Gutters are an essential component of any home’s exterior, as they protect your roof from water damage by channeling water away from the roof, through the downspout, and away from the foundation.
However, gutters can become clogged with leaves, debris, snow, ice, and other materials, which can lead to water backups, ice dams, and potential damage to both the interior and exterior of your home.
Gutter guards are designed to prevent these issues by keeping gutters clear of debris and allowing water to flow freely. But do gutter guards actually work? In this article, we’ll answer this in-depth, exploring the benefits and drawbacks of gutter guards, types of gutter guards, whether they work, and more.
BENEFITS OF GUTTER GUARDS
Gutter guards offer numerous benefits to homeowners, from preventing clogs and blockages, reduced maintenance time, and even saving on costly repairs in harsh winter climates. Let’s explore some of the benefits of gutter guards a bit deeper.
Water runoff and build-up from blocked or clogged gutters can do a lot of damage to your home. Gutter guards effectively block debris from entering the gutter system, while still allowing water to flow through and away from your house.
This means water can’t pool in the gutters and seep into the roof and cause damage.
LESS MAINTENANCE TIME & COSTS
Cleaning gutters can be both a time-consuming and even dangerous task, depending on the size and layout of your home. By installing gutter guards, you can effectively negate the time and effort it takes to clean gutters if you decide to do it yourself, or the money if you choose to hire a professional cleaning service.
PROTECTION AGAINST PESTS & ANIMALS
Gutters can often be a favoured choice for animals, mainly birds, that are looking for a source of water or a place to build a nest.
Mosquitoes are especially problematic as the stagnant water that collects and pools in clogged gutters is the perfect breeding ground for them.
Since gutter guards are so effective at keeping gutters clear of debris that can cause blockages, water never gets a chance to pool which keeps pests away. And larger animals won’t be able to get cozy in the gutter to build their nests.
INCREASED VALUE OF YOUR HOME
In certain cases, gutter guards can even add to the value of your home. Now, this isn’t going to ring true for every brand of guard on the market, but certain brands that are professionally installed can increase the value of your home.
Aside from the value they add, it’s also important to bring up the value they can save you. By properly funneling water and moisture away from your house, gutter guards will save you from expensive repairs.
POTENTIAL DRAWBACK OF GUTTER GUARDS
While gutter guards offer a ton of benefits to homeowners, there are of course some things you should consider before deciding if they are right for your home. Some potential drawbacks to consider include:
Gutter guards are going to be more expensive than traditional gutters, with the cost fluctuating depending on the type and the quality of the guards.
Additionally, installing gutter guards can be a complex process that will require a professional eavestrough installation team.
While the cost can be a drawback for some consumers, it’s important to state that the costs associated with installing a quality gutter guard system are almost always offset by what you save in maintenance and repair costs over the lifetime of the gutter guard system.
NOT 100% EFFECTIVE FOR DEBRIS & CLEANING CAN BE CHALLENGING
As previously mentioned, even though gutter guards will reduce the amount of leaves, needles, and overall debris tenfold, some smaller debris will still accumulate over time.
This means that every now and then you are going to need to give your gutters a cleaning. However, cleaning your gutters while guards are in place can be a rather tedious task for homeowners to complete.
The good news is that the frequency at which you’ll need to do this is not very often.
TYPES OF GUTTER GUARDS
When it comes to choosing gutter guards, there are many different types on the market. Each type will come with its unique advantages and disadvantages.
SCREEN GUTTER GUARDS
Screen gutter guards can be a solution for preventing leaves and debris from entering the gutter trough. These guards feature a wire or plastic grid that blocks unwanted debris from entering the gutter.
One of the benefits of screen guards is their ease of installation. Simply lift the bottom row of roof shingles and slide the edges of the gutter screens beneath the shingles along the entire length of the gutter. Forewarning though, DIY installation using this method can void the warranty of your roof in certain cases, so proceed with caution.
Screen gutter guards that fit on top of your existing gutters are one of the most affordable options, but also way less durable and there’s a high likelihood they’ll need to be replaced more frequently. Finally, since this guard is usually not screwed down, extreme winds can dislodge the guard and ruin the shingles with it.
A word of caution about gutter guards sold in hardware stores. They are marketed as a low-cost option for homeowners, but they are not a long-term solution.
Micro mesh gutter guards are made up of a fine mesh material that allows water to pass through while keeping debris out. The mesh is typically made of stainless steel or aluminum and is designed to keep even small particles like shingle grit and pine needles out of the gutter.
Because the mesh is so fine, it can also prevent pests and animals from entering the gutter system. Micro mesh guards will require occasional maintenance to clear very fine debris from the holes of the mesh.
Micro mesh can vary in price quite dramatically, stainless steel will be stronger and more expensive, but you can also find inexpensive plastic micro mesh guards.
A word of warning about micro mesh that we have discovered in the past. Cottonwood poplar trees that release fluff will clog the micro mesh so severely that you’ll have to clear it with a bbq brush every time the trees pollinate in the area.
Reverse curve gutter guards are designed to allow water to flow overtop, and down a downward curve right into the gutter. While debris falls off the edge and to the ground.
They are usually more expensive than mesh guards and will likely need to be installed by professionals. This is because for this guard to be effective, it needs to be installed at the proper angle to the fascia of your roof.
Incorrect installation all but assures water will run right over the edge of the gutter, which over time will likely cause foundation issues you’d much rather avoid!
THE #1 GUTTER GUARD – GUTTER DUNNS RECOMMENDATION
There are a few more types of gutter guards out there, a quick online search will reveal a plethora of options you can choose from when shopping for gutter guards.
At Gutter Dunn, we’ve been professionally installing gutters since 2007, we know a thing or two! So to save you some time, here is our recommendation for the #1 gutter guard on the market.
ALU-REX T-REX CONTINUOUS HANGER
If you’re looking for an ultra-strong & durable, clog-free rain gutter, there’s no better option than the T-Rex Continuous Hanger from Alu-Rex.
To start, it is manufactured of strong and durable grade aluminum (3105 H24). It can withstand the harshest weather conditions like heavy rain, high winds, and the extreme Canadian winters we receive.
The system features a continuous guard that is attached to the fascia along the entire length of your house using galvanized screws with self-sealing rubber gaskets. In contrast to other gutters on the market installed with nails or hooks every 12 to 18 inches.
This means gutters equipped with T-Rex continuous hangers are incredibly solid (able to support up to 105kg/linear foot) so they can support snow and ice buildup in the winters, and protect from leaves, shingle granules, and other debris!
Overall, the Alu-Rex system is a top-rated gutter guard that provides superior protection against clogs, blockages, water damage, and more. It is a great choice for homeowners looking to protect their home, and a product we are proud to stand behind.
SO DO GUTTER GUARDS ACTUALLY WORK?
The primary purpose of gutter guards is to prevent debris from entering your gutters and clogging them, which can lead to damage to your home.
So when considering their purpose, the answer is a resounding yes, gutter guards work. Now of course, there are many different types of gutter guards on the market. Some will work better than others, and of course, whether they were properly installed or not will factor into the equation if they work or not.
Other factors like the amount of debris in the area (houses surrounded by forests with lots of leaves for example), the slope of the roof, the size and shape of the gutter system, etc will all impact the effectiveness as well.
Overall, gutter guards work and are effective at reducing the build-up of debris. But remember, they aren’t a set-and-forget solution. You will need to periodically give your gutters some maintenance to ensure your gutters, roof, foundation, and house in general last for many years to come!