A gutter guard is a system installed on top of your gutter that makes it less likely to clog. Gutter guards are supposed to stop dirt and debris from getting into the gutter without manual cleaning. So are gutter guards effective? Or are they simply a way to get you to spend more money?

Although they can certainly help with reducing gutter debris, they don’t eliminate them entirely. And some of the cheaper options do very little–giving you false peace of mind that can lead to serious gutter clogs.

What is a gutter guard?

A gutter guard is an extra layer on top of your gutter that’s meant to let water in but not anything like sticks or leaves. It’s essentially a “filter” for the gutter so only water goes in and nothing gets inside that can clog it. Gutter guards are either wedged into the gutter or screwed to the roof directly above the cutter to keep them in place. There are a couple main types of gutter guards.

Mesh gutter guards

The first is a kind of mesh system that sits inside the gutter. This mesh is primarily meant to keep leaves out since leaves are one of the main ways gutters get clogged. The holes are too small for all but the smallest bits of leaves to make it through, and large sticks and other items are also kept out.

The mesh guards typically come in a large roll and you unroll what you need. This also means that you may need to trim the mesh so that it fits properly in your gutter as they’re intended to be versatile to fit many different sizes. Often the trimmed pieces can simply be wedged into the gutter for installation.

Gutter Foam

Foam gutter guards are another common option for gutter guards. Gutter foam works similarly to the mesh gutter guards by wedging into the gutter. The foam is designed porous enough that water can get through but items like leaves can’t.

While in theory this is a sound idea, it has mixed results in practice. For some people they work well while others report that they actually do more harm than benefit. Sometimes the foam doesn’t stand up to the environment or becomes brittle and breaks apart, becoming a clog hazard if it fills with organic material. To reduce the chances of this happening, opt for high-quality gutter foam as this is less likely to be an issue.

Reverse Curve

A reverse curve gutter guard is material that blends in with your gutter and roof and installed on top of the roof cladding. It goes on top of the gutter and has a curve at the end and with a small space that’s only about 1 cm. The idea is that water can drip down and follow that curve but the space is too small for debris to fit.

In theory this works well but it also has some problems. Because water drips off the roof, that runoff has oils and other contaminants. This makes the curve get dirty and sometimes dirt and sludge accumulate at the edge of the curve.

Do gutter guards work?

Overall, most people report that good quality gutter guards can greatly reduce the amount of debris that get into the gutter. However, they don’t eliminate it entirely. Normally, you want to clean your gutters at least twice a year. With a good gutter guard, you may not have to do it as frequently. But make sure to at least check the gutters regularly to make sure the guards are working as they should.

What if my gutter with a gutter guard is clogged?

In most situations, we do gutter cleaning using SkyVac. This technology allows for faster, easier, and safer gutter cleaning. However, gutter guards can sometimes block access to the SkyVac. In these cases, we can still help by doing manual gutter cleaning. But it will take more time and consequently costs more than our normal gutter cleaning.

Gutter guards can reduce the likelihood of leaves and debris from causing clogged gutters. If you think a gutter guard is the right choice for you you’ll get better long term results with high-end products.

However these ones aren’t foolproof so it’s important to still do regular checkups. And you’ll still need to clean your gutters if you notice a clog. To find out more or to schedule a gutter cleaning for your property, get in touch with us today.