Recently Updated for 2019 —
Its is a simple fact that gutters and downspouts end up getting debris in them over time, and that debris needs to be cleaned out on a regular basis in order to avoid more serious problems down the line. So many people wonder if gutter covers are a solution to the problem since these types of products claim to be able to slow down or even stop debris from getting into your gutters. In an ideal world, this would mean less frequent gutter cleaning.
Unfortunately, this isn’t an ideal world, and no matter what claims they make to the contrary, gutter guards (screens – helmets – covers) are not worth the investment. In fact, they are a product you are going to spend money on that will actually end up costing you more money in regards to what you spend for your rain gutter cleaning and repairs. Not exactly a solid product to be investing in when you think of it that way.
Different Types Of Gutter Guards
Why Don’t Gutter Covers Work?
The main reason that gutter Covers fail to work is that the sheer amount of debris that they are exposed to cannot possibly be filtered out effectively enough to make them worth having. Can properly installed gutter guards reduce the frequency that you have to have your gutters cleaned? In theory, they could, and sometimes they actually do. But the problem here is you never really know what is going on unless you get up there and take a look.
It’s much harder to inspect your gutter system to see if there are any problems when you have gutter guards that are covering them. So while they may seem to be working, you may actually have a buildup of debris in your gutters that you have no way of seeing. That build up can lead to some serious problems, and those types of problems can be quite expensive.
Going back to the primary problem with gutter guards, the fact that there is so much debris that they are exposed to makes failure an inevitability. While they may block out some of the larger things that can get into your gutters like leaves, they are far less effective against smaller debris such as dirt, insects, pine needles, and anything else of that nature. Over time these smaller types of debris will penetrate the gutter guards and will end up starting to block your gutters.
Before you know it you have a blockage, which can lead to expensive damage. The bottom line is that gutter guards or screens may slow down the rate that your rain gutters end up being blocked, but they can’t stop it from happening.
Leaf Gutter Guards Can Cause Water To Bypass Your Gutters Entirely
Rain gutters are designed so that they can take the uncontrolled flow of water from a rainstorm and channel it in a way that protects your home and lawn from damage. During light rainfall, gutter guards don’t usually interfere with this process. However, during a heavy storm, the amount of water that is coming down often proves to be problematic in regards to gutter guards.
Since gutter covers and gutter guards are designed to keep debris out using a physical barrier, that barrier also inevitably deflects away some water. When there is a lot of water coming down then what is normally a minimal amount of deflected water can suddenly become a problematic amount of water flowing in an uncontrolled manner.
Essentially gutter covers can prevent your gutters from doing what they are meant to do in the first place.
Gutter Helmets Add More Weight And Strain To Your Gutter System
The second problem with thinking that gutter covers won’t add that much weight to your gutter system is that it’s not the gutter covers themselves that are the primary problem. The primary problem is the buildup of debris that they may be hiding. If you have debris in your gutters then this is, even more, weight and strain on the fascia. During winter months this can be even more problematic since that unseen debris can block the flow of water, and in doing so can allow ice to build up.
Since this ice may be concealed under the gutter helmets you may not even be aware that there is a problem brewing. Not only can this lead to expensive repairs, it creates a dangerous situation since a failing gutter filled with ice can lead to significant injuries.
How Much Do Gutter Guards Cost?
One of the most aggravating things about gutter guards is not only that they aren’t effective at all, it’s also that they can be quite expensive. Think about it, would you ever pay a lot of money for any other type of product knowing that the product you are paying for doesn’t work. Not only do gutter guards not work, they almost invariably make things worse.
They cause strain on your gutter and downspout system that ends up causing damage, which leads to costly repairs. So when you pay to have gutter guards put in you are paying money to a company so that they can cause you to end up paying more money for maintenance and repair than you would normally have to pay. Doesn’t make a lot of sense does it?
So, getting back to the actual cost, in general terms you are probably looking at paying around $7.50 to $10 per linear foot of gutter guard installed. That may not seem like a lot, but considering the average home has over 200 feet of rain gutters you could be looking at a bill of around $1,500 to $2,000.
That’s not a small amount of money. It looks even worse when you take into account the fact that you are paying for a product that will make things worse for you. The bottom line here is that if you pay all of this money to have gutter screens installed, then you are literally throwing your money away.
Gutter Screens Give You A False Sense Of Security Which Often Leads To Gutter Damage
One of the major pitfalls of having gutter screens or gutter guards installed is that they often give you a false sense of security. Many people think that having these types of devices installed means that their gutters are now impervious to being penetrated by debris. That leads to neglect, which always leads to problems.
Gutter guards may slow the amount of debris that actually makes it into your gutter and downspout system. They may, but they don’t necessarily even do this. The point here is that even if the amount of debris that penetrates the gutter screens is lower than what would normally get into your gutters, that reduced level of debris is still going to cause problems.
