The Pros and Cons of Gutter Guards

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Hubert Miles

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pros and cons of gutter guards

If you have gutters, you’re likely also considering the pros and cons of gutter guards. Gutter guard systems do a relatively good job of keeping large debris out of gutters and preventing gutter and downspout clogs.

However, many are far from perfect. You should consider the pros and cons when deciding whether this is the best choice for your home.

The Pros and Cons of Gutter Guards

The pros of gutter guards are:

  • They help keep organic matter from clogging up your gutters. This means less frequent gutter cleaning and fewer chances for roof leaks or other damage due to blockages.
  • Gutter guards also help protect against pests and animals that might otherwise find their way into your gutters.
  • They can offer an extra layer of protection during inclement weather, preventing rainwater from backing up in the gutters, which can cause costly damage if it overflows.

While some pros are associated with using gutter guards, there are also some cons you should be aware of.

The cons of gutter guards are:

  • Installing gutter guards can be expensive, depending on the type and size of your gutters.
  • They may not always provide complete protection against all tree debris, especially if you have large trees that drop lots of leaves or needles.
  • Gutter guards can also be difficult to clean if they get clogged up with dirt and other material. You might still need to clean occasionally, even with gutter guards installed.
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Discuss the pros of gutter guards

Owning a home comes with many responsibilities, but one of the most important is ensuring your gutters are always in good condition. Unfortunately, many homeowners don’t realize how much upkeep their gutters need until it’s too late.

Gutter guards can help you keep your gutters clean and free from clogs while protecting them from damage. Let’s look at some of the pros of installing gutter guards on your home.

Protection From Leaves and Debris

One of the biggest advantages of installing gutter guards is that they provide protection from leaves and debris, two of the most common causes of gut clogs.

Climbing on a ladder and onto a roof to clean gutters is dangerous, not to mention time-consuming.

Using gutter guards, you can keep a lot of debris out of your gutters without constantly cleaning them out. This will save you both time and money in the long run.

Reduce Maintenance Costs

Gutters require regular maintenance not just to prevent clogs but also to ensure they’re functioning properly.

Installing gutter guards can reduce the amount of maintenance that needs to be done since they prevent leaves and debris from entering the gutters in the first place. Unlike having to clean your gutters every annually, gutter guards require only minimal maintenance.

All you have to do is inspect the system and ensure no blockages or clogs need to be cleared out. This makes it much easier for homeowners who may not be comfortable climbing ladders and performing routine maintenance on their roofs.

Prevent Damage to Your Home

Clogged gutters can cause major problems for your home if left unchecked—they can cause water damage to walls, foundations, and landscaping and lead to wood rot or even pest infestations.

Overflowing water from a blocked gutter can cause serious damage to your home’s foundation, siding, and landscaping. Gutter guards help reduce the possibility of these costly problems since they prevent water from overflowing due to blockages.

You can protect your home from these issues by installing gutter guards to prevent water overflow from clogs caused by leaves or debris buildup. It can save you money on repairs down the line and give you peace of mind knowing that your home is safe from potential damage caused by clogged gutters.

It’s important to note that gutter guards alone won’t protect your foundation. They have little to do with the source of foundation problems – your downspouts. While it’s true that clogged downspouts can cause water spillage around the foundation, it’s more important that the downspouts discharge away from the foundation and that your grading allows water to flow away freely.

Discuss the Cons of Gutter Guards

Debris-clogged gutters can be a nuisance and a hazard to your home. To avoid the need to clean them out regularly, many homeowners opt for gutter guards.

While these devices can offer peace of mind and valuable protection, there are some potential drawbacks to consider before installing them. Let’s look at the cons of gutter guards so you can decide if they’re the right choice for your home.

Costs of Installing Gutter Guards

Gutter guards come in various types and sizes, all with different price points. Professional gutter guard installation costs can quickly add up depending on which one you choose and how large your gutters are.

