When monsoon arrives, it indeed brings joy but at the same time increases a chore of ‘Gutter cleaning.’ Gutter cleaning not only takes away your precious time but also is very dirty and the least desirable work.
Climbing up the ladder and cleaning the gutter in the most awkward position and making your hands dirty is not only least desirable but also risky (considering wet surfaces, even more!).
Gutter cleaning has become a distant past with the arrival of gutter protectors. Many tend to believe that they are one of the most used and reliable cleaning aides ever invented.
But just as every other invention comes with various varieties, even gutter protectors have a wide variety. Prominently used ones are gutter screens and gutter guards.
If you are interested in a gutter protector, then leaf filter and leaf guard are used and sold gutter guards. And both these are designed for specific purposes.
In this bit, we will understand both leaf filters and leaf guards along with their characteristics and other aspects.
We are having a leaf guard vs. leaf filter, and it will be interesting to find the winner as both these types are designed with a specific function in mind.
The winner will differ according to different conditions and circumstances these gutter protectors are placed in.
Why Should you Employ Leaf Guard or Leaf Filter?
Nowadays, owning a gutter guard has become more a necessity than comfort as it protects your home from potential damages caused by blocking/choking of gutters, leakages, etc.
But once you use gutter guards, it not only protects your house but also saves potential cost in repairs and quality time, which you would have invested in cleaning the gutters.
Using one of the most sold and used variety of gutter protectors is always a useful and brilliant idea. Once you go through this Leaf Guard vs. Leaf filter, you will get an idea of why and which type you should use for your gutter. So, without any further ado, let us begin!
In this contest between the leaf guard vs. leaf filter, we will first discuss the leaf guard. Leaf guards are reverse curve gutter guards, which are also called reverse curve gutter covers or gutter helmet, or gutter hood. The reverse curve design of the leaf guard makes a path for water to flow effectively.
Construction, Mechanism, and Materials Used
Leaf guard is made from a single piece of material, basically a long solid single aluminum sheet. This aluminum sheet is curved in such a way that the water flows away into the gutter.
Construction also includes a hood, which is included to protect the bottom part of the gutter. It also restricts the entry of any leaves or larger debris in the gutter system.
The metal sheet’s length depends upon the manufacturer and usually a custom length or a standard of the manufacturer. Usually, many manufacturers use aluminum, which is at least 15-20% thicker and thus durable than the average industry standards.
This sheet of aluminum is then designed by machines that create a channel for the gutter. Further, a curved arch and few holes are made on the surface of the metal. Curved arch acts as a cover and restricts entry of any larger debris such as leaves. Water can pass through the holes.
The mechanism of leaf guard is based on the principle of liquid adhesion. Adhesion is a type of strong force that exists between two different types of molecules.
Efficiency and Effectiveness
Leaf Guards are based on the reverse curve design. The gutter’s front opening is used to collect rainwater, while a curved arch prevents the entry of debris.
Though, the system’s efficiency can get affected as the smaller debris can enter the gutter system along with the water flow. Waterfall and ice dam potentially reduce the effectiveness of the leaf guards.
Warranty and Cost
Leaf guard comes with a warranty, which differs from manufacturer to manufacturer. Talking about the cost, leaf guards are one of the most expensive gutter protectors.
Ease of Installation and Maintenance
Leaf guards are usually installed under roof shingles. This makes the process of installation quite tricky and requires professional help and assistance.
The installation process requires few tools, a lot of time (and patience!), and can also add up to the cost. One major disadvantage of this is that the roof shingles can get bulged up when leaf guards do not fit properly.
There is no type of gutter protector that does not require maintenance. Even if companies claim that their gutter protector is maintenance-free, it is highly impossible as the debris which has been accumulated has to be cleaned.
Moreover, if it is a gutter screen, there are high possibilities that a blockage needs to be removed during maintenance.
But the best part of leaf guard is that their maintenance can be done once a while. You can clean your leaf guard once or twice a year for better efficiency.
Key Points to Note: Waterfall and Ice Dams
Leaf guards (hoods) can cause waterfalls! Not the literal ones, but yes, water can flow through them relatively quickly and thus causing a small waterfall around your house (mainly during heavy rainfall).
Due to this effect, it can result in water bypassing the gutter. The rainwater thus then reaches onto the ground. In extreme cases, this can cause flooding and potentially damage your house.
The disadvantage here is obvious! The whole purpose of gutters was to prevent any potential damage to your house due to rainwater. But the whole waterfall thing can hamper this function. This can make the whole gutter system relatively inefficient.
Leaf guards are not a good pair with metal roofs. Metal roofs quickly drain rainwater as compared to other roofs. The same is valid with any steep roof shingle. For any leaf guard, this waterfall can affect its efficiency and effectiveness.
To avoid this potential disadvantage, leaf guard manufacturers suggest using splash guards or even water diverters. These are usually installed at corners or at the points where the problem is more aggravated.
This too comes with a disadvantage! Splash guards and water diverters can be easily viewed and can be aesthetically unpleasant. Even without these splash guards and water diverters, leaf guards can be easily viewed and are aesthetically unpleasant.
If the temperature is around the freezing temperatures, then this waterfall effect can cause ice dams. These ice dams can be hazardous and risky. First, ice dams can be heavy, which can loosen and damage the gutters.
Also, this ice dam can fall off and cause injury to the persons walking around your house. Even the whole gutter system can fall off, which can hurt if someone is around the house. This effect can also damage the roof, mainly if it is made up of wood.
Leaf Filters are available in different varieties, and this variety is based on the level of quality. Leaf Filters are built using hard plastic, while the mesh screen is built using metal. Leaf filters are a type of gutter screen that usually are high-end products.
The mechanism, Material of construction, and Maintenance
Leaf filters have tiny holes with a diameter in the range of microns. Due to this, many types of debris can be restricted.
But this hole can be blocked by some particles which need to be cleaned from time to time. Thus, this implies that there should be proper maintenance after a time interval for proper functioning.
If not done, this blockage can restrict the gutter system’s water flow, mainly during heavy rainfall. This can also lead to flooding in extreme cases.
Leaf filters are usually made from high-grade stainless steel. The steel is chosen such that it is corrosion-resistant. The frame is usually made up of PVC, which is temperature resistant. Leaf filters have an advantage overleaf guards in that they are not visible from the ground as they can be hidden effectively.
Leaf filters have one of the best efficiencies. They can trap even the smallest of the debris and effectively restrict their flow along with water.
But the only issue is caused due to blockages (if any). They reduce the efficiency of the leaf filters. Regular maintenance and cleaning can be the solution for higher efficiency.
Ease of Installation
Installation is easy and does require professional help and assistance. It does not tamper with the roof and can be installed without removing or damaging the roof.
Leaf filters are installed on the top of the gutter. Another key advantage is that leaf filters are aesthetically pleasing and not easily visible.
Warranty and Cost
Warranty and cost are two factors that vary and depend upon the manufacturers.
Leaf filter does have the edge overleaf guard in this contest of leaf guard vs. leaf filter. Yet, the decision is always in your hands.
Both these gutter protectors are most used and usually comparable in cost. So, it’s all in your hands! Take a wise decision.