The only thing that should fill your gutters is rain water as it travels toward the downspout and then away from your foundation. A build-up of leaves in your gutters isn’t just unsightly; it can cause damage to your gutter system, roof, siding, and even your foundation. Here are the best forms of leaf protection to keep your gutters clean and flowing freely — and minimize the amount of time you spend cleaning out the gutters!
#1. Trim Trees Near the Home
Before you consider installing some type of gutter leaf protection guard, make sure you’ve done what you can to reduce the amount of debris that falls into your gutters. Any branches or limbs overhanging your gutters or your roof should be trimmed. Not only will this reduce the amount of leaves falling directly into your gutters, it will also reduce the risk of roof damage.
#2. Gutter Cleaning System and Leaf Blower
Even the best gutter guard system will still need to be cleaned of leaves and debris, but you can further reduce the time and effort you spend on this task with an a specialized gutter cleaning system that connects to a leaf blower.
#3. Nylon Gutter Guards
In cold environments, nylon gutter guards are an excellent option because their unique design doesn’t just stop leaves; it also keeps snow from building up in the gutters and freezing. Nylon gutter guards are flat, woven mats of nylon similar to a dish scrub pad that can be tucked into your gutters without attaching to the shingles.
#4. Gutter Covers
Gutter covers are one of the most effective ways to keep out leaves, but they come at a cost. This type of solution offers long-term protection against leaves with much better durability than foam fillers, screens, and most other products. Some gutter caps do need to be installed by professionals, however.
#5. Gutter Whiskers
Gutter Whiskers are a type of gutter guard with bristles that face upward. This allows water to flow through while stopping leaves and other debris. Gutter Whiskers are easy to install and can be removed easily for occasional cleaning.
#6. Foam Gutter Fillers
This type of gutter leaf protection is a foam insert that’s designed to protect your gutters from trapped leaves by creating a shelf about 1/2″ into the gutter. The main downside to foam fillers is they don’t last long. Most foam gutter fillers last for just 1 or 2 years before they need to be replaced. On the plus side, they’re the easiest type of gutter protection to install.
#7. Mesh Gutter Screens
Wire mesh gutter screens are easy to install and a cheaper solution to gutter covers. While they don’t last as long as some options, they aren’t visible from the ground and they’re effective at keeping leaves and even twigs out of your gutters.
#8. All-in-One Gutter Systems
Gutter leaf guards are a popular form of leaf protection, but they aren’t the only option. If your gutters have seen better days, another option is an all-in-one gutter system that includes a gutter as well as a cap to keep out debris. However, this is the most expensive solution.