Tag Archives: Leaf Protection

Gutter Screen time proven leaf protection

I like gutter screens.

I think that they are the least expensive, most effective form of  leaf protection. Not only that, but there very easy to install. Typically they come in 3 foot sections that you tuck under your starter course of shingles, then hook on the front lip of your gutter. A zip screw through the top edge of either end and your done.

Besides being inexpensive and effective, another one of the benefits that gutter screens have over other forms of leaf protection is that most styles are easily removable. This allows access to the inside of the gutter so you can re-seal any leaky end caps or miters and tighten or add fasteners as needed. Also, they leave the entire top of the gutter open to accept water. This is important for your gutter to do its job properly.

Some reasons not to use a gutter screen.

If you have pine needles or maples trees with “whilrybird” leaves, you might want to consider another option. Both have a tendency to stick straight up out of the screen. Some types of cottonwood can be a problem as well. Their leaves will eventually all dry up and blow away, or wash out through the gutter, but can be unsightly.

What type of screen is best?

You should always use a screen made from the same material as your gutters. Dissimilar metals will react to each other, causing a premature failure.

Always use the heaviest gauge screen you can find, especially if there will be snow and ice on top of it.

Some screens are made with a fine mesh on top. This may solve the pine needle and whirlybird issue, but they tend to freeze over rather easily and can be a problem in colder climates.

Plastic or vinyl screens are OK, but tend to fail in extreme temperature fluctuations, stain easily and don’t have the longevity of metal screens.

Gutter filters and foam products

It seems that today everyone is trying to “build a better mouse trap” when it comes to rain gutter leaf protection. Gutter filters, gutter foam products, the gutter brush, etc. are all hot topics as America’s Baby Boomers reach retirement age and are looking for ways to reduce the amount of maintenance they are required to do on their homes.

So, do they work?

Sure, they all work to some degree. Let’s take a closer look at some of the different styles and the good / bad features of each:

Gutter Filters

There are several gutter filters on the market today. Most work great for a while.

Products that are made from natural fibers are prone to many problems due to UV rays. They have a protective coating, but can’t hold up. They are prone to shrinkage, breaking down and are usually very thick, which can inhibit the water from traveling horizontally in the gutter.

Other rain gutter filter products are made from nylon or plastic. These are generally much thinner than natural fiber filters and can hold up to the elements a little better. But they can be difficult to install, sometimes requiring the installer to silicone them in place.

Foam gutter filters

I’ve tested two types of foam filters. UV rays were a problem here also. Both were disintegrating after only one season. They take up a lot of room in the gutter, slowing the flow of water.

Foam filters are the easiest product to install. They are dark, so they will attract heat, and you can’t see them from the ground, but they are the first one torn out of the gutters.

Most of all, use common sense when choosing a leaf protection product. Think about your home and the type of debris that you deal with. Check a product out and make sure your not throwing your money away.