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Gutter guards?
Old 05-14-2016, 05:27 PM   #1
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Gutter guards?

I am getting tired of climbing a ladder twice a year to remove the leaves from the gutters (we have one set of trees that lose their leaves in March in addition to the normal fall crop), not to mention that my ladder & I aren't tall enough to reach one whole section. Has anyone had good (or bad) luck with "gutter guards"? Any specific brand recommendations also welcome.

TIA.
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Old 05-14-2016, 05:41 PM   #2
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I tried some plastic mesh stuff once but the pointy eucalyptus leaves got through anyway and yup I had to remove them so I could clean the gutters.

A 3000 psi pressure washer works well but you do get messy.

My new favorite method is to get on the roof with a gas powered leaf blower and that has enough "wind" to blow them out and only takes about 20 minutes. But I also have an extension ladder that makes it easy (and safe) to get on the roof.
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Old 05-14-2016, 05:44 PM   #3
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Hi MBAustin, lived in Austin 14 years. Back in MN now and have purchased Leaf Guard covers (not sure if they are just local). A competitor is Gutter Helmet. Prior to that we had screens which didn't work at all. We have a two story house and we had weeds 3 feet growing out of the upper gutters. We have had the Leaf Guard over 10 years and absolutely no issues. Cost was about $2k for a 2600 sqft house. Hope that helps. If I remember correctly a lot of houses in Texas don't have gutters.
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Old 05-14-2016, 05:52 PM   #4
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My new favorite method is to get on the roof with a gas powered leaf blower and that has enough "wind" to blow them out and only takes about 20 minutes. But I also have an extension ladder that makes it easy (and safe) to get on the roof.
This was my preferred method in the last house we owned. I've tried a number of different commercial gutter guard systems, and none of them worked long term.
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Old 05-14-2016, 05:59 PM   #5
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Has anyone had good (or bad) luck with "gutter guards"? Any specific brand recommendations also welcome.
I've been very happy with the "Leaf Relief" guards we had put on. No clogs or needs to call anybody back since they were installed.

Here are two previous times we discussed gutter covers, some good info there:

Gutter Covers

SteveR_Gutter Covers
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Old 05-14-2016, 08:02 PM   #6
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I was cleaning my gutters 7 years ago, and had a ladder issue. With 2 broken legs, I couldn't put one ounce of weight on my legs for 8 weeks. The hospital was full of others with broken legs from cleaning gutters. I've since been prohibited from ladders over 6' as no falls are left in my legs.

With 6 pine trees around my house, my homeowners' insurance company threatened to cancel me last year unless I cleaned my gutters out. I beat them to their game and just removed the 200' of gutters on my house. Since I live on a hill, water draining off the roof is not an issue.

I would have loved to have had gutter guards, however getting them installed would cost an absolute fortune. Gutter companies demand you install new gutters with the guards whether you need them or not. The big name gutter guards are incredibly expensive.

You can go online to Gutters.com and purchase gutter guards at a good price. They're not too hard to install either.
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Old 05-14-2016, 10:08 PM   #7
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We used Gutter Helmet at a previous house that was completely surrounded with white pines. It worked great, although it was fairly expensive.

At our FL house we have live oaks and mango trees. Tons of leaves, but not sharp or pointy. I just crammed the gutters with gutter foam. It works well enough, is cheap, and easy to install. It all depends on what falls on the roof.
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Old 05-15-2016, 07:31 AM   #8
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................................................ It all depends on what falls on the roof.
This seems to be key. If it were just leaves, sounds like even the simple screens would work......in principle, they lay on the screens and get blown off by the wind or pushed off by the water flowing off the roof.

In practice though, if you get heavier stuff like small twigs and misc cones etc
(like from redwood trees) as well as leaves and smaller debris, you soon discover how beavers build dams with the heavier debris being the anchor that traps the smaller debris that then traps the even smaller stuff. Or just the right size stuff can clog the screens.

I'm sure that if you spend enough money, something might work but it seemed easier (esp w/ a one story house), just to clean the gutters than to have to remove the screens that are inserted under the shingles..
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Old 05-15-2016, 07:38 AM   #9
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Around here, the foam would get clogged with residue. The same happens with wire mesh. You can delay cleaning.
I've skipped a year and it shows. No three foot weeds. Yet.
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Old 05-15-2016, 07:50 AM   #10
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We had Leaf Guard gutters installed about 7 years ago. I love them! Life time guarantee and works as advertised.
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Old 05-15-2016, 07:56 AM   #11
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Just yesterday I cleaned our gutters and installed some inexpensive plastic mesh gutter guards that we had purchase on sale at the local hardware store.

