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Roofing & Gutters

Gutter Protection Breakdown

By on Feb 15, 2016
Gutter Protection Breakdown

You may not realize the importance of keeping your gutters clear and debris free, but if your gutter system is often left neglected and abused, you can wind up with serious and costly home repairs.

Clogged and damaged gutters can lead to problems like foundation problems, structural issues, landscape erosion, basement flooding and water damage. One way to protect your home from severe damage is to invest in a gutter protection system.

A gutter protection system is a product that either attaches to your existing gutters, or replaces your entire gutter system, with the intent of allowing only debris to enter your gutters, while water is safely carried through your gutters and diverted away from your home.

From DIY solutions to professionally installed gutter protection systems, let’s face it - gutter protection can be overwhelming. That’s why, at LeafFilter, we want to educate you about the pros and cons of the different types of gutter protection systems. The following will inform you about the different type of gutter protection systems so you can find the system that meets your needs.

Foam Gutter Guards

DIY Gutter Protection Systems

DIY gutter systems are relatively inexpensive systems that are installed by the homeowner. You can find them at the big home improvement stores. While cost-effective and convenient to purchase, homeowner solutions are mass produced and usually do not include any type of warranty. Usually, these types of systems will need to be replaced within a few years. Foam, brush, metal screen, plastic screen and small hole gutter guards are typical gutter guard options for homeowners.

Foam Gutter Guards: Foam gutter guards are a homeowner solution that is relatively inexpensive. Homeowners place the foam or sponge material that is placed inside of your gutters with the intent of allowing water to drip through (while keeping debris out). Unfortunately, foam gutter guards will trap seeds, and with the abundance of moisture, weeds, plants and trees will begin to grow where they shouldn’t – in your gutters.

Gutter Brush

Gutter Brush: Brush gutter guards are known to be an inexpensive short-term solution that homeowners can install themselves. The brush is placed into the gutters and is shaped like a giant pipe cleaner. The system is meant to repel debris. However, brush gutter guards actually attract birds and other nesting animals, and trap other debris items like pine cones, leaves and maple spinners. These types of systems will eventually need to be removed and cleaned in order to prevent home damage.

Metal Screen Gutter Guards

Metal Screen Guards: The DIY metal screen product is made out of steel or aluminum. These types of systems are relatively low cost and easy to install by the homeowner, making them a common choice for homeowners looking for a DIY gutter guard option. It’s important to note that because of their larger openings, these types of gutter guards will not keep out smaller debris like pine needles, seeds, insects and shingle grit, so you may need to remove them and clean your gutter periodically throughout the year.

Plastic Screen Gutter Guards

Plastic Screen Guards: Plastic screen gutter guards are similar to metal screen options because they have wide openings. With the presence of larger openings, pine needles, leaves, seeds, dirt and insects will still enter and clog your gutters. So, just like with metal screen gutter guards, you may still find yourself removing and cleaning your gutters with this solution.

Small-Hole Gutter Guards

Small Hole Gutter Guards: With small hole gutter guards, debris such as pine needles, shingle grit, seed pods and dirt will enter your gutter, making these types of gutter guards an unreliable system. In fact, homeowners will routinely have to remove these gutter guards to clean out the debris that is trapped inside.

Professionally Installed Gutter Protection Systems 

Professionally installed gutter guards are typically more of an investment than homeowner-installed options. These types of professional gutter protection systems have better clog protection and will last longer than the DIY options. Plus, when installed by a professional, you will typically receive some type of warranty for the product. The three main types of professionally installed gutter protection systems are louver, reverse curve and micromesh.

Louver Gutter Guards: Professionally installed louver systems feature a large opening that runs the entire length of the gutter guard system. Although larger debris won’t find its way into your gutters, smaller items like leaves, pine needles, seed pods, pests, insects and shingle grit can enter and clog your gutters.

Louver Gutter Guard

Reverse Curve Gutter Guards: Reverse curve gutter guards feature a rounded hood that covers your gutter with a large channel that runs along the entire front edge of the gutter guard. Some reverse curve gutter systems require the purchase of an entirely new gutter systems, since the hood will not fit to your existing gutters. Reverse curve products rely on surface tension. Water is supposed to follow the path of the curve of the hood into your gutters. If water adheres to the curve, so will pine needles, leaves and other debris. This can leave you with gutters that are full of debris.

Reverse Curve Gutter Guard

Micromesh Gutter Guards: Micromesh gutter guards are typically made of two main parts: an ultra-thin mesh material and a sturdy supporting frame. Depending on the brand and quality of the micromesh gutter guard, the supporting frame can be made of multiple materials like plastic, metal or uPVC. These types of gutter guard systems feature openings that are less than 50 microns small, keeping out all types of debris, except for water. Although these types of gutter guards offer the greatest clog protection, be sure to choose a system that does not install under your first row of shingles. Installing under your first row of shingles can damage your roof warranty and moisture can seep into your roof, too.


Have you had any experience with the gutter guards listed above? Leave us your thoughts in the comment section below!

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