Gutter Guards: Do They Work?

For most of us, the only time we think about gutters is when they become clogged or when we spend an entire Saturday cleaning them. The fact is gutters play an important role in protecting our homes as they are designed to move water from your roof and away from a home.

By diverting rainwater or melting snow, the home can avoid foundation damage, mold growth, flooded basements, and much more. Improperly installed or maintained gutters, however, can result in costly repairs. Instead of climbing latter a few times each year, you may consider installing gutter guards. But are they worth it?

Types of Gutter Guards

There are likely as many gutter guard patents as there are types of leaves they are designed to protect from. Here are a few of the more popular designs on the market today:

Reverse curve – The roof line is essentially extended over the gutters using water’s surface tension to flow back into the gutters. Debris continues to slide off the guard onto the ground. When debris does end up in the gutter, it can be difficult to clean. And reliance on surface tension to pull water into the gutter is not enough to divert all water during heavy storms.

Vinyl guards – Snapping into place along the top of the gutter, vinyl guards use slots to allow water to pass through while keeping debris out. Vinyl guards do have to be cleaned every once in a while as the slots themselves can collect debris and reduce water flow into your gutter system.

Bottle brush / foam – These gutter guard systems fit inside your gutters. Bottle brush guards are fitted with endless bristles that prevent debris from entering gutters. Foam (also plastic) systems are long tubes that rest inside your gutters to keep large pieces of debris out. Both systems may eventually restrict water flow and require cleaning.

Micro-mesh –Micro-mesh guards allow only water to pass through as the gauge of the holes are miniscule. The mesh is so fine, debris slides right off. However, micro-mesh systems require professional installation are commonly the most expensive guard system.

Choosing the Best Option

The best option may not be installing gutter guards in the first place. Most gutter guards do work – at least initially, but most are not maintenance-free. And while micro-mesh systems are the best performing gutter guard system on the market today, they are cost-prohibitive for most homeowners. Before purchasing guard gutters, take a few minutes and contact a local landscape company that offers gutter cleaning services. You may find hiring them twice a year may be more cost-effective than buying guards and safer than maintaining on your own. Plus, you’ll get your Saturdays back!