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gutter guards

Choosing the Best Gutter Guards for Your Home

By Tobias Roberts Rise Writer
May 21, 2020

Every year, thousands of homeowners across the country get out their leather gloves and ladders to clean out the gutters that circulate the eaves of the roofs of their houses. Unless you live in a desert area, the chances are that your gutters routinely get clogged by falling leaves, dust, dirt, and other debris. Clogged gutters are one of the most common roofing problems, and when left untreated, can lead to some more serious (and costly) repairs down the road.

Roofing professionals generally recommend having gutters cleaned twice a year. The average cost to clean the gutters on a two-story 2,500 square-foot home with 200 linear feet of gutters is $250. Many homeowners will reluctantly accept gutter cleaning as a necessary task of homeownership. While cleaning your gutters can save you money, it's best to leave this job to a professional. A recent report by the Consumer Product Safety Commission found that 90,000 people annually receive emergency room treatment from ladder-related injuries. 97 percent of ladder-related injuries happen at homes and farms.

For homeowners looking to avoid the expense of hiring professionals to clean their gutters, investing in gutter guards is a solution that can protect your gutters from getting clogged.

Table of Contents

  1. Why Do We Need Roof Gutters?
  2. What Are Gutter Guards?
  3. What Are Reverse Curve or Surface Tension Gutter Guards?
  4. What Are Brush Gutter Guards?
  5. What Are Foam Gutter Guards?
  6. What Are Screen Gutter Guards?
  7. What Are Micro-Mesh Gutter Guards?
  8. What Are The Benefits of Gutter Guards?,What Are The Best Gutter Guard on the Market?

Why Do We Need Roof Gutters?

For most geographic areas, gutters are a necessary part of the roofing system. They help collect the stormwater that lands on roofs before directing that collected water away from the home's foundation. The lack of gutters on a roof can lead to erosion around the base of your home in areas with periodic heavy rains. Also, missing gutters can lead to the accumulation of water around your home's foundation. This can lead to water leaking into the home or basement, rot issues with the foundation, and other problems that can affect your home's structural integrity.

Homeowners interested in a sustainable and regenerative house design rely on high-performance gutter systems to redirect rainwater for other uses. This often includes rain gardenswater-smart landscapes, and rainwater catchment systems. The rain that falls on your roof can be reused for different household water needs. An inefficient gutter system can lead to serious landscape erosion problems and the contamination that often occurs with unmanaged stormwater running off roofs, driveways, and landscapes. 

Unfortunately, gutters will become clogged over time due to the accumulation of debris. Even homeowners who dutifully prune the trees near their homes will experience clogged gutters over time. When the downspouts on gutter systems become clogged, several serious issues can occur that may cause more damage than if the home had never installed gutters.

What Are Gutter Guards?

Gutter guards are simple products that let water into the gutters while keeping leaves and other debris out. They can be made from stainless steel, heavy-duty plastic, or other material and are installed on top of your gutter system. There are several types of gutter guards on the market today, including the options listed below.

reverse curve gutter
Photo Credit: Jackson Insulation & Exteriors Co.

What Are Reverse Curve or Surface Tension Gutter Guards?

A reverse curve or surface tension gutter guards are designed to move leaves and debris to the ground while moving rainwater into the gutter. They tend to be more expensive and require professional installation but have fewer clogging issues. For homeowners with shingle roofs, you might have to lift the shingles, which could void your roof warranty.

brush gutter guard
Photo Credit: Csuga.com

What Are Brush Gutter Guards?

Brush gutter guards are made from stiff bristles that fit inside your gutters. The bristles are designed to keep leaves and other debris on top of your gutter. They also allow rainwater to filter through to the bottom of your gutter and eventually towards the downspout. These gutters are easy to install but tend to allow smaller debris to filter down into the bottom of your gutter.

foam gutter guard
Photo Credit: Ace Hardware

What Are Foam Gutter Guards?

Foam gutter guards fit inside your gutters. As a porous piece of foam, rainwater will filter through, while debris is encouraged to stay at the top of the gutter. These systems are relatively inexpensive and easy to install. On the downside, clogging can occur at the top of the gutter when debris still accumulates over time.

screen gutter guard
Photo Credit: GutterWorks

What Are Screen Gutter Guards?