Since many people think that gutter screens protect their gutters from debris, they live in a state of blissful ignorance little realizing that there is a problem brewing. Then before you know it that problem rears its ugly head. This can take the form of a gutter failing, or collapse. These are not only problems because of the damage they cause to your home, they are also hazards.
If someone is on your property and your rain gutter fails and lands on them, chances are pretty good you are going to be found liable in a lawsuit. This is especially true if it can be shown that you let your rain gutters fall into a state of disrepair, which often happens when they are ignored by homeowners due to the presence of gutter guards and the false sense of security they provide.
While the prospect of a catastrophic failure of your gutter and downspout system is bad, it’s actually a better scenario than having unseen damage for a long period of time. If your gutter system ends up damaged it can and will allow rainwater to get into places in your home that are not meant to have any moisture in them. This can lead to structural damage and the growth of toxic black mold.
The worst part of this type of scenario is that the gutter screens you installed may help to prevent you from noticing that there is a problem in the first place. So once again gutter screens prove that they are not only ineffective, they can end up costing you a lot of money in repair work.
Leaf Guards Make A Gutter Cleaning Job Up To Five Times More Expensive
When you hire someone to do any kind of job the amount of money that they charge is going to be directly related to the amount of work that they are going to do. So it should make sense that gutter cleaning cost is going to be higher when you have leaf guards. How much higher? Believe it or not, it can cost up to five times as much to have your gutters cleaned if you have gutter guards or leaf guards installed.
Five times as much can add up very quickly. Especially since even with gutter guards you really should have your gutters inspected and cleaned on a regular basis. So in essence when you install leaf gutter guards you are installing an ineffective product that will cost you more money to have something as simple as gutter cleaning done. That’s not exactly the kind of product people should be jumping at the chance to buy, but for some reason they are.
So why exactly does it cost so much more to have your gutters cleaned if you have gutter guards installed? It’s simple, to effectively clean your gutter and downspout system those leaf guards are going to have to be removed. When you are dealing with hundreds of feet of gutter guards that is a lot of work. Not only do they have to be removed, once the job is done they have to go back on.
That’s more labor, which is, of course, going to end up costing you more money. You can’t expect a company to charge the same amount of money for doing more work, so if you make the mistake of having gutter guards installed you shouldn’t be surprised when your gutter cleaning bill comes back a lot higher than you expected.
Not only will gutter cleaning be more expensive when you have gutter guards installed, gutter repairs are going to be as well. You are dealing with the same basic principle, in order to repair a damaged gutter, the gutter guards are going to have to be removed and then put back on.
In the event that you have a gutter system failure that is not expected, you are going to end up having to pay to have the rest of your gutter guards removed and put back on so that the gutter repair company has the opportunity to inspect everything else to ensure that there isn’t any more damage that they aren’t aware of.
Gutter Guards Are Prone To Be Damaged
Another major and common complaint that people have when they install gutter guards is that gutter guards and other similar types of devices are prone to be damaged. If they become damaged then suddenly a device that wasn’t 100% effective in the first place is now even less effective. The main problem here is that it doesn’t even take anything out of the ordinary in order to cause significant damage to your gutter guards.
Putting up Christmas lights and lean a ladder on them? Well, then there’s a good chance you will dent or distort them. Climbing up to inspect your gutters and act like a responsible homeowner? Well, once again the simple act of leaning a ladder on your gutter guards can damage them. So not only are gutter guards ineffective, they are easily damaged. That means more money out of your pocket to repair something that you really shouldn’t have in your home in the first place.
The Final Verdict On Gutter Guards
So What Is A Better Option?
Honestly, the best option you have for dealing with gutter guards is not to deal with them at all. The idea behind gutter screens is to reduce the number of gutter cleaning jobs that have to be performed in your home. This will theoretically save you money. The problem with this approach is that it won’t save you money. Gutter guards will end up costing you more money to have that not had them.
A gutter cleaning job done by a professional gutter cleaning company is not that expensive in the first place. When you compare this cost to the cost of having gutter guards installed, it should become clear quickly that gutter guards are not worth it. They are expensive, ineffective, easily damaged, and don’t even do what they are supposed to do. That really is a clear example of a product that is for lack of a better word junk.
Are Gutter Covers a good investment?
That question has a simple answer, and that answer is no. An investment is something that should give you a financial benefit, and gutter guards, gutter screens, and other such devices do the exact opposite of this. They don’t save you money, they cost you money.
So if you are thinking of getting gutter guards installed in your home then don’t do it. They won’t do what they claim to be able to do, and they can end up costing you a lot of money. That’s the definition of a bad investment right there. Instead of throwing your money away on gutter guards make the smart decision and spend your money in a better way by hiring a professional and reputable gutter cleaning company to service your gutters on a regular basis.
The cost really is quite minimal, and the benefits you receive is well worth it. If you are ready to use your money in a more responsible way, then call a professional gutter cleaning company today and forget about having gutter guards installed.