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Robert Lehr asked:

Nov 10, 2014
What is the best gutter protection product?
Feb 17, 2015

There are a lot of companies out there that will try and spin why certain cover products are better than others.  No cover product out there is 100% maintanence free.  And depending on how your roof line is designed a cover may not work at all.  I.E. Cut up/ short gutter runs and inside corners.

Any cover that messes with the last layer of shingles stay far far away from. Lifting the first layer of shingles can only potential do more harm to your roof than good.

 My professional opinion, install some sort of metal screen that locks into the lip of your gutter and clean them annually or bi-annually depending where you live and if your surrounded by mature trees.  Installing screens will eliminate the amount of cleaning done per year. 

Nov 13, 2014

I will have to disagree with the last answer.  Whether they work or not depends on the vegetation.  I don't care for the reverse curl systems because of their tendency to overshoot during heavy rains.  We use a grate style cover that keeps out 95% of the stuff and 99.99% of the stuff that forms clogs.  We haven't had one clog in 10 years and the system that we specify catches all the rain. 

Many homeowners are looking for a miracle product that will free them from ever having to clean their gutters again.  Some companies are actually claiming they have this miracle product! There are some good gutter cover designs; however, every gutter guard system we have tested (and we have tested a lot of them!) has pluses and minuses.

You may have seen a demonstration at a local home show or in the mall. They look great… the water rolls around the edge of the gutter cover and into the gutter; but do they work in the real world?  To some degree yes, but none of them are perfect and none of them will prevent you from ever having to clean your gutters again!

There are over 70 gutterprotection products in the U.S. and over 150 companies selling these systems. Every company says that they are the best and that you will never have to clean your gutters again…. if a representative from any gutter guard company in the world makes such a claim, RUN FAST!  There is no such thing as a maintenance free gutter guard!!!!

 The most popular gutter guard systems today are:

  • Open Cell Polyurethane Insert – this is specially shaped and cut to fit snugly into your gutter. Most manufacturers warranty the product to last 25 years.
  • Micro Mesh Gutter Guards - this design combines an aluminum body and structural membrane with an integral medical grade stainless steel mesh to filter out debris. 
  • Metal Gutter Cover – this design relies on the principle that water clings to the surface on which it travels. The idea is that the ‘surface tension’ causes the water to cling to the gutter cover’s rounded ‘nose’. The water follows the curve of the nose and is deposited in the gutter below. The leaves and debris, on the other hand, are not supposed to follow the curve. They should remain on the flat surface and blow harmlessly to the ground once they dry out. 

Most of the products do a good job of preventing full sized leaves from entering your gutters. That is a simple task. However, many of the gutter cover products fail to stop tiny tree flower buds, seed pods and evergreen needles from entering or clogging the gutters.  And none of them are maintenance free… every gutter guard system will require cleaning regardles of their claims!!!

Gutter Cleaning may be a cheaper and better solution…

Gutter guards are not cheap! Depending on the type of gutter guard they run anywhere from $8 to $20 per lineal foot installed. An average house may have 100 feet of gutter; some houses have even more. Most homes’ gutter systems can be cleaned by a professional in an hour or so… you can do the math!

Gutter cleaning, as you well know, is not just a Fall activity. Many trees in the Baltimore area shed debris throughout the seasons.  Over time, clogged gutters can do serious damage to a home.  Usually, fascia, eaves, and foundation areas suffer first.  Paint peels and insects invade.  In some cases, rainwater can enter an exterior wall through eaves.  Prolonged exposure to a clogged gutter system will also render rafter end and roof sheathing vulnerable to rot.  Repairs become expensive.  It is not uncommon for some homes to need cleaning four times a year.

Dale Haas of 123 Exteriors PRO answered:

Nov 26, 2014

Many gutter clogging problems can be avoided by simply installing oversize downspouts, which allows for a drain hole that is twice the size. This would allow smaller pieces of debris such as maple "helicopters" and other seed pods to escape the system naturally.

If yous debris is much larger, however, like oak leaves and tree branches, one of the systems listed below would have to be considered. Just remember that no screen or hood system is perfect and will require trade-offs (i.e. debris collecting over the top of the system and/or runover during heravy rains). So I always recommend the least intrusive solution first.

Dale Haas

123 Exteriors

Tim Brown Jr. of RGS Exteriors PRO answered:

Dec 29, 2014

I just saw this so a bit late to the party. That said here is my take. 

