How to Keep Leaves Out of Your Gutter

Cleaning out your gutters, especially during autumn can be a hassle … a hassle that can be easily avoided with gutter protectors. In this video, you will learn of several different options to choose from that you can install yourself. Keep in mind that most gutter covers won’t stop debris from getting into your gutters permanently. However, it will significantly reduce the amount that gets trapped and the frequency with which you’ll need to clean your gutters.



  1. Keep Leaves Out of Your Gutter - Step 1

    Before adding any gutter protectors, clean out all leaves and debris from your gutters.

  2. Keep Leaves Out of Your Gutter - Step 2

    This gutter is designed to easily access the inside for cleaning. There is a metal clip that attaches the guard to the front of the gutter. This offers a basic level of protection and can be seen from the ground.

  3. Keep Leaves Out of Your Gutter - Step 3

    This 3-inch snap-in gutter guard is made of PVC. It snaps to the front of the gutter and the back slips underneath the shingles. It also comes in different colors to match your gutters.

  4. Keep Leaves Out of Your Gutter - Step 4

    This gutter guard is made of solid plastic. It attaches to the front and the back slips underneath the shingles. Surface tension from the curved lid channels water into the holes without taking leaves with it.

  5. Keep Leaves Out of Your Gutter - Step 5

    This gutter insert is a plastic mesh foam filter. It installs under the gutter ferrules to protect it from blowing away in high winds. It blocks leaves from entering but easily allows water through.

  6. Keep Leaves Out of Your Gutter - Step 6

    After installing your gutter protection of choice, be sure to occasionally check the gutters for debris.

Read Video Transcript

As the leaves start to turn colors this fall and gently fall to the ground, now is the perfect time to make sure they don’t clog up your gutters on the way down. Clogged gutters can lead to all sorts of problems, including wet basements and other foundation issues. And the best way to keep gutters free from leaves and debris is making sure nothing can get in there in the first place. The only thing you want filling up your gutters is rain water on its way down the downspout and away from your house.

As long as mankind has had to climb up on a ladder to remove leaves and debris from the gutter, innovative thinkers have come up with solutions to keep gutters free from debris. While you learned how to clean your gutters in our video “Cleaning Gutters,” in this video we’ll show you some products designed to keep stuff out of your gutters.

Today we’ll use this piece of gutter to illustrate some of the basic types of gutter covers. Now the thing to remember about gutter covers is that when installed by a professional gutter company, many times the price of the gutter cover is more than the price of the gutters themselves. This makes gutter cover installation a great money saver, and it’s not that difficult of a do-it-yourself project.

Now a word of caution: installing gutter covers, especially on a 2-story home, requires working on an extension ladder. If you are at all hesitant to do this, call a professional installer. The money you save doing it yourself is certainly not worth it if you fall and get injured. But if you’re up for the task, literally, then let’s get started.

Perhaps the main thing to remember when installing gutter covers is that over time, debris will eventually find its way through the gutter covers and into your gutters. It may take a while, but it will happen. So the gutter covers you choose should be ones that can be easily removed so you can clean your gutters. On that note, before installing any gutter cover, first make sure your gutters are thoroughly clean.

This first type of cover is designed to be accessible for easy cleaning. It has a metal clip that fastens to the front of the gutter. Then it flips back over and sits on top of the shingles. The main drawback is that it is easily seen from the ground and only offers a basic level of protection.

This second type is a 3-inch, snap-in gutter guard that is made of PVC. It has small, diamond-shaped openings that allows water through while preventing leaves and debris from entering.

This gutter cover snaps onto the front of the gutter lip while the back lip slides underneath the roof shingle. This is one of the most common types of gutter covers on the market, and it is available in several colors to match common gutter colors.

As you can see, this next gutter cover is solid plastic. This channel fastens to the top of the gutter’s lip, while the back fits under the first course of roof shingles. The neat part about this is the way water enters the gutter. As water runs off the roof and onto the gutter cover, surface tension channels the water around the lip and into the gutter. Leaves and debris roll right off.

Basically, the gutter covers we’ve seen so far are all similar in that they cover the top of the gutter to keep debris out. This next type of cover, however, really isn’t a cover at all. In fact, it sits inside the gutter. How can that work, you ask? We’ll let’s take a look.

This gutter insert is a plastic mesh foam filter that allows water to seep through while blocking leaves and debris on top. It installs under the gutter ferrules, which holds the product in during high winds. Another feature is that it can’t be seen from the ground, making it virtually invisible. Although leaves may initially stick to the top, they will eventually dry up and blow away.

If gutter covers don’t appeal to you, perhaps some downspout accessories are what you need. These keep debris out of the downspout in different ways. Here is a strainer that expands to keep the downspout from clogging. This product eliminates clogged downspouts by elevating leaves up onto a ramp which keeps them from entering the downspout. They eventually dry up and blow away.

So there you have it. While you should probably still give your gutters a periodic checkup every now and then, you can be sure you won’t have to do any heavy lifting like before. And all it took was the right products and some helpful advice from your local, independent home improvement retailer.

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11 responses to “How to Keep Leaves Out of Your Gutter”

  1. ellynolivetti says:

    Great video – I watched the one about painting the fireplace screen also. It was explained very well and this girl on the video was terrific – she made me confident I could do this project also!

  2. Dan says:

    The problem we have had is every Spring when the wind blows all the maple seeds from ours and neighboring trees I end up on the ladder anyway pulling those out of gutter guard. I ended up taking mine down because of this and just resorted back to cleaning them.

  3. Jane Wilson says:

    Love this tutorial! You’re very detailed and meticulous, which is great. I also didn’t know there are so many types of gutter guards, there’s definitely lots to choose from.

  4. Chuck says:

    Gutter helmet can keep leaves and other crap out of your gutters. Ive had it on my house 8 yrs, i check it every year and nothing in there. I have 4 messy maple trees and a pine tree that had me cleaning my gutters at 2 am in the pouring rain. Not any more! Its more expensive then the old screen stuff but it actually works

  5. Luke Smith says:

    This is a great idea, I have known people whose gutter flood because they get stuck with debris. I can see how the guards would be nice to have since it makes it easier to clean leaves, twigs, and other stuff off. I’ll have to find a company that can come and install some on my gutters.

  6. I never knew that such guards existed. All of the gutters I have seen are bare. Constant cleaning is often needed around the fall time. If you have these guards I can imagine maintenance being a lot easier.

  7. Nico says:

    Great, these gutter guards look very effective and will be a big time-saver from frequent checking to see if they need cleaning out. I like the mesh foam filter guard, what a great idea! Thank you for sharing this article

  8. Mr Clean says:

    Gutter guards as described here have never worked in my gutters, even the ones with the mesh screen behind the plastic. The little pine tree “leaves” and any other small tree debris like helicopters, (of which I have a million here in Maine) find their way through and clog up the downspouts not to mention they’re the cause ice jams in the winter. I used them for some number of years and still have to get up there and clean my gutters regularly each year and when there is a real clog it’s usually much worse than without the gutter guards because without them in place the downspout and gutter will clog up much worse since the clog has built up over a longer time and potentially gone unnoticed.

  9. Visit site says:

    A very professional way of doing it, thanks.

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