Reply
Thread Tools Display Modes
#1
Old 04-09-2009, 10:11 AM
Guest
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Carmel, Indiana
Posts: 842
Rain gutter covers - do they work?

So the wife and I were at the local yearly home improvement and garden show a few weeks ago, and I noticed that there were a fair number of vendors selling products that claim to keep the leaves out of your gutters. Usually the product is a mesh screen, or a solid cover, the idea being that the rain will go into the gutter, and the leaves stay out. The one that I remember was called Gutter Guard, but there were certainly others.

Do any Dopers have these installed on their gutters currently, and if so, how are they working? I confess to an enhanced interest in these right now -- we had a heavy day of rain on Sunday, and I spent about 30 minutes on a stepladder outside our house unclogging a downspout with my plumbers' snake that was choked with leaves and maple tree seeds. I'd like to try to not repeat that experience if possible.
#2
Old 04-09-2009, 10:16 AM
Guest
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Location: Location:
Posts: 10,542
They work, however there is a mixed curve into terms of cost and performance.

If you buy decent self-install guards (100-200 bucks) you'll get 90% of the performance of gutter helmets/caps/guards installed by a company with slick sales people.

I lived on a pretty heavy wooded lot and enjoyed the pretty good pop in guards that had a little extra mesh layer over the plastic screen.

We've been beaten down by hail, 65 mph gusts from trop storms and were up to our knees in leaves each Fall. The gutters stayed clean. They will go strong for another decade.

I'd spend another 200 bucks on those for my next house and would never consider dropping 2500 or more on some pro stuff. Don't like ladders? ...pay some handy man to install the ones from the home improvement center.

Expect much anecdotal evidence.

Last edited by Philster; 04-09-2009 at 10:18 AM.
#3
Old 04-09-2009, 10:23 AM
bup bup is offline
Guest
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: glenview,il,usa
Posts: 11,905
The self-installed ones work really well for us - I only have to clean right at the downspout a couple of times a year.

Installing them involved lots of pain and cursing, though.
#4
Old 04-09-2009, 10:46 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Shakedown Street
Posts: 12,955
DvlHouse is in the middle of a five acre wooded lot, so leaves they are a-falling. The house had self-installed guards when we moved in, but they didn't seem to have been done correctly -- in many areas they had blown off. It cost us about $250 (Neither MrsDvl or I were going up on a ladder) to have the gutters cleaned and new guards installed, and for a while now there have been no problems at all.
#5
Old 04-09-2009, 11:05 AM
Member
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Minneapolis
Posts: 10,698
Can anybody link to some decent do-it-yourself guards?
And how well do they work for non-leaf tree stuff like those maple tree propellers?
#6
Old 04-09-2009, 11:23 AM
Guest
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Location: Location:
Posts: 10,542
I don't have a link, but you want the plastic screens which provide most of the mass that are backed up by a second mesh layer. best bang for the buck.
#7
Old 04-09-2009, 12:12 PM
Guest
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: SE Virginia
Posts: 4,933
I have installed gutter guards similar to these. Since the house is only one story, installing them myself was not a problem - it took less than an hour to do the front and back of my house.

We ordered them out of a mail-order catalog (can't remember the name of the company), and the price was pretty close per section as in my link.

These have kept out not only big leaves, but pine straw, helicopters seed thingies, and pretty much anything that gets dropped from all the trees surrounding the house. The worse I have to do is once a year run a garden hose up there to was out the mud that has accumulated.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Philster
Expect much anecdotal evidence.
Well, he did ask for personal experiences...
#8
Old 04-09-2009, 12:51 PM
Guest
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Location: Location:
Posts: 10,542
I just figured the OP might have expected that everyone performed controlled studies.

Last edited by Philster; 04-09-2009 at 12:52 PM.
#9
Old 07-03-2011, 04:53 AM
Guest
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: was Montreal, now MD
Posts: 7,116
Reported as zombie spam.
#10
Old 07-03-2011, 07:21 AM
Guest
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Northern USA
Posts: 1,943
I don't think any of them keep 100% of the leaves and dirt out. The screwed on Gutter Helmet are a huge pain to clean out what still manages to get in. They were on the church I used to maintain. My house has DIY snap on ones. I paid $1.50 each for 3' sections 20 years ago. They are expanded metal, arched, and have a couple of clips to hold them on. Try Lowes, etc. They do a good job.
#11
Old 07-03-2011, 07:31 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Shakedown Street
Posts: 12,955
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhythmdvl View Post
DvlHouse is in the middle of a five acre wooded lot, so leaves they are a-falling. The house had self-installed guards when we moved in, but they didn't seem to have been done correctly -- in many areas they had blown off. It cost us about $250 (Neither MrsDvl or I were going up on a ladder) to have the gutters cleaned and new guards installed, and for a while now there have been no problems at all.
Don't know if the thread is going to get locked or just have the spam erased or deleted, but just in case anyone else pops in (or Googles), I'll update the above.

It's now been about three or four years since we had the guards re-installed, and so far there's been absolutely no problems. Storms and whatnot have come through, yet none have blown off. The woods still surround the house, but none of the gutters is clogged. I recently did a during-the-rain walkaround to check for something else, and saw no problems. I don't know the brand off-hand, but if I can find a sample (and someone thinks it's important), I'll look for an extra and post a pic.
#12
Old 08-21-2011, 01:06 PM
Guest
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: London, UK
Posts: 5
If you get the drains installed properly ( 1-40 fall ) you don't need covers, the water will flash the guttering.

