The truth about home gutter guards

Products aim to wipe out maintenance headaches

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Let's face it, who really enjoys cleaning their gutters? Hauling heavy ladders around, mucking out leaves, pine needles and mud, perching precariously from roof edges -- there are definitely better ways to spend a Saturday afternoon. But if you don't keep up with it, the result can be clogged and ineffective gutters and downspouts, overflowing rainwater and even an increased chance of ice damming. With that in mind, a number of manufacturers have invented a variety of products that seek to eliminate that particular maintenance headache. Generically known as gutter guards, leaf guards or gutter screens, as well as by a number of specific brand names, they all share a common goal -- to allow water to enter your gutters while at the same time blocking all the debris that the water carries with it. While there are a variety of styles and designs, gutter guards take one of two basic forms -- perforated styles and surface tension styles. Perforated styles are basically just pieces of perfora...