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Are Gutter Guards Worth It? (Pros & Cons to Consider)

Are Gutter Guards Worth It? (Pros & Cons to Consider)

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Gutter guards were made with a simple mission: avoid clogged gutters. Clogged gutters lead to many problems, from ice dams to rotten gutter contents.

So, are gutter guards worth it? Do they do their job well?

Yes, gutter guards can prove themselves worth it if built well. The key word here is that they must be properly installed and made with strong and durable material.

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about gutter guards and the common questions surrounding this nifty addition to your gutters.

Do You Need Gutter Guards?

Professional gutter guard installation costs roughly $300 to over $1,000. The price depends on the material, the total length of your gutters, and labor fees.

You could also try and do it yourself with screen guards from hardware stores to save on the installation fees.

Either way, it’s still a sizable investment.

However, before contacting professional installers or buying materials for your DIY gutter guard project, ensure that your home needs them. Below are some reasons why your house might benefit from gutter guards.

  • Your gutters are often clogged because of debris buildup.
  • Water overflows and pools in the gutters.
  • Your gutters are home to pests and other unwanted insect guests.

Ultimately, the main function of gutter guards is to keep debris away so your gutters don’t clog. When your house checks most, if not all, of the boxes on the list above, gutter guards may be worth the investment.

Debris buildup is the most common root of issues with gutters. If your home is constantly experiencing this, you should consider installing gutter guards to try and alleviate the problem.

Can Gutter Guards Get Clogged?

A common misconception is that you never have to worry about clogged gutters again after getting gutter guards.

Unfortunately, gutter guards aren’t a hundred percent foolproof.

They can still get clogged if small debris, like pine needles and smaller leaves, slips through openings. Over time, the buildup of these smaller scraps and litter can cause clogging.

This ultimately means you can’t simply install gutter guards and then completely forget all about them. As with any home improvement system, they need maintenance as well.

The good thing is gutter guards need less attention than gutters. Since debris that passes through is likely quite small, it takes a while for any significant buildup.

Routine cleaning will often do the trick.

Do Gutter Guards Cause Problems?

While gutter guards offer many benefits, they can also come with certain issues. Luckily, the problems usually have simple solutions.

Can Make the House Look Rundown

Aside from clogging, another possible problem caused by gutter guards is their effect on the appearance of your home.

Since most debris won’t enter your gutters, they’ll usually just sit on top of the gutter guards. Accumulation of this debris can make your home look old and rundown if you don’t regularly clean them out.

However, the effect of this buildup is less likely to cause any other issues unless it starts passing through openings on the gutter guards. If you don’t like the appearance of excess leaves on top of your gutters, you can simply clean them out now and then.

Poor Installation Can Affect Roof Warranty

Some gutter guards can void your roof warranty because of how they’re installed.

Poor installation, such as directly nailing the gutter guards onto parts of your roof, can affect the roof’s integrity. Any mechanical damage to the roof can void the warranty, especially if another contractor has worked on the roof and altered parts.

In addition, if gutter guards get in the way of your roof’s ventilation system, it can cause structural damage. This usually leads to the presence of moisture, mold, and mildew.

Unfortunately, damage from poor ventilation often also voids your roof warranty.

This is a much more expensive problem, as it can also affect your home’s interiors. Mold can spread inside your home through the roof.

The key is to only allow proper installation from trained personnel. Hiring professionals cost more, but this option can save you time, money, and the hassle of dealing with failed installations.

Luckily, many gutter guard manufacturers offer installation services when you purchase from them. Often, they’ll have a team of professional installers on board.

How Often Do You Have to Clean Gutter Guards?

All types of gutter guards require some level of cleaning and maintenance to function at their full potential. However, some types require more frequent cleaning than others.

The more inexpensive options, like foam and brush, typically need frequent cleaning. On the other hand, you won’t have to clean gutter guards made from higher-quality materials—like surface tension helmets—as often.

Most of the time, durable gutter guards are also easier to clean and maintain.

Some types won’t even require professional help anymore! Cleaning can be as simple as using a roof rake.

However, remember that the specific method or technique for cleaning may still vary depending on your gutter guards’ manufacturer. Make it a point to ask the professionals how to clean your gutter guards as soon as they’re installed.

Do Gutter Guards Increase Home Value?

