A gutter protection system is any means of keeping leaves, sticks, and debris out of a home’s gutters while allowing water to flow through them and away from the home’s foundations, even in a heavy storm. It can be something as simple as a screen or as complex as a micro-mesh system, in which a micro-mesh filter attached to an aluminum frame is placed over the gutters. Costs rise with the system’s complexity, but so does performance.

Screens are typically laid flat on top of the gutters, intended to trap debris while allowing water to flow into and through the gutters. Unfortunately, debris quickly builds up on top of the screens, making it impossible for water to enter the gutters and rendering them useless. These were the earliest and remain both the cheapest and the least effective gutter protection systems.

Next came hoods. These were rounded tiles placed upside down, with domed tops. The problem with these was that, during heavy downpours, sheets of water spilled over the tops directly onto the ground near the home’s foundation. Leaves and pine needles also tended to hang on to their reverse curves, ultimately building up and causing debris to get in the gutters, with a clogged gutter in the offing.

Currently, state-of-the-art gutter protection systems are micro-mesh systems. The most advanced of these allow micro-debris to enter the home’s gutters along with the water that flushes it out. At the same time, they keep larger debris that could clog the gutters out of the system.

The ideal system will stream water into the gutter even with heavy rainfall, preventing its cascade over the edge where it may damage the home’s foundation. Slats with rounded tops lessen surface adhesion and increase the amount of water that is immediately admitted into the gutters. Micro-meshing will keep debris out of the gutters, and a sloped surface without ridges or valleys will promote easy flushing.