Gutter guards are products that address the very reason this season is called “Fall.” Besides tumbling temperatures, it’s the time of year when beautiful fall foliage assembles into a rotted rooftop mess, clogging gutters from coast to coast.
Whether you clean your gutters yourself, or invest in one of the many types of gutter guards, one thing is certain: cleaning your gutters is a good idea. Besides allowing water to overflow in a heavy rain, there are a dozen or more severe home defects that can be caused by blocked gutters, including flooded basements and cracked foundations.
Basement Waterproofing Do-it-yourself gutter cleaning is simple enough, but it can be a dangerous job for the untrained weekend warrior. In the alternative, there are many types of gutter guard systems on the market to choose from, and all of them offer some sort of protection for your gutter at different costs.
For starters, hardware stores and home centers sell simple plastic or metal screens that cost as little as .50 per foot. But premium gutter guards are also available. These can cost as much as $25 per foot, including labor and materials, and generally are only available through an authorized dealer.
So how do you select the right gutter protection system for your needs? Here’s a primer on the seven different types of gutter guards available.
Reverse curve: Gutter Helmet features a nose-forward design that claims to prevent leaves and debris from entering the gutter system by channeling rainwater around the nose-forward panel and through a small, 3/8-inch horizontal slit. Gutter Helmet is installed to match the exact pitch of the roof to assist the principles of gravity and surface tension in allowing rainwater to flow into the gutter while leaves and debris to fall to the ground below.
Mesh: Gutterglove Gutterguard, one of the more advanced mesh type of gutter protection systems on the market, claims to keep out all debris — including sand — and that you will never have a clogged gutter or downspout again. Made from a super fine stainless steel mesh (8,100 holes per square inch), and a hardened anodized aluminum frame, Gutterglove slides under the roof shingles and fastens to the front lip of your existing gutter. Gutterglove is also widely used on rainwater collection systems due to its ability to filter out all debris from the gutters before the rainwater flows to the rain collection tanks.
Nylon: Flo-Free Leaf Guard is made of 3/4-inch thick industrial strength nylon that fits into the gutter without attaching to the shingles. Flo-Free comes in several sizes and claims to eliminate winter ice dams by not allowing snow to accumulate in the gutter yet allowing water to flow through the product into the gutter even in the coldest of climates. Flo-Free does not affect the roof shingles and allows the entire mouth of the gutter to accept rainwater.
Non-gutter cover: Rainhandler replaces conventional gutters with ¾-inch-wide aluminum louvers that have the appearance of an open Venetian blind. As the rain comes off your roof, Rainhandler’s seven angled louvers break up the heavy sheet of water into small drops. These drops are deflected away from the house where they fall harmlessly to the ground in a two- to three-foot band. Pricing starts at $23.90 for a standard five-foot section of Rainhandler.
Feel free to contact us to ask about these gutter guards as well as the many other types on the market. But the question is – are gutter guards really worth it? Like most home improvement adventures, it comes down to cost and convenience. While premium gutters guards can be costly, most are effective and a bargain when you add in the cost of any emergency room visits necessitated when adding your own personal spin on the season known as Fall!