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Do Leaf Guards on Gutters Really Work?

Gutters are one of those oft-forgotten systems that keep your home functioning on a daily basis—as long as they’re working properly, that is.

Gutters that constantly clog, leak and deposit water in the wrong places (such as down the side of your home or onto your roof) can cause serious structural damage.

Roof damage is especially likely to occur during the fall and winter months, when fallen leaves, snow and ice pile up in the gutter system and block water flow. Repairing this damage can be extremely costly and invasive.

Many homeowners resort to climbing up a ladder several times per year to clear out the decaying, waterlogged leaves and other debris from their gutter by hand. But wouldn’t it be nice if there was a solution that minimized the need for this tiring, dirty chore?

Fortunately, there is! Leaf guards are a category of products that keep debris out of your gutter systems, allowing rainwater to flow freely. Below, we discuss the many benefits of leaf guards, as well as a few of the most common varieties on the market.

Benefits of Installing Leaf Guards

  • Minimize gutter malfunctions like sagging, clogging and leaking
  • Reduce the required frequency of gutter cleanings
  • Peace of mind that your gutter systems are functioning properly
  • Protect against roof damage due to water backups

Even with leaf guards installed, it is still a smart idea to inspect your gutters annually to ensure that everything is functioning normally, and to look for signs of wear-and-tear. But having this type of safeguard in place will save you significant time and money when it comes to this area of home maintenance.

Types of Leaf Guards

1. Reverse Curve Guards

These guards rely on the science of surface tension to direct the flow of rainwater into the gutter, while blocking debris from entering. Water clings to the rounded curve and enters the gutter through a tiny slit, while leaves and other debris are blocked by the cover (usually made of metal or vinyl) and simply fall off the edge.

Leaf Slugger™ guards are made of the thickest aluminum in the gutter protection industry, and can withstand winds of up to 110 miles per hour, as well as 190 pounds of pressure. These low-profile leaf guards come in 12 different colors, making it easy to find an attractive match for your home.

2. Screen / Mesh Guards

Screens are among the least expensive variety of leaf guards. These mesh sheets are filled with small holes that allow water to flow through, while trapping leaves on the surface of the mesh. However, small debris (like pine needles and seeds) may still be able to pass through, depending on the size of the hole.

Keep in mind that mesh guards will also need to be cleaned or replaced annually. This is because the holes themselves can become clogged with debris, and the screens are not the most durable material.

3. Sponge Guards

Another budget-friendly option, sponge guards (also known as foam guards) fit into the gutter and allow water to flow through the porous material. Meanwhile, the surface of the sponge blocks large debris from entering the gutter.

The biggest downside to foam guards is that small seeds can become trapped in the spongy material, and sprout over time. Additionally, sponge guards tend to crumble and need to be replaced every few years.

4. Bottle Brush Guards

Imagine a large, very long pipe cleaner that is placed inside your gutter system—that’s essentially what a bottle brush guard looks like. The heavy-duty bristles capture leaves and large debris that falls into the gutters, while rainwater flows right past.

These guards are inexpensive and easy to install, but do not always work as intended. Debris can sometimes accumulate on top of the bristles, clogging them and preventing the flow of water. Although the bristles are durable, they do usually need to be cleaned frequently.

Unique Home Solutions is your go-to expert in gutter and leaf guard installation in the Indianapolis and Cleveland areas. Learn more about our home gutter replacement services!

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