To give a bit a background. We have been serving the Utah market fot 5 generations with gutters and exteriors. I personaly have been in the business for nearly 25 years. My father over 40. we have researched every product on the market. There is really only one that we have felt comfotable with. It is Gutter Topper. As someone said below it has been the number rated gutter cover.  The thing that really makes gutter topper so special it is very versitle. It also can handle more snow, ice, water, and wind. It is very stong and works well. 

Leaf relief is ok. We have installed it. It works well for a short period of time but the problem with that cover is it sits below the gutters which allows debri to sit on the cover and eventually gets in. 

There are some decent filters like gutter glove. Only problem is it is a filter. I dont care what anyone says, filters have to be changed or cleaned. So eventiually those will need to be cleaned. 

Like someone said earlier ther is no cover that keep all debri out. This is very true. Howver if a gutter is sloped correctly the small dirt and grit frim shigles will wash out. The reason why it doesnt without covers is the debri will create a dam and then allow evberything else to build. It will not happen with Gutter topper. 

Not sure if this helps, but again we have tried and looked at them all. As a company that has been around    for a long time and have tried them all. Gutter Topper is the only one I would look at.

We have been in the gutter protection industry for over 30 years now and we have seen plenty of hyped products come and go over this time. Gutter Helmet stands alone at the top in terms of professionally installed systems on the market today followed by Leafguard and then Topper.

Gutter Helmet's design, engineering and patented bracket design is unmatched in our opinion in the industry. We, meaning our dealership used to sell Leaffilter and some other screen products for some commercial applications and they were all terrible in terms customer unhappiness and product performance over a short period of time. If you want to offer it, be warned on a high volume of service and call backs. The same principal of a screen or filter inside your home still applies if you have a filter over your gutters outside. All filters and screens eventually get filled or clogged, and then they have to be replaced or cleaned off. On any given day/week, our installation crews across 8 states are removing metal/plastic/vinyl screens on 80% of the jobs we do. Last year company wide we did approx. 6,000 Gutter Helmet installs across territories in the NE and Midwest. Any screen or filter company offering a lifetime warranty or guarantee, you should run immediately because it will fail, yes the gutter will not clog but the screen will clog and most screen warranties do not cover this. They take your money and then say it's your responsibility to clean it. Some even hand out brushes after installing the product. 

Gutter Helmet is not 100% flawless by any means, nor is any of the other gutter products I listed, but it works the best in terms of controlling heavy amounts of rainwater and keeping debris out. Gutter Helmet does come with a lifetime mfr. no clog performance warranty which is unmatched by any other warranty. Most gutter protection warranties are backed by a dealer, not a mfr. like Gutter Helmet which is owned by Gibraltar Industries. Everyone should do their research on the warranty and whose really backing it just like windows, etc.  

Full Disclosure: We offer Gutter Helmet because it’s the best quality period and over 90% of our customers recommend our product + experience to others, if that ever changed or we saw something that was better, we would offer it no questions asked. That’s our commitment on every product we offer.  

Nov 10, 2014

A Leading Consumer Magazine Makes Gutter Topper A Recommended Gutter Guard Choice.

In an issue of the magazine, they tested a number of gutter guard systems for debris and performance.  Of the gutter guard systems, Gutter Topper was a recommended choice and the highest-rated ‘surface tension’ system.

How Gutter Topper Gutter Guards Performed in Independent Testing

Gutter Topper was tested for debris buildup, wind and rain in independent tests. Gutter Topper gutter guards exceeded expectations in all three categories:

  • Debris is based on a mixture of leaves, bark, twigs and pine needles.  The test conditions and methods were developed to simulate normal conditions that occur in most areas of the United States.
    On Debris—Gutter Topper was rated Excellent
  • Wind is ability to withstand straight line winds without any lift or movement.
    On Wind—Gutter Topper withstood winds of 110 mph (winds equivalent to a category 2 hurricane) without any lift or movement.
  • Rain is ability to contain rain water, based on an amount of rainfall measured in inches per hour.
    On Rain—Gutter Topper handled the equivalent of 22 inches of rainfall per hour.

Again, no competitive gutter guard system has scored higher in any category than Gutter Topper in independent testing. It confirms you’ve made a wise choice in your selection of Gutter Topper.

