Pros and Cons of Gutter Guards

Text: Pros and Cons of Gutter Guards | Background Image: Man Installing gutter Guards

Cleaning gutters is not fun. It’s messy, tedious, and sometimes downright dangerous. Some homeowners turn to gutter guards to lessen the burden of cleaning and maintaining their gutters. But it’s only fair to wonder if they really are worth the hype and your money. Let’s examine the pros and cons of gutter guards to see.

In this article:

What is a Gutter Guard?

The purpose of gutters is to channel rainwater away from your house. And they can easily fail at their job if the gutters become clogged with leaves, debris, or ice. Rainwater cascading down the roof of a house can wash sticks, leaves, dirt, and other debris into the gutters and downspouts, creating blockages that keep water from flowing harmlessly away from your house. 

This can result in numerous problems for a homeowner, from water damage to the home’s foundation and basement flooding to water streaks on siding, mold, and soil erosion in the landscaping. Gutter guards are designed to prevent these home disasters by blocking leaves and debris into the gutters.

Brush gutter guard
Photo By: Shutterstock

Gutter guards. Also called gutter helmets, gutter screens, and gutter covers, come in various materials, features, and styles. 

Some common types of gutter guards include:

Are Gutter Guards Worth It?

Gutters are the catch-all for roof runoff, dirt, twigs, and all sorts of outdoor gunk and grime. They may not be a fool-proof solution to prevent blocked gutters or they might not entirely eliminate the need for gutter cleaning, but they sure prove to be a worthwhile addition to any home. 

Even the best gutter guards, made with the sturdiest materials and designed most effectively, still require you to clean your gutters occasionally. Gutter guards reduce the number of times you’ll have to climb a ladder or spend money to get the job done.

Gutter guards help water flow easily through the gutters so your house stays safe from foundation, roof, and landscape damage.

Yes, gutter guards are useful additions to your gutter system, but they are not foolproof. Let’s examine why.

Pros of Having Gutter Guards

Screen Gutter Guards
Photo By: Shutterstock

A properly installed gutter guard system offers many benefits to homeowners. Here are some:

Reduced Risk of Property Damage

Water, litter, debris buildup, and runoff from clogged gutters are detrimental to your home and the property surrounding it. 

Gutter guards make a significant difference in reducing the buildup in gutters and allowing smooth water flow. And your home is safe from roof and foundation damage when there’s no standing or overflowing water. 

Fewer Tedious Cleanups 

The main purpose of a gutter guard is to block debris from getting into the gutter system. By doing that, gutter guards don’t let dirt and debris accumulate and take away half the effort and time you or a gutter technician would have to spend cleaning.

Gutter guards reduce – but don’t eliminate – the need for maintenance. They reduce the frequency of cleaning and you won’t have to worry about clogged gutters for longer periods.  

Reduced Chances of Ice Dams

Ice and snow are bad for rain gutters. On warmer days, snow from the roof melts and trickles down to pool up in the gutter where it refreezes into ice. This can happen multiple times with changing wind and weather conditions and results in the formation of ice dams.

Ice dams block the flow of water through the gutter system and can cause extensive damage to your home. Gutter guards prevent ice dams from forming and facilitating good water flow. 

Fewer Pest Infestations

Gutter guards also help keep nasty pests at bay. Gutter clogs can create standing, stagnant water, which breeds mosquitoes and attracts other nasty insects. 

Reduced pest population also means fewer visits from mice, spiders, squirrels, and bats. This also prevents them from nesting in your rain gutters. In addition, leaf filters block rodents from crawling into the fascia or roof structure. 

No Rust and Corrosion

Any structure laden with soggy leaves and debris is bound to rust and corrode much earlier than it should. Since gutter guards are designed to block pine needles, leaves, and organic litter from swamping the gutter system, they offer unique protection against corrosion and rust. They essentially prolong the life of your gutters, siding, and roof structure.

Safer Gutter Cleaning

As we have established, gutter guards aren’t maintenance-free. Leaves and large debris will still build up on the gutter covers, especially if you have deciduous trees around your perimeter. But you won’t have to precariously balance on a ladder, with a garden hose or equipment to clean your gutter guards. A long brush or a leaf blower will do the job safely, quickly, and easily.

Increased Home Value

Professionally installed gutters can increase the resale value of a home. Gutter guards help to keep gutters in good shape for years.

Protection Against Fire Hazards

Dry leaves nestled in a gutter are perfect fuel for a fire. All it takes is a single ember from a nearby campfire, brush fire or grill to ignite the leaves and create a catastrophe. 

If you reside in an area prone to bushfires, gutter guards provide additional protection against disastrous fire outbreaks. Some are even specifically designed to be a barrier between lighted embers and gutter debris. 

Cons of Having Gutter Guards

Gutter guards aren’t perfect. Here are some cons:

Sprouting Gutter Trees

Trees around your house will drop seeds that get caught in gutter guard slots. The seeds can sprout foliage that nobody wants to see atop their roof. 

You Still Need to Clean Your Gutters

Gutter guards won’t magically eliminate all your gutter-related issues. They don’t offer 100% protection from small debris and clogs. There will still be buildup from smaller particles that the leaf guards cannot block. They will, however, catch most of the debris. 

Aesthetically Unappealing

Gutter guards are visible from the ground. And they aren’t always attractive. If you’re very particular about your house’s aesthetics, a gutter guard can detract from your home’s beauty.

May Void the Roof Warranty

Gutter guards may void your roof warranty. Certain kinds of gutter guards attach to the roof by sliding under the shingles, which could compromise the integrity of the roof and void the warranty. 

May Fail in Heavy Rain

Heavy downpours can push sheets of fast-moving water down your roof. In some cases, these torrents are too voluminous and swift to filter through gutter guard mesh and will instead pass over and cascade to the ground below. 

Challenging Gutter Cleanups

Although gutter guards reduce the need for cleaning and maintenance of gutter systems, they don’t entirely eliminate the task. And when that time comes, the homeowner usually has to take the additional step of removing the gutter guard, then replacing it after cleaning. 

FAQ About Gutter Guards

Can Gutter Guards Cause Leaks?

No, gutter guards do not cause leaks if they are correctly installed and properly maintained. 

Are DIY Gutter Guards a Good Idea?

Installing gutter guards is a fairly easy job, but it can cause more harm than good if done without proper care. As long as you’re taking all the safety precautions, have the right tools, and follow the appropriate guidelines for gutter guard installation, you’re good to go!

When to Hire a Gutter Guard Pro

Gutter guards can help you save time and money in the long run. Knowing all the advantages and disadvantages of having them on your gutters will aid in making better decisions for your house. If you’re unsure whether to get them or not, talk a gutter expert near you for a detailed consultation. 

Main Photo By Shutterstock

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Farah Nauman

Farah Nauman is a freelance writer and an accountant based in Pakistan. She spends most of her time combating the South Asian heat and being a mom to her three fluffy cats and a dozen little Aloe Veras in her house.