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After years of installing thousands of feet of EVERY type of gutter guard on the market our conclusion is none!
Annual or semi-annual gutter cleaning is the best and most economical solution.
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 gutter protection 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!!!!
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 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 is a cheaper and better solution…
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. Gutter cleaning is a very dangerous job. Hire a professional.
Consumer Reports Sept 2010 rated Gutterglove Pro the best overall. It does indeed stop everything from getting into the gutter. Gutterglove recommends using an inverse mounted brush on an extension pole (supplied) to sweep off areas with unusual buildup as required. In my experience the need is rare.
We have looked at and studied every type of gutter guards on the market. We have been pitched all of them and looked at every one on the market.
What we have found for a succesful gutter cover.
1. It needs to attach to the gutter and under the shingles or to roof edge. (this is critical to give the gutter strength. If done correctly the gutters will be several times stronger) this will help with ice wieght and over all longer lasting gutter system.
2. Must be attached at a slight angle away from the roof. if a cover is level or below the gutter line. Debri will sit on the cover and potentially get inside. You want the cover to be able to shed debri not allow debri to sit on it.
3. Needs to handle enough water, wind, and ice weight.
4. Hooded systems work best. This allows water to go in and keep derbi out. A screen system is not near as good. There are a few good micro screens on the market. They keep derbi out. Only problem is like and filter they need to be cleaned. So every few years you will need to get up a clean them.
5. Cannot attach itself to brackets. This is a weakness and will cause failers. Especially in high wind areas.
6. Installed by someone trained. There are decent covers out there but if they are not installed propertly they will not work.
7. no cover on the market that is 100%. You can get small amounts of debri in the gutter. However if a gutter is installed properly they will drain and small bits of dirt etc will wash out. They do not without covers because the leaves cause dams and do not allow it to drain. With covers it keeps out the debri causes dams.
All that said the cover we have had the most succes with is Gutter Topper. We have installed thousands of feet of covers. We have had only 2 job fail. Both were due to improper installs. Once we discoverd what we were doing wrong havent had a problem since. (several years ago) We have had unbelievable success with gutter topper.
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