Leafproof gutter covers.


I am planning on having a new roof, gutters, and some type of leaf guard gutter top installed. I have had several quotes from roofers and gutter installers, but have not been able to make any decision regarding which type of gutter cover to have installed. I have seen about 10 different products and each of them seem to have their drawbacks.
I don't want a product that has holes big enough that the gravel off the new asphalt shingles will enter the gutter and need to be periodically removed. The types that have a solid top, but rely on a curved front edge to direct the water back into the gutter don't meet the requirements of my insurance company that there be, "a mesh with opening of no more than 1/4 inch". (I live in a high fire risk area in N. California, and are surrounded by trees.)
I have seen five different products that have a fine stainless steel mesh on the top. These meet my requirements as far as not allowing the gravel into the gutter, and having a small mesh size. However one vendor with a different product, said that pollen, (most of the surrounding trees are oaks), will gum up the holes. Also he claimed that leaves will sit on top of the mesh, and because the mesh holes are so small that much of the water will not flow through the mesh and will just flow over the top of the leaves, and over the edge of the gutter to the ground.
I would appreciate hearing from anyone who has experience with such toppers, especially regarding the pollen issue.
Also, I am surprised just how many different topper products there are out there. Perhaps there is one that meets my primary requirements, (no gravel going into the gutter, and no openings larger than 1/4"), that I haven't seen yet. If so I'd appreciate hearing about it.
TIA Kevin
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No matter how you do it, if you have a lot of trees around, gutters are a hassle. One step can be to rethink if and where you need gutters. Especially if you have a wide overhang and don't have a basement, if your ground slopes sufficientlly away from the house you can probably eliminate gutters from most the roof line - it also helps if you have some foundation plantings to further break up water coming off the roof. I initiallly had gutters around the entire house, including a sidewall that ran about 100'. I removed most of the gutters, only keeping a section over my two central air conditioners, over the garage doors and at one point where there's a valley which concentrates the runoff. Even though the gutters had been screened, by removing them I saved about 3 workdays a year by not having to worry about the unneeded gutters. I also saved a lot of effort when I repaint the house.
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Unfortunately I do need the gutters. They are really only on the front and back of the house. The back of the house has a full length deck on the upper level and two sliding doors on both levels. I wouldn't want the drainage just pouring off the roof on that side. The house has a walkout basement with the portion below the front of the house being fully below grade. I do all i can to direct water away fron seeping inot the ground in that area.

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Anything with a smalll enough screen to keep out the lose particles from your new roofing shingles will also clog up with detrius from surrounding trees. I finally settled (in the chicago suburbs for a plastic cover over the gutter with 1/4 in (approx) holes. Loose grains from the roof do hgo into the gutter, but a good rain washes them into the downspouts. THe little butterfly wings maple seeds do get stuck in some of the holes, but disintegrate fairly quickly and also flush out.
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Yeah! That's the crux of the proiblem i'm trying to solve. I have seen one product that comes very close to meeting my requirements, but it was by far the most expensive.... outrageously so!

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Kevin wrote:

Do you want to divert the water or disperse it? If the latter, the louvered "gutters" would work. The only drawback I can see is that leaves could tend to sit on them, should be easy to remedy with a blower from the ground. http://rainhandler.com / _______________________

Insurance companies spec gutters??
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dadiOH
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That seems pointless. I could be wrong, but don't most people put in gutters because they are concerned about pooling and their foundations?
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JimT wrote:

I suppose some do, some don't. I don't have them, don't need them, but if I were to put them in it would avoid having the dirt under the drip edge splashed onto the house.
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Interseting.... but I need to divert the water.

Yes they can.... and a lot of other things too. Leaf filled gutters are a primary cause of house fires in fire prone areas. Often you will see a house some distance from a wildfire, with the attic on fire due to embers landing in the gutters. Most of the insurance companies in our area are now requiring enclosed gutters, or they will decline to renew. Those that aren't yet, will undoubtably be doing so in the future.
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IMHO: You're going to get debris in your gutters regardless. If they are not angled properly the debris is going to accumulate. As far as expense, and ease of insulation I like these:
http://www.virtuepro.com/images/article_the+truth+about+gutter+guards.jpg
They are at HD. You have to have a certain type of gutter to work. They have to be installed right or they will warp.
Also, You are going to have to get on your roof and clean it if you have trees over your house. With or without gutters. Unless you have a severe pitch. We have live oaks (talk about pollen!) and I get up there about 2 or 3 times a year.
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Yes, we have live oaks too. The trees surround and are close to the house, but are not directly over it. I have a 6 in 12 pitch, and except for one small valley area and the currently uncovered gutters, no leaves accumulate.
I have samples of several products that do keep all except the finest dust from entering the gutters. These all use a fine stainless steel mesh. In one product the mesh is as small as 50 microns. My concern with them is the possibility of the mesh gumming up with pollen that would be hard to remove.
I hadn't seen the particular product that you provided the link to, but it doesn't meet my requirements in that all the gravel will go into the gutters, and pine needles, (We are in an oak to pine transition zone), will get stuck in the holes.
I have dealt with removing the gravel in the gutters after installin a new roof in the past. I want to avoid that if I can for the following reasons;
The downspouts all drain into corrugated plastic pipes that trave for some distance underground. I don't want to simply wash the graves into those pipes as there may be some low slopes sections that would clog up. therefore I'd have to disconnect the downspouts whenever i washed the gutters out.
With the covers in place, because the preasure from a hose will only move the gravel to a certain degree, I'd have to remove probably every other section of cover in order to be able to move the gravel.
Thanks, Kevin.

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wrote:

The ones they sell at HD have a finer mesh under the plastic. They may have added that for insurance regulations. Here's the mfg web site with pdf files.
http://www.amerimax.com/product.asp?cat &subCatId
We just covered this subject a few weeks ago. Like I said. Your gutters may not be angled steep enough if debris is collecting. You should have 1/4" to 1/2" drop per 15'. If it's slopped enough the water runs faster and will clean itself after a heavy rain.
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I'm curious about this statement:
"a mesh with opening of no more than 1/4 inch"
Are they more concerned with the size of the opening than the fact that it is mesh - or both?
In other words, is it possible that a solid cover would actually be acceptable and the requirement is just poorly worded?
In other, other words "If it's a mesh, the openings cannot be larger than 1/4". "
Taking it to the extreme, one could argue that they are not concerned with how *small* the openings are, just how big.
Perhaps you are allowed to go down as small as the space between the molecules - obviously I'm being somewhat facitious, but I think you get my point.
Do they *specifically* not allow solid covers?
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Mesh is ok, as long as it is non-combustible.

Solid cover would be fine, except all the ones I've seen have a curved lip that direct the water back into the gutter, (while most leaves and all the gravel would fall over the edge outside the gutter), through an opening that is an approx 1/2 inch continous opening or slots that are about 3/8' by approx 2". My neighbor has the former and after three years of no maintainence are quite full with debris. Neither style would meet the insurance requirements.

Correct.
Correct again. It is me that wants, (for maintainence reasons), if I'm going to go to the trouble and expense of installing covers, to avoid getting the gravel in gutters. Several of the stainless steel mesh products would do this, but I'm concerned about the pollen gumming up the works issue that I've talked about in some of my other replies.
Thanks, Kevin

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I have many tress putting out many leaves. I had mine for 10 years w/o problems. You get what you pay for.
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