It’s that time of year again where we revisit the leaf problem that will soon be collecting in your gutters and downspouts causing all kinds of problems. This is the worst part of autumn as it’s a problem you can’t ignore because if you do water is going to eventually run over the sides of the gutters and may end up in window wells and leak into your basement. Ugh! The other problem is this is a home chore that you need to do for a couple of months and if you wait too long your leaves are going to freeze inside your gutters. Now you have a problem as cleaning the gutters is going to be a tough and cold job.
LeafGuard v Leaf Filter
One of the things I discovered in my research is that there’s a difference between LeafGuard and Leaf Filter systems. LeafGuard is a gutter guard system that has an aluminum cover roundedover the top of your gutter and then curls at the edge where gravity takes over and rolls the water over the rounded edge into your gutter. This is amazingly scientific and is probably the best gutter guard system on the market because there’s no screen over the top and nothing will stay attached. Plus, they look really nice from any angle. Leaf Guard goes to all the trade shows and sets up a booth but they’re expensive for a couple of reasons.
- You have to buy all new gutters that will fit the LeafGuard System. I didn’t like that option as my gutters are in great shape and are only a few years old.
- In order to clean your gutters you have to call LeafGuard to come out and clean them for you and that can get expensive. I’m not sure why you have to call them but apparently you do and that is not an option for me.
So I decided to focus on the Leaf Filter systems that are much more user friendly to install and are cost efficient to install and maintain.
This year I’ve been researching the improvements in gutter guard systems for the past month and this is what I’ve come up with along with the criteria in which I judged them. Expense. Installation. Functionality.
Expense: First of all I’m a frugal. Meaning, I like to work on projects around the house and do things myself to keep the cost down. Since our home is a single story ranch I can easily reach the gutters with a step ladder. If I lived in a two story house I would not do this myself. Too high for me. But in saying that I’m frugal doesn’t mean I won’t spend the big bucks to do the job right the first time. This is an important feature for your home, especially if you live in Wisconsin in a wooded neighborhood. Those little helicopters from Silver Maple’s drive me crazy.
The best gutter guard for the money is the Raptor Gutter Guard because it features a stainless steel micro-mesh that resists corrosion and rust in addition to stopping large and small debris. Water easily passes through the screen and 99% of all other objects stay on top. The other plus is that the holes in the screen have been engineered to not clog with debris should there be any.
The Raptor Gutter Guard is made from type 304 stainless steel to provide rust and corrosion resistance.
- Equipped with a micro-mesh that allows the water to flow through and debris to pass over. However, all gutter guards pretty much do the same thing here.
- Features a V-Bend mesh profile that helps to add rigidity and avoid sagging.
- Prevents small obstructions from entering the gutter with 900 holes per square inch.
- Designed to fit a standard 5” gutter.
- NOTE: depending on the roof configuration it can be installed under the edge of the existing shingles, which I don’t recommend. See their installation guide for alternative mounting methods, such as fixing it to the facia board.
The Raptor has won awards from professional builders who use the product as they found it easy to use, affordable, and an exceptional product. I was not so easily convinced and continued researching this product and others.
FLEXXPoint Gutter Guard
Another product worthy of a mention was Flex Guard. The FlexxPoint Gutter Guard features a three-point design that slows the flow of water over the guard surface giving it time to fully drain into the gutter.
- Features a profile that allows airflow underneath any leaves or debris sitting on the surface to prevent sticking.
- Includes steel fasteners to mount directly to the gutter lip and fascia board.
- Comes in four-foot sections in either matte aluminum, white, or black.
- Made in the USA.
I really liked this product as it has a better bend proof design and no screen. The product comes in 4’ sections and is easy to install without trying to go nder the last row of shingles. There are ridges on the collection area that stop rushing water from going over the edge during heavy rains.
This would be my second option only because I read where the screen option on the Raptor Gutter Guard worked amazingly well and was approximately the same price as the Flex Guard.