Gutter maintenance is too much - need help/advise

piscesgirlSeptember 23, 2013

Our 2 story house sits right next to woods and is surrounded by mature trees (everything from evergreens to tiny small locust leaves to larger leaves).

Since my husband will not clean the gutters himself (too dangerous in his mind....one fall and he could be paralized for life and in his mind is it worth $400 for someone else to risk there life. I honestly don't blame him), so we hired a gutter cleaning company. They come out 4 times a year to clean the gutters (Cost is $100/cleaning...the most reasonable rate I found). They will not clean gutters with any sort of gutter guard so we do not have any thing like that installed and when we have talked to them about guards they talk us out of them (I am sure the fact that they sell gutter cleaning services plays a large part in this).

We also have had our downspouts re-routed so that they flow under the sidewalk and driveway. They used to terminate onto the driveway and sidewalk and we always had freezing/cracking issues.

Even with having our gutters cleaned 4 times a year we continue to get issues with clogged downspouts and we have to pay the company to come out and unclogg the downspout, which costs several hundreds of dollars on top of the cost we are paying for gutter cleaning. All said and done I would say gutters are costing us around $600 a year. It is just getting out of hand.

The leaves that are causing us the main issue appear to be the locust leaves. These tiny leaves are just creating a rabbit nest type issue inside the downspout and clogging it over and over again.

I would love to hear some advise on what we can do. Are the gutter guards worth the cost?
Will they solve our issue with the types of trees we have?
Will we still have to have our gutters cleaned or checked periodically? How does this work since most the gutter cleaning company's near us won't clean gutters with guards on them?

At this point I almost would rather cut all the trees away if I could (unfortunatly I can't since most are on the boarder of our neighbors property).

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Sophie Wheeler

Man up (or woman up) and get an extension ladder and learn to DIY. It's not that hard. Owning a home will break you if you don't learn to do the piddling jobs yourself.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2013 at 3:36PM
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hendricus

If you take the gutters down you won't have to clean them

Here is a link that might be useful: groung gutters

    Bookmark   September 23, 2013 at 3:45PM
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annkh_nd

My Mom lives in the woods. I installed gutter guards for her close to 10 years ago, and she has not had any problems at all. I put them on my house 4 or 5 years ago, based on her experience, and they are fantastic. I don't live in the woods, but I have a lot of mature trees on my lot, near the house. DH and I used to have to clean the gutters and downspouts at least a couple of times a year.

How many feet of gutter do you have? I imagine you would spend less on gutter covers than you do on a year's worth of gutter cleaning. They are easy to install - if you aren't willing to do it yourself, hire a handyman to do it for you.

The fact that your gutter cleaning company strongly objects to gutter covers seems like decent evidence that they do the job (and put your company out of work). Even if you decide against gutter covers for some reason, you might shop around for a different gutter cleaning company (if you are not willing to do it yourself) - I don't like working with any company that puts their own profit ahead of my needs.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2013 at 4:04PM
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woodbutcher_ca

Hi, Maybe put some gutter guards on just one section of your roof( pick the worst section) give it a try and in about a year you will have your answer.
Woodbutcher

    Bookmark   September 23, 2013 at 5:03PM
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geoffrey_b

I had Leaf Guard gutters installed about 12 years ago. They do the job - never had any gutter problems.

The Leaf Guard is all one piece (extruded on site). Previously I had guards that snapped into the gutter - some blew off on windy days.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2013 at 9:44AM
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rwiegand

When we had a house in the woods I put gutter guards on, they helped a lot, but were not perfect. Some amount of material still got through the screens and the gutters still had to be cleaned occasionally. This was a serious PITA with the screens in place, involving many scraped knuckles. Especially in the fall leaves and such would pile up on top of the gutter screens making a dam, resulting in a cascade of water off the edge of the house, and a certain amount of ponding (and resulting leakage) at the roof edge.

On balance it was less work with the screens in place than without, but hardly trouble free. Without gutters we had water running down the side of the house and entering windows, so that experiment wasn't so great either.

In our new house I strategically positioned a window so that I could reach out and unplug the most likely problematic downspout without having to go outside or onto a ladder.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2013 at 1:35PM
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rwiegand

When we had a house in the woods I put gutter guards on, they helped a lot, but were not perfect. Some amount of material still got through the screens and the gutters still had to be cleaned occasionally. This was a serious PITA with the screens in place, involving many scraped knuckles. Especially in the fall leaves and such would pile up on top of the gutter screens making a dam, resulting in a cascade of water off the edge of the house, and a certain amount of ponding (and resulting leakage) at the roof edge.

On balance it was less work with the screens in place than without, but hardly trouble free. Without gutters we had water running down the side of the house and entering windows, so that experiment wasn't so great either.

In our new house I strategically positioned a window so that I could reach out and unplug the most likely problematic downspout without having to go outside or onto a ladder.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2013 at 1:38PM
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raee_gw

Not all gutter toppers are the same, some work very well and some cause different but just as annoying problems, just as rweigand described.
I had the roofer install covers, didn't know what he would use, and regret his choice. I think they go by the brand name "Leaf Relief". They are just flat perforated metal and just as rwiegand described, those pesky locust and other leaves/debris just sit on top, blocking the perforations, and pack under the edges of the shingles. So I still have to climb up 3 times a year to clean the covers!

But my neighbor has some of a different brand and design; they are not flat, they form a continuous slope with the roof and have slotted openings for the water to enter the gutter but the little leaves can't . He is very happy with them and never has to clean either the gutter or the cover.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2013 at 5:04PM
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kathyg_in_mi

We don't have gutters and get along fine.
Those ground gutters are pretty cool!

    Bookmark   October 18, 2013 at 7:26PM
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lazy_gardens

You can use a plumbing snake on the downspouts, from ground level.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2013 at 12:57PM
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Trebruchet

firsthome:

Google Rainhandler.com.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2013 at 8:31PM
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raee_gw

In the meantime, firsthome, you can buy lightbulb shaped screens at most hardware stores that stick into the downspout opening and keep the leaves out.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2013 at 1:50PM
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