How to Keep Leaves out of Gutters

Ben Lauer
Published on January 17, 2020

How to Keep Leaves out of Gutters

You probably
don’t give your gutters much thought, but they play a critical role in
protecting your home from the elements. When rain or snowmelt runs off your
roof, your gutters collect the water and transport it away from your home.
Unfortunately, most gutters also collect leaves, pine needles, shingle granules
and any other debris the water happens to be carrying.

Cleaning out all
this detritus is a difficult, time-consuming and potentially dangerous task.
It’s also essential to keep your home protected. Thankfully, we have a few easy
tips to help you keep leaves out of your gutters without the fuss.

Prepare Your Gutters

Your roof and
gutter system are designed to work together to efficiently keep water away from
your home. When your gutters and downspouts get clogged up with leaves, the
water has nowhere to go and begins overflowing. Eventually, this can cause
water intrusion issues, damage walkways and landscaping features around your
home and even lead to costly foundation repairs. Before you begin addressing this issue, ensure
that your gutters are totally clean and flowing properly. Check your gutter
system for any loose or hanging sections, separated seams or other issues that
need to be fixed.

Most of this
preparation can’t be done from the ground, but it’s important to be cautious
whenever you’re doing work that requires a ladder. More than 500,000 people are injured in ladder-related accidents each
year, around 97% of which happen around the home. The potential danger involved
in working with a ladder is yet another reason it’s important to focus on
preventing gutter obstructions and avoiding frequent cleanings.

Trim Your Trees

The trees in
your yard may be attractive and provide relaxing shade, but they’re also the
primary source of trouble for your gutters. Any trees that are near your home
are likely to shed debris in the form of leaves, pine needles, twigs or
branches. When that debris falls onto your roof, gravity and rain naturally
wash it down into your gutters. In some cases, seeds can even mix in with this
material and begin to sprout and grow inside your gutter system. Needless to
say, that’s not a good situation for the health of your gutters.

Removing the
offending trees altogether isn’t necessary or practical, but some strategic
trimming often goes a long way. Take a trip around your home and note any limbs
or branches lurking close enough to shower your roof with detritus. You can
trim them back yourself if you’re confident you can do so safely. Otherwise, a
professional landscaping service can help you keep the vegetation around your
house under control. Along with using fire-retardant paint for your home, trimming back trees around your
roof is also useful in mitigating fire and safety hazards.

Install Gutter Guards

It’s time to
talk about an unfortunate truth. Leaves and branches and other assorted foreign
materials are going to find their way onto your roof. Managing the trees around
your home makes a big difference, but roofs seem to have a special ability to
attract unwanted debris. In the end, there’s little you can do to stop all that
trash from ending up in any uncovered gutters attached to your eaves. However,
that doesn’t mean you need to resign yourself to clogged gutters and frequent

The most
effective way to repel leaves and keep your gutters flowing freely is to
install a gutter guard. A gutter guard is a simple device that can be fitted
inside or over the top of your gutters to prevent leaves and other trash from
entering. There are several designs and options, but the most effective are
typically dome-shaped guards made from tempered and anodized aluminum. These
guards keep out most debris while still allowing water to flow unimpeded
through the gutter system. In colder climates, some gutter guards can even be
fitted with heating cables to help protect against the formation of destructive ice dams.

Keep in mind
that your roof itself will still need to be cleaned occasionally after you’ve
installed gutter covers. Most debris should either be blown off by the wind or
carried away by rain, but any leaves or branches that stick to your roof
surface can eventually cause problems. You should also check the guards
periodically to ensure they’re in good condition and haven’t become obstructed.

If you’re like
most homeowners, you probably associate your gutters more with anger and
frustration than with vital home protection. After all, clambering up a ladder
to scoop piles of soggy vegetation every few months probably isn’t your
preferred way to spend your free time. We hope the tips above can help change
that by keeping your gutters flowing and eliminating those pesky piles of
leaves. If you’ve found our guide helpful, or if you’ve got tips and tricks of
your own, don’t hesitate to share this article and leave us a comment below!