How Do Gutter Guards Work?

How Do Gutter Guards Work?

Gutter guards, also referred to as leaf guards, gutter covers, gutter screens, gutter helmets, or reverse curved gutter covers, are installed over the tops of gutters. Gutter Guards prevent debris such as leaves, pine needles, twigs, and other materials from clogging the gutter trough and downspouts. These guards act as a filtration system on top of the gutters, allowing water to flow into the gutter system while keeping debris out. By reducing the amount of debris in the gutter system without obstructing water flow, they also aid in proper drainage of water away from the foundation of your home. Ultimately, gutter guards can save homeowners time and money in the long run by decreasing maintenance costs and preventing costly home repairs resulting from clogged gutters. It is essential to be aware of the serious and expensive problems that clogged gutters can cause to your property.

The effectiveness of gutter guards in blocking debris relies heavily on the type and brand purchased. Each type of gutter guard operates using distinct mechanisms to prevent debris accumulation. While they seem to be a flawless solution to gutter clogging, gutter guards, when not installed and maintained properly, can still require maintenance. Companies claiming that gutter guards eliminate the need for cleaning are misleading, as gutter guards cannot guarantee total protection against all debris. Nevertheless, they aid in minimizing yearly maintenance, cleaning, and upkeep, albeit requiring periodic cleaning themselves. It's worth noting that while some gutter guards last a lifetime, others need to be replaced every few years.


Here’s Why You Need Gutter Guards - 

Gutter guards are effective in preventing debris build-up in gutter systems, which are constructed to catch not only rainwater but also leaves, pine needles, twigs, dirt, roof runoff, and other outdoor debris. Neglecting gutter cleaning or protection with guards can lead to heavy debris accumulation, which can decompose and transform into muck that may cause significant damage due to its increased weight. Gutters serve as an investment to secure your home by diverting rain away from it, but clogged gutters hinder their functionality. Additionally, excessive clogging may lead to gutter detachment or bending. While installing gutter guards can protect your home from damage, their effectiveness is not unequivocal. Experts agree that gutter guards cannot guarantee complete protection against clogging but can significantly decrease the need for gutter cleaning and maintenance. To determine if they are suitable for your home, let us examine their functionality.

What are Some Advantages of Gutter Guards?

The benefits of gutter guards are widely accepted, with numerous advantages and few drawbacks. Professionally installed gutter guards offer advantages such as:

  • Maintenance needs can be minimized with gutter guards. Though not a complete solution, gutter guards can help prevent clogging and reduce the frequency of maintenance. In forested areas, clogged gutters can pose a year-round challenge, but gutter guards can alleviate this recurring issue.
  • Protect your home and property with gutter guards. Clogged gutters can cause significant water damage to your home. Gutter guards can help prevent buildup, allowing water to flow freely and reducing the risk of damage to your roof or foundation.
  • Cleaning gutter guards is safer and easier. Balancing on a ladder and using a garden hose to clean leaves off gutters is no longer necessary with gutter guards. A simple brush can be used to remove any leaves that may accumulate on top of the guards.
  • Increase your home's value with gutter guards. Professionally installed gutter guards can enhance your home's resale value. The right type and style must be chosen carefully, but when done correctly, gutter guards can make your home more attractive to potential buyers.

What are Some Disadvantages of Gutter Guards?

Prior to investing in gutter guards for your home, it is important to take into account several potential drawbacks. This is a financial investment that may yield benefits, but it also carries the possibility of future costs. Here are some key factors to consider before proceeding with the installation of gutter guards.

  • Gutter guards are not a foolproof solution to prevent clogs or debris. Although they significantly decrease the amount of leaves, twigs, and debris that enter your gutters, they do not block smaller particles. Therefore, gutter cleaning will still be necessary eventually. Additionally, gutter guards can make cleaning more cumbersome for homeowners.
  • Gutter guards are not always visually appealing, which may impact your home's resale value. To minimize their appearance on your gutters, it's best to choose gutter guards that fit well with your home's style. Leaves can collect on top of the guards, so professional maintenance or a quick sweep with a brush tool will be necessary. Installing gutter guards may void your roof warranty, which is a critical factor to consider.
  • Certain types of gutter guards can void your warranty because of their attachment to your roof. Many of the reverse curve leaf guards, gutter helmets, or gutter caps, are required to be installed underneath the roofing shingles. It's crucial to ensure that your leaf guards or gutter helmets are suitable for your home and won't lead to out-of-pocket expenses later due to roof damage.
  • While gutter guards are an excellent way to reduce the need for maintenance and gutter cleaning, they do not entirely eliminate the task. Removing the gutter guards to clean gutters and downspouts can sometimes be challenging and may result in damage if not done correctly.

