Do Gutter Guards Work: The Pros and Cons of Gutter Guards
What are Gutter Guards and How Do They Work?
Gutter guards, also known as gutter screens, helmets, or covers, are designed to prevent debris from entering your rain gutters. They cover the top of your gutters with a mesh or other material that allows water to flow through while trapping leaves, twigs, and other debris on top.
The primary benefit of gutter guards is that they reduce the amount of gutter cleaning required, potentially saving you time and money in the long run. Instead of cleaning your gutters multiple times a year, you may only need to do so once every few years with gutter guards installed.
However, it’s important to note that not all gutter guards are created equal. Depending on your situation, some brands or styles may work better than others. Additionally, gutter guards are not a cure-all for all gutter maintenance. Depending on the type of tree cover in your area and the amount of debris that falls, you may still need to clean your gutters out occasionally.
The Benefits of Gutter Guards for Homeowners
Prevent Gutter Clogging
Gutter guards are an excellent addition to any home, with numerous benefits beyond preventing blockages. One of the most significant benefits is the time and money saved from cleaning gutters. With gutter guards, channels can be cleaned at least twice a year, which can be tedious and time-consuming. However, with gutter guards, there is less debris to remove, and the maintenance is much simpler.
Prevent Insect Infestation
Gutter guards also prevent vermin and insects from breeding in your gutters. Mosquitoes, rodents, and cockroaches thrive in stagnant water, which can accumulate in gutters. Gutter guards minimize stagnant water, which makes it more difficult for vermin and insects to use gutters as breeding grounds. Additionally, gutter guards protect your home by preventing birds and rodents from accessing your roof space.
Another benefit of gutter guards is their ability to prevent ice dams and gutter freezing. Gutter guards do not entirely avoid barriers of ice but prevent debris from accumulating, which may alleviate ice dams. Additionally, gutter guards offer added fire protection in areas prone to bush and brush fires. They act as a physical barrier between debris and lighted embers, which can quickly spread and cause damage.
Prolong Your Gutter’s Lifespan
Gutter guards can also prolong the life of your gutters by preventing moisture-laden debris from lying in your gutters for long periods, causing metal structures to rust prematurely. Furthermore, gutter guards improve water flow through your downspouts and gutters, which can be an excellent benefit if you have a rainwater tank. The guards will help your tank refill more quickly and have cleaner water that filters contaminants and debris.
Lastly, gutter guards can prevent water from entering your home, which can cause significant damage and be expensive to repair. Blocked gutters can cause water leaks, and overflowing gutters can cause unsightly stains on the exterior of your home. Gutter guards significantly reduce the amount of stagnant water in drainage channels, making it more difficult for pests to breed and thrive, keeping your home and gutters safe and secure.
The Potential Drawbacks of Using Gutter Guards
Gutter guards are a popular solution for homeowners looking to reduce the need for regular gutter cleaning. However, they have their potential drawbacks. One of the main issues with gutter guards is that they may only prevent some small debris from entering the gutter, including pine needles and seeds. This means the gutter can still become clogged over time and require occasional cleaning to maintain its effectiveness.
Another potential issue with gutter guards is that they may exaggerate roof ice dam issues. While heated gutter guards can be installed to prevent icicles, snow, and ice dams from forming, more than standard gutter guards may be required. Instead, they can trap debris and water in the gutter, leading to ice dams and potential damage to the roof and fascia.
Gutter guards are not 100% maintenance-free; gutters will still need occasional cleaning. This can be time-consuming and difficult, as the guards may be complicated to remove and clean and may require the use of a cleaning company. Additionally, gutter guards can dent and lose some effectiveness over time, so it is important to avoid posting a ladder against your gutters during cleaning or when putting up seasonal decorations.
Finally, if gutter guards are not cleaned as needed, the added weight of buildup on the guards may cause the actual gutters to sag. This can result in water overflow and potential damage to the home’s foundation.