A clogged gutter can cause expensive water damage to your home. Our Guide to Gutter Guards will give you the pros and cons of gutter guards, the multiple types of gutter guards, estimated costs, and tips on gutter installation and maintenance care to help you protect your home from leaf or ice back up damage.
What is a gutter guide?
A gutter guard (also known as a gutter cover or gutter cap) is a filter designed to go over your gutter to keep out debris like leaves or branches, yet still, allow the water to flow into the drain and away from the roof. Some are more effective than others, depending upon the size of debris they filter out. If large debris is filtered out, but small debris is still entering your gutter, backups and clogs can still occur.
Fall is when we think of leaves filling our gutters, but you can also have seed pods and other small leaves accumulate in the spring. And the wind can bring debris most any time of the year. It is essential to monitor this to prevent backups in your gutters.
What damage can clogged gutters cause?
A gutter should direct water away from your roof. If the gutter is clogged, it can’t do its job. This means water can easily back up, causing roof leaks and water damage. It can cause your fascia boards to rot, and water to enter your home. Severe winter climates can also cause ice dams and ice buildup that can result in structural damage and water leaks in the ceilings and walls.
If the gutters are not draining, snow buildup can also damage your roof.
Within 24-48 hours, mold and mildew due to water damage can also become a problem. A clogged gutter can also fail due to the water and debris’s weight and collapse, sometimes bringing with it your fascia board or trim.
Do gutter guards work?
Most homeowners agree that gutter guards are effective in reducing the maintenance required to clean your gutters. Gutter guards are not designed to replace proper inspection and cleaning of your gutters. You will still need to clean them occasionally, and you should always check them every season, but you should not have to do it as often, and the job should be easier when you do.
What types of gutter guards are available?
Several kinds of gutter guards and covers fall in the main categories of screens, mesh or reverse curves. The right solution for you will depend upon where your home is located. Some factors to consider are ease of installation, cost, how noticeable they are, and how effective they will be.
Guards come in lengths of 3 to 8 feet and varying widths, depending upon your gutter’s size.
The main types of gutter guard system are:
- Screen gutter guards are an easy-to-install and cost-effective option. They are a wire or plastic grid that slides under your shingles. High winds can loosen them (and also the shingle), and they can become brittle after time, so these guards may not be the best option for hot climates that are given to hurricanes.
- A mesh gutter guard can be either metal or plastic and installed in several ways: slid under the shingles, attached to the fascia, or snapped onto the top of the gutter. These have small holes and so block small debris and are available in several materials and price points. They do require cleaning and can be torn by ice buildup.
- Reverse curve gutter guards are lightweight, and the water flows over the top of them and around a downward curve, then into the gutter, encouraging the leaves to fall to the ground. They work well with areas with lots of trees but are trickier to install, and should be done a professional gutter installer. These guards are more expensive but will last longer.
You will need to clean your gutters or have them professionally cleaned from time to time, which means you’ll need to remove the guards, so consider that when choosing.
How much do gutter guards cost?
The cost of a gutter guard installation will depend upon your home’s size and the type of guard you select. Gutter guards and covers installed cost between $7.50 and $20 per linear foot, so if your home has 200 feet of gutter, your price is between $1,500 to $4000.
If you have a complicated installation such as a house with lots of peaks, a high roof, or other challenges, the cost will increase. If your home is one-story and you are handly, you may consider a DIY on this project.
How to install gutter guards
Gutter installation on a one-story home is something a handy homeowner may want to take on. If you have a high roof pitch or complicated rooflines or opt for reverse curve gutter guards, you should probably hire a professional gutter installer.
If you are using a snap-on, one size fits all guard, it should be reasonably simple. Gutter guards that rest inside the gutter are very simple and require you to measure, cut, and set them in.
Mesh gutters will slide under the shingles and be fastened at the front of the gutter with screws. Each type of guard will have its installation instructions. Please review the instructions before you purchase them.
Here are a couple of gutter guard system installation tips:
- Review all of the installation directions that come with your guards before you purchase. Make sure this is a job you can manage. Many times, it is better in the long run to hire a professional gutter installer.
- Gather all the tools you’ll need. You may want to use a bucket with an S-hook to hold it so you can be hands-free. Depending on the guards you are using, you will likely need a power drill and screwdriver.
- Be sure to exercise caution when climbing a ladder or working on the roof. You should not be working alone.
- Start with a clean gutter. Wearing gloves, clean out the full length of the gutter, and hose it out if necessary.
- Test your gutters with water to be sure they are working correctly.
- Avoid leaning the ladder against the gutters if possible.
Can you repair gutter guards?
Gutter guards can be repaired, depending upon the extent of the damage. Check for a gutter guard repair service in your area.
Who installs and repairs gutter guards?
Gutter cleaning companies will professionally clean your gutter system, so you don’t have to. They sometimes use industrial strength wet/dry technology to alternate between power washing and vacuuming to remove all debris. They will also often haul away the trash.
Gutter installation companies will install gutters and gutter guards. They will often repair gutters and gutter guards as well.