Install them now and save on future maintenance and repairs.
What are Gutter Screens?
These can go by many names – gutter screens, leaf guards, gutter guards, leaf protection, gutter shields. There are many types also, which leads to the different names for them. Some are literally screens of various sizes while others are more solid pieces of metal or plastic with holes or slits that allow water to enter but keep debris out. Regardless of the name, their function is the same: keep sticks, leaves and other debris out of your gutter, while letting water enter and travel unobstructed down the downspouts.
Aluminum Mesh Gutter Screen
Powder Coated Steel Mesh Gutter Screen
E-Z Leaf Protection Louvered Gutter Guard
Leafree Solid Gutter Guard
Mini Mesh Gutter Screen
Which type of Gutter Screen should you choose?
You now see that there are many options to choose from, so which is best for you? We commonly install the Powder Coated Steel Screens as well as the Mini Mesh Gutter Screens.
We tend to stay away from the more solid gutter covers because they are just too restrictive and don’t allow as much water into the gutter. In addition, they tend to clog more easily – so what’s the point if they still need to be cleaned regularly?
You also need to consider what kinds of trees you have around your house. If it is mostly oak trees or cedar elms, the expanded aluminum or powder coated steel screens will do great because they will keep the small, medium and large leaves out.
However, if you have a lot of Cedar (Juniper) surrounding your home, these shed much smaller “leaves” and they can easily pass through the holes. For these trees, we recommend the Mini Mesh screens. An added bonus of the tiny mesh is that it also prevents mosquitoes from entering the gutter and laying eggs in standing water.
See the gallery below for examples of each type of common leaf and how effective the powder coated mesh screens are (or aren’t in the case of those pesky cedars!).
Why you should install gutter screens
I recently installed screens for a customer who has owned his home for about 2 years. The previous owners had several ground drains installed to the downspouts that led several feet away from the home (10-20 feet). The downspouts were connected to a plastic 3″x4″ to round adapter, then to a 4″ flexible black plastic (ADS) pipe that was buried underground. If it had been functioning properly, it would have been a great system. However, there were no screens on any of the gutters and there were several areas surrounded by oak and cedar trees.
The reason the customer called is because he could see that during a heavy rain, there was no water coming from several of the downspouts and drains, and in some areas, the water was backing up and pouring over the top of the gutters.
When I arrived, several of the gutter runs were completely full of oak and cedar leaves. The elbows of the downspouts were clogged also. After detaching and clearing them, I tested the drainage with a water hose. In a couple of areas, there was still no water draining. The ground drains (plastic ADS pipe) were clogged. I dug one up and detached it from the gutter. It was completely clogged with a massive interwoven “hairball” of roots, leaves & mud.
If these gutters had been installed with screens, I feel certain the hard work of installing the underground drains would have been worth it. However in this case, several of the pipes had to be disconnected from the downspouts because they were simply too clogged and couldn’t be removed to be cleaned.
In addition to keeping underground drains clear, gutter screens also keep critters out of the gutters. Squirrels and snakes are commonly found in gutters, and if they fall through the outlets into the downspouts, they can get trapped and die.
Finally, gutter screens decrease the amount of maintenance required for a gutter system. There will be no climbing dangerous ladders, removing downspouts or elbows to unclog them – that is simply not an option for a lot of homeowners. With screens installed, a strong wind and/or rain will move most leaves off the screens, so they are virtually maintenance free.
If you decide you would like to check one thing off your to-do list and save time and money for years to come, please don’t hesitate to call me. We will determine the best screens for your home, clean your gutters prior to installation, and ensure that’s one less thing you have to worry about in the future.