Consumer Reports gutter guard ratings and new gutter guard thread

MoAugust 6, 2010

I think many have been waiting for Consumer Reports' gutter guard ratings. They're in the September 2010 issue.

We're getting new seamless gutters before fall, and will replace our WaterFall gutter guards with Amerimax. We've had the WaterFall for about 12 years. I think that if CR had tested them in our yard, they would have ranked considerably lower.

Over the years, our gutters have clogged 2-3 times every year with maple seeds, fir needles, and other small debris. Also, the holes in the guards would routinely become clogged with the maple seeds. You can't hose or brush them off, and the guards are a PITA to remove, clean, and replace.

Another problem is wasp nests. We have so many wasps around our house because of all the nests under the gutter guards. It's also hazardous if a guard has to be removed for cleaning or other maintenance. Last year our handyman was stung in the face when he removed a piece to caulk a seam.

With the Amerimax guards, I think we'll have an easier time preventing clogs before they happen. We're in a rancher, and will be able to easily hose through them or open them if necessary.

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I did a fair amount of research like finding homeowners with some of the different types/brands of gutter guards and actually talking to them. All the kinds I researched have problems.

I finally decided on the product below. I have a single story house with gutters on all sides. I have two huge pin oaks and a mature maple tree in the front yard with limbs overhanginf the roof. There is a large sweet gum in the back yard. This type nas the normal diamond shaped openingsa. In addition, there is a mesh plastic fabric with smaller holes on top pf the diamond holes. That actually keeps the smaller leaf stems from sticking in the diamond shaped holes and causing plugging problems.

I was cleaning gutters four to five times a year---a three or four hour job after the initial two day cleaning. The previous occupants has probably not cleaned them in several years as the gutters in front were filled completely to the top.

I installed the type listed below myself. It took about six hours for the entire house. Most of that time was ladder moving and positioning.

They have been in place for a year now. Fairly heavy snows last winter did create a bit of snow load which I kept knocking off in the bigfgest areas.

I have not had to touch the gutters except for the snow maintenance for a year.

Here is a link that might be useful: Gutter guard

    Bookmark   August 7, 2010 at 10:09AM
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I subscribe to CR but they don't cover all the bases. I did research and had Alcoa Leaf Relief installed at $800 for a long rancher. We don't have many trees but my neighbor had a big one that produced maple seeds galore. They just cut it down. I checked in heavy rains and they handled the runoff well. We will brush them off annually. I get frustrated with the ratings magazines because they can't test all the available products.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2010 at 12:55PM
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I go along with Handymac, I have had those gutter guards for over 15 years and only have to brush off the seed pods in the spring. We are surrounded by tall oak and maple trees and they just blow right over. I do wash out the fine dirt and shingle grit every few years. That just requires removing a few of the guards and blasting with a hose. I can't imagine anything being more effective or more economical.

I'm not sure how they would perform with pine needles, but I would think they would be just as effective unless the needles dove straight into the small openings.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2010 at 9:12PM
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Hey, Handymac!

I need to get something as I have a large locust tree (lots of small leaves) and a couple of golden rain trees (1/4" seeds, small leaves, and little fronds (can't remember the technical name for them). I'm afraid the roll stuff just won't work well because the holes are too big. I had these at my last house, that also had locust, and a lot of stuff got through. The "step" systems I think will soon get clogged, too.

We do also get snow every year, averaging a few inches at a time.

Is the filtering on the product you recommend tight enough to prevent small pieces like this from entering the system?

    Bookmark   August 9, 2010 at 2:22PM
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Hmmm, those seeds might be a problem. The leaves and fronds should not be a problem.

I got the type I used at Home Depot. They sell boxes of 20 and individual sections(3 feet long). Might go look.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2010 at 5:56PM
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we went with leavesout and really liked it. It is a one piece gutter and cover system, great quality

    Bookmark   August 9, 2010 at 8:31PM
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I used the Home Depot type that handymac describes for many years--they worked fine. I rarely had to go up and do any cleaning--when I did, it was so easy. I had one side tucked under the shingles, and the other side clipped to the edge of the gutter.
Before that I had the similar type but without the extra mesh, and those allowed the locust leaves, maple flowers and maple seeds in.

When I got new gutters I unfortunately got permanent gutter covers--don't know a brand name, flat perforated metal. The holes are small, and don't seem to let anything through, but because they sit flat on the gutter (actually tilt down slightly toward the wall) debris piles up and packs under the shingle overhang, so I have to climb up twice a year to clean it even though nothing is actually in the gutter itself. I had ice dams for the first time, too, after these were installed. Of course the guy who nstalled them won't return my calls about his "guarantee" that I wouldn't have to clean.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2010 at 11:37PM
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I have had Leaf Guard gutters installed about 12 yrs - seamless, one piece, with factory made corners. Their performance has been perfect.

Beware of gutter systems that are added to your current gutters. Some of them will blow off with high winds / storms.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 1:52PM
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I have RAINFILTER inserts in my gutters. I bought these at Costco last year and tried one section of gutters within easy reach. That was in July 2011 and they have worked great for tha past almost year. I just bought more and will do the rest of my home this week. They are the easiest to install. The product has a 25 year guarantee not to clog. So far so good. I am in Georgia so very little snow or ice to deal with in the winter

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 7:55AM
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Brusso - thanks for the report on Rain Filter. I saw it for sale at Costco and was curious if it worked.

Here is a link that might be useful: Rain Filter

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 9:47AM
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