Pros and Cons of Gutter Guard Installation

Gutters are an essential part of your roofing system and your home. They help channel rain and water off your roof and away from your home, helping prevent water damage to your roof and your home’s foundation and landscaping. However, gutters can often become clogged with the debris they carry off your roof, particularly leaves, and a clogged gutter isn’t a working gutter.

If you’re a homeowner who dreads having to clean out (or hire someone to clean out) your gutters, gutter guards might be a smart investment for you. Gutter guards, as the name suggests, guard your gutter from debris accumulation in a variety of different ways, and summer is the perfect time to consider having gutter guards installed before the autumn leaves begin to fall. However, each variety of gutter guard system comes with its advantages and disadvantages, and most still require some form of maintenance. Here are a few of the most common types and the pros and cons of gutter guard installation for each.

Reverse curve or slit gutter covers

These guards are typically made from metal or vinyl and sit over the gutter opening, forming a cover that allows water to slip around or through a small slit in the guard but prevents larger pieces of debris from collecting in the gutter. However, because the gutters are almost entirely covered with a solid material, these guards do not handle heavy rainfall very well. Large volumes of water can overshoot the gutter and fall to the ground, almost eliminating the usefulness of having a gutter system in place. They are also among the heaviest and most difficult to remove when it comes time to clean your gutters.

Foam guards

This system utilizes a piece of foam shaped to cover the width of your gutters. The foam fills most of the space in your gutters, preventing debris from accumulating while still allowing water to pass through. Unfortunately, these guards have been known to create a comfortable home for any seeds caught in the foam to germinate and sprout.

Screen guards

Metal screens are a popular choice for frugal and DIY-savvy homeowners. The screens are inexpensive and easy to install by clipping onto the lip of your gutters. However, they’re susceptible to clogging because the openings in the metal screens are not always small enough to prevent smaller pieces of debris from getting through.

Brush gutter guards

These guards have the appearance of a large bottle brush or pipe cleaner, and work essentially the same way. The brush’s bristles allow water to pass through while catching larger pieces of debris. Unfortunately, debris caught in the bristles can impede the flow of water, so this guard system needs to be cleaned somewhat frequently. However, most homeowners report that they are relatively easy to remove and clean.

Mesh gutter guards

These guards come in a variety of sizes, from very fine to micro mesh. Of the gutter guard systems listed here, they typically provide the best flow of water and do not clog with small debris as easily as other guard systems. However, they are more complicated to install, which could mean a more expensive installation. Despite the added expense, they’re considered a wise investment as they typically do not require a lot of effort to clean.

Regardless of which style guard style you choose, installing gutter guards doesn’t necessarily mean you’re off the hook for regular inspection and maintenance; no gutter guard keeps all debris out forever. They should still be inspected as part of your regular roof inspection, and they do require a little maintenance from homeowners during the year to keep them in shape. While having guards installed should prevent heavy debris accumulation inside your gutters, most of these systems do not prevent debris from accumulating on top of the guards themselves. However, with guards installed, leaves and other debris that accumulate can often simply be brushed off of the guards, reducing the effort and strain that gutter cleaning typically requires.

If you have additional questions about gutter guard installation or are interested in a free gutter consultation or inspection, contact the expert contractors at John Beal Roofing. One of our expert contractors will come out and assess your property, address any questions or possible issues and provide you with a free quote for any work they recommend.