What gutter gaurds have you tried?

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I have a 20 year old 5" aluminum gutter, and I'm trying to find a good gutter gaurd to go with it, and it needs to be good enough to keep out pine needles.
The first type I tried were these: http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?storeId051&langId=-1&catalogId053&productId0020939&N000003+90401
I bought 2 boxes of 25 panels at $43 each. After a mere *3 days* the sun had caused them to warp, bow up, and come loose in places. Some of them went from being straight to looking like damn wavy patato chip. And this was only after *3 days*.
I wish that I had thought to take a picture of them. You'd get a good laugh.
Fortunately, lazyness was on my side, as I had only bothered to use one of the boxes, which was just enough to cover one side of the house. So, I took the unused box back and asker her if there was any way I could return the worthless crap that I had already wasted all day installing. She said that I *could*, so I immediately returned home, yanked all that crap off, and took it to get my money back. There was differenct person there when I got back, but fortunately he didn't give me any crap about it and accepted the return.
So, at least I didn't lose any money.
Then, I bought a piece of the solid stuff: http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?storeId051&langId=-1&catalogId053&productId0051459&N000003+90401
But I think a hard rain will likely result in water just running right over that stuff. Also, you have to tuck this underneath the shingles, and I'm concerned about water running back up under them, as the gaurd lies almost level on top, since the outermost lip of the gaurd sticks up so high.
They also had some metal mesh-like stuff, but I don't know if that'd be effective against pine needles. http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?storeId051&langId=-1&catalogId053&productId0012640&N000003+90401
What have your experiences been with these various products?
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Only thing I've heard that works always.
http://tinyurl.com/3dg7yj
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On Sat 01 Aug 2009 09:15:06p, ShadowTek told us...

I haven't tried either of the first two. When we lived in NE Ohio, our gutter guards were similar if not identical to the mesh type in picture #3. We lived in a heavily wooded area that included both broadleaf and evergreen trees. The guards were very effective. However, no matter what you put on your gutters, the guards themselves require periodic cleaning. In our case we generally cleaned them in late Fall after all the leaves had fallen. In truth, there really wasn't much to clean up, but just making sure that the guards didn't have an accumulcation of leaves.
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Wayne Boatwright
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Did you install them over or under the shingles?
Did they lay flat or did they bow one way or the other?
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on 8/2/2009 3:04 AM (ET) ShadowTek wrote the following:

I had #3 for a number of years. They worked well. The only problems were; they could be seen from the street and they are not too pretty, and if they are placed over the shingles, a wind can lift them, so they hang down in front of the gutters and have to be put back. I tacked them down to the shingles to keep them from blowing open, but then they are harder to clean of accumulated debris. When they are just laying on the shingles, you can lift them off and over the gutter to drop the debris off. When they are tacked down, you cant lift them off, so you have to clean them by hand. I have nothing up there now, but I am in the market for others.
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Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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On Sun 02 Aug 2009 12:04:58a, ShadowTek told us...

Under the shingles.

They bowed slightly outward (upward).
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http://www.guttersupply.com/p-Free-Flow-Gutter-Guard.gstml This looks like the kind we have. When we got a new roof and gutters we had the guard installed. We live in a heavy wooded area. Nothing goes thru the gutters, but water.
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That's the 2nd type I was referring to.
Does it still direct water into the gutters during a hard rain? Or does the water run over the gutters?
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wrote:>

The rain flows into the gutters.
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installed. So far I've been quite satisfied with their performance.
http://www.easyflowgutters.com/index.html
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One of those pictures illustrates one of my concerns with the way that solid piece from HD looked when istalled on *my* gutter.
http://www.easyflowgutters.com/distributor/gutters3.jpg
In my case, the gutter gaurd was almost completely level on top, which makes me wonder if it could cause water to run back under that last row of shingles and cause the lower part of the roof to rot over time. But the above picture actually seems to show that the top of gutter gaurd is tilted *back* towards the house a bit, which looks like trouble.
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wrote:

I see and understand your concern. The system we have was added to the existing gutters that were mounted low enough on the fascia that there is plenty of pitch away from the last course of shingles that the back of the gutter guard is installed under.
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on 8/2/2009 12:15 AM (ET) ShadowTek wrote the following:

http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?storeId051&langId=-1&catalogId053&productId0020939&N000003+90401
Did you have the brown ones? I wonder if they were white would they have warped as much or at all?
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Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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wrote:

