Leaf screens can be an important part of a successful gutter system when incorporated properly. There are various styles, shapes, and types out on the market but making the right choice shouldn’t require an excessive amount of research and doesn’t have to break the bank. First is your basic expanded metal mesh screen. When installed properly this type of screen is very effective against the vast majority of debris that can clog your gutters especially leaves from deciduous trees, acorns, pecans, etc. Make sure they are secured to the front top lip of the gutter with a couple of screws to prevent them being knocked loose by a falling branch. However if you have pine trees the needles can and will penetrate most expanded mesh designs and eventually clog your gutters. It is then that you’ll need to consider a more solid design that relies on small holes instead of a mesh to allow the water to flow through while keeping the debris out.
There are various models on the market that are very effective at doing just this while keeping you within a realistic budget. For those projects that require extreme measures, i.e. water harvesting which requires the cleanest water source possible there are screens that offer a combination of expanded metal mesh and a fine stainless steel mesh (similar to a window screen) that will filter out all but the finest of particles. No matter the choice, if you have trees on your property you will eventually be up on a ladder cleaning out gutters, unless of course you thought ahead and installed screens!
Now that you’ve gotten leaf screens with your gutter installation your gutters will be virtually maintenance free. I say virtually because even though you won’t be spending the occasional Saturday afternoon cleaning out leaves, your gutters will eventually get dirty on the outside… tiger striping as it’s known in the industry. The best way I’ve found to combat this problem is a bottle of 409, a damp rag and lots of elbow grease. You might also try a pressure sprayer (turned down to a low setting so you don’t damage the gutter) but I’ve seen the best results with the 409 method. The good news is that this typically is only needed once every few years and even longer for those with dark colored gutters.
Best of luck and keep those gutters clean and clear!