What is a Leaf Filter Gutter Guard?
A leaf filter gutter guard is a piece of equipment that you can have installed in your gutters to prevent blockages from occurring from leaf build-up.
If you have tall deciduous trees near your home which shed their leaves through fall and winter, then you have probably experienced blockages in your gutters, which can cause problems in the event of heavy rainfall because your gutters can’t work as they are supposed to, and you end up with a waterfall of rain pooling around the base of your home.
The job of a gutter is precisely to prevent this since pooled water around the perimeter of your house can seep into the foundations and affect the structural integrity of the property. In order for gutters to function, they need to be clear of blockages, and that is exactly what leaf filter gutter guards are for.
Some types of leaf guards will also prevent other types of debris from getting into your gutter, like pine needles, acorns, and twigs, while some will only stop larger items, like leaves, from getting into the gutters.
Do I Need a Leaf Filter Gutter Guard?
Leaf filters for gutters are aimed at homes that have high tree cover close to the property. If you typically have to have your gutters serviced every year to remove the build-up of leaves, then this is a product that could be useful for you.
If you don’t get blocked gutters caused by leaf build-up, then leaf filter gutter guards won’t be necessary for your home. To decide if you need a leaf filter gutter guard, you should weigh up the cost of what you are paying for your gutters to be cleaned each year versus the cost of having gutter guards installed.
Another benefit of leaf guards for gutters is that they prevent a blockage from happening in the first place, which might give you more peace of mind compared with an annual gutter cleaner who may not catch a blockage until it is too late.
Prevention is always better than cure, but of course, the cost of prevention versus cure is also a big factor in deciding whether to get gutter filters for most people.
How Effective are Gutter Guards?
There are several types of gutter guards that are very effective at preventing leaves from getting into gutters and forming blockages, but there are also types of gutter guards that are more trouble than they are worth.
If you are considering having gutter guards installed, then read the information below to help you understand which type of leaf filter gutter guard will be most effective for your home.
Buying Considerations for Leaf Filter Guards
The cost of leaf filter gutter guards varies between types and manufacturers. The cost of installation will also need to be factored in, as well as the cost of maintenance since no gutter guard is completely maintenance-free.
There are many budget-friendly leaf filter guards on the market, but not all of these do the job as well as you might hope. While researching prices for leaf filters, you should also measure this against the effectiveness of the product because, in many cases, you might be better off opting for a more expensive product that is actually going to work.
If you currently pay for a company to clean out your gutters, then you should weigh this cost against the cost of gutter guards. For example, if you currently spend $200 a year on gutter cleaning, and your gutter guards are going to cost $4000, then this means it will take 20 years for your investment to have paid for itself. This is a poor investment since most types of gutter guards will not last as long as 20 years, so you will be better off continuing to pay for gutter cleaning services.
However, if you are spending $500 a year on gutter cleanings and your gutter guards are going to cost $2000, then the guards will have paid for themselves in the space of 4 years, which is worth it for most types of leaf filter gutter guards.
While weighing up the costs associated with gutter guards and gutter cleaning, you’ll also want to factor in the expected lifespan of a gutter product because this will affect its cost per year.
If you opt for plastic gutter guards, then at a maximum, they will last for 10 years. If you pay $2000 for the gutter guards, then this means they will equate to a spend of $200 per year over the 10 years if they last for their full life span. If they only last for 5 years, then they will cost $400 a year for their duration.
If you are looking into getting gutter guards because you want a low-maintenance solution, then it’s important you opt for the right type of gutter guard. This is because certain types of gutter guards, such as brushes, require frequent maintenance to keep them working as they should.
Most types of leaf filter gutter guards will require some form of maintenance, but the amount of maintenance will vary dramatically between types.
Gutters are designed to carry rainwater away from the roof of your home so that you don’t end up with puddles at the base of your property which can affect the foundations.
Most leaf filters are effective at blocking leaves from entering gutters while allowing the water to flow freely, but some prevent water from getting into the gutter as quickly as it needs to. This can cause rain to run off and make your gutters entirely pointless.
Types of Leaf Filter Gutter Guards and Prices
Reverse Curve Gutter Guard
These gutter guards are also known as surface tension leaf filters. They are usually made from a curved piece of sheet aluminum which is shaped to prevent leaves and other debris from getting into the gutter while allowing water to still drip into it.
Oftentimes, these guards will have a textured surface that makes the water grip to it, guiding it into the gutter. These are effective at preventing leaf blockages, but they also come with several drawbacks.
To be installed, these guards need to be fitted underneath roof shingles, which means lifting up the bottom row of roof shingles and potentially damaging them. These guards can be seen from ground level, and they can look unsightly, which puts off some people.
The area where the rain gets into the gutter is very small with this type of gutter guard, so you can still end up with water runoff in heavy storms. They are also among the most expensive types of leaf filter gutter guard, at between $15 and $30 linear foot, including installation.
For a typical home with 200 feet of guttering, this will be a total of between $3000 and $6000 for reverse curve gutter guard.
Perforated Aluminum Gutter Guard
This is a popular type of gutter guard that is made from a sheet of perforated aluminum. The small holes allow water to flow through freely while preventing leaves and other debris from getting through.
The cost of this is around $7 to $10 per linear foot or between $1500 and $2000 for an average home with 200 feet of guttering.
Foam Insert Gutter Filters
Foam inserts are inexpensive and easy to install yourself if you have access to a ladder. They are designed to allow water to flow through the foam while leaves and other debris cannot get through.
Unfortunately, these can get saturated with water and cause mold and mildew to grow. They can also suffer from plants and grass growing on them, and they are a popular place for rodents to create nests. They cost between $5 and $10 per linear foot.
Mesh Gutter Screens
Mesh gutter screens are made from a fine vinyl or metal mesh, and they are very effective. They cost between $10 and $20 per linear foot, making them a mid-range price point compared to other types. They are very durable but require professional installation.
Brush Gutter Guards
These are a type of gutter guard that is easy to install yourself because they are essentially just long brushes that you lay down inside the gutter. They are effective at allowing water into the gutter while preventing leaves and debris from getting in and causing blockages; however, the leaves and twigs will get trapped in the brush bristles and need regular maintenance.
To clean them, simply lift them out of the gutter and spray them with a hose or pressure washer. This is one of the most popular types of leaf filter because it is easy, effective, and inexpensive, but it won’t suit people who aren’t interested in regularly cleaning the brushes.
These typically cost between $4 and $8 per linear foot, and they are very durable with a life expectancy of between 5 and 10 years.