Gutter Guards FAQ’s
Gutter Guards do work and are effective at keeping debris from clogging up gutters internally. The caveat to this answer is that each style of gutter guard is different, and each has their own pros and cons. Some products and styles perform better than others. Some gutter guards allow larger debris in, like pine needles, twigs, and acorns. Meanwhile most of the others only allow smaller particles through, like shingle grit and dirt.
Perforated Aluminum Gutter Guards or Gutter Covers are highly recommended by Golden Hammer Gutters. This is the only Leaf Protection style product that we offer to our customers because they are moderately priced, and they work extremely well with all roof types. They perform very well with heavy rainstorms because the perforated hoods allow high volumes of water to enter the gutter trough quickly. This style Gutter Guard is also smooth which allows leaves and other debris that fall from the trees and land on top of the Gutter Guards, to blow off the hoods with a light breeze.
Perforated Aluminum Gutter Guards and covers cost between $8 and $10 per lineal foot installed. Assuming the average home has about 200 feet of gutter, homeowners should expect to pay about $1,600 and $2,000 for professional Perforated Aluminum Gutter Guard installation.
Yes, they work very well. Perforated Aluminum Gutter Guards allow heavy flows of water to enter the gutter system during heavy storms efficiently while keeping out the small debris that typically clog up gutter systems such as pine needles and twigs. This style Gutter Guard is very durable and holds up exceptionally well so they will never cave in.
One downfall to Perforated Aluminum Gutter Guards is that they need to have a splash guard installed at the bottom of long or steep roofing valleys to prevent a splash over effect from occurring during heavy rains. These splash guards sometimes allow debris to accumulate behind them over time and will require the debris to be removed from areas where the debris has accumulated on top of the hoods. Because the water enters the gutter trough through the perforated holes in this gutter cover type, it is critical that debris not be allowed to accumulate on top of the roofing surfaces or on top of the gutter hoods. We always recommend to our customers to have the debris blown off your roof every few years and to have the tops of the perforated hood swept clean to maintain their optimal performance.
This style Gutter Cover is very reliable because it blocks most small debris from entering the gutter trough, yet it still allows high volumes of water to enter the gutter during heavy rainfalls. Perforated Aluminum Gutter Covers will dramatically reduce your regular gutter cleaning maintenance and you can see a return on your investment much sooner than other style Gutter Guards. Once this product is installed you almost never need to have the inside of the gutters cleaned because they will not allow debris to enter and accumulate inside of the gutter trough. As previously mentioned, it is important that you do not allow debris to accumulate on top of the roofing surface or the gutter hoods over time as it will eventually restrict the water flow. One last attribute to this product is that they are not visible from the ground and do not create an eyesore.
No gutter system or gutter accessory such as Gutter Guards is maintenance free. This is a very common misconception peddled by many large brand-named leaf guard corporations. These companies will often say something along the lines of “with our product you will never need to clean your gutters again.” This is simply untrue, and no matter what type of leaf guard product you have installed onto your gutters, it will not be maintenance free. Debris will often accumulate on top of the gutter guards. Some houses may have problem areas where debris will pile on top of the gutter guards, like inside corners, and below roofing valleys. Areas where the wind does not often reach are the most problematic and usually need to be cleared once every couple years.
There are many different terms that are used to describe Gutter Guards. Some common terms are Gutter Covers, Leaf Guards, Leaf Protection Systems, Gutter Helmets, Gutter Hoods, Leaf Filters, and many more. All of the terms are used to describe leaf protection covers that connect to the tops of your gutters and are designed to keep the debris out of your gutters.
If your home has heavy tree coverage or is surrounded by tall trees you probably experience excessive gutter debris which require multiple cleanings per year to keep the gutters functioning optimally and flowing properly. If this is you, then you probably want to consider having Gutter Guards installed on top of your gutters. When your homes tree coverage requires you to have the gutter systems cleaned several times a year to keep the gutters functioning properly, and you select the right product, you could expect to see a return on your investment typically within 3-5 years.
1. When making the decision there are some important things to consider. First and foremost is the performance and effectiveness of the Gutter Guard product. Does the Leaf Guard product jeopardize the entire purpose of having gutters? Some Gutter Guards will do a good job keeping the debris out of the gutters, but they are unable to collect heavy rainwater fast enough, so it spills over the rim of the gutter and onto the side of the home or splashes onto the ground.
2.Price is obviously a major factor. Some brand-named leaf guards, filters, and helmets cost as much as $20 - $40 per linear foot. For a home with 200 linear feet of gutter, you could be looking at $4k - $8k just to have leaf guards installed on to your existing gutter systems. We have had some clients show us their estimates for over $10k. Let Golden Hammer Gutters help inform you and save your money.
3. One other important factor that you may not have considered is the maintenance. There is no maintenance free gutter system, they do not exist. No matter what type of leaf guard product you have installed, it will not be maintenance free. There is a huge misconception when it comes to this subject. Many big brand-named leaf guard companies will say something along the lines of “with our product you will never have to clean your gutters again.” Anyone who tells you this is misleading at best. These corporations’ strategies are to charge you so much money upfront that when your gutters inevitably need to be cleaned or maintained, you basically already paid for those return visits and then some.
