There is Only One Way to Keep Your Gutters Clean and Free Flowing

There is only one way to keep your gutters clean and free flowing and that is to choose the best gutter guard for the job especially if you have heavy tree debris.

How do you choose the right gutter guard? Do you go by price? Not necessarily so.

The most expensive gutter cover may not necessarily be the best gutter guard.

There are four types of gutter covers available:

  1. Screening devices. They simply don’t get the job done. Basic screens often let enough debris into the gutter to clog it and the newer mesh types, even though they may not let any debris into the gutter, will accumulate debris on the top where it will keep water from getting into the gutter.
  2. Leaf guards with fins collecting the rain water. Google “Niagara rain gutter cover leaf guards and gutter guards” for the basic design. There are over a dozen products with this basic design. One even has screen openings in top. Another one has a trough below the fin with openings to screen keep out large debris. In heavy debris conditions you can be guaranteed that sufficient debris will stick to the fin and be guided into the gutter where it will either clog the gutter or the trough that delivers the water to the gutter.
  3. Louvered leaf guards with louvers instead of one long fin in the vertical direction. There are two basic designs. Google “Carefree Vinyl Gutter covers” and you’ll see a basic single louvered design which is also available in aluminum. So far, it’s the best chance that you have in heavy debris conditions. It limits the size of the debris that can get into the gutter. However, more debris may get washed in from the lip of the gutter than you might wish and could clog the gutter.
  4. Double row louvered leaf guards with two rows of louvers in the vertical surface. If you Google “Waterloov gutter guards” you can see what it looks like. With two rows of louvers, no debris can wash in from the lip of the gutter and you can be assured that the gutter inside will never clog. This design has been successfully used on thousands and thousands of home since 1989.

Maintenance is always an issue. With screens, they either have to be removed to clean the gutters inside or the tops have to be cleaned which often proves a big problem. With the single fin type (with or without trough) the gutter guards must be removed and reinstalled whereas with the louvered products, they can usually be maintained by brushing with a telescopic pole and brush assembly. Removal of the gutter guards are never required with the double row design, however, with the single row design, it may be necessary to remove the gutter cover at the downspout.

In summary, the best gutter guard for heavy debris conditions is the double row louvered type which can easily be maintained with a telescopic pole and brush (as high as two floors) and never clogs inside.

Richard Kuhns B.S.Ch.E., engineer and inventor. To find out more about the best gutter guards–self cleaning gutters–please visit