gutter guards on one house where we were surrounded by pines, and the needles went right through the mesh. I'm sure it slowed the process down significantly, but after a few years I had to take out the mesh and clean the gutters again.

On another house in a heavily treed yard we had Gutter Helmet Gutter HelmetŪ, the #1 Rain Gutter System - GutterHelmet.com installed. It worked great. When we sold the house four years later the gutters were still totally clear. And there was a lot of debris constantly falling on the roof. It was an expensive option, but we'd had water damage from the gutters filling and overflowing, so it was worth it.
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Old 10-02-2011, 01:46 PM   #9
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My BIL had the Gutter Helmut system installed at their home in NC where there are a lot of pine needles. He is very hapy with the results thus far and I think this is the third year for the system. I couldn't get up there to see the installation but don't think it would work on my home because we have a barrel type tile roof. I've tried several "do-it-yourself" methods from Home Depot but the fact I can't insert the screen under the tile is the problem. I'm still looking into this and will probably need a professional installation.
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Old 10-02-2011, 02:19 PM   #10
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Consumer Reports had an article on gutter guards in their Sept. 2010 issue.

Gutter guard Ratings, Consumer Reports
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Old 10-02-2011, 02:41 PM   #11
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I've tried several "do-it-yourself" methods from Home Depot but the fact I can't insert the screen under the tile is the problem. I'm still looking into this and will probably need a professional installation.
You can try the "slip under" type, but look at my prior post re: a flat roof. You'll need to custom cut them to fit using metal snips or a razor blade. Much cheaper than a professional system and it won't cost you much if it doesn't work.
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Old 10-02-2011, 02:55 PM   #12
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I'm a little surprised at your report. We had the metal mesh gutter guards on one house where we were surrounded by pines, and the needles went right through the mesh. I'm sure it slowed the process down significantly, but after a few years I had to take out the mesh and clean the gutters again.
Well, the better performance in my case could be a couple of things - maybe a different type of gutter guard or possibly that I have longleaf pine, the needles are 10" to 18" long. Typically, a few needles will collect on top of the mesh guards in the fall but when I leaf blow the roof, the needles blow right off the top of the guard. I have not had to remove the guards to clean the gutters a single time in 8+ years.
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Old 10-02-2011, 02:57 PM   #13
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..........
On another house in a heavily treed yard we had Gutter Helmet Gutter HelmetŪ, the #1 Rain Gutter System - GutterHelmet.com installed. It worked great. .........
Are these the surface tension type with just a slot? I'm curious if they overflow in a heavy rain, dumping water next to the foundation.
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Old 10-03-2011, 11:21 AM   #14
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I bought the same type as the OP (I think... from Home Depot).....

I put a few sections at a place that gets a lot of runoff from an upper section of roof.... the water went right over the top...

I will look at the Consumer's Report and see how I can get some screens...

My problem is mostly pine needles... with a few oaks...
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Old 10-03-2011, 12:58 PM   #15
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Are these the surface tension type with just a slot? I'm curious if they overflow in a heavy rain, dumping water next to the foundation.
Yes, they are. We had some pretty heavy rains and it never overflowed. I was pretty impressed with the tech. According to their website it's been tested to handle up to 22" of rain per hour without overflowing.
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Old 10-03-2011, 01:29 PM   #16
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A type similar to the OP's has been in for a few years and has worked fine. All of our debris is the short needle pine type (no leaves).
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Old 10-05-2011, 12:11 AM   #17
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Consumer Reports had an article on gutter guards in their Sept. 2010 issue.

Gutter guard Ratings, Consumer Reports
powerplay........thanks for that great reference. Checked it out at the library today and am hot on the trail of a couple of those CR Best Buy suggestions
for self-installation.
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