Leaf guards on rain gutters?

david52 Zone 6November 1, 2005

As Black T. of Death mentioned on the other thread, one of the least favoritist things is climbing the step ladder, reaching up with gloved hand, and pulling out gobs of sopping wet leaves. If you wait long enough until a slush storm comes along, then one can do this with the icey, muddy from dust, filthy water running down the sleeve of the upraised arm, while face is rapidly switching between upturned and down turned to avoid the storm and splash-over.

I do this every year. I have an enormous globe willow strategically placed so that it sheds leaves in every gutter I own. One year, I pulled off the gutters. I put them back up the next year, as rain water and snow splash stuff up and around on white house walls much more than I had remembered in years past, and icicles form in winter, and break off when one opens and closes doors. I had forgotten.

Has anyone installed those leaf guard thingies that are supposed to put an end to this misery?

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david52 Zone 6

One aspect of GW that I have never figgered out is how long unanswered posts stay at the top of the page. On some forums, even if unanswered they move down after a day or so. Here, they can stay for some time. It can make one feel like they asked a really dumb question.

Yep, you say, thats happened to me, but then the site won't let me post below my own post so that it will move down, saving me from further embarassment.

Well, I thought I would share how to do this. You edit a bit the "Subject of Posting" by adding a space or so, or changing a word. Voila, you can post again.

I am still waiting for the leaves to fall off my globe willow. It takes until after Thanksgiving if the fall is mild.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2005 at 1:01PM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

Hi David,

I don't think its a dumb question at all, and I hope somebody still sees it who's able to give you some information, 'cause I'm kinda wondering the same thing. The last house I lived in was only one story and I was able to go up and perch precariously along the edge to scoop the goop out, but the one I'm living in now is a full two stories high down the whole length of the back and I'm not about to "perch" on the edge of this one! Just looking straight up from the bottom makes me dizzy----I can't imagine what looking straight down from the top would do! And I don't (yet!) own a long enough extension ladder to get up high enough to do it from a ladder--not that going that high up on an extension ladder wouldn't be scarey enough all by itself--so I'm not sure what I'm gonna do. But I can see all the rotting cottonwood leaves hanging over the edges, so I'm gonna have to figure out something. So.....if anyone has any information at all about whether or not gutter guards work, please help the unenlightened.


    Bookmark   November 5, 2005 at 6:17PM
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Mcfrank(5 MT)

Ok, for what its worth, we don't have them on our house. BUT, our neighbors across the street do, and their opinion is yes and no. If we don't happen to get much in the way of moisture once the leaves start falling, the wind inevitably blows the dry leaves off the guards. But, if the leaves get wet, they stick to the guards and and don't blow away. Which means we get to yell from across the street and harass them, just like they do when we're out scooping crud out of our unprotected gutters. Even at that, seems to me at least the guards relieve you of hauling a hose up to the roof to blast h20 into the downspouts, which are usually clogged with more of the crud(and this task is usually conducted during a torrential downpour, so the neighbors can really harass you).

    Bookmark   November 6, 2005 at 12:40PM
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Check out the Leaf Relief gutter guards by Alcoa. They really keep out tree debris and are guaranteed against inside-the-gutter clogs.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2006 at 6:00PM
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david52 Zone 6

I cut down the globe willow. It was so big it was shading the driveway to the north, which in the winter made for a skating rink. This improved the situation.

And a new trick to pass along. The 5 ft diameter trunk needed to go. I cut slots into it with a trusty chain saw, and filled them with stump rotter / salt peter / potassium nitrate, let it sit 10 months, then tried to burn it. It will never dry out, with the enormous root mass. I have done this before, piling branches and small logs on top of a stump to clear it, and they will burn off an inch or so a day. The wet stump gets smothered with ash, and the fire goes out.

With this stump, I took the top off the shop vacuum, reversed the hoses, and used it as a leaf-blower. What fun. Sparks flying everywhere, flame 10 feet high. I burned the stump 20 inches into the ground in 4 days.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2006 at 9:22AM
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david52 Zone 6

Right now, I've got an ice dam about a foot thick all along my rain gutters, and some serious, serious icicles. One big honker about 4' long. It reminds one of an upside down unicorn.

The absolute easiest way to get your rain gutters clean is have your strapping 16 year old son climb up on the roof with the aforementioned, reversed-shop-vac-now-leaf-blower, and blow them clean.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2009 at 9:55PM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

You sure that's not a stalactite, David? ;-)

And, uhhh, could I borrow your strapping 16 year old son???


    Bookmark   January 17, 2009 at 10:36PM
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beth4(z5 - Utah)

I just saw this post...although it's several months old. Last year (late summer/early fall of 2007), I installed these gutters on my 2-story home here in Utah. My yard has many deciduous trees, as do my neighbor's yards. So far, I'm delighted. I also had them install a heated cable in the gutter, so I no longer have to worry about the killer icicles which form each winter on the gutters.

In case you're interested, Leaf Guard is a Denver firm, located in Commerce City. Check out the website to see how this concept works. For what it's worth, the system is a "Good Housekeeping" recommended product.

I confess I have not stood on a ladder to try to peek inside the leaf guards to see if there's any built-up pollen, dirt (we get so much blown dirt in Utah, as I know Denver used to do), etc. But, I LOVE the much larger down spouts they use, as the water just gushes out of them, unlike the original gutters on this 30 year old home.

Hope you find the info helpful.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2009 at 1:20PM
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gjcore(zone 5 Aurora Co)

I work on ladders often so I have experience with gutter guards. Anything made out of plastic will fail. They will get crushed sooner or later by the weight of snow or warped by the heat of the sun. Gutter topper is a huge waste of money in my opinion as the gutters will often not collect the rain water or snow melt.

The only gutter guards that I've seen that work and I'm not sure of the name but they are made out of steel mesh and coated with black plastic. They are only suitable with 5 inch gutters and asphalt composition roofs. In some situations they will not fit properly. Also, in general, the trees in the area need to have large leaves that will blow away and they work best if the trees are not hanging over the house. Gutters still often need to be cleaned and it can be a real headache with guards installed.

Gutter guards of any type can also lead to problems such as getting water sliding behind the gutters because debris builds up between the roof and guard. This can lead to damaged soffit or fascia which are expensive repairs.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2010 at 8:11PM
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david52 Zone 6

I think i posted about my solution to all this, using a PVC elbow on the end of the shop-vac-leaf-blower array, walking along the ground and blowing out the leaves. With the caveat that you want one, right angle bend, or else it will come raining down on your upturned face, and watch out for ground-level-garden hazards like old shrub stumps.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2010 at 11:55AM
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