Do Leaf Gutter Guards Really Work?

gutter guard close up

Blocking Your Gutters From Leaves

We’ve talked about the importance of gutters for our homes before, but what about leaf gutter guards? What are they and are they necessary? How do leaf gutter guards prevent damage to your gutters?

Leaf gutters guards are a simple but powerful add-on component that works with the gutter system using the process of liquid adhesion. They form a hood-like over the open gutter runs, allowing rainwater to travel through the gutters but they keep debris and leaves out.

What are leaf gutter guards made from? 

There are several types of gutter guards on the market today, some can be a DIY project while others must be installed professionally. The different types of leaf gutter guards are: 

  • Screen Leaf Gutter Guards

Debris and leaves are kept out of the gutter runs with this type of affordable leaf gutter guard with large holes made into them. They can be installed by the homeowner with a simple process of lifting the roof shingles along the bottom row and sliding the leaf gutter guard screen edge under them. 

  • Mesh Leaf Gutter Guards

Mesh leaf gutter guards are made of metal or plastic. They have small holes to keep debris out by filtering rainwater as it comes down. They are installed like the above-mentioned by slipping them under the bottom row of the shingles and then snapped directly on top of the gutter runs. They can also be attached to the fascia along the roofline. 

These are more expensive leaf gutter guards and take longer to install. Some brands aren’t as sturdy as others, making them susceptible to being damaged by high winds and blister UV rays. 

  • Micro-Mesh Leaf Gutter Guards

Micro-mesh gutter guards are analogous to mesh leaf gutter guards by having small holes to debris and leaf out while rainwater flows through the gutter runs. The micro-mesh has smaller holes that keep even smaller debris out that gets through the other leaf gutter guards. 

They are available in a DIY type, but professional installation is recommended. They are a more expensive option, but they have a longer lifespan, provide better protection, and have minimal maintenance needs. 

  • Reverse-Curve Leaf Gutter Guards

Also referred to as surface tension leaf gutter guards, these are available in metal or plastic but do not allow rainwater to flow through the gutter runs. Instead, it forces the rainwater to flow over the gutters then downward, and into another type of gutter beneath.  The debris and leaves slide off then and fall to the ground. 

Reverse-curve leaf gutter guards are harder to install as a DIY project because of the required angle with the roof line. These are a more expensive option and can be seen from the ground. 

  • Brush Leaf Gutter Guards

Brush leaf gutter guards look like large pipe cleaners that are fitted into the gutter runs and collect large debris on top while water trickles through the gutter run spout. This is an easy-to-install leaf gutter guard that keeps even pine needles and other small debris out of the gutter runs, however, they can clog the leaf gutter guard, requiring it to be removed and cleaned. 

  • Foam Leaf Gutter Guards

Foam leaf gutter guards are inexpensive and can be installed by the homeowner. These work by sticking a foam wedge into the gutter that keeps large debris out of the gutter run. The downside to this type of leaf gutter guard is that debris builds up on these leaf gutter guards which requires removing the guards, cleaning them, and reinstalling them. 

Is a professional installation of leaf gutter guards better than DIY?

A common question by homeowners is, “Are leaf gutter guards easy to install?”. A DIY leaf gutter guard installation is fairly simple with basic tools and a ladder. Most DIY leaf gutter guards will come with installation techniques and instructions that walk you through the process. They even have 800 number helplines where you can get assistance. 

There are benefits to having them installed professionally too including they typically have a longer lifespan, and the materials are usually more durable. You’ll get a guarantee for workmanship and the product warranty is usually better too. The crews that install leaf gutter guards have been trained not only for installing the leaf guards but for gutter issues too. 

leaves on top of leaf gutter guard

Are there advantages to having leaf gutter guards? 

There are always going to be debates about things like leaf gutter guards. Some of the arguments have value, but often those arguments against leaf gutter guards are due to misinformation. Such as, “no maintenance” is not 100% accurate no matter what type you have installed. They all will need cleaning at some point, just not as often as without leaf gutter guards. 

Leaf gutter guards do keep critters from building a nest in your gutters, a definite benefit that minimizes clogging. With your gutters staying clear of blockage, the rainwater is getting redirected away from the roofline, foundation, and basement, another benefit. 

How often do leaf gutter guards need to be cleaned?

Yes, it can be disappointing if you’ve believed the advertisements stating you’ll never have to clean your gutters again. No matter what type of leaf gutter guard you install, there is some maintenance, including cleaning, to be done. Expert contractors recommend cleaning them two times a year for the leaf gutter guard and for the gutters that have leaf gutter guards with larger holes, the gutters will need cleaning for the dirt and fine particles that get through the leaf gutter guards. 

Are leaf gutter guards available in different sizes?

Most leaf gutter guards are available in lengths ranging between three and eight feet and widths typically match the width of gutters of 4”, 5”, or 6”. 

In The End

With a gutter leaf guard investment, will you get a long life from them? How long do leaf gutter guards last? The typical lifespan of leaf gutter guards is between ten and twenty years if you practice routine cleaning maintenance. If the gutter guard and gutter cleaning aren’t done, it can shorten their lifespan just as it will shorten the lifespan of the gutter system itself. 

Protect your gutters from blockages with leaf gutter guards in Omaha, NE. The team at INNOVATIVE ROOFING will handle secure and fitted installations at 402-512-4200, contact us today!