I am a plumber.
#13
Old 08-22-2011, 04:41 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Posts: 14,257
Quote:
Originally Posted by polish View Post
If you get the drains installed properly ( 1-40 fall ) you don't need covers, the water will flash the guttering.

I am a plumber.
What about if you have a fig tree near the house with leaves the size of side plates (and far bigger than the size of a downpipe)? I guess not, huh?

Mrs P and I had a good look at the options and couldn't find many options that came highly recommended. Actually the experiences relayed in this thread are more positive than I have seen elsewhere.
#14
Old 06-09-2014, 12:19 AM
Guest
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 1
The most effective gutter guard type are the micro mesh variety

I've researched this topic of gutter guards for many hours. Based on user postings on a multiplicity of sites, PLUS Consumer Reports ratings, there is little doubt that the MOST effective type is the micro-mesh variety.

Makes sense.

If the holes letting water through to the gutter troughs are large enough, all sorts of stuff falling off trees will get through. Leaves are generally the largest falling items, hence the easiest to keep out of gutters. It's the other smaller stuff - seed pods, tassels, mostly spring-time stuff - that requires micro mesh in order to be kept out of gutters.

What type of micro-mesh? DIY? Or contractor installed?

That's up to your personal preference.

If you DO go with a METAL micro-mesh, be CERTAIN it's surgical grade stainless steel, otherwise you'll have a rusty mess. (Vinyl is much less costly- see below)

If you choose to use a contractor, you'll likely pay $10-20 per linear foot +/-, so check references before signing any contract.

If you're going to DIY, check out on-line reviews at COSTCO.com of their EasyOn stainless steel mesh product. A bargain at about $2.00 per linear foot.

I chose to go to Lowe's and purchased SHEERFLOW Gutter Filter. About $0.60 per linear foot. It's a vinyl and fiberglass product. Be sure to install it correctly - with the mesh material on the top !

I have found nothing more effective and better priced than Sheerflow.

The other systems without micro mesh work ok for leaves, but most still let smaller items get into your gutters. Micro mesh products are the only ones that consistently and reliably keep out virtually everything but the rainwater itself.

Did My Homework Before Posting
#15
Old 06-09-2014, 12:49 AM
Guest
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Starbucksistan
Posts: 3,157
I still liked the solution that my parent's house in North Carolina had, 30 years ago - NO gutters, just a metal strip over the steps to the front porch to divert the water away from there. Seemed to work well, and NEVER had a problem with it.

I see from looking at Google streetview that the new owners added gutters. There loss.
#16
Old 06-09-2014, 06:37 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Southeast Florida USA
Posts: 21,035
Quote:
Originally Posted by lawoot View Post
I still liked the solution that my parent's house in North Carolina had, 30 years ago - NO gutters, just a metal strip over the steps to the front porch to divert the water away from there. Seemed to work well, and NEVER had a problem with it.

I see from looking at Google streetview that the new owners added gutters. There loss.
This discussion started 5 years ago. I suspect the guy with the original question has long since fitted his gutter guards.

The real purpose of gutters, downspouts, & drain lines is to conduct rainwater way from the house around the entire perimeter. The strip over the door works fine for the tiny purpose you mention, avoiding a waterfall at your front door. But all around the rest of your house water cascades off the roof, falls right next to the foundation, and works to undermine it and or cause water intrusion into your basement.

In areas of the country with little annual rain, or for houses lucky enough to be on properly graded lots, gutters may be optional. For the majority of houses in the US, Europe, etc. gutters with drain lines to carry the water well away from the building are an essential feature to avoid water damage problems over the longer term.

Last edited by LSLGuy; 06-09-2014 at 06:39 AM.
#17
Old 06-09-2014, 11:46 AM
Guest
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Houston, Texas, USA
Posts: 840
If you have a ton of pine trees, and use gutter mesh, you end up with pine needles sticking straight up in the holes like hair. The only way to get that out is to remove it by hand which takes forever.
#18
Old 06-10-2014, 02:52 AM
Guest
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Norfolk, VA
Posts: 1,082
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleClogs View Post
If you have a ton of pine trees, and use gutter mesh, you end up with pine needles sticking straight up in the holes like hair. The only way to get that out is to remove it by hand which takes forever.
I agree and that's the main reason I avoided a mesh guard. I am surrounded by several pines and a huge pin oak so I installed the DIY solid guards over 10 years ago. The only gutter maintenance I perform now is cleaning the outer rounded edge of the guard that allows rain water to run from the top of the guard back into the gutter. Debris (basically gunk) builds up at the edge over time and must be cleaned about every 3 years. Fortunately, I have a one story home.

Last edited by Dereknocue67; 06-10-2014 at 02:53 AM.
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:55 PM.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: [email protected]

Send comments about this website to:

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

Copyright © 2017
Best Topics: babylon 5 vorlon sub dividing sunsetter commercial first nature definition bubblegum flavour ethics songs stealing a base oblivion bow bismuth bullets 3 stepper snake incinerator chute campbell mcdonalds remove caulk from brick 60 pence to usd how to break a bottle touch lamp comes on by itself get fuzzy bucky baby carrier how do tank traps work what is the straight line on the keyboard called it's a good day to die is sarasota a good place to live what is dope rated get weed smell out of car