Nov 10, 2014

Hey Robert, 

When it comes to gutter protection, it really depends on the specific roof slope and size of the home or building. 
Rhino gutter guard is a great guard that can be installed on 5" or 6" K style gutters.  This product carries a 20 year no clog warranty, is fastened to the gutter with zip screws (so it will not blow off), and is made with aluminum and stainless steel mesh that will not rust or corrode.  
Another great option is a cover system.  Leaf Away makes a great gutter cover system that comes with a limited lifetime no clog warranty.  It comes in many different colors to match or accent the trim on the particular home or building.  This product can be installed on many different home/building types with various different roof slopes, but our company has found that it works best on shallower sloped homes.  If the roof is too steep, heavy rain can sometimes run off the cover.
Hope this advice helps and best of luck to you!
David Silverstein, AROCON Roofing & Construction

Mike Goldberg of RestoreCore PRO answered:

Nov 13, 2014

None of them work.  they either let small debris filter in or in a hard rain the water just runs over the gutter and not into the gutter

Dec 9, 2014

Many of my roofing and siding sub-contractors, including myself, use Leaf Relief and have had good luck with it.

Dec 15, 2014

We had a very good luck with Mastic Leaf Relief product, that said we did run into some applications where it didn't work as well as expected.

Rob Myers of Myers Homes PRO answered:

Dec 27, 2014

We actually have given up recommending our customers install gutter covers in our service area and regularly remove them. Instead, we offer a cleaning service that keeps the downspouts clear, and works totally every time. The gutter covers work, except when they don't. Heavy rains defeat the solid gutter covers (which is when you really want your gutters and downspouts to take in the water), and the screens  allow enough smaller debris through that they still clog in our area and then are in our way for cleaning. Your location and tree cover will dictate whether or not such a cover makes sense for you. They wouldn't stay in business if they didn't work for some people, but in our area they seem to make more problems than solutions.

Jan 13, 2015

Great question. While cleaning the gutters every spring/fall is an option, and the cheapest, most folks want the gutter guards so that they don't ever have to do that chore again. Or maybe due to age or physical limitations, the person can't clean them. Is the cost really that cheap when you are doing this job once or twice a year? If your yard has lots of trees, you need to invest in gutter guards which in the long term,are the way to go. We offer 3 different lines of products to our customers depending on their budget and needs. The lowest cost option is a "drop in" style guard, which is basically plastic with larger holes and really the least effective of the three. The better option we offer for those still needing to keep within a budget is the Englert MicroGuard product. For those who want the best, we offer what we feel is the best on the market, and that is Evelyn's Leaf Solution. It comes in a variety of colors to match the existing roof or siding material, it has a stainless steel micro mesh to allow water to freely get through and exit, yet catch all debris including the smallest of debris. It is also a zip screw install system meaning you won't have to worry high winds or storms will blow them out or damage them. We also really like Leaf Solution's honesty with their warranty. No gutter lasts a "lifetime". They are aluminum. So they offer a generous 25 yrs on their product which as they say is a lifetime on a gutter product. They are not meant to last 50-100 yrs. just as no product out there is rated for. Don't fall for we are installing a product that will last a "lifetime". No, we do not work for Leaf Solution or get anything by promoting them. We want to only offer our customers the best. As another option, Rhino Guard is a great product as well. Hope this helps with your gutter improvement!

Jul 13, 2016

When choosing a gutter protection system, it is very important that you do your research. Some professionally installed gutter guards will actually install under your roof or shingles. This can void your roof warranty and cause water damage. LeafFilter is the only micromesh gutter guard that won't install under your roof or shingles, which makes it your best bet. The leading consumer reporting magazine named LeafFilter the top gutter guard in the pro-installed category, too. 

Bruce Wiegan of BNW Builders PRO answered:

Apr 18, 2015

The is no one best gutter protection product.  There are tons of hoods and systems available and everybody claims to have "the best".  I would suggest that you research and make an educated decision.  GutterShutter is a the system that I use.  It is a custom seamless gutter application with a hood that is made in 10' sections and attaches directly to the fascia board on your home.  The big advantage of the hood (though being part of the system) being installed separately is that it allows for maintenance if and when needed.

I strongly recommend staying away from ANY product the has to go under or over any course of shingles on your home.  This is a seal that you do not want to break.

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