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Gutter Guards and Gutter Filters in Portland Oregon

I really get a kick out of watching videos with many of the gutter filters and gutter guard demonstrations. Most of them show dry leaves and pine needles on top of clean gutter filters or guards. In Portland and NW Oregon in general, we have wet leaves, fine debris, algae and moss to deal with. Choosing a "leaf" filter when you have needles can be a waste of your money.

Gutter Filters are not a one size fits all. Different types have different pros and cons. If you have gutter filters installed, it may be best to install different types in different areas of your house. The shape of your house roof and where trees are located, wind etc will determine this.

I would like to point out that on many homes, the wrong type of gutter guards have been installed. Many times, gutter guards are installed on gutters that are not sloped properly. This causes problems when trying to clean the gutters and increases gutter cleaning expense. So please be careful to do full research before spending money on installing some type of gutter guard.

Things to Consider before Choosing a Gutter Filter

  1. Frequency - How often have you been cleaning out the gutters? If you clean your gutters twice a year or less, you may be better off not having them installed because the roof probably needs blown off anyway.
  2. Height - How high up is the gutter section?
  3. Gutter Contents - What type of debris is filling up your gutters?
  4. Severity - How often does it become a real problem?
  5. Liability - What are the consequences of an overflowing gutter? Would a finished basement be flooded?
  6. Overlap - How much of the gutter do your shingles cover?
  7. Trees - What types of trees are nearby that drop material into the gutter?
  8. Roof Area - How much water is draining into the gutter section (small roof area above or large?
  9. Roof Features - What type of roof formation is directly above the gutter? (valley, ridge, flat area)
  10. Roof Slope - At what angle does my shingles meet your gutters? (speed of water and can gutter filter fit under shingle?)
  11. Wind Speed - Is it windy over these gutter sections?
  12. Threshold - How often does this gutter fill with enough debris to cause a problem?
  13. Accessibility for Cleaning - How accessible is this gutter stretch for regular cleaning?
  14. UV Light and Heat - Does this gutter section get full sun and intense heat or is it shaded?

Please also note that the answers to these questions may vary for different areas of the gutters. I usually don't recommend just one type of gutter filter for the whole house. The appropriate gutter filter for each section may be different.

Gutter guards are installed between the roof and the gutter edge.

Installing the wrong filters may keep out leaves, but allows needles and other fines through that clogged the downspouts. There are many types of gutter filters. Installing the wrong type for your house is a waste of money and time. They must later be removed for cleaning and more money paid for the proper type. It is much better to learn about what type of gutter filters you need and why than pay somebody for nothing.

The wrong type of gutter filters were installed and required these to be removed and proper ones to be put on
The wrong type of gutter filters were installed and required these to be removed and proper ones to be put on

It is important how gutter filters are installed. I notch the perforated and fiberglass mesh gutter filters and overlap the ends. As can be seen in the above picture, there are not gaps even when the filters expand and contract through temperature changes. This maintains a clean appearance while preventing leaves or needles through.

Corner work on gutter filters
Properly notched and overlapped corners of gutter filters

On corners and elbows in the gutters, the gutter filters are cut to lay flat, be effective and look nice.

Needles cannot get through the UV stabilized fiberglass mesh on these gutters [photo to go here]

The gutter filters I use keep out not only leaves, but also needles and other small debris.

Also, where the filters receive intense heat, they may be screwed into the gutter to prevent warping and hold them in place in very gusty areas. I use stainless steel screws so there are not rust streaks after a couple years.

Gutter filters protect your gutters from filling up while allowing rain water to go into the gutter.

On wet days, the debris from the trees and upper roof comes to rest on the ridge of the filter. The water seems around and through the debris, through the filter, into your gutter and down the downspout.

As the weather turns dry, the debris resting on the filters dries out and is able to blow off in the wind.

The gutter filters I use keep out leaves as well as needles and most pesky tree seeds.

There are some instances when some gutter guards may not be installed. If the roof pitch is too great, then the gutter filters cannot be fitted. If the shingles are too close to the outside gutter edge, there is not enough room to fit them in. Also, if the outside gutter edge is not below the edge of the shingles, they should not be installed unless the gutter is lowered first. You don't want water to flow back under the shingles. So you must switch to using a different style of gutter filter that does not require being inserted underneath the shingles.

Shingles and gutter edge are too close together
and wrong angle to properly install fiberglass gutter filters. A type of gutter foam must be used in this instance.
Shingles and gutter edge are too close together and wrong angle to properly install fiberglass gutter filters. A type of gutter foam must be used in this instance.

Photo by Brad Lewis

This page was last updated on 2010-01-21

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