Are gutter guards worth it?

Home » Are gutter guards worth it?

The makers of gutter guards guarantee that they will simplify your life. You won’t ever need to clean your gutters again if you install this fantastic system on your roof! That is the guarantee, but how true is it? Do these programs actually function? Do they merit the cost? Maybe.

A Friendly Word-of-Caution on Clogged Gutters

Gutter clogs are a major issue. Seriously. Since clogged gutters will eventually overflow, it is better to have no gutters than blocked ones. This can lead to water getting into your home, rotting soffits and fascia, and a whole host of other problems.

You need a strategy to keep your gutters clear if there are big trees close to your house. I’m not sure which is riskier, working from a ladder or walking on the roof, but both are the conventional approaches. At one inspection, I had a customer bring his own ladder so he could clean the gutters of the foreclosed house he was purchasing. He reached too far, his ladder fell, and he suffered a terrible fall.

Utilizing technologies like pressure washer attachments, leaf blower attachments, or even robots like the iRobot Looj are safer alternatives.

I haven’t used any of these techniques, I don’t recommend them, and I see issues with every single one of them. However, none of these potential issues could possibly be as terrible as slipping and falling off a roof.

Although there isn’t a perfect answer, I believe that using a ladder safely is a viable alternative. I’ve always done it, and it’s been effective for me. A $4 gutter scoop is my preferred tool.

The Best

Gutters may be kept running smoothly with the help of gutter guards. Gutter guards can keep your gutters from being clogged, which will save you time and unpleasant work if you have large trees in your yard. I’m a supporter of well-done, premium gutter guard installation.

You can even get heated gutter guards to help prevent ice dams if you choose the very high-end systems. The Helmet Heat® system from Gutter Helmet is one such item. These devices can’t stop ice dams from forming because they start above the gutter. However, they will aid in clearing a route for melting snow and ice to reach the ground.

The Bad

A gutter guard system that requires no maintenance does not exist. Even the best systems can be completely ruined by debris on the roof, as the trees in the valley below show.

I’ll say it again: A maintenance-free gutter guard system does not exist. Whatever you install, someone will still need to climb a ladder or the roof to clear away trash. If this isn’t done, water can overwhelm the gutters.

Furthermore, no system is perfect. In order to get water into the gutters, solid “shield” type gutter guards rely on the capillary qualities of water. Despite what the manufacturers claim on their websites, this can overflow in heavy rain but works perfectly in light rain. The video clip that follows exemplifies this.

The Cheap

I’ve seen a ton of cheap DIY systems completely fail. Keeping away from these is advised.

Consumer Reports published a report on gutter guard systems back in 2010. They gave one DIY plastic guard a Best Buy rating, but I disagree with their judgment. That plastic stuff is garbage, in my opinion. They might work well when they are first put in place, but I know from personal experience that they eventually get clogged and fall into the gutters.

Do a gutter guard properly if you’re going to do one. A high-end system should either be bought or properly installed.


Gutter guards of the highest caliber are excellent, but they are pricey. You could spend up to $30 per foot on an installed system. I won’t try to steer you in a particular direction because there are so many excellent solutions available, and I’ve seen how well they all work when installed and maintained correctly. Consumer Reports’ rating from 2010 drew a lot of criticism for leaving out many significant industry participants. After that, they didn’t produce another report.

If you intend to install a system yourself, make sure it’s a task you can do by reading the installation instructions. If anything looks too simple or too good to be true, it almost certainly is. If you plan to hire a professional, choose a business you like and make sure to inquire about warranties.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that you still need to regularly check your roof and gutters for debris. Additionally, keep in mind that it will occasionally need to be cleaned off.

More on Gutter Guards from the Gutters Care blog

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.