Reverse Curve gutter covers have many other common names, such as gutter helmet or gutter hood. They are basically a solid sheet of aluminum that is curved in such a way that the water follows the hood and drains into the gutter. A lot of gutter helmets tuck under the shingles of your home which makes them difficult to install, and that adds a lot more time to the job, which affects the price. Shingles can also bulge up around the home when these don’t fit exactly perfectly.
There are many different brand-named corporations that offer Reverse Curve Gutter Guards, gutter helmets, or gutter hoods. They make lots of promises and guarantees so they can charge a premium price to install these gutters onto your home. As we mentioned before, there is no Gutter Cover or leaf protection system that will be maintenance free forever. These companies know that they will have to return to clean the clogs or accumulated debris from inside of their gutter system. That is one of the reasons why they are so expensive, they include the cost of all future return visits in the price.
Leaf Guards are one of the more expensive styles of gutter guard. The cost can be anywhere between $15 and $30 per linear foot installed. So about 1.5 to 3 times more expensive than the style we suggest. ($9-$10) Considering that the average family home has about 200 feet of gutter, homeowners should expect to pay about $3,000 and $6,000 for professional gutter guard installation. Leaf Guards or Reverse Curve Gutter Guards have a wide price range due to the large number of corporations that offer their own patented brands.
They look great in the mall, but outside in the real world they do not live up to their expensive costs. They say “get it then forget it” but unfortunately that is far from reality. No gutter system is maintenance free. It is a false narrative that misleads consumers to believe they will never need their gutters cleaned again. The main upside to this style Gutter Cover product is that they do dramatically reduce your regular gutter cleaning maintenance. You can expect to go many years without having your gutters cleaned with this style leaf protection. However, this comes at a cost. These gutter covers also cause the water to flow right over the gutter and cause waterfalls around your home. The purpose of gutters is to prevent water from cascading over and washing away your foundation, so if this is happening you are basically spending a whole bunch of money for nothing. Basically, they make the entire gutter system worthless if the water isn’t going into the gutter system.
During heavy rains you can expect some water to cascade over Leaf Guard hoods much like a waterfall effect. This can cause pooling and flooding around the foundation of your home in extreme cases. These gutter covers do not work well with metal or slate roofs because these style roofs shed the rainwater much faster than traditional asphalt shingles. The same can be expected with houses with steep shingle roofs. Leaf Guards also require splash guards or water diverters be installed in the corners below roofing valleys to prevent this splash over effect from occurring. Many people find these splash guards to be an eye sore or aesthetically unpleasing. Leaf Guards are also visible from the ground which does not compliment the aesthetics of the gutter system.
The short answer is No. Leaf Guards are by far the most expensive style gutter covers on the market. They do a good job of preventing debris from accumulating inside of the gutter troughs but unfortunately, they keep a lot of water out of the gutters as well. We do not find them to be worth the high costs mainly because they are counterproductive to the purpose of the gutter system. Remember that the entire purpose of having gutters on your home is to collect the water that sheds off your roofing surfaces and to redirect that water away from your home’s foundation.
We do NOT recommend this style leaf protection. Gutter Filter Foam inserts are compatible with all roof types and can take on high volumes of rain quickly. When the Gutter Filter Foam Inserts are first installed, they are not visible from the ground. Unfortunately, we highly recommend against this style Leaf Protection. This is a very controversial product for many reasons as we will continue to discuss.
Gutter Filter Foam Inserts on average cost between $7.50 and $10 per lineal foot installed. Assuming the average home has about 200 feet of gutter, homeowners can expect to pay about $1,500 and $2,000 for professional Gutter Filter Foam Insert installation.
No. Gutter Filter Foam is very ineffective. It may be an inexpensive investment upfront, but this product does not stand up to the test of time. In fact, for some people the product only lasts a few short years before it begins to shrink and crumble. It is designed to let water pass through the sponge-like material and allow the water to flow down to the downspouts while blocking leaves and other debris from entering the gutter system. Unfortunately, it has a rugged surface which catches lots of leaves and other debris causing them to accumulate on top of the foam surface. This build-up slows down the water flow and eventually causes those debris to decompose and dam-up the surface of the foam.
Yes. As time passes the debris that accumulate and decompose on top of the foam surface will fill the foam filter with a compost style soil. It is very difficult to remove and clean the soil filled filters therefore the dirt becomes trapped. Eventually you will have vegetation begin to grow from inside of your own gutter system. Their root systems will grow throughout the soil filled filter and the small plants will quickly grow taller due to the constant source of rainwater flowing through the gutters.
Yes. Gutter Foam Filters are not easy to remove once installed. Sunlight and other natural elements cause the foam to become hard and brittle. The foam filters are a petroleum-based product and will also allow other petroleum-based products such as roofing oils from asphalt shingles to cling to this product. Once the foam filters trap the oil, dirt, and soil they will need to be removed and thoroughly cleaned. This is a very daunting task which is why it is expensive to pay a professional gutter cleaning service to perform this duty. Ultimately this product does not reduce your regular gutter cleaning maintenance and instead makes the process harder than ever.
