Gutters serve a vital role for our homes, but they often get clogged with leaves and debris. Cleaning your gutters not only is time-consuming but also can be very dangerous (think extension ladders and overhead power lines). Though periodic maintenance will always be necessary, you can dramatically reduce the number of time you have to check gutters (and decrease the chance for any high-altitude acrobatics) by using leaf guards.
A leaf guard acts as a shield to prevent leaves and debris from entering the gutter. Several types are available, including flexible mesh, solid screens and solid guards.
Flexible mesh (which comes in 20-ft. rolls) is the least expensive, but it can be unwieldy and usually requires cutting and fitting.
Flexible vinyl-mesh rolls are the least expensive debris guards and can be cut to fit almost any gutter installation.
Solid screens are easier to work with than flexible mesh, as they simply snap into place (or in some cases merely lie on top of the gutter), but they are more expensive than mesh rolls.
Metal gutter screens are a step up in gutter protection, though not all types attach as well as others.
Solid guards offer the most protection and can be the easiest to install. But the are the most expensive of the DIY solutions.
Solid gutter guards offer the most debris protection and snap tightly into place.
One unique type of debris guard, the Gutterpillar, is a device that looks like a bottle brush and slips inside your gutter. Its tines allow water to pass into and down the gutter, but they prevent leaves and other debris from entering. When it's cleaning time, just lift out the Gutterpillar and hose it off.
The Gutterpillar sits inside the gutter, preventing leaves from entering. Its tines still allso water to flow.