At first, gutter guards might seem like a big investment. It’s a home improvement expense that you weren’t expecting to have to pay and it might seem silly.
We’ve heard the questions before from people who want to do all of their own yard work: Can’t you clean your gutters yourself? Doesn’t it cost thousands of dollars? How big of a deal are clogged gutters and does it even matter?
All of these are perfectly legitimate questions to have. So let’s dive into them and ask: are gutter guards a waste of money?
What Do Gutter Guards Do?
Gutter guards are mesh covers that go over your rain gutters and keep the debris that lands on your roof from falling into the gutters and clogging them. It’s a very simple system, really. Leaves may fall on your roof, and water may carry detritus–flakes of asphalt shingle, sticks, litter–down into your gutters.
The problem with this stuff getting into your gutters is that a clogged gutter can lead to blockages, and blockages can lead to leaks. Generally, these leaks are merely your rain gutters being overwhelmed with water (it has nowhere to drain) so the water builds up and pours over the side, effectively rendering your rain gutter worthless.
But there’s an even more insidious aspect to clogged rain gutters and that comes in the winter when we’re hit with ice storms. When ice builds up in the gutters, that ice will indeed come down over the gutters like icicles. But it will also begin to creep up the roof and under the shingles.
Shingles are only meant to stop water that is flowing from top to bottom, so when ice starts to creep from bottom up, it is no longer waterproof. The water from the ice will get into the wooden sheathing beneath the shingles, and it will leak down into the house.
And, even if that doesn’t happen, if you have a clogged gutter that is full of ice (or even full to the brim with water) and that water can’t escape down the drain pipe, then that places a heavy strain on the rain gutter. The gutter itself could come crashing down.
So, you can see, there are reasons why you would want a gutter guard for your rain gutters.
Do You Really Need Gutter Guards?
As mentioned above, rain gutters need to be clean. A clogged gutter will lead to expensive problems, either with someone fixing a leak in the roof, replacing shingles, or replacing your entire collapsed rain gutter.
But can’t you just clean your gutters yourself? The answer is yes. Gutter covers aren’t a necessity. Lots of people get up on a ladder several times a year–especially in the fall and winter–and clean out the gutters.
The question is whether that’s feasible for you. Perhaps you don’t have a ladder or, more likely, don’t feel comfortable doing work at the top of a ladder. It may not seem like a big job until you’re working on the second-story rain gutters, twenty feet up in the air.
You’ll have to not only own a ladder that big (or borrow or rent one) but you’ll have to put it in place, climb all that way, clean out what you can reach, come back down, shift the ladder a few feet, and climb back up again. And on and on all the way around your house.
This can be an annoying daylong task for anyone who has a busy life, but it can be a downright dangerous task for anyone who isn’t so light on their feet, has trouble with balance, or has shaky arms.
Ask yourself: would you want your parents up on that ladder cleaning out their rain gutters several times a year? When someone climbs a tall ladder, it’s best practice for someone at the bottom to hold it in place and make sure that the ladder is steady. Do you have that extra person? Do your parents have that extra person? Or will they try to clean the gutter all by themselves?
Now imagine if those second-story rain gutters were covered by gutter screens, micro-mesh gutter guards that prevented all of this from being necessary. It seems like gutter guards should be an essential part of a rain gutter system.
Do Gutter Guards Increase a Home’s Value?
You had better believe that they do. Anything you do to improve your home will increase your home’s value. And while no one is going to say “Did you see that beautiful ranch home with the stunning gutter guards?”, what might be more likely is for someone to see the gutter guards, recognize that this is a home that someone has invested time into making sure it’s clean and protected, and they’ll be more willing to pull the trigger.
We don’t expect that anyone will buy a house solely because of the types of gutter guards that are in place. But we do expect that gutter guards send a message to the buyer that this is a quality home. If someone cares enough to install gutter guards, then they probably care enough to change the furnace air filter and to service the AC and to take good care of the garden.
Professionally installed leaf guards, keeping large amounts of water from building up in your rain gutters will be a sign: you don’t need to worry. This is a well-maintained house.
How Much Do Gutter Guards Cost?
Because every house is different, with different slopes, different profiles, and different needs, it’s impossible to say exactly how much a gutter guard will cost you (but we’ll gladly quote you an estimate if you give us the details of your home!).
But gutter guards for homes will typically range between $100 for a very small home with few gutters to $2000 for a very large home with many gutters. And, as we’ve explained, gutter guards are worth the price.
They’re worth the price in peace of mind for your loved ones. They’re worth the price in safety of not having to get up on that ladder. They’re worth the price of not having maintenance problems later on, including leaks. And they’re worth the price because the value of your home increases.
Do Gutter Guards Work in Heavy Rain?
Gutter guards absolutely work in the heavy rain. Now, there may be a storm, particularly in the winter when the leaves have been falling, when leaves cover up the gutter guard, and the rainwater may drip over the side of the rain gutter. But what’s more likely is that the rain water will wash the leaves away, moving them over the gutter guards and sending the leaves to the ground.
We can’t speak for all houses, rooflines, or rain gutters. Every gutter system is going to be different with different challenges and different tree and leaf situations. But we can say that, on average, people with gutter guards are going to be doing considerably less gutter maintenance than people who don’t have the guards.
And whether that means that you don’t have to climb up on a ladder to take care of the problem yourself, or whether it means your aging loved ones don’t have to climb the ladder, or whether it means you’re not calling an emergency rain gutter cleaning service to solve a sudden back up and leak, gutter guards are totally worth it.
Ready to learn more? Get an estimate today.