Do Gutter Guards Work & Are They Worth It?
Let's cut to the chase: gutters are annoying. They get clogged with leaves, are difficult to clean, and can even be a cozy home for an angry family of wasps.
But as a homeowner, maintaining gutters is just part of the gig. After all, gutters are essential to your home's drainage system and structural integrity.
To maintain gutters and fix clogs, a lot of homeowners often resort to whipping out their ladder a few times a year and cleaning their gutters. Others hire it out.
But there's another option that's often overlooked. For homeowners interested in protecting their homes and reducing the amount of times they have to climb on their roof, gutter guards are a great investment.
But what exactly are gutter guards? Do they even work? And are they actually worth it? We go over all of this and more in this blog post. Let's get into it.
First of all: What are gutter guards?
Gutter guards do exactly what their name implies: they guard your gutters.
Sometimes called gutter covers, they are a perforated system that’s placed over the top of your already existing gutters to prevent leaves, twigs, and other debris from entering, while still allowing water to move freely.
Not only do they reduce maintenance costs, but they also remove the need to have to clean your gutters on a regular basis.
The purpose of gutters
Gutters are a funneling system. When it rains, water slides down your roof and into your gutters. Your gutters then channel that water through a downspout and safely direct it away from the vulnerable areas of your home (i.e., your foundation and basement).
If houses didn’t have gutters, water would end up pooling around the outside of the home and eventually erode the soil. Over time, this causes extreme foundation damage and basement flooding.
On top of that, they also prevent water from collecting and entering through doors and windows.
Gutter's biggest flaw
Gutters are great. But they aren't perfect. In fact, their biggest flaw is they attract a lot of debris that ends up collecting overtime and then clogging. If your home is near a lot of trees, then you know clogged gutters are a constant concern.
And cleaning a clogged gutter isn't exactly an easy task. You have to bring out the ladder, climb up the roof with a hose and bucket, and clean them out. If they're really clogged, you might even have to use your hands to remove that debris buildup. It is 100% not fun and can be dangerous and physically demanding on the body. That's why gutter guards were invented.
Types of gutter guards
Gutter guards have been around since the early 1900s, with the first gutter guard being a flat metal screen. Today, however, we have a few more types to choose from.
1. Brush gutter guards. These guards are made up of bristles that fit inside your gutters. The bristles, which are in an upright position, cause leaves and debris to stay on top of them while allowing water to move through your gutters.
2. Foam gutter guards. This option is essentially a block of foam that sits in your gutters, catching debris while still allowing water to flow through.
3. Screen. These gutter guards feature a wire or plastic grid that blocks debris from entering the gutters.
4. Micro mesh. Mesh gutter guards are similar to screen gutter guards, but the holes are smaller and barely visible to the naked eye. Typically made of stainless steel, they’re more of a permanent solution.
5 advantages of gutter guards
1. Cuts down the need for maintenance and cleaning.
This is the main reason why people get gutter guards. They are specifically designed to block leaves, pine needles, and other debris from accumulating in your gutters, so that means less time spent getting out the ladder and cleaning your gutters out.
2. Reduces the risk of water and structural damage to your home.
Investing in gutter guards can save you thousands of dollars. Clogged gutters lead to water pooling around your home’s foundation and eroding the soil. Since gutter guards prevent clogs, your gutters are able to do their job effectively.
3. Gets rid of pest infestations.
A gutter is a cozy home for mice, wasps, and birds. Gutter guards not only provide a physical barrier to these pests, but they also minimize the amount of stagnant water sitting in your gutters, making your home unattractive to critters.
4. Prevents rust and corrosion.
Wet debris hanging out in your gutters leads to premature rust on your gutters and wood rot on your home. And because gutter guards are designed to prevent leaves and other organic litter from collecting, your gutter's lifespan is prolonged, and your home is protected.
5. Minimizes mold and mildew.
Mold and mildew aren’t good for your house, and most importantly, your health. Organic material like leaves, dirt, and twigs, can harbor mold spores. And when they get stuck in your gutters, along with stagnant water, it creates the perfect environment for mold to flourish. On top of that, clogged gutters cause water to spill onto the side of the house, and into your basement, allowing mold and mildew to hang out in your home.
6. Can be installed on existing gutters.
One of the best parts about gutter guards is you don't need a whole new gutter system. They are installed on your already existing gutters.
3 disadvantages of gutter guards
1. Complex installation.
The best, most effective gutter guards need to be installed by a professional and are not DIY.
2. Not all gutter guards are created equal.
Some gutter guard systems are basically ineffective, so you need to do research and shop carefully.
3. May affect your roof warranty.
Some gutter guards attach to your roof and might void your warranty. When picking out the right gutter guard for your home, make sure you pick one that works with your roof.
What type of gutter guard is the best?
Each type of gutter guard has its pros and cons. But one of the most important choices you have to make is who installs them.
You have two options with gutter guards: you can have them professionally installed or you can buy them at the store and install them yourself.
That second option can save you money, but you might end up getting the wrong type of guards that aren't suited for your home or roof style.
Installing gutter guards involves a high level of skill and technique. If you install them yourself, you run the risk of damaging your entire gutter system, or worse, damaging your roof.
Here at Thrasher, we install RainDrop gutter guards. RainDrop gutter guards are a hybrid combination of a gutter screen and hood. Their unique design and polypropylene construction make it one of the most durable guards on the market. They work on every roof style, fit both 5" and 6" gutters, and can be modified to fit 4" to 10" gutters.
Will gutter guards work for your home?
Gutter guards work for any home, but the type of gutter guard you get matters. When deciding on what gutter guard to go with, consider your budget, your roof and home style, and how permanent you want them to be.
We're here to help find the best fit for your home. Our gutter experts will visit your home for a free, no-obligation inspection and provide a personalized assessment of your gutter system. If you'd like to schedule a free estimate, please give us a call at: 402-227-3893 or fill out our online contact form and we'll get right back to you.