Nothing is more destructive than water damage.
Every year, about one in 50 insured homes files a claim for property damage caused by water.
Water damage can start in many areas of your home and from a variety of things. If you head to the top – your roof – that’s where the real trouble can begin. If your shingles have sustained damage, water can seep in. If the flashing around your chimney pulls away, water can leak in.
But what about your rain gutters? Are they part of the problem, too?
When your home was built, gutters were attached at the edges of the roofline to protect your home from damage. When everything is working correctly, water flows down your roof, into the gutters, where it moves through the gutter system, and eventually away from the foundation of your home.
If installed properly, your gutter system works flawlessly. As time goes by, the system can start to fail.
Regular home maintenance means getting up on your roof and cleaning out the gutters. It’s not a fun job. In fact, it’s downright messy … and dangerous. Disintegrating leaves can turn into piles of muck that get stuck. Add in bird’s nests, feathers, twigs, insects, and the problems can increase tenfold.
The natural instinct for many homeowners is to install gutter guards. And in theory, the idea is perfect. They are specially designed to cover up the gutter and allow the drainage system to flow freely.
But as a rain gutter installation service provider, we can tell you there are more problems with most rain gutters than solutions.
If you do a search for gutter guards, you’ll find most information that touts their benefits are from dealers and manufacturers. Of course, they want to push the benefits; they sell them.
When you dig deep and look at what roofing experts recommend, you’ll find lots of information on the problems they create.
The Different Types Of Gutter Guards On The Market
Before we discuss the problems in detail, let’s look at the different types of gutter guards on the market. There are five primary gutter guard systems used today:
Brush – Upright bristles that catch and hold debris and prevent them from clogging the drainage system.
Foam – Used to prevent debris from accumulating in the drainage system while still allowing water to filter around and flow properly.
Mesh – Sheets of metal with tiny holes that act as a filter to prevent debris from entering the gutter.
Nylon – Used in cold areas for its effectiveness to prevent heavy buildup of snow.
Reverse Curve – Prevents falling debris from accumulating while channeling water away from the roofline.
In general, a gutter guard either screens out debris and prevents it from accumulating, or it is built into the gutter in such a way as to make the system more efficient.
As roofing specialists, we’ve seen and worked with homes that have gutter guards, so if they’re working for your home, don’t mess with success as the key is in keeping your home safe and dry.
But if you have problems, or you’re considering upgrading your roof and wondering what gutter system to install, there are two things to consider.
Most Gutter Guard Systems Only Solve One Problem
When gutter guard systems are installed on a home, the purpose is to keep leaves and debris from accumulating in the gutter system and stopping water from flowing down and away from the structure. They do that on some level.
Gutter guards protect your roof line. They are designed to fit around your home on all edges, preventing debris from accumulating in the most obvious places. But that doesn’t stop gravity. Gutter guards do nothing to impact the rest of the system. Debris can still accumulate down around your foundation, where the gutter system is installed to drain and pull water away from your home.
Gutter Guards Can Increase Other Concerns
Here in the Pacific Northwest, trees are in abundance. Protecting the gutter system from leaves is a big concern.
But there is also another problem that can potentially harm your gutter system: moisture. No matter how hard they try, most gutter guards don’t protect from all debris falling into the system. It can also prevent moisture from escaping and evaporating. Over time, biological growth can start growing. Because it never has a chance to dry out, it keeps accumulating, furthering the possibility of leaks and cracks throughout the system. That gives the opportunity for water damage to occur and seep in through various places of your home, including at your roof line, causing potentially significant damage.
What Should You Do Instead?
Which brings us back to the original question: Should you be using gutter guards on your home?
There is no such thing as a perfect solution. Every product you can install has its list of pros and cons.
It’s crucial to have gutters installed to control water and direct it away from your home. That’s what keeps your home warm, safe, and dry. It’s also important to realize that no matter what system you select, there will be home maintenance involved down the road. While your focus should be on prevention, you should also ensure the method you select is easy to clean and maintain, too.
As a rain gutter installation service provider, we ensure our customers have an efficient system to do what it does best. We make sure your gutters are easy to clean, easy to maintain, and have important features that keep the drainage system as operational as possible. We’ve also found that gutter guards often cause more problems than they solve.