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Are gutter guards worth it? The answer is yes. The main problem with gutter systems is inevitable clogging from twigs, dirt from the roof, and tree branches. In such cases, the gutters will still collect water, but it will not drain the downspouts, leading to many other problems, including structural damage.

Repair and cleaning of the eavestrough regularly is the only way to avoid spending money to fix repairs that arise from clogging. However, climbing a ladder and dedicating enough time for such cleanups also has many challenges. In addition, you might fall and get injured or damage the sections around the roof edge in the process of cleaning. Hiring a professional cleaning crew is a safer and more convenient option, but it is costly.

A lasting solution is finding the best gutter guards that will eliminate the need for cleaning without interfering with water flow in the eavestroughs. Gutter maintenance will still be necessary even with the gutter guards in place, but debris will not build up.

So, do gutter guards work? Various gutter guard types are available, and choosing the right one will prove they do.

1. Screens Gutter Guards

Screen gutter guards are the most popular in Toronto. There are various types available with different installation methods. For example, you can slide them under the roof shingles on edge or drop them into the gutter. However, these gutter guards are mostly suitable for areas where dry leaves are the main issue. The screens have slightly larger openings that can allow other debris like pine needles into the eavestrough, which means you will still have to remove the cover to clean the gutter. In addition, some debris, including leaves, may get stuck on the screens, and removing them may be challenging.

If your gutter systems are surrounded by trees that regularly shed dry leaves, these gutter covers will keep most of them from settling into the eavestrough. However, you will still have to schedule occasional cleaning.

Screens Gutter Guards

Key Features

  • Have five-inch-wide spaces.
  • Resistant to rusting.
  • Available in multiple lengths.
  • Mostly made with durable material like aluminum.
  • Comes with a warranty depending on the brand you buy.

Pros

  • Screen gutter guards are the most affordable type.
  • Installation is straightforward.
  • Can be found in most hardware shops.
  • They are effective in protecting the gutter from larger leaves and twigs.
  • Can be installed on roofs with old shingles, even if they are brittle.
  • Can work with any roofing material, be it wood or slate.

Cons

  • Screen guards made with plastic are susceptible to damage by natural elements like sun rays.
  • Protruding screens can be damaged by snow, wind, and tree branches.
  • Seeds and needles can still clog the gutters.
  • Clearing debris that gets lodged in the spaces is difficult.
  • High-end guards may result in dam formation.
  • They must be maintained and cleaned.
  • Very few colour options are available.

What Do Customers Say?

Despite their flaws, screen gutter guards have some of the best ratings in the region. Most homeowners who have used the covers have given great reviews attesting to their effectiveness in keeping larger detritus away from the gutter. They have also been reported to be effective in wooded areas.

There have also been reports of the gutter covers needing more maintenance than what was anticipated. Some instances include cases where pine needles got stuck in the gutter guard valleys, forcing homeowners to pay for professional cleaning multiple times within the year.

You can check the reviews of the type of screen gutter guard you are interested in buying, but remember, you may not have the same experience as other people. So consider your needs, location, and budget when considering buying one.

2. Micro or Fine Mesh Gutter Guards

With multiple installation options, the fine mesh gutter guards are similar to screen guards, but the main difference is that they are made with smaller mesh spaces. As a result, they are great at keeping smaller debris like seeds out of the gutter, but the tiniest particles like grit from the shingles can still penetrate them. Because of that, they have to be cleaned occasionally, which can be done by blowing or brushing them.

They can be installed below the shingles, but they can also be bent upwards and screwed to the fascia. The latter option enhances gutter strength by giving them the ability to withstand avalanches and snow during winter.

The most durable micro mesh gutter guards are made with stainless steel, while the ones that are susceptible to damage by ice are made with window-type materials. Stainless steel products are also resistant to corrosion or rust, making them more superior.

Micro or Fine Mesh Gutter Guards

Key Features

• The gutter guards made with stainless steel materials have longer warranties.

• Come in different sizes, especially the width.

• They do not rust.

Pros

• Only water passes through into the gutter, which provides optimal performance.

• Superior gutter covers can withstand all elements such as strong winds and ice.

• Installation is simple.

• Can work with old shingles.

• Can be installed on any roof type, including shingles, metal, shakes, and tile, among others.

• Can enhance the strength and durability of the gutter depending on the installation method used.

• Cleaning is not necessary, but it is still easy.

Cons

• These gutter guards are not easily available.

• Very few colour choices are available.

