Many homeowners opt to install gutter guards or gutter helmets in an effort to improve the function of their existing gutters and to make their home more maintenance free. But installing the wrong type of gutter guard may actually be worse than just leaving them open and here's why.
Most gutter guards on sale at local hardware stores or big box home improvement retailers trap debris in screens or wire mesh, are loose fitting and move out of place allowing debris to enter gutters, and are designed to fit underneath the shingles lifting the bottom edge of the roof.
What to avoid when shopping for a gutter guard or gutter helmet:
1. Steel or metal used in the construction of gutter guard- It is only a matter of time before gutter guards are metal rust. Not only do the gutter guards turn rust color red, they can also stain your gutters and lower sections of roofing.
2. Wire mesh or screen- Wires and screens seem like a good idea at first but quickly lose their appeal when tree debris and leaves become lodged in them. Wire mesh is almost always a perfect size for that maple tree helicopter looking for a place to land and sprout.
3. Colored plastic gutter guards- This type of gutter is meant to be seen from and is therefore made a color, usually white or brown. They also almost always clip onto the front of the gutter and slip under the shingle. Over time, expansion and contraction of the plastic and the gutter causes the gutter guard to dislodge allowing "stuff" to enter under the rest of the gutter guard and head towards the drain. This type of gutter guard is very hard to keep in place.
4. Any type of gutter that is difficult to remove, repair, or replace- Gutter guards aren't rocket science, avoid high priced, difficult to repair gutter guards that can only be installed by the "Trained Professional" and that don't allow any view of the inside of the gutter. These types of gutter helmets make it impossible to inspect the inside of a gutter and create a nice place for birds to build nests. We pull birds nests and other debris out of the "best of the best" gutter helmets each year.
5. Foam style gutter guards- Black foam style gutter guards are terrible for a number of reasons but two big ones are that they don't even come close to working and tree debris that lands on them will eventually sprout in the foam leaving you worse than if you had no gutter guard at all.
Well enough about what you shouldn't look for in a gutter guard, here is a list of things you should look for if you are serious about maintaining clean gutters with no effort.
1. The gutter guard should be made of all alluminum. It won't rust and it will last as long as your gutter will, which are most likely made of aluminum as well.
2. Perforated holes that allow water to enter gutters but that keep tree stuff out. Debris from oak trees, helicopters or wirly gigs from maple trees and even pine needles find it very tough to get into small perforated holes. And if they are small enough to get through the perforated hole, they are small enough to get washed out through the downspout.
3. Look for gutter guards that sit flat in the gutter and is not visible from the ground. It will work on both shingle and metal roofs and won't have to fit under the shingles.
4. A gutter guard should allow you to visually inspect the inside of your gutter by simply looking in. This keeps sunlight in the gutters and keeps birds and other pest from nesting there. It also allows you to see into the gutter, should you have a problem.
5. Last but not least, pick a gutter guard that doesn't take a genus to install, repair, or replace. Gutter helmets that function well are usually simple and efficient in design and can be removed easily if the need arises.
Gutter guards or gutter helmets can be a great investment or a total waste of money. Use your best judgement and the advice from this blog to choose the right gutter guard for your home.
To learn more read Best Gutter Guard For The Money.