Rain Gutter Leaf Protection Systems
Rain gutter leaf protection systems include plastic screens, metal screens, flip screens, louvered systems, helmet systems, staircase systems and hooded systems. Every leaf protection system on the market compromises either its ability to keep leaves and tree debris out of the gutter or its ability to collect rainwater during heavy rains.
As a roofing company, we also frown on systems that are required to be installed under the roof shingle and in some cases, products that are actually attached with a screw through the shingle. With all systems, consideration should also be given to the appearance of the product once installed.
At best, homeowners should consider leaf protection systems as a means to reduce the maintenance requirement of gutter cleaning rather than expecting a protection system to provide both maintenance-free service and full water collection abilities.
Open-mesh Designed Screens
To maximize the gutters ability to collect water in heavy rains, traditional screening products have an open-mesh design that allows water to flow easily into the gutters. These open-mesh screens may also work well in the Fall with dry leaves. However in the Spring season – these open-mesh systems become a magnet for the various systems designed by Mother Nature to deliver seed. Maple “helicopter” seeds and Oak “spaghetti” pollen stick to the open-mesh like Velcro. Traditional screening systems can also be packed down into the gutter by a layer of heavy leaves or snow and many of the less expensive systems simply won’t stay in the gutter at all and are prone to blow away.
Closed Leaf Protection System
To counter the weakness of the open-mesh systems, many manufacturers offer some type of “closed” leaf protection system. Using a helmet, louver or staircase system as a cap – the bulk of the gutter opening itself is blocked off preventing leaves and seedpods from entering the gutter. The downside of these systems is that by blocking off up to 90% of the gutter opening, you also reduce the amount of rainwater the gutter is able to collect during heavy rains.