Should You Get Gutter Guards?

Fall is one of the most beautiful times of the year, but not when it’s packed with chores. Unfortunately, your gutters seem to have it in for you. They won’t stop clogging, and you’re feeling fed up with being unable to enjoy a festive fall.

Could installing a gutter guard system on your home work? Will you finally get the chance to revel in the autumn colors instead of dreading the chores that come with them? Here’s how guards might help.

Gutter Basics: What Problems Need to Be Solved?

Gutters give rainwater a secure, safe path away from roof edges. In the process, they stop splashing liquid from eroding the earth around your home. Since the downspout usually directs water away from the house, the system also works to keep your foundations from getting flooded.

Backup Trouble

Gutters only function if they’re kept clean. When they fill up with debris, plant materials, or scum, they do a worse job of letting water through. Letting such situations get out of hand could lead to a range of problems:

  • If your gutter is full of water on a cold night, it could freeze. From there, an ice dam may form and tear through your roof layers as it grows.
  • When rainwater backs up enough, it starts spilling over. In addition to wearing away the ground below, it might leak into the edge of your roofing.
  • Gutters are only designed to support so much weight. If an overloaded trough takes too much stress, it might sag or even detach and tear off parts of the building.

Are Gutter Guards the Answer?

There are many unique gutter guards on the market. Most share a common purpose: They stop your gutters from filling up with debris so that you don’t have to spend as much time cleaning them. They come in a few common forms:

  • Screen-style guards are usually made of metal. Although they’re relatively affordable and straightforward, they can get clogged.
  • Reverse-curve products are rounded pieces of metal or vinyl that partially cover the gutter. They leave a narrow gap for precipitation to pass through. Unfortunately, they can let water miss the channel entirely if the rain comes down too hard.
  • Slit-cover guards are like reverse-curve guards with a few other gaps. Their efficacy may depend on where you live and how much precipitation you receive.
  • Sponge-style gutter guards use porous sponge materials to block the passage of debris while letting water flow freely. They still need to be cleaned because seeds can take root and sprout in the sponges.
  • Micro-mesh guards use filtering mesh materials suspended in frame structures to avoid two problems: clogging and insufficient water flow rates. Installing these guards may take more work than the other options do.

Why do homeowners continue to rely on these products? Gutter covers and guards work if you choose the right options for your circumstances. For instance, homes in drier climates might be okay with low-flow guards. If your roof has a steep pitch, on the other hand, then it might experience more substantial flows.

Maintenance and Upkeep

One of the biggest myths about gutter clog-prevention products is that they do all the work for you. No matter what kinds of gutter guards you install on your home, you’ll still have to do some occasional cleaning.

Key Steps

Climb up a stable ladder to remove any debris that you see on, in or around your gutters. This is also the time to inspect the gutters for signs of damage, such as

  • Bent or sagging trenches,
  • Loose brackets, bolts and other fasteners,
  • Irregular gaps between the channels and the roof overhangs they’re secured to,
  • Discoloration or wear near the seams of the gutters and mounting brackets,
  • Obstructions that have worked their way into the downspouts, and
  • Missing or damaged shingles felt or other roofing materials around the channels.

Keeping your gutters in working order is easier when you stick to a seasonal maintenance schedule. Although installing gutter guards is a great way to shorten your to-do list, you still must be a responsible homeowner.