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Is Gutter Protection Necessary?

If you have been to a home show or are interested in home renovation, you have probably seen gutter protection options before. But are they really necessary? The short answer is, no. If you don’t mind cleaning out your gutters seasonally or whenever a problem arises, then you can get by without gutter guards just fine. However, if you would like to spend less time maintaining your home and would like to invest in your home’s value, gutter protection systems are a wonderful invention.

Why Gutter Guards?

ME Before and After PinsGutter guards can help you save time by not needing to exert effort in cleaning your gutters - a task that can be especially tedious in the fall, or if you have a multi-story home. They also bring a great level of protection to your home. Even if you have been meaning to clean the gutters, an unexpected rain or storm can cause great damage to your home if your gutters were not prepared properly. A scenario like this could cause water damage to your roof, walls, siding, foundation, or your lawn and landscape. Another, less thought of protection gutter guards provide is protection to your health. Climbing tall ladders is a risk, and may be a greater risk depending on a person’s physical ability. Gutter protection systems can keep you from spending time on a ladder unnecessarily.

 

Comparing Gutter Protection Systems

Making a decision on what type of gutter protection system is right for your home is a fairly easy process as the products available are drastically different in their appearance and in the function. The three main types of gutter protection are screens, reverse curve (also called surface tension), and mesh gutter guards. Let’s compare these options.

 

Screen Gutter Guards

Screen gutter guards are just as they sound - a wire or plastic grid screen that goes over the top of your gutter and prevents large debris such as leaves and sticks from entering your gutter. These are incredibly easy to install and slip under the lip of the roof to fit across the top of the gutter. They are the most inexpensive option as well. However, since they are simply slipped into place, they may easily become loose or even get knocked off the gutter by larger debris. Screen gutter guards are also made of a less durable material than other options and are more prone to breaking with normal wear and tear.


The biggest benefit of the screen gutter guards is the price, while some drawbacks would be the short lifespan and the potential to still have clogged gutters since they allow smaller debris through the screen holes. Cleaning screen guards is not as easy as you might hope, as debris can become caught in the screen and have to be picked out or even removed to clean out the smaller debris that has passed through the screen into the gutter itself. If smaller debris such as evergreen needles, seeds, or pods is a current challenge in your gutters, the screen protectors will not help these issues.


Reverse Curve or Surface Tension Gutter Guards

These types of gutter protection are made of either metal or plastic. Unlike a screen guard, water doesn’t flow through them into the gutter. Instead, the water is redirected over the top and then down into the gutter. Instead of a screen stopping the leaves, twigs, and dirt, these flow over the top of the guard and off onto the ground, while the water’s surface tension properties allow it to flow into the gutter.

Installation for these types of guards is trickier than the mesh because they must be at the correct angle to function correctly, and also must be connected to the fascia. If the slope of the guard doesn’t match the slope of the roof, debris can become caught, and water may not enter the gutter at all, instead flowing onto the side of your house. In large rainfall events, these can also be less effective, as water may shoot quickly over the edge and miss the gutter if the volume or velocity is too great. Some small debris also may enter the gutter, but usually is small enough to wash out on its own. These gutter guards are also more likely to be visible on the side of your home. Because of their long-lasting material and style, they are the more expensive option.


Mesh Gutter Guards

A similar concept to screen gutter guards, mesh options fit over the tops of gutters and utilize a screen to prevent debris from entering the gutter, while letting water to run through. However, mesh gutter guards have a much smaller, tighter grid pattern so that almost 100% of debris is kept out of the gutter - even as small as dust and sand particles. Mesh guards may be installed in a few different ways, depending on the particular brand, but most are either slipped under the edge of the roof, snap-on or can be installed to attach to the fascia.

These mesh options range in their material type and may be constructed of plastic, metal, mesh, and even stainless steel. Some mesh options are a very fine material, that may be similar to a window screen. These are prone to tearing from ice or large debris. But other mesh options are very sturdy and may even outlive your gutters themselves.

The mesh option is a more expensive option than screen guards, but this is logical considering their longer lifespan and higher function at debris blockage. Cleaning mesh guards is usually as simple as spraying a hose across the top of the mesh. In some cases, mesh guards may even strengthen your gutters’ attachment to your home, if the installation includes attaching the mesh to the fascia. This makes your gutters even more prepared for snow and ice events that may place strain on your gutters.


We Recommend GutterGekko Gutter Guards

GutterGekkogekkomesh2 is a product from Quality Edge - the same company that is our top choice for siding. They do a great job of placing priority on the materials their products are made from and making sure they are built to last for your home. GutterGekko is a mesh style of gutter guard, made of surgical grade stainless steel. It’s mesh openings are 440 microns in size, so it can keep out even the smallest of particles, while still letting water flow through at 60 gallons per minute! That means you don’t have to worry about downpours- your gutters and gutter guards can handle it. This balance of the perfect sized openings in the mesh solves the problem many other gutter guard options have - either too large of holes that let debris into your gutter, or too small of holes that don’t let water in quick enough.


Because the mesh is such high quality, you don’t need to worry about cleaning your gutters frequently, or sometimes, at all. Simply spraying off the tops of the mesh guards with a hose or spray wand is enough, and this doesn’t need to be done frequently. The attachment of the mesh to your gutter is also incredibly strong, so wind and weather will not have an effect. GutterGekko uses a patented hemming process to do this. If you are looking at other options, beware of any that use glue, caulk, or crimping to attach the mesh into the guard body, because these are much more likely to fail.

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The GutterGekko product also has unique solutions for areas of your roof that have an even higher run-off, such as inside roof valleys. They utilize a mitered piece specifically designed for this area of your roof. The end cap pieces that cover the ends of the gutters also serve as extra protection for your gutters by keeping animals and birds from nesting there. Overall, GutterGekko delivers all of the functionality and durability at a more affordable price, with several added benefits and protection for your home! Learn more and watch the GutterGekko guard in action in this video.

 

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