Yes, they can! When you add high-quality, professionally installed gutter guards, they can increase the value of your home.

However, if you aim for a higher home value, expect it to cost you more. The material is one of the main driving factors that affect the price of gutter guards.

Surface tension helmets cost the most and require professional help for installation. The benefit is that they’re the most effective type of gutter guard.

Opting for this material increases your home value because it’s likely to remain intact and functional for years to come. For some, this is what makes it worth the investment.

High-quality, professionally-installed gutter guards make your life easier, and they also keep your gutters functioning well, adding to your home’s value!

Some materials, like brush and mesh, are less costly options, but they won’t perform quite as well and won’t last as long.

Do Foam Gutter Guards Work?

Yes, foam gutter gurads work, but only to a certain extent. The main idea behind foam gutter guards is that foam will easily let water through while filtering debris, thus, lessening the chances of clogged gutters.

Foam, along with plastic and vinyl, are some of the most inexpensive options for gutter guards. In addition, they’re also among the easiest types to install.

The biggest downside is that these materials aren’t the most effective.

Since foam is generally a flexible material, it can easily move around, bend, and, unfortunately, break. Junk can get stuck within the pores, making it harder to clean.

It doesn’t perform well during winter because it easily freezes when wet. A frozen foam gutter guard might as well be considered an ice dam.

Moreover, most foam materials aren’t UV-treated. This means exposure to direct sunlight can deform them and negatively impact how long they’ll last.

Overall, while foam gutter guards are an economical option initially, they don’t have a long lifespan. To extend it, they generally need more attention and maintenance.

Will Gutter Guards Work With a Metal Roof?

Technically, most gutter guards will work with a metal roof. However, their functionality can be heavily affected by the roof’s design.

You may have to opt for gutter guards that are specially made for metal roofing.

Most styles of metal roofs tend to allow faster rainwater run-off. Gutter guards installed on metal roofing must then be able to keep up with the run-off.

They should be able to collect and drain most, if not all, of the water.

Luckily, there are gutter guard manufacturers, like Leaf Guard and HomeCraft, that offer products that fit all the requirements of metal roofs.

Are Gutter Guards Bad in the Winter?

Gutters work double time during colder weather because they have to drain any water to avoid freezing. Gutter guards, if installed correctly and maintained well, are particularly helpful during this time because they can prevent ice dams.

Depending on where you live, snow can accumulate and refreeze quickly. When this happens, you need clear gutters to ensure that snowmelt will flow out as soon as they trickle down from the roof.

With clean gutter guards, snowmelt doesn’t have any time to refreeze. A key step is to make sure your gutter guards are ready for the winter weather by cleaning any debris out—even those small particles that might’ve slipped through the gaps.

Can You Hang Christmas Lights With Gutter Guards?

Fortunately, having gutter guards installed won’t interfere with your Christmas festivities at home. You can still hang Christmas lights even if you have these nifty systems in place.

You can use gutter clips, so you don’t need to drill holes or add nails into your gutter, gutter guards, or shingles.

Leaf screen clips, in particular, help you hang lights and other ornaments on your screen or mesh gutter guards.

As with any outdoor decoration, double-check that your lights can withstand the weather outside. Moreover, ensure that they’re resistant to water damage—especially since they’ll be placed quite close to the gutters.

Do Gutter Guards Keep Rodents Out?

Pests like rodents love gutters because they act as a hospitable environment for them, especially during winter. They can build nests and live within your gutters without you knowing.

Fortunately, gutter guards can help minimize this problem by keeping pests out.

Some types of gutter guards, like gutter screens, completely block the entry of rodents, birds, squirrels, and other small animals. The mesh screens act as a barrier that keeps any pest out.

As a result, you can save yourself the hassle of cleaning out their nests and droppings. You just have to ensure that your gutter guards’ material is durable so rats can’t chew on them.

Final Thoughts

Are gutter guards worth it? If properly installed and built with high-quality materials, they can be!

For houses that experience heavy snowfall, ice dams, constant gutter clogging, and similar problems, gutter guards are a worthwhile investment.

However, homeowners should still keep in mind that while gutter guards are meant to help with clogging, they aren’t a hundred percent foolproof. Problems can still arise, but you can minimize them with proper maintenance.


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