Pros And Cons Of Gutter Guards


Don’t we all just wish we didn’t have to think about them? We can’t see inside them and cleaning them doesn’t give us the kind of satisfaction we get from say, cleaning our cars. Yet we know they’re part of the system that keeps the biggest investments of our lives free from rot. No doubt about it, they are hard to clean. It’s clear why one would be drawn to a gutter guard system.

Do they work? Are they a good investment? Yes and no.

Design Factors

The choices for effective gutter guards depend on the design of the gutter guard and the volume of the leaves, twigs, pine cones, and needles that accumulate. Gutter guards that arch upwards, have a large lip that creates a tray, or that don’t have the perfect angle that let’s leaves slide off are examples of poor designs. These designs will capture material which rots and decays, preventing water from going into the gutter tray. Even a well-designed guard can be blocked by big giant leaves over the holes like a piece of paper.

Material Gets Through

The trapped material breaks down, makes its way past the guard and begins to pile up, causing sludge and moss to grow in the gutter. To clean all of this material out the gutter guards need to be removed. Often the guards do not go back on the same way as screws get rusty and mesh gets bent or twisted. It can be laborious and expensive.

So when is good to use them and when is it not?

When the volume of material is low you’ll get years of worry-free gutters. If you have a big yard with big trees that rain down tons of material in the fall our opinion is that the cost/benefit is just not there.

If you feel like gutter guards are the right choice for you, you’ll need to make sure you choose the right ones. Gutter guards come in five main varieties all with their unique pros and cons.

Types Of Gutter Guards

Foam Gutter Guards

Foam gutter guards are porous strips that fit into your gutters. When it rains, the water drains through the foam and any debris is blocked on top of the foam. The foam is cheap and easy to install but breaks down fairly quickly. It needs replacing every one or two years. You will also need to perform some regular maintenance to clean the debris off the top of the foam.

Bottlebrush Gutter Guards

Bottlebrush gutter guards resemble a long wire brush and fit into your gutter just like the foam gutter guards above. The idea is that leaves and twigs get caught in the bristles while water is free to flow. These guards require frequent cleaning, especially if you live near trees. This is another low-cost solution that requires routine maintenance.  

Reverse Curve Gutter Guards

Reverse curve gutter guards use the concept of surface tension to direct water into your gutters. They completely cover your eavestrough in an attempt to block any debris from entering and have a smooth downward curve which water clings to until it drops into the gutter. It can be quite expensive to install, and in cold climates icicles are likely to form off the sides. The system is not entirely maintenance-free, and debris can still find its way into the gutter. When maintenance is performed, removal of the guard can be difficult. While this is a cool concept, it has too many issues to be effective.

Screen Gutter Guards

Screen gutter guards cover the tops of gutters and water passes through large holes while debris is swept aside or remains on top. The screen holes let smaller debris like pine needles, seeds, or dirt pass through meaning you’ll need to remove the guards from time to time to clean out the insides of your gutters. They are relatively cheap, and DIY packages are available, but routine gutter cleaning still needs to be performed.

Mesh Gutter Guards

Mesh gutter guards are similar to screen guards except the water is filtered through a fine mesh, keeping even the smallest debris from entering your gutters. The holes can be as tiny as 50 microns wide! It’s quite expensive to purchase and requires proper installation so you won’t be able to do this one yourself. In heavy rainfall areas, water may skip across the surface and not drain into your gutter. Debris cleaning will also need to be performed from time to time.

Professional Gutter Cleaning Service

Our professional gutter cleaning service is the most effective way to clear out all parts of your eavestrough and downspouts from debris and dirt. We use high powered industrial vacuums to ensure a thorough clean and we photo document the job for your piece of mind. We recommend having your gutters cleaned at least twice a year, which is how often you would need to perform routine maintenance on your gutter guards anyways. We often remove gutter guards on homes as per the homeowner’s request as well. Sometimes, they just aren’t worth the hassle.

If your home is two stories or taller, you should never take the risk of performing any gutter cleaning or maintenance yourself. It would be best if you left it to a professional that has the safety training and equipment necessary to perform such tasks.  Ladder falls from misuse are the most common cause of injury.

Get a free quote for gutter cleaning services today from the professionals at IMAGINE Services.