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Finding lawn care distasteful in almost all its forms, I spend most of my time plotting ways to get out of tasks like cleaning gutters — one such method would be the LeafGuard system.  This gutter cover lets water in but keeps most leaves and debris out.

The cover extends over the gutter but keeps a slot open for water to drain into.  It keeps crap out of the gutter and lets it blow harmlessly onto the ground, while keeping the rest of the system clear to do its job of funneling water away from the house.

We can see a few perks — like I don’t have to clean the gutters anymore — but we’re aware that this system might not work for everyone. Folks up north in particular might be at a disadvantage if ice built up on top of the cover.

What do you think?  Is this the answer to the weekend lawn-care blues, or an expensive way to cause you more hassle down the road?  Let us know in comments.

LeafGuard Gutter System [LeafGuard]

 

20 Responses to Hot or Not? LeafGuard Gutter System

  1. BC says:

    When adjusting roof claims I used to see Gutter Helmet all the time in WI. (www.gutterhelmet.com) – the homeowners always loved it and never complained about ice problems.

  2. BarelyFitz says:

    I’ve had Gutter Helmet for about ten years now… couldn’t live without it. But I’m in Atlanta, so I couldn’t tell you about snow and ice.

  3. I priced Gutter Helmut and it was $14 a foot. That’s in addition to $7 a foot for gutter if you’re replacing that too. It also comes in sections rather then fabricated from a continuous roll on site.

    These systems are ridiculously priced. Wait another 5-10 years until they go off patent and anybody can make them. Them you’ll be able to pick something like it up at the Big Box for 3 to 4 bucks a foot or less.

    I bought some rolls of plastic gutter for like $1 for 50 feet. It keeps out the leaves pretty well. I only need to clean a few places that the squirrels get underneath to stash their nuts and acorns.

    Not so hot as long as they’re so expensive.

  4. jc says:

    I’ve had Leaf Guard brand gutters for just at a year now. I did a fair amount of research before I purchased these. Whatever I was going with, I was getting new gutters, so there was a built-in cost (as opposed to the systems that will install over an existing gutter installation).

    One of the things I like about the LG system is they really clean up the look of the house. The before and after look is very different, with the LG being very sleek, and none of that boxiness that conventional gutters have.

    When I first had them installed, one of my front gutters was overflowing like crazy. I found that one of the plastic mounting brackets that hadn’t been used was blocking a downspout. Once I cleared that, I’ve had zero problems with them.

    They were expensive, about $2800, and that was an “off season” price. I was at home when it was done, and the workers were very polite, efficient, and didn’t leave a single trace of garbage. In fact, I had a floodlight fixture with two conventional bulbs, and no ladder high enough to reach them. I asked them to replace the two bulbs with some fluorescents I had, and they asked if they could do any others since they had ladders in place.

    I’d have no hesitation about using them again. While on the expensive side, the look and performance of the gutters (once I removed that bracket) have been flawless.

    I will note that I live in Georgia, so we don’t normally get the ice build-ups like y’all on the other side of the Mason-Dixon (*grin*).

  5. Zathrus says:

    I put LeafGuard on my previous home and it worked well, with tons of overhead pine trees, sweetgum, oaks, and various other trees. At the time I bought it I was sick of perpetually cleaning the gutters and the downspouts had completely clogged (and were that way when I bought the house). Never had a problem with them, and the insurance company replaced some sections when a 70′ pine tree tried to use the roof as a trampoline.

    My current house needs some gutter work too, but I won’t be buying LeafGuard or any other similar product this time around — there simply aren’t enough trees over the top of the house to make it worthwhile (and, in particular, no pine trees with needles to get stuck in the el-cheapo perforated metal guards).

    A couple things to note — if you don’t need new gutters, then don’t go with LeafGuard. Theirs is an all-in-one system. If your gutters and downspouts are in good condition, then look at Gutter Helmet or similar — they sell just the caps. If you need new gutters as well, however, then LeafGuard is generally a little bit cheaper than getting the gutters and a gutter guard separately. And it looks better.

    Second, they offer “lifetime cleaning” if it ever does clog. And after ~3 years I did notice that there was some stuff slowly building up in the gutters. So don’t expect it to keep the gutters clean forever… but at least they’ll flush the things out when it comes time.

    Oh, and I live in Atlanta too…

  6. Josh says:

    My condo association came through and put something like chicken wire over all the gutters. One side goes into a notch on the gutter and the other slides under the shingle overhang. I didn’t even know they were there until I went to put Christmas light clips up last winter.

    And there was nothing bigger than the shingle grit in the gutters, so the mesh seems to be doing its job, for a heck of a lot less than what people were talking about for Leaf Guard.

  7. DJMoore says:

    Another clever but outrageously expensive solution: Gutter Stuff, 4-foot chunks of open cell foam for $18-20 each.
    http://www.thegutterstuff.com/

    Josh, I’m glad to read that a simple mesh covering works. I’ll try that. I think I’ve seen 4-foot lengths of expanded aluminum and plastic mesh for a buck or two. I’ll try that over my back patio.

  8. jc says:

    I fail to see what keeps the GutterStuff from preventing leaf accumulation on the top of it, and causing the water to simply run over the gutters.

    As for the expanded mesh, it will keep some leaves out, but for pinestraw it doesn’t help that much, and if the leaf stem gets trapped in the mesh, you still have a bunch of leaves blocking the water flow.

    I had the expanded mesh on the gutters before I redid mine, and I think unless you’re very careful to maintain it, it looks bad. It’s usually in 3′ or 4′ sections, and mine kept having edges pop up.