You will also have to factor in the maintenance cost for any repairs that may be needed over time. So it’s important to weigh the cost versus benefits before investing in gutter guards.

Depending on your gutter system and the guard you install, you can spend anywhere from $500 to $6,000 or more for gutter guard system installation. Angie’s List states the National average cost is as high as $4,000, but we feel that is low and have seen numerous estimates higher than that.

Depending on the type of gutter guard, they can cost between $1 and $10 per linear foot for the materials. Labor costs for professional gutter guard installation cost $8 to $12 per linear foot.

If you need new gutters, it can cost an additional $1,000 to $5,000, depending on your home size.

In our opinion, most gutter guards are a waste of money (especially expensive ones) as the initial cost overrides the benefits. You can hire a handyman to clean your gutters annually for between $100 and $350.

Inadequate Protection Against Debris

Gutter guards are designed to keep debris out of your gutters, but they won’t work as well if you have trees that drop lots of leaves or needles near your house. Gutters screens like micro-mesh guards offer superior blockage of debris but are prone to damage easily and allow debris to accumulate on the top of your gutters.

Despite the type of gutter covering you install, none will block all debris. Pine needles, acorns, twigs, and other small debris can still find their way into your gutters even when using a guard system, making them difficult to remove without taking off each guard piece by piece.

Difficulty Cleaning Clogged Gutters

If a gutter guard gets clogged with dirt or debris, it can be not easy to clean it from the top side without disassembling the entire system. The cleaning process can be tedious and time-consuming, depending on the size of your gutters.

Often it requires removing the gutter guards and reinstalling them when complete. If you need to hire a professional for maintenance and repair work, it adds an extra cost on top of the initial installation price. For those with a two-story home, this can be a costly undertaking.

gutter guard failure

Different Types of Gutter Guards

If you’ve ever had to clean your gutters, you know it can be tedious and time-consuming. It’s easy to forget about until it’s too late, and then you’re left with clogged gutters causing water damage to your home. One way to avoid this is installing gutter guards, which protect your gutters from leaves, twigs, and other debris.

But there are many different gutter guards available today—so which ones should you choose? Here’s a guide to help you decide.

Micro-Mesh Gutter Guards

Micro-mesh gutter guards are some of the most popular gutter guards today. Many consider them the best gutter guards available. These covers feature a mesh screen that fits over your existing gutters, preventing leaves and debris from entering.

The wire mesh has tiny holes that allow rain water while keeping out even smaller debris, so no frequent cleaning is required! However, they are not ideal for heavy rainfall or areas prone to storms, as strong winds can easily rip them away.

Foam Gutter Guards

Foam inserts are another gutter guard fitting into the bottom of your existing gutters. They feature small holes that allow water in but block out leaves and twigs. They come in various sizes and shapes, so you can find one that fits perfectly in your gutters.

Foam inserts are DIY gutter guards that are relatively inexpensive compared to other gutter guard systems! The main downside is that foam inserts don’t last forever—they need replacing every 3-5 years, depending on their condition.

Brush Gutter Guards

Brush guards are stiff, heavy-duty bristles that filter out debris while allowing water flow. They’re easy to install and can also be purchased in various sizes, shapes, and colors.

One downside to brush guards is that they don’t protect against particularly large or heavy objects such as tree branches. They can trap pine needles in the bristles and are very challenging to clean, so they may not be the best option if you have pine trees near your home.

Screen Gutter Guards

Gutter screens are made of metal or vinyl material designed to keep out leaves and other small debris while allowing rain water to flow freely. However, they have large holes that are bigger than micro mesh. They come in various sizes, shapes, and colors, so you can find one that fits your gutters perfectly.

While they may be more expensive than other gutter guards, their durability and long-lasting protection make them worth the investment.

However, beware of the DIY gutter guard installation options from home stores like Home Depot. They are perforated uPVC plates that offer easy installation on uPVC gutters, but they don’t hold up well under the weight of debris and high winds. They come loose easily and can still allow clogs to form under the screen guards.

