I’m going to take a wild guess here and say that cleaning the built-up debris from your gutters is not your favorite part of being a homeowner. If you’re afraid of heights or getting a bit older, you might even dread that climb up the ladder each spring and fall. Of course, you could pay someone to clean out the gutters for you, but have you ever considered purchasing gutter guards? In theory, these products sound fantastic. They are meant to protect your gutters from leaves and debris while still allowing water to drain out. But are gutter guards worth it? Opinions are mixed. Gutter guards don’t act as a perfect shield, but they do provide some coverage and will lower the number of times you’ll need to clean your gutters each year.
So are gutter guards worth it? Read on to find out.
Are Gutter Guards Worth It?
Are gutter guards worth it? Unfortunately, there isn’t a simple answer. While experts tend to agree that gutter guards are not a foolproof solution to clogged gutters, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t useful. You will have to clean your gutters occasionally, but gutter guards will almost certainly reduce the frequency of your cleanings. Check out some of the pros and cons:
- Less frequent cleaning.
- Birds and rodents cannot build nests in the gutters.
- Gutters should last longer.
- Allow for more efficient rain water harvesting.
- Costly, often totaling $700 to several thousand dollars.
- Still require cleaning.
- Depending on the type, may have issues with ice.
- The weight can cause gutters to sag.
- Tree seeds can get caught in the guards and sprout.
Of course, because there are several kinds of gutter guards, your satisfaction with the product will likely depend upon the type you choose as well. Let’s run through your options:
- Reverse curve gutter guards direct water downward into the gutter through a tiny slit, while encouraging leaves to fall to the ground.
- Mesh gutter guards cover the entire gutter (they’re attached to the shingles) and are filled with small holes that filter out debris but allow water to pass through.
- Bottle brush gutter guards are made of bristles that allow water to flow through but keep debris on top.
- Nylon gutter guards fit straight into the gutter but leave 100% of the gutter’s mouth open to rain water. They work very well in the winter, preventing snow and ice from accumulating on your gutters.
- Non-gutter covers don’t actually protect your gutters; they replace your gutters. Their louvers break up heavy sheets of water into smaller drops.
- Foam inserts fit inside your gutters and block the debris that would have fallen from the roof into the gutter. The porous material allows water to pass through.
Each type of gutter guard comes with its own pros and cons, so you’ll need to do further research to discover which option (if any) is right for you.
So are gutter guards worth it? Well, that depends on your goals.
While gutter guards can be costly, they will also lessen your roof maintenance. So if you’re looking to reduce the amount of time you spend cleaning your gutters and you’re okay with the cost, they should be worth it to you. If you’re hoping for a flawless and foolproof solution to your frustration with dirty gutters, however, gutter guards are not the answer.