Gutter guards are a popular solution for homeowners looking to reduce the need for regular gutter cleaning. They can prevent debris from entering gutters and causing blockages, saving you time and money in the long run. However, not all gutter guards are created equal, and some types may work better than others, depending on your situation.
Gutter guards have numerous benefits, including preventing clogging, insect infestation, ice dams, and water damage, and they can prolong the life of your gutters. However, there are potential drawbacks, such as requiring occasional cleaning, exaggerating ice dam issues, and causing gutter sagging if not cleaned as needed. In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of gutter guards in detail and discuss their impact on the lifespan of gutters.
What are Gutter Guards and How Do They Work?
Gutter guards, also known as gutter screens, helmets, or covers, are designed to prevent debris from entering your rain gutters. They cover the top of your gutters with a mesh or other material that allows water to flow through while trapping leaves, twigs, and other debris on top.
The primary benefit of gutter guards is that they reduce the amount of gutter cleaning required, potentially saving you time and money in the long run. Instead of cleaning your gutters multiple times a year, you may only need to do so once every few years with gutter guards installed.
However, it’s important to note that not all gutter guards are created equal. Depending on your situation, some brands or styles may work better than others. Additionally, gutter guards are not a cure-all for all gutter maintenance. Depending on the type of tree cover in your area and the amount of debris that falls, you may still need to clean your gutters out occasionally.
The Benefits of Gutter Guards for Homeowners
Prevent Gutter Clogging
Gutter guards are an excellent addition to any home, with numerous benefits beyond preventing blockages. One of the most significant benefits is the time and money saved from cleaning gutters. With gutter guards, channels can be cleaned at least twice a year, which can be tedious and time-consuming. However, with gutter guards, there is less debris to remove, and the maintenance is much simpler.
Prevent Insect Infestation
Gutter guards also prevent vermin and insects from breeding in your gutters. Mosquitoes, rodents, and cockroaches thrive in stagnant water, which can accumulate in gutters. Gutter guards minimize stagnant water, which makes it more difficult for vermin and insects to use gutters as breeding grounds. Additionally, gutter guards protect your home by preventing birds and rodents from accessing your roof space.
Another benefit of gutter guards is their ability to prevent ice dams and gutter freezing. Gutter guards do not entirely avoid barriers of ice but prevent debris from accumulating, which may alleviate ice dams. Additionally, gutter guards offer added fire protection in areas prone to bush and brush fires. They act as a physical barrier between debris and lighted embers, which can quickly spread and cause damage.
Prolong Your Gutter’s Lifespan
Gutter guards can also prolong the life of your gutters by preventing moisture-laden debris from lying in your gutters for long periods, causing metal structures to rust prematurely. Furthermore, gutter guards improve water flow through your downspouts and gutters, which can be an excellent benefit if you have a rainwater tank. The guards will help your tank refill more quickly and have cleaner water that filters contaminants and debris.
Lastly, gutter guards can prevent water from entering your home, which can cause significant damage and be expensive to repair. Blocked gutters can cause water leaks, and overflowing gutters can cause unsightly stains on the exterior of your home. Gutter guards significantly reduce the amount of stagnant water in drainage channels, making it more difficult for pests to breed and thrive, keeping your home and gutters safe and secure.
The Potential Drawbacks of Using Gutter Guards
Gutter guards are a popular solution for homeowners looking to reduce the need for regular gutter cleaning. However, they have their potential drawbacks. One of the main issues with gutter guards is that they may only prevent some small debris from entering the gutter, including pine needles and seeds. This means the gutter can still become clogged over time and require occasional cleaning to maintain its effectiveness.
Another potential issue with gutter guards is that they may exaggerate roof ice dam issues. While heated gutter guards can be installed to prevent icicles, snow, and ice dams from forming, more than standard gutter guards may be required. Instead, they can trap debris and water in the gutter, leading to ice dams and potential damage to the roof and fascia.
Gutter guards are not 100% maintenance-free; gutters will still need occasional cleaning. This can be time-consuming and difficult, as the guards may be complicated to remove and clean and may require the use of a cleaning company. Additionally, gutter guards can dent and lose some effectiveness over time, so it is important to avoid posting a ladder against your gutters during cleaning or when putting up seasonal decorations.
Finally, if gutter guards are not cleaned as needed, the added weight of buildup on the guards may cause the actual gutters to sag. This can result in water overflow and potential damage to the home’s foundation.
The Impact of Gutter Guards on The Lifespan of Gutters
Regular maintenance and cleaning ensure your gutters reach their maximum lifespan. These tasks are necessary to avoid debris build-up, which can prevent water from overflowing and damaging your gutters. One solution to this problem is to install gutter guards, which keep debris out of your channels and help them function properly.
Gutter guards are an effective way to extend the lifespan of your gutters. They prevent debris from collecting in the gutters and blocking the water flow. By keeping your gutters clean and free from debris, you can avoid damage to your gutters and prolong their lifespan. The best part is that you no longer need to worry about cleaning your gutters frequently.
Another way to improve the durability of your gutters is by reapplying gutter sealant every five to ten years. This helps to prevent water from seeping into the seams and joints of your gutters, which can cause rust and other types of damage. You may need to reapply the sealant more frequently in areas with heavy rain or snow.