• Routine maintenance and occasional cleaning are still recommended.

What Do Customers Say?

Most customers who have reviewed these gutter guards have given at least 4 out of 5 stars, with most expressing their satisfaction with how easy the gutter covers are easy to install. You may not have to hire a professional roofer, especially if you choose brands that give installation instructions and have the right tools. The minimal maintenance the covers require was also a reported positive factor, the same as their flexibility.

On the downside, most people reported that the gutter guards prevented the passage of water during a heavy downpour, resulting in overflow.

Some specific features may differ depending on the company you choose to buy from, but in general, you will experience all the above benefits with the fine mesh gutter covers.

3. Mesh Gutter Guards

Mesh gutter guards can be compared to fine mesh covers, but they have bigger holes that allow easy water passage. They are usually attached to the roof shingles during installation and have been proven to be great at keeping debris from the gutter. Their designs also allow them to fit onto the gutters easily. Some types can be attached to the fascia instead of the shingles, while others are slipped under the bottom layer of shingles and attached directly to the gutter. They are made with plastic or mesh, which means their longevity varies.

Their main disadvantage is that some of these gutter guards are not as durable and may require regular replacement either seasonally or at least once a year.

Mesh Gutter Guards

Key Features

• The gutter guards are made with different materials, but those made of steel are resistant to rust.

• Varying sizes are available for different gutter types.

• Available in packs and are all easy to put in place.

Pros

• The gutter guards are effective in blocking debris without hindering the flow of water into the gutters.

• Installation is easy with different options available.

• Superior ones are very durable and are less likely to be damaged by natural elements like the wind.

Cons

• Although installation is easy, it is more complicated when compared to screen guards. They also come at higher prices than other gutter guard types.

• Some types of mesh guards, especially those made with plastic, are not very strong and can be easily damaged.

What Do Customers Say?

Customers differed on the ease of installing these gutter covers, with some saying it was easy and others deeming it complicated. However, the majority agree that they are easier to handle than other gutter guards suspended using fasteners. Some customers have also launched complaints about mesh gutter guards that are coated, saying they prevent water from passing through.

If you decide to buy mesh covers, choose a variety that is more suitable for your needs. Consider your budget, the type and size of gutter you have, and the average amount of rainfall your area receives in a year.

4. Surface Tension or Reverse Curve Gutter Guards

Surface tension gutter guards have a distinctive design that allows water to flow into the gutter through their curved ends. Some are made using moulded plastic and others metal sheets. Leaves and other debris easily slide off these gutter guards, especially the larger particles and bigger objects like twigs. Smaller detritus may reach the gutter, but the waterfowl design washes them off easily.

These gutter covers only work if the gutters are correctly installed. The angle of the gutters has to match the slope of the roof, which may be a problem with long gutters. If one end is not higher than the other, the junk will accumulate in the gutter and cause overflowing.

The difficult installation means you will need professional service providers to handle the surface-tension gutter guards for you. It becomes even more challenging if your roof is high-pitched. The gutter guards are also more costly than the other types and are visible from the ground. They are also easy to clean, and in most cases, they only require rinsing with a garden hose. However, heavy rainfall can lead to water pouring over them instead of flowing into the gutter.

Their ability to withstand the harshest weather conditions and keep most debris out of the gutter is their most attractive feature.

Surface Tension or Reverse Curve Gutter Guards

Key Features

  • They have a distinctive downward curve regardless of the material used to make them.
  • Must be installed at an angle.
  • Have a seamless flow and are perfectly sealed.
  • Can be problematic during winter when snow builds upon the area around the edge.

Pros

• Seamless flow keeps away most detritus.

• Multiple colour options available to blend with the roof.

• Can withstand harsh elements like snow, storms, and winds.

• Do not require a lot of maintenance, especially with proper installation.

• Most manufacturers provide a warranty for more value.

Cons

• Gutter covers are expensive and, in most cases, require expert installers, which increases the cost.

• Installation may require repositioning of the gutters.

• They are not found easily in local stores.

• They may not work on some roofs, especially those with steel, slate, tile, or wood materials, because they are heavy.

• A lot of water may end up on the ground when there is a heavy downpour.

• Snow and debris may accumulate on the opening and block water from reaching the gutter.

• They are visible from the ground, which may be less visually appealing.

What Do Customers Say?

Most people appreciate these gutter guards for the minimal maintenance and cleaning they need. Their ability to keep most junk from the gutter also makes them a popular choice, especially in areas that do not experience heavy downpours.

