Using Leaf Guards on Gutters The Pros and Cons

Eaves trough gutters are really only as good as the down pipes that carry the water away that they collect. When dry debris blows into the channels it can accumulate surprisingly quickly. Then when rain comes it washes into the down pipe opening. If a piece of debris sticks there, it can accumulate a plug of leaves almost as effective as a beaver dam.

What happens next is inevitable. The eaves trough gutter fills with more water than the designer intended. If the channel is ready to give way, this weight can be the final straw. At the very least, the rain water overflows, splattering the windows with mucky water, and dripping past your overcoat collar as you scamper through the front door.

A Tentative Drum Roll for Gutter Guards Please

leaf guard
Clogged Down Pipe Valiant Exteriors ©

Suppliers of continuous gutter guards say they extend eaves-trough life by keeping wind-blown debris out.

They also keep heavy snowfalls away, they say and prevent ice accumulating that could expand and cause unsightly damage.

Instead, they promise the rainwater will flow smoothly year round, because the down pipes simply cannot block. This sounds idyllic, does it not, and we can assure you the system does work and we install it on request. However it also has its pros and cons. We like to tell both sides of the story so here goes.

The Pros in Favour of Gutter Guards

leag guard
Ice Damage Valiant Exteriors ©

The gutter guards we use clip solidly into our aluminum seamless gutters, and there are no unsightly nails and hooks to spoil the view from down below.

Moreover, they function as a continuous hanger that reinforces the channel even further. They definitely prevent leaves, pine needles, pine cones, and debris from blocking down pipes.

They also prevent large chunks of snow and ice sliding off metal roofs from going into gutters and tearing them away. Sounds perfect, doesn’t it? Unfortunately the scales can swing the other way

The Cons Working Against Gutter Guards

Under the right conditions ice can form on top of gutter guards, allowing sliding ice chunks to bounce off them and fall sharply to the ground. This is bad news if people walk below, because somebody could get hurt. Moreover, asphalt granules separating from older roofs can block the holes in gutter guards rendering them ineffective.

So Are Leaf Guards Good or Bad?

leaf guard
Leaf Guard by Valiant Exteriors ©

The answer depends on the particular situation. Clearly, they are not ideal for asphalt roofs, especially if these are starting to shed their coating.

However, if gutters and downpipes regularly block in fall this could be a positive indication. If we have to clear the gutters regularly, we should be able to prevent the small holes in gutter guards blocking, and our task will anyway be that much easier too.

Call Valiant Exteriors in Calgary Alberta for advice on 403 829 1661, or leave an email message here.

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