Minor as they may be, some of the drawbacks of installing gutter guards can pale in comparison to the potentially severe consequences of a voided roof warranty. It is crucial to seek the advice of professionals before proceeding with the installation of gutter guards, and to utilize their expertise and experience when doing so. We can assist you in choosing the appropriate gutter guard system for your residence and ensuring that it is properly installed, thereby safeguarding your roof warranty against any future damage that may occur.

Do Gutter Guards Eliminate Gutter Cleaning?
Many companies that install gutter guards may make claims of a maintenance-free product that requires no attention. However, it's important to approach these claims with caution as they are often not true. Gutter covers cannot keep all debris out, especially in areas with heavy rain and wind where twigs and roof debris can still enter your gutters. Gutter screens and filters may make it difficult to spot when debris begins to pile up, leading to clogs that can cause water to back up under your shingles and result in damage to your roof. 
While gutter guards can be helpful in blocking larger leaves and twigs, they should not be relied upon to completely eliminate the need for routine cleaning. Throughout the years, it is necessary to clean your roofing surfaces and the top of your gutter guards to ensure that water can still flow through to your gutters, and any debris that enters your gutters must be removed and cleaned.

How Do You Choose the Right Gutter Guards?

Professionals can install gutter guards for you, but you also have the option to purchase and install them yourself from online or hardware stores. Although a DIY approach may save money, it's important to ensure that you choose the appropriate gutter guards for your home. If you decide to proceed with the installation, it's crucial to measure and install them correctly. Improper placement or securing of the guards can cause damage instead of offering protection. It's advisable to trust professionals like Golden Hammer Gutters to minimize the risk of improper installation. They can recommend the best type of guards for your home and ensure they are installed correctly.

What Are the Types of Gutter Guards?
There are several main types of gutter guards. Each has unique pros vs cons. We will briefly describe each to help determine what’s best for your home.

perforated aluminum gutter guards

Perforated Aluminum Gutter Guards: This style gutter guard is highly recommended by Golden Hammer Gutters because they drastically reduce your gutter cleaning needs by virtually eliminating the possibility for internal clogs including downspout clogs. These products are reasonably priced and often come with manufacturer warranties ranging from 10 to 25 years, ensuring that they are both effective and reliable. The perforated hoods of these Gutter Guards allow for high volumes of water to enter the gutter trough quickly, making them ideal for heavy rainstorms. Additionally, their smooth design allows leaves and other debris to be easily blown off the hoods with a light breeze.

Vinyl & Metal Screens: Installation of this guard is a straightforward task, as it involves fastening it onto the outer lip of the gutter. The cost of this guard is minimal, but its susceptibility to clogging should be noted. Debris of a smaller size has the potential to accumulate in the mesh screen's opening. They also do not have a long product life.

Micro Mesh Gutter Filters: The gutter guards consist of a frame that supports a mesh filter. The mesh is available in a variety of sizes, ranging from fine to micro mesh, allowing for optimal water flow and reducing the likelihood of clogs from small debris. Unfortunately, these systems are more challenging to install and come at a higher cost.

gutter helmets

Reverse Curve Leaf Guards and Gutter Helmets: The gutter guard of this kind creates a shield that covers your gutter. Water smoothly glides around the guard, while big debris is prevented from entering. Nevertheless, these guards are ineffective during intense rainfall and are not constructed to handle large amounts of water during a significant downpour. Many of the reverse curve leaf guards, gutter helmets, or gutter caps, are required to be installed underneath the roofing shingles which can potentially void any roof warranties. They are also the most expensive type of gutters guards to have installed on your home. These systems can often cost over $10,000 depending on the size of your home.

Foam Filter Inserts: It is strongly advised by Golden Hammer Gutters to steer clear of this leaf protection design. Instead of a cover, sponge guards are placed inside the gutter. The sponge allows water to go through it but prevents big debris from blocking the gutter. Unfortunately, small debris gets trapped in the sponge, leading to seeds sprouting from within and the growth of bacteria.

What Are Some Common Problems with Gutter Guards?
Properly functioning gutters and gutter guards are essential for directing water away from your home in conjunction with your roof design. Neglecting to maintain your gutters and gutter guards can lead to damage. Despite the promised effectiveness of debris-free gutters, guards often accumulate debris on top of the covers. When this happens, the water can become restricted from entering the gutter trough. This obstruction can cause the gutter system to fail to collect the water effectively and then properly divert the water away from the home. The weight on top of your gutters also increases, potentially causing them to bend or separate from your roof. 

Cleaning gutters and gutter guards can be dangerous. Taking off gutter guards for a full cleaning can result in falls from ladders. Moreover, sharp edges are a possibility depending on the material of the guards. If you choose a gutter guard system, be prepared for unique upkeep in order to maintain proper functionality between your gutters and roof. While gutter guards can prevent large debris, they bring new hurdles that require careful attention to avoid costly damage.

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