    Of course, we could all subscribe to the James Watt solution. Trees cause pollution, so just cut the durn things down and be done with it 🙂

  9. Bill says:

    I put the plastic mesh covers (that snap across the top of the gutter) that are only a few bucks for a 2′ length or so from Lowe’s or Home Depot.. I forget which. Anyway, they have been on the house for about 5 years and I haven’t had to touch a gutter to clean one out. Occasionally one comes unsnapped a bit but they are easy to replace.

    The only downside is that when you have a sleet/slightly freezing condition, the tops freeze over temporarily and you can get a small amount of dripping off the front edge. Only a problem at your entrances.

    I don’t have any trees in my yard but some maples and wild cherry trees are next door.

  10. BJN says:

    I had new K profile gutter and wasn’t about to redo everything to install a product like Leaf Guard or Gutter Helmet. I did a test installation of Gutter Champ foam and it worked quite well. Stuff can indeed sit on top, but unlike the wire and plastic panels I’ve tried, the foam doesn’t hold leaf stems tenaciously. A few pine needles stick out of the foam after a season, but most eventually blow off. Since my old house sags at every corner, there’s standing water in this section of the gutters. The foam keeps leaves and seed pods from a sycamore next door from turning into a sludge in the bottom of the gutter. There are a couple of sections that get heavily covered by leaves that I vacuum during the Fall season, but so far I haven’t had to pull the foam and clean the gutters below.

    The foam is much cleaner to install than wire mesh and is a lot easier on your hands. The foam wasn’t cheap – two box units cost over $800 for the full perimeter gutter on our medium size bungalow. I’ve replaced downspouts with rain chains for looks and to eliminate a lot of clogging potential.

  11. Dr Bob says:

    My home used to have heavy duty mesh screens until we got hit with baseball sized hail a few years ago. The screens didn’t work well with pine needles and stuff smaller that leaves were torn up badly by the hail.

    We looked into Gutter Helmet, but our roof was too steep and the gutter hung too high to install it.

    We ended up using the gutter foam inserts, which have worked fine since install three years ago.

    BTW, because the gutter screens were took the hail hits, our metal gutters weren’t damaged by the hail at all.

    An addition to the house and our garage had plastic gutters – the hail blasted holes right through it and shattered parts of it. Not recommended.

  12. Zeek says:

    Just wondering, regarding the foam inserts- couldn’t one just as easily get 10-20 of the kids foam ‘noodle’ pool toys and place them in the gutters to the same effect? Just my inner cheapskate trying to save a few bones…

  13. Dave says:

    I lived in a house near Atlanta from 2001-2007 where the previous owners had installed gutters like this (it was a different brand that I can’t remember the name of, but it looked just like this). They left me the receipt and it was expensive – something like $2500 for a small house with a simple roof. But it worked great! The house had huge oaks and pines all around it, and the gutters were always clear. A bit of crud accumulated in the gutters, but in that time it never accumulated enough to cause a clog. If I had the money to blow, I’d buy these things for my new house in a heartbeat.

  14. Gene says:

    We had LeafGuard installed a number of years ago and they’ve been great. Our neighbors have a couple of large pine trees that hang over our roof, too, and are a continual source of pine needles. The neighbor had steel mesh over their gutters, but the pine needles clogged those and then rain water just spills over the gutter. They’ve now got a plastic insert with a stepped profile that doesn’t clog quite as easily, but it’s still not an ideal solution.

    Our LeafGuards were expensive compared with regular seamless gutters, but they’ve never clogged. Given how difficult it is to clean our gutters (we’re on a gradual slope that makes ladder placement difficult), it was worth it. And given the mixed results our neighbor has had with other solutions, the best solution for us.

  15. Alex Holt says:

    I am trying out GutterBrush. I saw it in the Lee Valley catalog.

  16. Heather says:

    I went with Gutterglove Gutterguard to end my battle with the leaves. So far it has been great.

  17. Mike says:

    I have Leaf Guard Gutters on my House. I have had this system on my house for three years. The local leaf guard company, has the rudest employees. The installers just don’t have a clue how to put up gutters. I have had to call them three times to correct problems. Moderate showers are fine, the gutters seem to work well. But if we have heavy rains, the water comes right over the top. Although I don’t have any problems with leaves, I still have to clean the outside of the gutters for them to work properly. I would replace them but the cost of installation was $2,650 so they will have to do for a few more years.

  18. Don in Wisconsin says:

    I had the LeafGuard system installed about a month ago.
    I researched systems for a while and settled on LF.
    I like the look and the fact that it’s a one-piece design.
    This video link explains my reaction to the first “real-test”:

    http://www.youtube.com/fritzie08#play/all/uploads-all/0/yEe3j9ks62s

    I did email this to the local LF office with a polite yet direct explaination of how I felt about the less than stellar performance of my new LeafGuard system.
    No response from them.

    The system does appear to keep a fair amount of debris out.

    Good Luck.

  19. GA says:

    I have had the Leaf Guard product for 5 years. Don’t believe a word about their clog-less claims unless there isn’t a tree anywhere near your house. These gutters will clog and when they do you’ll have water coming over the gutter and onto whatever is below it. Nearly every year without fail I have to call Leaf Guard to unclog at least one section of gutter. For the past couple of years their service has been abysmal. I have called twice and still no show and no call back. Don’t waste your money on these gutters unless your home is clear of any trees. Even then, I’d consider an alternative, especially factoring in the cost.

  20. Travis says:

    I bought LeafGuard gutters for my house, and I really enjoy them. I haven’t had to climb up and clean them out yet, and I think they improved the look of my house overall.

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