Gutter screens are the lowest cost leaf protection available, but they do NOT prevent gutters from clogging up. In fact, they not only allow gutters to still clog, but they also make it more difficult to remove the debris from the clogged gutters. Gutter Screens come in a wide variety of styles, materials, and colors. They come in vinyl plastic with a small selection of colors such as white, black, and brown. Some manufacturers may offer additional colors, but these probably need to be ordered online. There are also higher quality metal versions of Gutter Screens available on the market with many different design variations. Metal Gutter Screens come in Aluminum and galvanized steel. They also make them coated in black rubber which allows them to be more durable and longer lasting.
The average cost to have Gutter Screens installed is $4 to $7 per linear foot installed. Plastic Gutter Screens are a relatively inexpensive leaf protection product to add to your existing gutter system. Metal gutter screens cost more than vinyl plastic gutter screens because the material costs are greater, and they take longer to install. Metal Gutter Screens will last much longer than vinyl plastic gutter screens.
Gutter Screens are compatible with all roof types and can handle high volumes of water during heavy rainstorms. They do a pretty good job of preventing downspout clogs in between your regular gutter cleaning maintenance. However, unfortunately they will not reduce your regular gutter cleaning maintenance. Gutter screens will prevent large leaves from entering the gutter trough but will still allow smaller debris to enter and clog the gutter trough. This accumulation inside of the gutters will need to be cleaned out regularly. Gutter Screens are rugged which causes debris to catch and accumulate on top of the screens. Helicopter seeds and pine needles commonly get stuck in Gutter Screens and will also accumulate inside of the gutter trough.
Durability is a huge downfall to this style leaf protection. You should not expect Gutter Screens to last a very long time. Vinyl plastic Gutter Screens will warp and twist over time due to temperature changes and other natural elements such as the sun. They will also become brittle and sometimes crack when removing them to clean the debris from inside of the gutters. Snow and ice accumulations will often cause the vinyl plastic screens to sag and cave in because vinyl plastic Gutter Screens are not very strong.
Metal Gutter Screens are much more durable and last longer than the vinyl plastic Gutter Screens. They are screwed into place and hold up against snow and ice accumulations much better than the vinyl plastic screens. They do cost a little bit more than the vinyl plastic screens but unfortunately, much like the vinyl plastic Gutter Screens, they also become warped and twisted over time due to removing/reinstalling them every time the gutters need to be cleaned.
Leaf Filters and Micro Mesh Gutter Screens come in different varieties. These varieties have completely different levels of quality. The lower quality Micro Mesh Gutter Screens come in a soft vinyl plastic with a light mesh cloth glued to the top side. This glue quickly deteriorates, and the cloth begins to separate from the plastic. The higher quality Leaf Filters have a harder plastic with a metal mesh screen insert. The lower quality micro mesh Gutter Screens can be found at most local hardware stores. The higher quality Leaf Filters must be purchased through an authorized dealer. Leaf Filter products are generally owned and patented by large corporations.
Leaf Filters gutter guards cost $17 to $43 per foot on average for materials and installation. Leaf Filter gutter protection for a home with 150 to 200 linear feet of gutters costs $2,650 to $6,300 for professional installation.
Micro Mesh Gutter Screens are a relatively inexpensive leaf protection product to add to your existing gutter system. The average cost to have Gutter Screens installed is $5 to $6 per linear foot installed.
Micro Mesh Gutter Screens are compatible with all roof types and can handle high volumes of water during heavy rainstorms. They do a pretty good job of preventing downspout clogs in between your regular gutter cleaning maintenance. Unfortunately, they will not reduce your regular gutter cleaning maintenance. Micro mesh Gutter Screens do not have a long lifespan because the mesh cloth quickly becomes detached from the plastic. These plastic screens also become warped and twisted over time which makes them difficult to reinstall after cleaning the gutters.
Leaf filter gutter screens let only tiniest particles into the gutters through holes as small as 50 microns diameter. This design prevents small shingle particles from entering gutters. After some time, they do create a sludge that must be manually removed. Pollen, dirt, roofing oils, and shingle grit can clog the micro mesh screens which causes water to be restricted from entering the gutter trough fast enough during heavy rains. This can cause water to spill over the edges of the gutter, running down the siding and windows of the house. Water can then accumulate and pool around the foundation of the home if this problem persists. The micro mesh on the leaf filters must be cleaned off so that water can seep through the screen without restriction.
Micro-mesh gutter screens let only small particles into the gutters through holes as small as 50 microns diameter. This design prevents even tiny shingle particles from entering gutters. Over time this will create a sludge on top of the leaf filters that must be manually removed. This must be done periodically, or water will inevitably skate across the screens and not enter the gutters. As mentioned before, there is no Gutter Cover or leaf protection system that will be maintenance free forever. Corporations make big promises or guarantees, and they charge a premium price to install these products. Unfortunately, they know that eventually you will experience these problems.