Installing gutter guards in a Toronto home.

Are Gutter Guards Right For You?

Posted: 04/3/17 6:31 PM - Category: Eavestroughs & Gutters

Have you ever met anyone that enjoys cleaning their gutters? Neither have we. Cleaning the gutters and eavestroughs on your home is hard work, and it can take a considerable amount of time. Not only that, but it can also be dangerous. All it takes is one wrong move and you could take a nasty spill.

As difficult and dirty as the job is, you need to maintain clean gutters. When you leave your gutters to get clogged or deteriorate, it can cause all sorts of problems. To reduce the amount of cleaning and maintenance that you have to perform on your eavestroughs, you may have considered getting gutter guards, but like many homeowners, you are unsure as to whether it is worth the investment.

What is a Gutter Guard (aka Gutter Cover)?

mesh gutter guard after installationWhen it rains, your gutters are there to collect the water that runs down your roof. The water is channelled to the downspouts and the water runs down and away from the home. The problem is that things like leaves, sticks, seeds and other debris also run down the roof or fall into the gutters. If left to accumulate long enough, the gutters will get backed up and overflow.

While there are several different types of gutter guards, the idea behind them all is the same. A gutter guard is a piece of hardware that you can install on the gutters to stop things like leaves and other debris from getting in the eavestroughs and other components of the gutter system. Essentially, the idea is for the gutter guard to stop things like leaves from getting in, while still allowing the water to flow freely into the gutters.

Companies that sell or install gutter guards market them as a way to reduce the amount of cleaning and maintenance that the homeowner will have to perform.

Types of Gutter Guards

If you are looking into having gutter guards or gutter covers installed, you will find that there are few different types that you can choose. In some respect, each type will have different strengths and weaknesses. For the purposes of this article, we are going to stick with the most common types that you will find. These three types are surface tension gutter guards, gutter screens and mesh guards.

Gutter Screens

Screen gutter guards are popular because they are the least expensive to buy, and the easiest to install. Most gutter screens are made from either metal or plastic, and the installation is as simple as cutting them to the length of the gutter and wedging them in between the interior lip of the gutter and the fascia. A gutter screen serves as a great gutter cover.

They are pretty good for keeping large debris out of the gutter, but smaller things like seeds or pine needles can get through. You could probably get cheap screens that cost as little as $0.15 per foot or more expensive ones that cost as much as $2.50 per foot.

Mesh Guards

With this, you have a fine mesh that is installed over the gutters. Some can be installed by sliding the edge under the shingles on the roof, and others are designed to be fastened to the fascia. The fine mesh is good because it stops all but the smallest types of debris from getting through, but they are more expensive than the screen gutter guards.

You can find mesh guards that are made from different materials. You have some that are a plastic mesh, there are ones that are almost like a window screen material, and there are some that are made from stainless steel. In general, mesh guards can run anywhere from $2.50 per foot to $4.00 per foot.

Surface Tension

Surface tension guards are the most expensive type of gutter guards. They work by covering the gutter with a sold piece of material, but at the end of the guard, there is a rounded lip that directs the water into the gutters. If they are installed correctly, the water runs into the gutters, and the leaves fall right off the side.

The surface tension guards can be some of the most effective, but they are more expensive to purchase, and they can be difficult to install. The guards can cost anywhere from $4-8 per foot, and it may require rehanging or making some adjustments to your gutters for proper installation.

Pros & Cons

Regardless of the type of gutter guards that you get, there are some good things about them, and some things that you might not like. In this section, we are going to look at some of the pros & cons of getting gutter guards.

On the positive side, they will reduce the number of times that you need to get your gutters cleaned. That said, you will still need to clean your gutters. Even with guards, stuff can get in there, and in the case of mesh guards or screens, you will need to clean the guards.

Gutter guards may also extend the life of your gutters. When you have muck sitting in the gutters, it can cause corrosion that will lead to an eventual failure. Additionally, the weight of debris and water in the gutters can put added stress on the components.

As a downside, gutter guards can be expensive to install. The prices we listed above are just for buying the guards. If you hire a company to install your gutter guards, it could easily run you well over $1,000, and that is with the cheapest guards on a home with a small roof. If you go with more expensive guards, and have a long roof, it could cost much more.

When it comes to whether it is worth getting gutter guards or not, the answer depends on the individual. There are some benefits to getting gutter guards, but for many homes, the cost of installation might not be worth it. If the main reason you are considering gutter guards is so you do not have to clean your gutters as much, you might be better off hiring a professional gutter cleaning service. With most homes, the cost of installation will exceed a few years of professional gutter cleaning.

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