Installing Downspout Screens and Gutter Guards to Decrease the Need for Routine Cleaning of Your Gutters


As tedious as it is, clearing out the gutters is an absolute must. In my book, that task ranks up there with doing the laundry and giving blood. However, keeping your home in good working order is essential to its longevity and will save you money on repairs in the long run. You can save time and money by putting off regular gutter cleaning with the help of two inexpensive solutions highlighted in this video and accompanying text.

How to Put in a Downspout Filter for Your Gutters

Gutter downspout screens are the first tool in our toolbox. It’s just a filter that can be bent into the shape of a downspout to catch leaves and other debris before they clog up the system. The most common reason for backed-up gutters is debris accumulated in the downspouts and drains, which may be avoided with the help of a gutter downspout screen.

Installing gutter downspout screens is a simple task. After removing the screen from its packaging, shape it into a square, rectangle, or circle to fit the downspout. Place the closed end of the screen upwards in a clean gutter. To keep the screen in place, drop it halfway down the gutter drain so that the top of the mesh forms a “bulb.” The tension will keep the screen in place.

If fitted correctly, the gutter downspout screen will keep leaves, twigs, and other debris out of the downspout. In addition, it will reduce the difficulty of maintaining your gutters.

Should I Put Up Guards to Prevent Clogs?

As a rule, I do not recommend using gutter guards. I’ll save that topic for another piece. The simple answer is that they can be pricey, cause more issues than they fix, and mislead homeowners into thinking they never need to clean their gutters again.

To cut a long story short, gutter guards certainly have their uses. One use is in gutters that collect a lot of leaves and other materials.

“Significant debris” could be interpreted in many different ways. For instance, one section of gutters at my house requires cleaning three or four times every autumn. That is way too much for me! Cleaning the same gutters several times a year isn’t high on my list of priorities.

Gutter guards are in various sizes, colors, styles, and designs. Numerous specialized service providers sell gutter guards of their design or brand, each claiming to be superior to the competition.

For now, I’ll avoid discussing the relative effectiveness of different gutter guard designs because that’s not the point of this article. Instead, I want to highlight the advantage that is the stated goal of every gutter guard. Specifically, to make gutter cleaning less frequent or unnecessary.

Gutter guards may not altogether remove the need to clean gutters, but they can significantly minimize the number of leaves and other debris that enters a drain.

Tutorial: Leaf Filter Guards

Gutter guards are simple devices that any homeowner can purchase and install with a few tools and a weekend. Most gutter protection systems merely “snap” into place and feature a mesh or screen that lets water through but keeps out larger debris.

After clearing the drains and gutters, release the shingles’ attachment to the drip edge. The gutter guard’s flat side slides beneath the shingle, while the other end is aligned with the gutter’s front edge. Gutter guards are made with a flange that fits over the lip of the channel.

Anchor the guard to the gutter with tiny stainless steel screws where it will be subjected to strong winds. The strain between the guard’s lip and the shingle will hold the screen in place if nothing else does.

Screens for downspouts and a gutter guard need still be maintained.

Screens and guards can cut down on the debris entering your gutters, but they won’t permanently eliminate it. Gutter and downspout performance can be impacted by several variables beyond just debris buildup; having them inspected and cleaned annually is prudent.


President, ProMaster Home Repair & Handyman Service, Don Kennedy, Cincinnati, Ohio

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