Screen gutter guards are composed of fine screens. These screens are fitted on top of your gutters to allow rainwater through while blocking debris. These are easy for DIY installation, though the larger the holes in the screen, the more chance for fine debris to filter through. Also, when not installed correctly, they can be blown off your roof in heavy wind.

micro mesh gutter guard
Photo Credit: LeafsOut

What Are Micro-Mesh Gutter Guards?

Micro-mesh gutter guards are similar to screens, except that they have tiny openings almost invisible to the naked eye. Mostly made from stainless steel, these gutter guards are durable and practical but are also more expensive.

What Are The Benefits of Gutter Guards?

Gutter Guards Reduce Water Damage

Gutter guards offer several significant benefits that can protect your home from potentially severe damage. Most importantly, expertly installed gutter guards will help avoid overflows, which will likely cause damage to the fascia or soffit boards around your roof. Also, gutter guards will safely and effectively move water away from the landscaping around the foundation of your house. Even if your home is appropriately graded, water can cause puddles to form, which subsequently can lead to leaks and expensive water damage. Gutter guards can also prevent leaks from occurring into your roof or attic, which could potentially damage your insulation and lead to costly repairs. 

Gutter Guards Help Greywater Systems

Gutter guards can act as the first part of a filtering system for homeowners with a cistern connected to their gutter and downspout system. This is especially important if you plan on using the rainwater you harvest for potable, household use. In this sense, gutter guards can help extend the filtering system's effectiveness and longevity connected to your cistern. 

Gutter Guards Reduce Fire, Pest, and Ice Risks

Gutter guards can also play an essential role in reducing the vulnerability of your home to fire damage. Dry leaves, twigs, and other debris that collect in your gutters only need one small spark or ember to lead to a potentially devastating fire. Similarly, the collection of twigs and leaves in your gutters can offer a cozy home for mice and other common household pests. Gutter guards can thus serve as a type of natural pest control around the eaves of your house. Gutter guards can help alleviate ice dam problems during winter by preventing debris accumulation in your gutters.

What Are The Best Gutter Guard on the Market?

There are hundreds of companies offering all different types of gutter guards for your home and roof. The best kind of gutter guard for your particular home will depend on your budget, the climate where you live, and how you deal with the rainwater falling on your roof. Nonetheless, the gutter guard products reviewed below are high-quality, durable products that will offer the benefits mentioned above.

Raindrop Gutter Guard
Raindrop Gutter Guard. Photo Credit: Raindrop

Raindrop Gutter Guard

Raindrop has been manufacturing high-performance gutter guards since 1999. This "grid" system is made from polypropylene with added UV stabilizers. They're effective at keeping your gutters free from debris while allowing maximum water capacity to pass into the gutter system.

LeafGuard Gutter Guard
LeafGuard Gutter Guard. Photo Credit: LeafGuard

Leaf Guard Gutter Guards

Leaf Guard is a one-piece, seamless, covered gutter. The lack of attached pieces means that the product is more durable. On the downside, you will need to replace your gutter. However, many installation companies will guarantee to clean out the gutters if they become clogged over time. This product is installed at the perfect angle to allow for optimum water intake. 

A-M Gutter Guards Ebay
A-M Gutter Guards. Photo Credit: Ebay

A-M Seamless Gutters

These gutter guards are manufactured with an innovative bubbled filtration system. The system allows rainwater to pass through while leaving debris to dry and blow away. When properly installed, these gutter guards are virtually maintenance-free. They will let the accumulated debris blow away in winds as low as five miles per hour. You will not need to replace your existing gutters, and these gutter guards have a 25-year guarantee. 

So if you are concerned about clogged gutters and do not want to clean them yourself - or hire someone to do it - gutter guards are worth considering. Preventing water damage can help you extend your home's life, save money, and lots of headaches down the road!

Disclaimer: This article does not constitute a product endorsement however Rise does reserve the right to recommend relevant products based on the articles content to provide a more comprehensive experience for the reader.Last Modified: 2022-01-19T02:48:52+0000
Tobias Roberts

Article by:

Tobias Roberts

Tobias runs an agroecology farm and a natural building collective in the mountains of El Salvador. He specializes in earthen construction methods and uses permaculture design methods to integrate structures into the sustainability of the landscape.