For most Americans, becoming a homeowner is a dream come true. But home ownership brings many responsibilities. Your home is probably your biggest investment unless you are Elon Musk. So, keeping it in excellent shape is essential. Who would want to live in a house with broken downspouts and a leaking roof?
Given a chance, however, not many of us would do the DIY upkeep of the house. Especially a chore like rain gutter cleaning is time-consuming and physically demanding. Very few homeowners are happy to volunteer for rain gutter cleaning.
Unfortunately, without regular cleaning, your gutters would quickly fill with the muck that would eventually damage your beautiful house. What if there was an easy way to protect your gutters and your home both?
You guessed it right!
Whether gutter guards really work is a matter of never-ending debate. But if you set realistic expectations, they do offer a few unique benefits. Let’s see what gutter guards are, how they work, and everything else you should know as a homeowner.
What Are Gutter Guards?
Gutter guards, also called gutter screens, are nothing but covers that prevent leaves and other debris from entering your rain gutters. As you can see, their primary purpose is to reduce your rain gutter cleaning activity to a bare minimum. They come in different sizes, shapes, and types, which we will discuss later in this post. First, let’s see how these nifty home accessories work.
How Do They Work?
Actually, the working principle of gutter guards is quite simple. They cover every inch of the top of your rain gutters. Their design allows rainwater to enter the rain gutters but keeps most of the debris from entering. They can keep debris like twigs, leaves, and other roof runoff from entering your gutters. As a result, your rain gutters remain relatively clean and clog-free throughout the year.
Types Of Gutter Guards You Can Install
You can find different types of gutter guards in the market. Each one comes with unique features and equally unique promises.
As they look like a traditional bottle brush, they are called bottlebrush gutter guards. Made from heavy-duty bristles, these are one of the most cost-effective gutter guard options in the market. You have to insert these inside the rain gutters.
When inserted, the bristles face upright, which prevents the debris from entering your rain gutters. This design prevents debris like leaves from gathering on top of the bristles.
Foam gutter guards are made of porous polyurethane. You can fit these directly into your rain gutters. As the porous holes in the foam are small, this gutter guard is supposed to prevent almost all types of debris from entering your rain gutters. They are also relatively cost-effective. However, they are usually not durable.
As the name suggests, this type of gutter guard consists of perforated metal sheets or mesh that perfectly cover the top of rain gutters. The holes keep everything but water from entering your rain gutters.
Usually, homeowners prefer mesh gutter guards with smaller holes as they filter out most of the debris. They also don’t clog as often as the mesh guards with large holes. Although slightly expensive, metal mesh guards are often durable.
Micro-mesh gutter guards are like superfine screens made of stainless steel. They have very tiny holes which efficiently prevent debris from entering your rain gutters. As they are made of stainless steel, they often last long and come with a warranty. You also need professional help to install these guards.
Although expensive, they are the most popular type of gutter guards due to their performance and longevity. In other words, these come very close to the maintenance-free gutter guards every homeowner is looking for.
E. Reverse Curve
Reverse curve gutter guards, also called surface tension gutter guards, have a tiny slit. This slit is supposed to direct the rainwater down into the gutters but let debris, such as leaves, fall on the ground directly.
Mostly, you will need to call a professional rain gutter installation team to install these gutter guards. A few reverse curve gutter guards also come with a warranty, making them a better option than foam or bottlebrush guards. However, they may be a little expensive.
Are Gutter Guards Worth The Money?
Most gutter guard advertisements begin with the promise “100% maintenance-free gutter guards!” Unfortunately, this is NOT 100% TRUE. It is the kind of overpromise that helps attract customers instantly. However, don’t expect your gutter guards to keep all the debris away and require no clean-up.
However, they do a decent job of keeping leaves and twigs out, which are the main culprit behind the decaying muck fostering in most rain gutters. If you have big trees in your yard, by all means, install gutter guards of your choice. They will cut back your gutter cleaning costs considerably.
Your peace of mind will depend on the type of gutter guards you choose. For example, you can go for foam gutter guards as they are cheaper. However, the foam will deteriorate in probably a couple of years. Small shingle granules can also get stuck in the foam or pass through it and collect in the gutters.
While reverse curve gutter guards are a better option than foam or bottlebrush variants, they tend to lift up roof shingles. This may void your roof warranty. By far, micro-mesh gutter guards are the best option you have. If you are looking for high-end products, you can buy heated gutter guards, which will prevent ice dam formations. None of these options are 100% maintenance-free.
There are no 100% maintenance-free gutter guards!
Potential Issues You Need To Watch Out For
As you can see, buying gutter guards is not going to be easy. You need to keep a few things in mind when making this purchase.
- Never ever fall for overpromises like 100% maintenance-free. In most areas, particularly in a windy weather, twigs and leaves will enter your rain gutters despite using good-quality guards.
- As far as possible, go for gutter guards with a warranty. They are often worth the money you are spending.
- Also, get a professional team to install the guards. In most cases, a sloppy DIY job can cause more harm than good to your roof and rain gutters.
- Make sure to buy the right gutter guards. It is better to consult a professional if you are not sure about which one to buy.
- Keep an eye on your gutter guards and gutters both. The weight of collected debris can break your guards. When debris collects, clean it off yourself or call a gutter cleaning service.
Over to You
Do gutter guards work? While there is no straightforward answer to this question, it is safe to say that they are a good investment. You do need to be realistic about how much relief gutter guards can offer. When you choose them carefully, preferably by consulting a professional, gutter guards can be worth the money. Just make sure to work with a reliable, reputed, and experienced gutter cleaning and installation contractor.