How to Keep Leaves Out of Your Gutters

How to Keep Leaves Out of Your Gutters


The gutter system of your roof is your home’s first line of defense against damage from rain, sleet, snow and other inclement weather. By using a series of gutters and downspouts, this system can easily redirect the water away from your home, and more importantly away from the foundation.

Here’s the thing though: a gutter system can only protect your home if it is clear of leaves and other debris. After all, it is certainly a challenge to move water through a clogged system. So how can you make sure that your gutters remain clear. And while it’s easy enough to go up onto a ladder and clear out your gutters by hand, it’s not the safest method out there. For most of our clients, we recommend installing a quality gutter guard along with your gutter system to help you keep things flowing nicely.

Gutter guards are a fairly simple idea in principle. Essentially they are products that are designed to let water in to your gutters and keep leaves and debris out. There are a few different types available on the market today, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. The most common types available today include screen guards, surface tension guards, and fine mesh gutter guards.

Screen Guards – Affordable and Easy To Install

One of the most common type of gutter guards in the Arlington area is the screen guard. As the name suggests, this type of guard is simply a perforated screen that is placed on top of the gutter. The holes allow water to pass through, while the debris sits on top of the screen. It’s super easy to install, often requiring no fasteners, and is one of the most affordable options on the market today. The disadvantage of this type of gutter guard is that it isn’t always secure. Depending on the weight of the debris, or the winds around your roof, the screens can get damaged and become ineffective. In addition, the holes can become easily clogged with pine needles, seeds, or other small debris. If you choose to install a screen gutter guard, be sure to have them inspected regularly, but they can be a great low-cost option depending on your situation.


Surface Tension Guards – A Great Choice for Harsh Weather

Another popular choice for gutter guards are ones commonly known as surface tension guards. These guards have a rounded lip on the one edge. Because water has a natural surface tension, it will cling to this rounded edge, and drip down into the gutter, while debris will simply slide off the edge of the guard and onto the ground below. There may be times when small debris gets into the gutter, but most of the time they are easily washed down with the rainwater. One of the main advantages of this type of guard is that unlike screen guards, they are strong enough to withstand snow, ice, strong branches, and nearly everything else that a strong Arlington thunderstorm can throw at them. Once installed, they also require very little maintenance. But they do have some disadvantages as well. A surface tension guard is a bit more difficult to install. In addition, the gutters on your home may need to be re-installed to make sure that the water from the guard actually drips down into the gutter itself. This is definitely not a DIY project – you’ll want a professional to do this installation job.


Fine Mesh Guards – Smaller Holes Mean Smaller Hassles

In a very real sense, fine mesh guards are much like screen guards with one major difference. The holes in the fine mesh guard are significantly smaller. This means that the normal things that would clog up the holes on a screen job simply aren’t a problem. Things such as twigs, seeds, leaf particles, or even pieces of pine sap simply flow over top of the mesh allowing the water to pass right through. In addition, a fine mesh screen is often attached to the shingles or soffit fascia, which allows the gutters themselves to be reinforced. It’s kind of like adding an extra support to your gutter system. It still requires regular cleaning and maintenance, just like a normal screen, but the need for unclogging it will likely be much less. Of course, smaller particles such as shingle grit can cause issues, but a regular cleaning is more than enough to get things moving again.

So if you want to make sure your gutters work properly, having a gutter guard installed is a great way to help. There are a few choices available, and depending on your needs and budget, we can work with you to find the right fit for you and your home.