David, welcome to The Money Pit. What can we help you with today?
DAVID: I just made my house maintenance free and in the process I need to replace my gutters. So I’m having gutters installed or in the process of having them installed. Do those leaf guards really work and, if so, which is the one to purchase?
TOM: Well, yes they do work. The problems that I’ve heard associated with them is when you have a very tall, very steep roof and the water develops a lot of velocity coming down in a heavy rain then the leaves will not only wash off the roof but so will most of the water; land at the foundation perimeter and cause a basement leakage issue.
TOM: So, as long as you have a fairly, you know, normally-sloped roof, then they will work fairly well because they work on the principle of surface tension. The leaves basically wash off the top and the water hugs to the gutter guard and goes into the gutter and then runs down the drain.
The other thing to make sure you do is run those gutter downspouts out away from the foundation perimeter. This is the perfect time to do it if you’re replacing your downspouts and your gutters.
DAVID: Yep, I already plan on doing that.
TOM: Good job.
DAVID: And the reason why, you know, one company says, hey, theirs is the best and another company says theirs is the best. I talk to a company that doesn’t use them at all and they say they don’t work.
TOM: (chuckling) Yeah, it’s hard to get impartial expert advice. I put one of the vinyl gutter guards on my gutters and they’ve worked pretty well. These are also louvered gutters that they’re sort of slotted at the top and the leaves have been washing off and the gutters have been clog-free now for about four or five years. And they were inexpensive and I did it myself.
TOM: Alright, David. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.