Let's hope so. I just installed the white ones along the front of my house yesterday. If they work out I was planning to do the rear in the Spring. I've had the metal hinged curved guards noted in the OPs post for some years. They get rusty and nasty looking after a couple of years and debris gets caught along the upper edge.
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Yeah, they were the brown ones. But considering how bad they looked after only 3 days of exposure to days of a moximum of 90*F, I wouldn't expect the white ones to last much longer unless they were in total shade.
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On Sun, 2 Aug 2009 20:50:52 +0000 (UTC), ShadowTek

I have the brown ones, still holding up after 15 years (e.TN). I still clean/inspect the gutters once a year.
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I don't even see how that's possible, unless the batch I got was different type of plastic.
Are they installed under or over the shingles?
Are your gutters exposed to direct sunlight, or are you in the shade of evergreens or something?
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On Mon, 3 Aug 2009 04:42:13 +0000 (UTC), ShadowTek

About an inch slips under the shingle. The front edge clips to the gutter.

Full sun, can be 100 degrees. Yes they have faded. May you got a bad batch or they don't make them like they did 15 years ago.
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http://www.elkoproducts.com/products_guttergeniusdiy.html
By the way, they go between, not under the shingles. So they are under one shingle but over another, causing any upsurge of water to go into the gutter rather than your house.
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On Sun, 2 Aug 2009 04:15:06 +0000 (UTC), ShadowTek

I know I'm late to the party, but, I wanted to throw in my 2 worth.
I have worked with every kind of gutter portection product out there over the years.
I don't care who you are, or what you say... gutter covers, gutter helmets, whatever you call them, if they enclose the opening of the rain gutter, they significantly reduce the rain gutter's efficiency. That is to say, they reduce the amount of rain that is collected from the rain water coming down your roof. In a heavy downpour, when you need gutter efficiency the most, the rain goes shooting off the roof and into the landscaping below.
Additionally, the gotter covers DO require periodic maintenance. The groove that the rain is supposed to go into DOES get clogged with debris, eventually, in most cases.
The foam stuff eventually gets clogged with grit and dirt, and because the top is flat, leaves and debris tend to stick and just lay there, blocking water from getting in, until the stuff rots. But, then, the particles settle into the foam and make it even more ineffective.
The stretched aluminum mesh with the arch in it is a joke. Debris builds up behind it. The wind blows it over and it hangs from the gutters, looking like hell. It's visible from the curb. A waste of money.
The platic stuff is a joke. The wide, flat mesh blocks 50 or more of the gutter opening. The plastic melts and sags down, making the perfect ditch for leave and debris to settle in, again, blocking access to the gutter and making a mess.
There is NO perfect product. So, you have to decide what it is you are actually trying accomplish. Do you want to stop cleaning your gutters? Then take them off. Nothing will make your rain gutters completely maintenance free.
Do you want to prevent the gutters from getting clogged and backing up? Then there is no better, cheaper or more effective product than Steelco gutter screens. (http://steelco.net )
They are rigid, galvanized, flat mesh. They come is 3' sections. When properly installed, they will make you rain gutters about as maintenance free as they can get. Very simple to install... back edge under the shingle, front edge has a galvalum tab... so, you can slip the front gutter slip between the screen and the tab to hold in place, AND, you can bend the tab over the edge of the gutter to hold it in place. Brown tabs for brown gutters, white tabs for white gutters.
The wire mesh doesn't restrict the flow of rain water going into the gutter. So, the gutter maintains its efficiency. The larger stuff, leaves, tennis balls, twigs, etc, are kept out. The screens, when properly installed, should have a slight pitch from the roof the edge of the gutter, so they are essentially self-cleaning, as far as anything settling on top.
Pine needles are the only real issue. But, it's not as big an issue as one might think. In my experience, a few pine needles will stand up in the mesh, until a good gully washer comes through. Most of the needles will blow off with the rest of the leaves. The needles that stand up eventually get washed to the downspout, and because they are few, they don't block the down spout.
At something like 1.25 per foot, I think it is the best product on the market. Problem is, it also seems to be a well kept secret. They are not easy to find. But, you can order them direct if there is no dealer in your area. They come in boxes of 50 sections (150 ft). I think the 5" variety is only $165 per box.
The product is simple, inexpensive, and effective. Your mileage may vary. But, I don't think you'll be disappointed. You biggest disappointment will be tearing down that $8 per foot stuff you bought trhee years ago.
VG
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