Metal Gutter Helmets

These gutter guards feature a hood that fits over your existing rain gutters. They are designed to protect from leaves and debris while allowing water to flow through. Metal gutter helmets are long-lasting and can withstand extreme weather conditions—making them ideal for areas with heavy rainfall or storms.

However, they tend to be more expensive than other gutter guards, so you’ll want to ensure it’s within your budget before making a purchase.

Reverse Curve Gutter Guards

Reverse curve guards are one of the most effective gutter guards on the market today. They feature an S-shaped curve at their base, allowing water in a while and deflecting leaves and other debris away from your gutters.

This makes them perfect for heavy rainfall areas as they won’t be ripped away easily by strong winds like mesh gutter covers can be! Plus, they have no problem dealing with large amounts of rainwater, too—the curved shape helps disperse it evenly throughout your system without any clogs or blockages forming.

The only downside is that these guards tend to be more expensive than other types due to their durable construction and advanced design features.

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Pros and Cons of Gutter Guards FAQs

When discussing the pros and cons of gutter guards, you’re sure to have some questions. Here are some frequently asked questions about gutter guards.

Is there a downside to gutter guards?

Gutter guards stop large debris from clogging gutters and downspouts, but they aren’t for everyone. The primary downside is that they still require annual inspection and maintenance, which many consider defeating the purpose of gutter guards.

Is it better to have gutter guards or not?

Gutter guards mainly benefit homeowners with many large trees that drop leaves in the fall. Gutter guards often have a high upfront cost that far surpasses the cost of annual gutter cleanings.

Do gutter guards work in heavy rain?

Gutter guards don’t work well in heavy rain. They can’t handle the water volume into the gutter fast enough the keep up with the rainfall and roof runoff. Often you’ll see spillage over the edge of the gutter during heavy rain if you have gutter guards.

Do gutter guards cause ice dams?

Gutter guards don’t solely cause ice dams. Ice dams can be caused by many things, like a lack of attic insulation, poor ventilation, or an uneven roof temperature. Gutter guards prevent snow and ice from entering your gutters. As snow from higher on the roof melts, the water can’t flow to the gutters, which can refreeze, causing ice dams.

If you live in a cold climate, consider investing in heated cables designed to prevent ice buildup on your roof and have good quality gutter guards installed.

Are gutter guards worth the money?

We feel that under most circumstances, gutter guards are not worth the money. The initial cost of professional gutter guard installation and the annual upkeep far surpasses the cost of having professional gutter cleanings annually.

Key Takeaways on Gutter Guards

The pros and cons of gutter guards are like the sides of a coin, heads you win, tails you lose. They balance each other out in the end. Ultimately, it largely comes down to your preference.

The pros are that they can significantly reduce the time and effort required to clean out gutters and protect your home from water damage due to clogs.

Common gutter guards include foam inserts, brush guards, screen gutter covers, metal gutter helmets, and reverse curve guards. When choosing a type of guard to install, consider factors such as cost, the types of tree canopies you have, and your maintenance needs.

Gutter guards are the best way to reduce the time spent on gutter cleaning each year while protecting your home from potential water damage caused by clogs.

However, they aren’t maintenance-free. The cons of gutter guards include the initial cost of purchase and professional installation and potential maintenance costs down the line if they become damaged or break.

Ultimately, the pros and cons of gutter guards should be carefully weighed before investing in one for your home.

Overall, gutter guards are a great way to reduce the time and effort required when gutter cleaning and protect your home from water damage from clogs. Doing research ahead of time is key in finding the type that best suits your needs. Proper maintenance and installation can be a worthwhile investment that pays off in the long run!

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Hubert Miles

I've been conducting professional home inspections since 2002. I'm a licensed Home Inspector, Certified Professional Inspector (CPI), Certified Master Inspector (CMI), and FHA 203k Consultant. I started to help people better understand the home inspection process and answer questions about homeownership and home maintenance.
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