Are Gutter Guards Worth It? The Hidden Truth

green gloves installing silver gutter guards on roof

If you are tired of paying to have your gutters cleaned, you’ve probably been thinking about alternatives to the standard gutter.  Do you take the gutters off and risk all that water falling next to your foundation?  That’s typically not a good idea.  Then there’s gutter guards, would they help?  Are gutter guards worth it?  In this article we’ll explore that question along with some ideas for how to keep gutters from clogging with leaves.

Are Gutter Guards Worth It?

The first thing to consider when weighing whether gutter guards are worth it is the type of leaf litter you get on your roof.  If your gutters are getting clogged with pine needles, a gutter guard may not be the best solution for you.  Pine needles will make their way through the gutter guard either all the way or part way. This creates a drag point for additional pine needle buildup. Before you know it, the gutter guard becomes a fluffy pile of pine needles. There are other ways to keep pine needles out of your gutter, but gutter guards aren’t one of them.

Also, you need to remember that a gutter guard will not prevent leaf buildup either.  Leaves can still build up and block the openings to the gutter through the gutter guard.  This causes rain to fall next to your foundation as if you had no gutters.  However, in many cases, gutter guards are a great addition to your home. They will reduce the amount of gutter cleaning you need.  

How To Combine A Gutter Guard And Leaf Blower

Whether you have a gutter guard or not, we’d recommend you get yourself a decent leaf blower. Furthermore, make sure you have a gutter cleaning attachment.  With a gutter guard, this will be quick work.  When the leaves are blowing around and building up on the gutter guard or in the gutters, the leaf blower attachment will make sure you keep the gutters clear.  

With a gutter guard you will get less of the wet partially decomposed leaves. This occurs since the leaves on the gutter guards tend to dry out in between rainstorms.  If you’re lucky they’ll blow away on their own, leaving the gutter free to drain.  

However, in reality leaves, pine needles, and pollen have the tendency to build up on gutter guards the same way they build up in gutters themselves.  The major difference is the lack of moisture. This will make them less prone to rotting and turning into a messy soup you need to scoop out by hand.  

Black shield showing are gutter guards worth it as no because they still allow leaves insider gutter stream

How Do Gutter Guards Work In The Winter?

A gutter guard is a great way to reduce maintenance for some, but not all homeowners.  In some cases a gutter guard can create additional problems in winter you may not have expected.  If your snow currently builds up and slides off the roof, missing your gutters completely, you may be frustrated to find the addition of gutter guards can increase the drag on your gutter from sliding snow.

This is especially a problem for those with metal roofs which tend to release the snow all at once.  In many cases, gutters are installed too high on metal roofs, and the sliding snow rips the gutters right off the roof.  

However, a properly installed gutter, and gutter with a gutter guard should have no problems with snow sliding in most cases.  There are always freak ice storms which will cause damage regardless of what you do.  

Are Gutter Guards Worth It Summary

To answer are gutter guards worth it, you need to consider the problem you are trying to solve.  If you do not have a leaf blower with gutter cleaning attachment, you may want to consider gutter guards.  However, even with gutter guards, you should have a leaf blower with gutter cleaning attachment, or else you’ll be frustrated by the gutter guards, especially if you have pine trees.  

The better question to ask yourself is, should I buy a leaf blower with gutter cleaning attachment?   The answer to that question is a resounding yes. After all, that is the easiest way to keep your gutters clear of leaf litter and debris, preventing the soupy mess removal on the end of a tall ladder.  When you have the gutter cleaning attachment with a leaf blower, you can regularly clear your gutters and prevent buildup.