Gutter guards are marketed as being able to prevent your rain gutters from clogging with leaves, as well as water and debris– hence saving you from what could be a hazardous household job.
Cleaning up rain gutters is no enjoyable at all!
Nevertheless, not everyone agrees that seamless gutter guards deserve the cost, time, and effort to obtain them installed.
Following are the benefits and drawbacks of installing gutter guards (or leaf guards, rain gutter covers, rain gutter screens, etc.) on your home …
Types Of Gutter Guards
The 5 main types of rain gutter guards are:
- Mesh gutter guards— these metal sheets (filled with small holes) connect to the roof shingles and cover the rain gutter.
- Reverse curve gutter guards— these position the water downward while directing the leaves to be up to the ground.
- Bottle brush rain gutter guards— these are made of bristles that face upright inside the rain gutter. The debris rests on top while the water streams away.
- Nylon rain gutter guards— these work exceptionally well in the winter season due to their unique style which avoids snow from developing and freezing.
- Foam seamless gutter guards— these are in fact made of plastic that fits directly into your rain gutter, assisting to block the debris from going into the gutter.
Gutter guards fall into 2 categories: gutter covers and gutter screens. Screens are usually made of wire mesh, nylon or foam, and are simpler and cheaper to install, but usually don’t last as long. Gutter covers sit on top of your gutters, so appearance is something else to consider. Also, they limit the waterflow into your gutters because… well… they cover the gutters. They can be made out of a variety of materials, including copper, aluminum, plastic, wire mesh, nylon and foam.— Heritage Home Inspection Services
Home Professionals Weigh In On Gutter Guards
HGTV says you need to definitely use gutter guards. They give directions on how to install mesh type seamless gutter guards and keep them clean … but I believed the idea was to not need to clean them!
Tom Kraeutler goes over whether or not gutter guards deserve the cost. While seamless gutter guards are not necessarily maintenance free, he feels that they can lessen the amount of labor and potentially prevent unnecessary falls.
According to Tim Carter at Ask The Builder, the effectiveness of gutter guards is questionable at best:
All of the products do an excellent job of prohibiting full sized leaves from entering your gutters. That is a simple task. However, many of the gutter cover products fail to stop tiny tree flower buds, seed pods and evergreen needles from entering gutters. — Tim Carter, Ask The Builder
The bright side is that after 10 years of research and great deals of individual trial and error, he has finally found a gutter guard that he feels comfy advising. His pick for the very best seamless gutter guard system is MasterShield.
Pros & Cons Of Using Gutter Guards
So, what should you do?
If you want to invest less time cleaning up gutters, then yes– seamless gutter guards are certainly something that ought to be thought about.
Just don’t expect that they will be upkeep free.
Some debris will undoubtedly collect on top of the seamless gutter guards themselves. Nevertheless, it should be a lot easier and quicker to clean it off the top than to dig into clogged seamless gutters to get rid of handfuls of leaves, seeds, and branches. That stated, some rain gutter guard systems are harder to clean when they become clogged. So choose your seamless gutter guard system sensibly!
In many cases, the cost of the seamless gutter guard system can cost more than a number of years’ worth of expert rain gutter cleaning. For that reason, depending upon your scenario and the number of trees are around your home, it might make more sense to pay a professional to clean your rain gutters yearly instead of spending for a seamless gutter guard system that might stop working.
Likewise, if you have a house with rain gutters that are 2 or 3 stories tall, you ought to consider employing a seamless gutter cleaning company for one or two times a year cleaning anyway– whether you have rain gutter guards or not. It’s too dangerous to clean seamless gutters that high off the ground.
Pros of using gutter guards:
- They can be added to existing rain gutters.
- Gutter guards avoid birds and rodents from developing nests in the rain gutters.
- They eliminate the have to clean your seamless gutters often.
- Rain gutter guards avoid the build-up of stagnant water in your gutters, which might otherwise support and overflow into your home or work as a breeding ground for pests.
- Your gutters will last longer, since they won’t too soon rust and rot from the moisture and debris being in them.
- Gutter guards enable more effective rain water harvesting by enhancing the flow of water and filtering out some pollutants.
- You can even get heated rain gutter guards that will melt icicles, ice dams, and snow.
Cons of using gutter guards:
- Gutter guard installation can be expensive. They can cost anywhere from $700 to several thousand dollars.
- They are not 100% foolproof. Rain gutter guards still require periodic cleansing.
- Overstated ice issues prevail, given that melting snow and ice accumulation respond in a different way with gutter guards.
- Some rain gutter guard systems are practically ineffective, so you need to shop thoroughly. Be careful of the hype of high-pressure salespeople.
- If you ever lean a ladder against your gutters (when cleaning them or hanging Christmas lights, for instance), the seamless gutter guards will become dented. This will decrease their effectiveness from that point forward.
- The additional weight of gutter guards might cause your gutters to sag in the center.
- If you happen to have a high roof or valleys (where downward-sloping areas of roof meet and water overflow is heavy), the water can overshoot the rain gutter guard itself.
- Tree seeds can get caught in the rain gutter guard slots and sprout, forming rain gutter trees– and some types of tree seeds grow rather quickly!