Rain Gutter Leaf Guards: Discover Their Benefits and How to Pick the Best One for Your Rain Gutters

April 05, 2017

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Man cleaning a clogging rain gutter
When it rains, it pours, and sometimes it is not just water coming down your shingles and downpipes. If you live near areas populated by trees, you have probably faced the task of having to clean your rain gutter installation at lenght. It is a well-known fact that all kinds of debris, like leaves, twigs, and shingle grits, can fall into and on your rain gutter system especially during the rainy season, obstructing and clogging the flow of water.

To make matters worse, debris build-up eventually causes problems that can be very costly to repair. To begin with, loose debris over your gutters and roof are a fire hazard that could put you, your loved ones, and your home at risk. When this debris falls into your gutters from the rain and it accumulates, it will eventually decompose and compress into a solid, damp mass that can clog your downspouts. This causes water to cascade over the edges of your gutters and onto your lawn, eroding your grass or garden, or onto your foundations, which leads to incredibly costly structural damages like chipped paintwork, dismantled windows and doors, and a flooded basement. The decomposed clogging mass can also cause mold and plague infestations.

Since clogged gutters can be a nightmare to deal with, many wise homeowners choose to invest in gutter protection. Leaf guards are systems that are positioned over your gutters and act as a filter barrier that keeps debris out while allowing water to pass through. Their main function is to keep your gutters clear so that water can flow better. They also reduce the need to constantly check and clean your gutters.

There is a wide variety of leaf guards you can install to keep your rain gutters functioning properly, and if you are planning on doing so, it is best that you get acquainted with all the advantages and disadvantages each type has.
  • Foam guards
    A popular variety of leaf guards are made of polyurethane or polyether foam, which are installed inside the gutters to create a permeable top that allows the regular flow of water while catching most debris. They are inexpensive and can be treated with germicidal agents and prepared to resist UV rays.

    However, foam guards need to be replaced regularly. The organic matter that is trapped on the foam eventually rots, allowing mold infestation and moss growth. Seeds are also known to sprout inside of them, which can turn your rain gutter system into an unsightly mess if neglected for a long time.

  • Mesh and screens
    These are one of the most common options for gutter protection. Homeowners pick them because of how readily available and inexpensive they are. They also can easily be installed—definitely a plus for DIY-ers.

    Mesh and screens come in metal and plastic varieties, and are particularly apt for keeping out bulky debris like leaves and twigs. They are also versatile and can adjust to different kinds of roofs such as shingles, slates, steel, wood, and tile.

    However, a main disadvantage is that they may run into trouble with other debris, like seeds and shingle grits. Also, they need to be cleared every once in a while to make it easier for the water to flow into the gutter. They may fall out of place if they are struck by bigger objects or if they are loosely installed.

  • Solid cover
    Solid cover guards, as the name implies, cover almost the entire rain gutter surface but for a small opening. They are installed along the slope of the roof, which makes water flow into them naturally while leaves just fall over them. They are sturdy and, if installed correctly, can last for a very long time. They can also be easily cleaned with a hose, saving you the trouble and danger of working on high places.

    With their many benefits also come a few drawbacks. They are the most expensive leaf guard option and they are not as readily available. Also, they need to be installed by a professional to work effectively. Even though they come in several colors and can make a great addition to your exterior decorations, they are very visible from the outside and should be taken into consideration when designing the outward look of your property. Lastly, during a heavy downpour, water may spill over.

Installed rain gutters with a leaf guardConsidering all this information, you may still be wondering how to make an informed decision when selecting a leaf guard that is suited to your particular needs. There are three main points you should consider before purchasing rain gutter protection:

First, you must think about the amount of water that flows from your roof. Roofs with steep slopes and homes exposed to heavy downpours must make sure to get the most permeability on their gutter guards. Bigger perforations are recommended to prevent water from cascading over the gutters.

Second, consider the type of debris your gutter will be exposed to. Do you live in an area populated by trees? Do a lot of leaves, seeds, and twigs tend to fall and what size are they? What kind of material is your roof made of? The type of debris will dictate how sturdy your gutter guards must be. In this sense, metal protectors and solid covers are recommended for large amounts of debris.

Third, you need to review installation requirements. Will you hire a team of professionals to do your leaf guard installation or will you take on the task yourself? Some types of leaf guards require more meticulous work to install than others. Foams, mesh, and screens tend to be friendlier for DIY-ers, while solid covers demand expertise.

Even though choosing the right leaf guard for your gutters can seem like an ordeal, the investment is worth it when you realize how much they enhance your system's durability and saves you time on maintenance and cleaning.

If you are ready to install the right leaf guards for your rain gutter system, here at Rain Gutters Solution we have the proper tools and expertise to help you level up your protection. Call us at (305) 270-7779 or fill out our contact form to get a quote. For more relevant information on rain gutter installation you can also follow us on Facebook at Rain Gutters Solution, follow us on Twitter @RainGuttersSolution and Instagram @GuttersSolution.

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