Wanted: gutter guard that works

Ask The Builder

October 28, 2007|By Tim Carter | Tim Carter,Tribune Media Services

What is the best gutter cover? The mesh-type gutter guard seems like it has promise.

For years I have been testing many different gutter guards. Some have done well, others not so well, and quite a few have failed miserably. The common problem is that small debris, such as tree blossoms, seedpods and pine needleschokes the guards. Even if the gutter covers don't get clogged, debris often gets carried into the gutter, where it turns into layers of organic muck.

Many companies claim that once their product is installed, a homeowner will never have to clean the gutters. Such claims are 100 percent false in my opinion, and I have nearly 10 years of testing gutter guards to prove it.

The bottom line is that, no matter what gutter guard you install, you will have to maintain it. This means you either have to completely stop the small debris from getting into the gutter or you must install a gutter-protection product that allows you easy access to the inside of the gutter.

For years I was a fan of an inexpensive plastic gutter guard that had small diamond knockout holes in it. This design was not bad, but it did allow some debris to enter the gutter.Then I tested the large plastic-mesh gutter guards. These required too much work to remove, flush the gutter and then reinstall.

I had just about given up hope when last year a company contacted me saying they had the solution. Once I looked at the sample they sent, I could tell their product was unique. It is made from one-eighth inch thick extruded aluminum that has a stainless-steel micromesh screen on top of it.

What I like most about this newer gutter guard is that absolutely no organic debris can get into the gutter, as the micromesh has openings that are smaller than the tip of a needle. Even though the openings are so small, the mesh easily permits large amounts of water to flow through it into the gutter.

I installed this gutter guard just after all the leaves had fallen last autumn. After nearly a year, my gutter is still perfectly clean.

Expert home builder and remodeling contractor Tim Carter has 20 years of hands-on experience in the home industry. He is a licensed master plumber, master carpenter, master roof cutter and real estate broker. If you have a question, go to askthebuilder.com and click on "Ask Tim."

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