Apart from cutting down every nearby tree, there is not really any single method for protecting your gutters from leaves. Even then, we don’t think neighbours would take kindly to such actions...
Keeping your gutters clean is about more than just simple house keeping. It can lead to a number of drainage problems, water damage and problematic blockages - all of which can be time consuming and costly to deal with.
There are a number of methods, both modern and traditional, to safeguard your gutters. In our list below, we’ve favoured gutter protections that are the least stressful, and most effective.
The most straightforward way to protect your gutters from leaves and debris. These are designed to for easy installation, removal and maintenance, whilst leaving your drains to do their job unimpeded.
The Hedgehog gutter guard gets RLS’s personal recommendation. Its design is a continuous polypropylene brush, which fits around the corners in most types of gutter and drain. It’s equally effective at deterring birds and rodents, plus it's virtually indestructible! A solid investment that will pay back year after year.
General Maintenance Measures
There’s lots of DIY methods to leaf-proof your gutters, including:
● Pruning tree branches - you don’t have to go on the chop-down rampage we mentioned earlier, but trimming branches on the roof-facing side of the tree by at least 8 feet will greatly reduce the risk of leaves getting into your drainage.
● Sweeping your roof regularly - Keeping leaves off your roof routinely will avoid the need to have it done professionally in Autumn. Remember to use specially designed roof-rakes, and most importantly: make sure you have someone who can provide ladder support!
● Target pest-nests early - If you spot a deliberate clump of debris on your roof, it’s likely the work of birds, pests and rodents. Make sure you deal with this before they grow, and that you install repellents to prevent future nests popping up.
● Also remove fungi and algae - Leaves shouldn’t be your only concern. When you’re sweeping the roof, use a mixture of bleach and water (in a sprayer) and apply it to areas where mould and fungi are likely to grow and pose hazard to your gutters.
Leaves won’t be a problem all year round, but some months will make themselves considerably more challenging than others. One of the biggest is snow: if you haven’t removed all the leaves before Winter sets in, then you’ll have more than a handful of wet leaves to deal with. When leaves freeze over, they begin to accumulate and can cause major problems to your downspout.
Summer, though far removed from Autumn in terms of leaf volume, poses its own threats. When your gutters are clogged during a bout of very hot, very dry weather, it creates a fire hazard. Just a few sparks of flame from a nearby BBQ, bonfire or fireworks could ignite the debris. You can’t account for every eventuality, so the best option is to keep your gutters as clean as possible.