Should I Install Gutter Guards? 7 FAQs Answered

Residential | February 3, 2021  | By: John Esh

Keeping your home or business’s gutter system clear is integral to the performance of your drainage system. Cleaning your gutters can be a messy, time consuming, and dangerous chore if you’re not trained and practiced. If you don’t clean your gutters, they can overflow and water cannot drain properly, potentially causing foundation issues from overflowing water.

Thankfully, you don’t need to grab your ladder, leaf blower, or trowel. Consider installing gutter guards! Continue reading to learn more about what gutter guards are and find answers to frequently asked questions – then decide whether gutter guards are right for you!

Gutter guards prevent debris from clogging your gutter system. In turn, this decreases the likelihood of your home facing gutter detachment or foundational issues caused by gutter overflow

What are gutter guards?

A gutter guard, also known as a gutter cover, is a material with small holes that cover the entire width of your gutter. This piece of hardware prevents debris from entering and clogging your gutter, but still allows water to go through.

By not allowing leaves, pine needles, twigs, and other debris into the gutter, you drastically decrease chances for clogged gutters. If your gutters become clogged, they could:

  • Tear away from the house due to weight
  • Increase your fire hazard risk with sitting debris
  • Enable animals to nest in the debris

You can regularly clean your gutters to prevent debris build up. However, considering gutter guards allows you to save time and money on maintenance and potential gutter, roof, and even building foundation damages.


Types of Gutter Guards

Hundreds of types of gutter covers exist. We have listed and described a few of the most common types, and detailed which are the most satisfactory.

Screen Gutter Guards

Screen gutter guards can either be plastic or wire grids that allow water flow but prevent materials from entering your gutter system. Depending on your tree coverage, these may not be the most effective. This is because pine needles and smaller pieces of debris can go through the holes of the cover.

Orange leaf on top of screen gutter guard

Micromesh Gutter Guards

The fine-mesh material of these gutter guards lays flat directly on the gutter and prevents larger objects and even small particles from getting into the gutter system. This keeps your gutters cleaner for longer, significantly decreasing maintenance. This is a superior gutter guard because it stops pollen, leaves, sticks, and needles from compromising your gutters.

micromesh gutter guard close up

Metal Gutter Guards

These gutter guards rely on the surface tension of the metal to keep water “adhered” to the surface of the guard. This is so the water does not shoot off the gutter, rather it goes around the nose of the guard into the gutter.

Yet, these can only be installed on roofs with a certain pitch and angle. This is because if the water comes off the roof at too high of a velocity, the surface tension of the water breaks. Instead of water following the contour of the gutter guard into the gutter, it shoots out once it hits the curve. The larger opening in these guards invites objects to enter, such as needles, leaves, and small twigs.

metal gutter guard on a brick house

This type of metal gutter guard must be installed under the bottom layer of shingles which could compromise the shingle’s adherence integrity.

Some more effective metal gutter covers exist – such as GutterRX. This is made of 98% aluminum and lays flat on the gutter with smaller hole openings.

GutterRX under the bottom layer of shingles on a roof

Brush Gutter Guards

Brush gutter guards are like giant pipe cleaners that fit in your gutters. These large bristles cause larger debris items, like leaves and twigs, to remain on top of the guard rather than into your gutter.

These are not a recommended gutter guard because while they are easy to install without a professional, they don’t stop smaller debris from getting into the gutter. You then have to take time to remove the brush guards in order to clean the materials out.

Leaves on top of brush gutter guards

Frequently Asked Questions about Gutter Guards

◾ Do you still need to clean gutters with gutter guards?

Rarely. A good gutter guard should work for many years with zero maintenance. Experts would recommend checking on your gutter cover status every couple years to ensure the effectiveness.

The better the system, the less frequent the cleaning. However, smaller debris may build up over time in your gutters and would need to be hosed out.

◾ How long do gutters guards last?

About 20 years. Some manufacturers have warranties from 20 years, such as GutterRX, all the way to 30+ years. This variation will depend on the material the gutter guard is made of (aluminum lasts longer than bristles for example). The quality of your selected gutter guard system can fluctuate the lifespan expectancy. If your gutters and gutter guards face a lot of debris, water, and moss build up, this could limit how long the gutter guards last.

◾ How are gutter guards installed?

The gutter guard is fastened or clipped to the front edge of the gutter. Then, for metal gutter covers, the other side of the gutter guard will slide under the bottom layer of shingles. Other types of gutter guards just rest on the rear portion of the gutter.

◾ Do you need to replace your gutters when you get gutter guards?

Possibly. If the gutters are in good standing, you do not need to install new gutters. If this is the case, the existing gutters should be thoroughly cleaned and all joints should be re-sealed. However, if the gutters are showing signs of aging and deterioration, your roofing professional should recommend your entire gutter system be replaced.

◾ Do I only need gutter guards if I have heavy tree coverage around my house?

No. Gutter guards can prevent more objects than just falling leaves from clogging your gutters. However, if the end of your roof is 200 feet or less away from trees, gutter guard installation would be strongly advised.

◾ Do gutter guards cause ice dams?

No. Typically, ice dams are formed from issues with your roof, such as poor insulation and attic ventilation. If you don’t have gutter guards and your gutters are clogged, the water cannot drain. When cold enough, the water will freeze in and/or around gutters which could contribute to ice dams.

◾ How much do gutter guards cost?

Like most roofing materials, gutter guards are priced based on how many feet you need. If you are going to have a roofing professional install them for you, you can expect about $4-12/foot.

More expensive doesn’t necessarily mean better. A very effective solution like GutterRX or Xtreme can be $6-8/foot and perform.

Joyland Roofing Is Ready To Help!

Should you be in Lancaster County, PA, or in the surrounding areas, we can help. We can evaluate your current gutter system and make a recommendation based on our consultation.

Let’s get to know each other! 717-459-3499

Speak with a roofing expert at Joyland Roofing


    Pennsylvania Home Improvement Contractor License (HIC) # PA124258