Clean Outs For Pine Needles

We recommend the use of clean outs when installing the T-Rex leaf guard in an area that has pine needles. Pine needles are long and slender and a few do make it through the small round holes in the leaf guard. Only a small percentage go through and the vast majority stay out of the eavestrough.
The T-Rex is not removable so clean outs are important in some cases.

In 10 years we only had one person contact us because there was a blockage under the leaf guard. Since then we have added trap doors over the downspouts to allow access to any needles that may get caught up in the outlet. This way, in the rare event a blockage occurs, there is an easy way to remove the debris.

This is how we create a trap door in the T-Rex:

First off, we leave a space over the down pipe outlet. We do this by leaving a 6 inch gap between two sections of T-Rex. I should mention that we can install clean outs over any section of the leaf guard for minimal cost. Most likely they will never be needed but you can have peace of mind knowing that they are there. Also there is access to under the leaf guard where there is a corner as there are corner covers which are easy to remove.

eavestrough with cleanout
This will give easy access to any debris caught at the outlet.
eavestrough outlet

Then we take a slightly different version of the T-Rex call Gutter Clean and cut it at about 10 inches so it will completely cover the gap.

T-Rex Gutter clean leafguard

It fits perfectly and is screwed down with 2 screws so it is secure.

cleanout installed on leafguard


Now for a demonstration of why trap doors come in handy when there are pine trees next to your home.

Pine needles like the ones below can get through the small holes.


If the pine tree is hanging over the home then you can expect to see a build up of pine needles
on the leaf guard. Even with this much sitting on top the rain water can easily pass through as these needles are very coarse. With a good wind some will blow off. You may still have to have someone do a brush off the top every fall. This is still much easier then scooping out a full, plugged downspout and eavestrough. This T-Rex leaf guard will drastically reduce the frequency of cleaning, if you have a full tree canopy. If the trees are back slightly from the home then you may not have to clean at all as the wind will blow most debris off.
A cross section view of a few pine needles getting through the T-Rex
cross section of eavestrough and leafguard
Its possible after many years to get a blockage because the pine needles have clogged the top of the pipe. All debris flows along the bottom of the eavestrough and ends up at the downspout. Alu-Rex, the makers of the T-Rex require a minimum downspout size of 9 square inches which is a standard 3×3 inch downspout for warranty in a pine tree area. Alu-Rex is an excellent company and will follow up on any warranty claims.  If you have a blockage and you have 3×3 pipes they will come out and clean the outlet! Alu-Rex has a 40 year warranty on the product and performance of the product.
In this blog post we show a 3×4 inch outlet.

Spruce needles are of course much shorter and do not cause a problem. The few that make it through the small T-Rex holes will easily wash out the downpipes. They are not long enough to get hung up at the top of the downspout. The same applies to shingle grits. They will wash out in the heavy rain.


Spruce needles will never cause a blockage of the downspout because they are so small they will never block an outlet. They easily flow out the downspouts.

Clean outs will be a good choice with any leaf guard that has any hole large enough to let a pine needle in. That applies to the hooded type leaf guards like K-Guard as when the water wraps around the nose due to surface tension, some debris gets pulled in as well.

The old style mesh products we used to install 15 years ago (because there was no better option on the market) had holes that were too large and let way to much debris in. Eventually someone would have to clean underneath them. This leaf guard is responsible for giving leaf guard a bad rap when in fact the new versions work so much better.

Below is a side by side comparison of the Alu-Rex Gutter Clean and the Smart Screen. Smart Screen on the left has much larger holes then the Gutter Clean. Bigger holes may allow more pine needles to go in so clean outs will be a good idea with this product as well.

leafguard comparison in Toronto

Products like the Leaf Solution on the left and Rhino Guard on the right will keep all shingle grit and needles out of the eavestrough but they come with a significant extra cost as compared to the T-Rex. These products have a fine mesh over a aluminum frame which keeps everything but the water out.
The T-Rex is by far our most popular product with our clients and gives excellent value as it costs much less than most leaf guards on the market.

The T-Rex costs an extra $3.00 per linear foot when you are getting new eavestroughs. Compare that to many other kinds that cost $9.00 to $12.00 and the choice will be easy for most.
North Shore Eavestroughing services Scarborough, North York and many other areas in and around Toronto.

Visit out website or call us at 416 615 0443 for a free, no obligation estimate in the Toronto area.

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