Almost all homeowners find the task of regularly cleaning the gutters very tiresome. Gutter guards have long been touted as the best way of keeping your gutters clean and free-flowing, however, not everybody agrees that installing gutter guards are worth the effort and the investment. A quick look at the pros and cons:
What Are the Different Types of Gutter Guards?
There are principally five different types of gutter guards. Mesh guards comprise metal sheets with innumerable holes that are fixed to the shingles of the roof in such a way that they cover the gutter. Reverse curve guards are made in such a way that they channel the water flow downwards while allowing the leaves to drop to the ground. Bottlebrush guards have bristles that stand upright when placed in the gutter. This mechanism allows the water to keep on flowing while the debris rests on the bristle tops. Nylon guards are especially advantageous to use in the winter because the snow does not accumulate, freeze, and block the gutter. Foam guards, typically made out of plastic fit into the gutter directly preventing the leaves from entering the gutter and blocking the water flow.
Typically, you can choose between a gutter screen and a gutter guard. The screens are generally meshes made out of wire, foam or nylon and are easier to install and are less expensive but have a limited life. Guards, made from a wide variety of materials, on the other hand, sit atop the gutters. They can not only affect the appearance of your roof but also limit the flow of water.
Gutter Guards – The Pros and Cons
Experts are divided in their opinion whether gutter guards are worth the effort and the money. While none of the products are completely maintenance-free, they do make cleaning less of an effort and more infrequent so the chances of you taking a fall while on the rooftop are also reduced. While some amount of debris will invariably evade the gutter guards but overall, the gutters become much easier to keep clean than when they are totally clogged with leaves, twigs, flowers, and seeds. However, many people think the investment required is too much and you can easily afford professional cleaning services instead of something that will still require your attention. Also, if your house is multi-storied, you should anyway have the gutters cleaned regularly even if you have guards installed.
The distinct advantage of using guards is that they can be added easily to existing home gutters and lessen the frequency and intensity of cleaning. Having guards also prevent stagnant water from building up in the gutter and causing damp or acting as insect breeding ground. The guards also prevent nest-building by rodents and birds. On the other hand, installing gutter guards can be quite expensive and you need to buy a design that will be effective as otherwise, you would have just wasted your money. It is not as if you can fit the guards and forget about the gutters – they will still need periodic cleaning.