We have some trees nearby but I'm hopeful the guards will help. DW and put a similar gutter guard on a section last fall and it did not work well but the ones I put in yesterday we a little beefier so I have my fingers crossed.
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Old 05-15-2016, 07:58 AM   #12
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We had Leaf Guard installed in 2003. No problems since.
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Old 05-15-2016, 08:35 AM   #13
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I have a tough situation with very large maple trees that make lots of seeds in the spring and leaves in the fall. I have tried diamond grid metal mesh, and a foam contour product that fills the gutter. Neither was foolproof. The mesh would catch the seeds and I would still have to go up and clean, but not as often. The foam keeps stuff out, but cannot handle the volume in a heavy rain and causes waterfalls. Any of the expensive professional systems that I have researched have turned out to have too many complaints regarding effectiveness and follow through on the guarantees.
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Old 05-15-2016, 09:02 AM   #14
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Did the leaf guard gutters in 2006. It was expensive, ~$3k, but well worth it. Have had no problems since. These are larger, they put downspouts at both ends of some long runs, and now don't get overloaded in heavy rains. The splashing that had caused led to some wood rot on some trim. They also have helped me adhere to my no more ladders rule.
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Old 05-15-2016, 09:17 AM   #15
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I suspect that what ever you put on, eventually the gutters will need cleaning and removing some of these guards may be a major PITA. Of course the time between cleanings may vary depending on what sort of tree debris you have. Also, mesh can plug after a while and result in water spilling on to the ground.
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Old 05-15-2016, 10:08 AM   #16
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I rigged a hose pointing down at 45 degrees attached to the end of a pole, and wheels to support it. I walk it along the roof. I remote an old digital camera to take to check my work. It works better on my 1 story than it did on my 3 story old house.
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Old 05-15-2016, 10:48 AM   #17
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I installed the expensive gutter guards two years ago. I haven't cleaned the gutters yet, but I am not at all impressed. Fir needles accumulate on top and I figure will eventually (maybe next year) form a Peaty mass for moss and such. But the water doesn't drain into the gutters now, it just flows over the needles.

My long term plan is to remove most of my gutters and replace them with nothing. You only really need gutters over your doorways. Depending on the soil and slope of the grounds around your house, you can put attractive gravel under your eaves so the rainwater doesn't gouge a ditch. And you may have to install a French drain (more rocks) so the water doesn't build up against your foundation. Once the Rock is on the ground, it is maintenance free. I have stony soil, so I won't have to do either.
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Old 05-15-2016, 10:53 AM   #18
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Our next house will be a one story. Until then, I pay someone to clean our gutters once a year. A co-worker of mine fell off his one story roof and landed on his driveway, broke his spine, and died 8 years later at age 59...

I've read a lot here and elsewhere. It seems no matter which system you go with, helmets, screens or foam, none are without advantages and disadvantages - none are foolproof?
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Old 05-15-2016, 10:55 AM   #19
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I have pine trees and the needles just clog up everything - guards or no guards.
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Old 05-15-2016, 11:30 AM   #20
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I was cleaning my gutters 7 years ago, and had a ladder issue. With 2 broken legs, I couldn't put one ounce of weight on my legs for 8 weeks. The hospital was full of others with broken legs from cleaning gutters. I've since been prohibited from ladders over 6' as no falls are left in my legs.

With 6 pine trees around my house, my homeowners' insurance company threatened to cancel me last year unless I cleaned my gutters out. I beat them to their game and just removed the 200' of gutters on my house. Since I live on a hill, water draining off the roof is not an issue.
Wow! What a nightmare to have broken both legs cleaning your gutters. Sorry to hear that, and I'm really glad that water draining off the roof is not an issue.
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My long term plan is to remove most of my gutters and replace them with nothing. You only really need gutters over your doorways. Depending on the soil and slope of the grounds around your house, you can put attractive gravel under your eaves so the rainwater doesn't gouge a ditch. And you may have to install a French drain (more rocks) so the water doesn't build up against your foundation. Once the Rock is on the ground, it is maintenance free. I have stony soil, so I won't have to do either.
I can tell you have thought about this a lot, and thanks for your post which gives me some ideas to think about too.

My new dream house doesn't have any gutters , probably because my small yard had a large number of the biggest trees in the area when I bought it. Gutters would have been clogged with leaves in about 10 seconds with all those trees. The trees were far older than the house and way past their prime, though; sadly they were too old, rotting, and frequently dropping huge and dangerous branches so after consulting with some experts I chose to have them all removed.

So now, I have no trees around and no gutters either. I thought you had to have gutters, but now I am thinking maybe not. I suppose I could have gutters added, but I'm waiting to see if I really need them or what. So far no ditch under the eaves. If one starts to develop I am thinking of putting down pavers but gravel would probably look better. Also I want to get over the financial hit of buying the house in the first place and then having all that landscaping, concrete work, and re-grading of my lot done before paying for gutters. It did just fine with no gutters for over half a century so it may not be the end of the world if my house goes one more year without them while I get this figured out.

If I do get gutters, I'll pay a gutter cleaning service even though my house is just one story. I think they cost around $100-$150 here, but that's cheaper than breaking a bone if I fell off a ladder.
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