What are Gutter Guards, and How Can You Benefit From Using Them?

Gutters are one of the most important things that you can have protecting your home. This water discharge system prevents erosion and flooding and protects your foundation and sliding. Fortunately, the benefits of gutters are well known. However, many do not also realize just how valuable gutter guards are as well.

What are Gutter Guards?

Just like gutters protect your home in a number of ways, gutter guards protect those gutters. You want rainwater to enter your gutters and be diverted where you want it to be diverted. However, that's the only thing that you want to be in those gutters. Gutter guards ensure that that is as close to being the case as possible. Their mesh-like appearance keep all but the smallest objects from getting into your gutters.

Benefits of Gutter Guards

Without this type of protection, your gutters are going to likely be filled with things blocking and pooling the water. Examples include leaves, plants, broken tiles and tennis balls. As a result of this occurring, you would need to spend a considerable amount of time and money clearing them out.

  • One of the other benefits that you'd enjoy after installing these is keeping mice, birds, squirrels and bats from breeding in your gutters. This is done partially by lack of access thanks to the gutter guards keeping them out and partially by this form of protection minimizing how much stagnant water that you may otherwise have had in your gutters. Also note that animals that are able to enter your gutters may also be able to secure a way into your home from there.

  • Another point to consider related to the dangers of stagnant water is the possibility of that water freezing in the winter and resulting in even more of a logjam within your gutters than what had already occurred.

  • Meanwhile, if you start to have a buildup of leaves, twigs and other flammable material in your gutters, that could create a fire hazard, particularly if you live in an area that's prone to wildfires. An ember that has flown through the air before landing on those leaves that have gathered in your gutter could spark a fire.

  • Conversely, if you live in a particularly humid area, wet leaves and other material could cause a considerable amount of rust and other forms of corrosion to occur inside your gutters. 

Regardless of the damage and buildup caused by unprotected guards, also take into account that needing to spend a considerable amount of time thoroughly cleaning unprotected ones is often dangerous. Not only is extensive time on your ladder or roof dangerous, but you also risk coming across things like animals' fecal matter or the animals themselves.

Installing Gutter Guards

If you're looking to install these yourself, take these tips into consideration before starting. Incorrectly installed ones could actually worsen the situation.

  • Before you make a purchase, measure the guards to ensure that they'll fit your gutters at home. Also consider which type to purchase. Many prefer the snap-on ones. Another important decision is whether to go with plastic or metal. Plastic is more affordable but doesn't last as long.

  • Clean your gutters prior to starting the installation process. Straighten out dents, and check that the gutters are snug against the fascia. Rinse them out to both complete the cleaning process and to ensure that they're working as intended, that rainwater will be going exactly where you would want it to go. Once this step is complete, wait until they've dried.

  • Consider combining sections of your gutter guard while they're still on the ground so that you can limit your time on the ladder, but only do this if it won't then make it dangerously awkward to lift.|

  • Use gutter guard fasteners for guards that are being installed in particularly windy areas. 

Maintaining Gutter Guards

Even though the amount of maintenance that you'll need to do with your gutter guards in place is a small fraction of what's necessary for unprotected gutters, there will still be some that must be done. Some things to watch out for are tiny objects impacting your gutters such as insects, seeds, pollen, needles and dust.

Although there is a sacrifice to be made in installing gutter guards, the benefits outweigh those sacrifices in nearly all cases. Your gutters will be much more protected than they were before, and the maintenance that you'll need to do to keep them working well will be minimal as compared to before.