On the other hand, some customers complain about the high cost of the products and the bulky nature, which makes them impossible to handle as a DIY. Incompatibility with some roof types is also a concern for some customers.

5. Foam Gutter Guards

Foam gutter guards are usually placed inside the gutters, where they keep all debris from passing but allow water to seep through. They are made with blocks of highly porous foam, which is why they are good at allowing water to pass through.

These covers do not require experts to install, making them perfect for all homeowners with different roof types. They are usually packaged in smaller sections that are easy to secure and can also be modified to fit around the edges or corners. In addition, being placed inside the gutter means the foam will not be visible from the ground.

Despite their many benefits, foam guards are susceptible to damage in areas with high rainfall capacity. They can become saturated with water during a heavy downpour and will not dry quickly. When used in a humid area, they also retain high moisture content, which leads to the growth of mould and mildew within the foam pores. In such cases, the only remedy is to replace them because they cannot be repaired. Their porous nature also makes these gutter covers the thriving ground for insects and rodents that may nest in them.

Foam gutter guards are the most affordable and accessible type of cover. However, they require regular cleaning and replacements, which may end up being too costly in the long run. If you are looking for a cheaper option for a start, foam is the best choice. Being able to install them on your own can also work to your advantage.

Foam Gutter Guards

Key Features

• They are only made with foam materials.

• Can fit 4, 5, or 6-inch gutters.

• Are available in different lengths that can be trimmed to fit the gutter length.

Pros

• They are the most affordable gutter guards that can be easily installed by homeowners.

• Can be easily cut to fit into the type of gutter available regardless of their size and style.

• The porosity allows water to pass through easily, especially in areas with little rainfall but keeps debris on top.

Cons

• They do not last long.

• Debris may cling to the foam, demanding regular cleaning.

• Seeds may start to grow in the foam.

• Are not fire-resistant.

• Cleaning requires removing and reinstalling them.

What Do Customers Say?

The main feature that attracts customers to these gutter guards is the simple installation. They do not take long to put in place, and no special skills are required to prepare them. No special tools are necessary either, with most homeowners only requiring a ladder to push the foams into place.

On the other hand, most customers say the gutters become soaked after a short period. Some have also reported that debris, especially seedlings and other smaller particles, get stuck in the foam rendering them useless.

If your gutters are not near trees, or you only need a temporary solution before buying a lasting gutter cover, these gutter guards may be good for you.

6. Brush Gutter Guards

The brush gutter guards are cylindrical. They look like large pipe cleaners or bottle brushes fitted into the gutters. They are also a good option for DIY installers, but the gutters must be adequately cleaned before the guards are placed in them.

They are great at filtering large junk, which collects on top as water trickles down into the downspouts. However, since they are made with heavy-duty bristles, pine needles and similar items can get stuck in them. Cleaning them requires removing the gutter guards and manually getting rid of the waste before placing them back in.

The brush spikes also promote air circulation and help with water flow. It is the reason why these gutter guards never rust and are easy to clean. Their affordability and easy maintenance are also believed to be part of the reason why they are a favourite for homeowners.

The only possible downside of having these gutter guards is the frequent cleaning they may need as leaves get stuck between them – if left for long, they can prevent water flow.

Brush Gutter Guards

Key Features

• Brush bristles are strong and durable.

• Are available in different lengths, which do not require cutting.

• Their compact design is perfect for unprofessional installation.

Pros

• Air circulation within the brush promotes drying of the gutters.

• Easy to install because they do not require special tools. The way the pieces are packaged also simplifies the process.

• They are very affordable, and cleaning does not take much effort or time. Just remove them, shake them off, and place them back.

Cons

• Small debris can pass through the brush, and when used in areas with many trees, leaves become lodged in them more frequently.

• Regular cleaning may turn out to be tiresome because the entire gutter guard must be removed.

What Do Customers Say?

Most customers who have bought these gutter guards have been realistic with their expectations and experiences. Most understand that they can only block large debris, which means they are responsible for clearing away smaller debris from the gutters regularly. They reported rinsing away the smaller particles often. Others have chosen the gutter covers because of the lower price range and simple installation.

Many others complained about the inefficiency of the gutter guards in areas with many trees because leaves accumulate on them quickly, thereby blocking water flow.

Despite the negative reports, these gutter guards still have high ratings based on the online reviews. However, you must consider your location and how demanding maintaining them will be before buying them.