20 years of gutter installations has made Jason Phillips a Gutter Guru of sorts. After seeing myriads of system failures and successes, he has formed strong opinions of gutter guards. Phillips states, “Some gutter covers are mostly hype and can even cause water damage or roofing warranty issues, while other gutter guards lessen headaches, save time and money and even potential damage to your home. Not all systems are best for everyone. The best application for your home depends on the type and amount of debris that comes in contact with your gutter system.” Check out Jason Phillips’ top 3 gutter cover picks, as well as a bonus section on gutter covers to avoid in this timely report!
The Best Gutter Guard: Leaf Relief
Leaf Relief comes in two varieties of heavy duty aluminum or copper: Series SN for new gutter installations and Series TP for existing gutters. Both strengthen and support your gutters from front to back and end to end. Round perforations and smooth surfaces prevent leaves, needles, seeds and twigs from sticking to the cover’s surface and clogging the gutter. Leaf Relief’s Patented Aluma-Perf technology allows debris to float away with the breeze to minimize cleanup. Also, longer sections mean fewer overlaps for a cleaner installation and less chance for debris to infiltrate the system.
Series SN features a continuous hanging system that outperforms traditional hangers. It supports up to a whopping 250 pounds per foot and distributes weight evenly over the entire length of your gutter! It also prevents debris from entering the gutters’ interior, a situation that commonly leads to deterioration and clogging. And it allows as much water to drain through as a 2 x 3 downspout, due to its 489 perforations per 20 inches.
The TP Series features a flexible flap which is self-sealing and fits perfectly in your existing gutter. It’s UV, mold and mildew resistant and flexible under extreme weather conditions. And it can drain up to 29.7″ of rainfall per hour.
Both Series SN and TP are backed by Leaf Relief’s 25-year “Never Clogs, Never Overflows” warranty. And Phillips has seen great success with this superior gutter cover.
Top 3 Leaf Protection: Leaf BlasterPRO
Leaf BlasterPRO is Jason’s second pick for a long-lasting, hard-working gutter guard that delivers innovation and flexibility through its stainless steel micro-mesh design. Its tight weave resists debris, warping, and rusting year over year. Additionally, its Z-Bend mesh lifts debris so it can blow off naturally and improves water flow.
Leaf Blaster also uses “Advanced Through Technology.” The front trough part of Leaf Blaster’s patented design acts as a catalyst, moving water straight into the gutter rather than over the side. It fits any gutter-to-roof configuration and resists leaves, roof grit, pine needles, pests and fire embers. Finally, it features an industry-leading 40-year warranty against defective parts.
As a bonus, Leaf BlasterPro also sells a Gutter Guard Brush designed to reach even the toughest places. It attaches to any standard extension pole from the ground and even brushes away fine pollen particles from the micro-mesh. Phillips has seen great performance from the Leaf Blaster gutter guard through the years and highly recommends!
Top 3 Leaf Guards: Powder-Coated Mesh
Powder-Coated Steel Screens, such as E-Z-Lock Small Hole screens, are the least expensive of the three, but still provide easy installation and good performance. They lock into the gutter without disturbing the shingles and snap out just as easily for cleaning. Made of expanded galvanized steel, powder-coated to resist rust and debris, they are designed to handle medium debris loads and perform best with larger sized debris.
E-Z-Lock is black and comes in 4-foot lengths and multiple widths to fit any gutter system. It does require more maintenance than our other picks – homeowners will need to brush off the tops of the panels and flush out the gutter with a garden hose twice per year. E-Z-Lock has been tested to perform well against 6 inches of rainwater per hour. It comes with a 5-year limited warranty, another Top Pick from Jason Phillips.
Gutter Cover Top Flop (AVOID)
Reverse-curve or surface tension gutter guards are designed to move rainwater down and over the curve and into your gutters. They are supposed to push leaves and other debris over the curve and onto the ground, rather than collecting them in your gutters. This gutter guard style has been heavily marketed as a superior cover solution, and it’s one of the most expensive styles, but Jason Phillips has not found its utility as high as its price.
Due to the reverse curve of these gutter guards, heavy rains like we see in the Dallas-Fort Worth area tend to overshoot the gutters, causing rainwater to fall to the ground and flood the foundation. Additionally, the opening under the curve collects sticky debris from tree resins and shingles which “catches” other falling debris and progressively clogs the opening, thus further diverting water away from the gutters and causing it to drip to the ground below. It also allows debris to enter the gutter, creating serious maintenance issues. For a gutter guard to work correctly, it must allow rainwater to flow inside as it hits your roof, yet prevent all debris from entering, even small shingle grit. See the fail here?
These gutter guards not only collect debris, but pests also. The “hoods” of these gutter guards make great homes where animals can nest and hive.
They can also be an eyesore, as their design makes them much more visible than a simple gutter guard, due to their size and location – under the second set of shingles. It’s very challenging for such a girthy guard to blend in with your roof.
Finally, hooded gutter guards, due to their installation underneath the shingles, can cause shingle lifting and break roofing material seals, which leads to shingle loss. The possible result is a voided roof warranty and added expense and hassle for the homeowner. The recommendation? Avoid.
In the market for gutter guards in the near future? Click here to visit our Gutters service page, and stay tuned for Jason’s upcoming Gutter Guard Challenge. We’ll be testing some of the most popular gutter covers to see which ones fare best under various conditions!