If your gutters show signs of damage, such as cracks, leaks, or overflowing water, it is time to replace them. You can observe your gutters during rain by walking around the exterior of your home to identify any trouble spots. If you notice any signs of damage, call a local gutter repair contractor as soon as possible to avoid further damage.
The Cost-effectiveness of Using Gutter Guards
Gutter guards may seem unnecessary, but they can be a cost-effective investment for homeowners. While the initial cost of installation may range from $500 to $2000, depending on the size of your home and the type of guards you choose, they can save you money in the long run.
First and foremost, gutter guards can prevent clogging and blockages in your gutters, leading to costly repairs such as water damage and roof leaks. By improving water flow and preventing ice dams, you can avoid the expense of repairing or replacing damaged gutters or fascia boards.
Moreover, gutter guards can reduce the need for regular gutter cleaning and maintenance, saving you money on professional cleaning services or the time and effort of doing it yourself. This can be especially beneficial if you live in an area with many trees or other foliage that can easily clog gutters.
When considering the cost-effectiveness of gutter guards, it’s important to remember that not all systems are created equal. Investing in high-quality, correctly installed guards is worth investing to ensure they function effectively and provide the most significant benefits.
In addition to the practical benefits, gutter guards can enhance your home’s aesthetic appeal by keeping gutters clean and debris-free. This can be especially important if you plan to sell your home, as it can increase its value and make it more attractive to potential buyers.
How to Choose the Right Type of Gutter Guard for Your Home
Choosing the correct type of gutter guard for your home can be daunting, but it’s essential to make an informed decision to protect your home from water damage. The market has six types of gutter guards: micro-mesh, mesh, screen, reverse curve/surface tension, brush, and foam. When choosing the type of gutter guard to install, several factors must be considered, such as visibility, installation, cost preferences, amount of rainfall, and debris in the area.
Micro-mesh gutter guards are the most effective type of gutter guard because they block the most debris and offer the best water flow away from the foundation. They are made of stainless steel micro-mesh that is finely woven to ensure no waste gets through. Mesh gutter guards are similar to micro-mesh, but the holes are slightly larger. They are durable and do an excellent job of keeping debris out; homeowners rarely have to remove them for cleaning.
Screen gutter guards have larger holes that allow water to flow through but keep debris out. They are affordable and can be installed by a professional or on your own. However, you must clean them yearly to ensure they continue to work effectively.
Reverse curve/surface tension gutter guards are designed to allow water to flow over the guard while leaves and debris fall to the ground. They are expensive but very effective, and the debris is not visible from the ground, making them a good choice for those who value aesthetics.
Brush and foam gutter guards are affordable and easy to install. They are made of bristles or foam that block large debris but allow more negligible waste and water flow. However, they may require more maintenance as smaller debris can get trapped in the bristles or foam.
Installation Options: DIY or Hire a Professional?
Gutter guards are an essential addition to your home that helps to keep your gutters free from debris. Although you may be tempted to save some cash and install gutter guards yourself, leaving this task to the professionals is highly recommended. DIY installation of gutter guards is dangerous, as it requires climbing on a ladder and handling power equipment, which can lead to injuries that may be costly. Here are seven reasons why hiring a professional to install your gutter guards is smart.
- Firstly, professionals prioritize safety and have well-tested materials and support teams to ensure they are prepared for any risk. They are trained to assess risk and identify potential hazards, such as power lines that can pose a threat during installation.
- Hiring a professional to install your gutter guards saves you time, trouble, and potential injury. Professionals have the training, experience, and equipment to install gutter guards quickly and efficiently.
- Thirdly, professionals will ensure that the job is done correctly and they use the right tools. They will find a date and time that works for you, bring all the right tools for the job, and install them without any injuries or damage to your property.
- Fourthly, professionals prevent errors and damage to gutters. One mistake during installation can negatively impact the wind-uplift resistance of the system, as well as cause other types of damage. By contacting a professional, you can ensure that the results are flawless.
- Fifthly, professional installers will ensure that the gutter guards match the color and style of your existing gutters. This can be challenging, as a wide variety of gutter guard systems are available in various styles and materials. Professionals can help you find a system that coordinates with your existing gutters or suggests new options.
- Sixthly, you are eligible for a quality work guarantee by hiring a professional to install your gutter guards. If the gutters do not perform due to poor installation, you won’t have to worry about paying for repairs.
- Lastly, hiring a professional will ensure your roofing warranty is maintained. If you inadvertently damage your roofing material during installation, you may void the warranty for your roofing material, which can last for decades. A professional installer will ensure that this doesn’t happen, saving you the trouble of future costs.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I choose the right gutter guards for my home?
The best gutter guards for your home will depend on several factors, including the type of debris in your area and your budget. For example, if you live in an area with many pine trees, consider gutter guards with smaller mesh sizes to prevent pine needles from getting through. If you’re on a budget, basic mesh gutter guards can be cost-effective. Consider the durability of the material, ease of installation, and maintenance requirements when choosing the right gutter guards for your home.
Can I install gutter guards myself, or should I hire a professional?
Gutter guards can be installed by homeowners comfortable working on ladders and roofs. However, it is recommended to hire a professional if you need clarification on the installation process or if your home has complex rooflines. Additionally, a professional can help you choose the right gutter guard for your home and ensure the installation is done correctly to maximize the gutter guards’ effectiveness. If you decide to install gutter guards yourself, follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and take all necessary safety precautions.