How To Decide Whether To Install Gutter Guards Or Not (Pros & Cons List!)

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Last updated on October 29th, 2022 at 06:24 pm

Are Gutter Guards Worth It? Let’s Find Out!

Wondering whether you should spend the extra money and install gutter guards? Well, look no further because I’ve got your answer!

Gutter guards help minimize gutter blockage from large debris. This reduces maintenance and prevents water damage. Plus, they can easily be installed over existing gutters at any time. While they are not fully maintenance-free and are more expensive upfront, gutter guards can be a great addition to your home.

Here is a quick list of the pros and cons of using gutter guards to protect your home:

Pros Of Installing Gutter GuardsCons Of Installing Gutter Guards
Help keep large debris out of guttersSmall debris can still get through
Saves time from less gutter maintenanceDoesn’t completely eliminate gutter maintenance
Help prevent water leaks in a home due to water pooling in guttersCan make ice damage on the roof worse
Can easily be installed over existing guttersCosts more money in the short run
Saves money over the long run

Now that you’ve seen the full list, let’s further break down each point so you can make the right decision for your situation.

Let’s dive in!

Quick Navigation: Pros & Cons Of Gutter Guards

  1. What Are The Benefits Of Using Gutter Guards?
  2. What Are The Drawbacks Of Using Gutter Guards?
  3. Other FAQs About Using Gutter Guards
  4. Final Thoughts
  5. Related Gutter & Outdoor Articles

What Are The Benefits Of Using Gutter Guards?

Here are the benefits of using gutter guards.

Benefit One: Helps Keep Large Debris Out Of Gutters

The first benefit of gutter guards is that they help keep the large debris out of the gutters.

Keeping large debris out helps water drain more easily (the whole point of gutters), so that water can more easily be directed away from the house.

Without large piles of leaves, twigs, seeds, and dirt, water can flow easily to the downspouts and away from the roof and foundation.

Also, a clear gutter will prevent rodents and birds from building nests in the gutters. Regular gutters collect all kinds of debris, making it a wonderful nesting area. 

How often should I clean my gutters with a gutter guard system
If we had gutter guards, a lot of this debris wouldn’t make it into the actual gutters.

Benefit Two: Saves Time (Less Gutter Maintenance)

The next benefit of gutter guards is that they save you time from less maintenance.

Since large items like leaves and branches will not be collected in your gutters, cleaning them won’t take as long and you won’t need to do it as often.

Water will still be able to seep beyond any debris that collects on top of the gutter guards and flow away from the home.

Now, you won’t have to worry as much about this large debris flowing to the top of the downspouts and creating a blockage that leads to other (potentially major) damage.

A quick blowing of the debris off of the top of the gutter guards will make the cleaning process go much quicker.

Whether you have gutter guards or not, though, cleaning your gutters doesn’t have to take much time at all. Quickly clean them out using the methods in my article here.

Related Gutter & Outdoor Articles

Benefit Three: Helps Prevent Water Leaks In A Home

The next benefit of gutter guards is that they help prevent major water damage from happening to your home.

Without large debris getting in the way to block the downspouts, there won’t be stagnant water within your gutters. Water left in gutters can cause major damage that can be costly to repair.

To see what happens if you don’t clean your gutters regularly, check out my article here.

Gutter guards can help prevent a lot of the damage talked about in that article because they keep the downspouts free and clear.

Benefit Four: Can Easily Be Installed Over Existing Gutters

The next benefit of gutter guards is that they can easily be installed at any point over existing gutters.

This is fantastic because you can decide to add gutter guards at any point, not just when new gutters are installed.

This way, you can save up for them instead of taking the cost burden all at once.

Do gutter guards go under the shingles
We can easily install gutter guards at any point in the future when we are ready for the expense.

Benefit Five: Saves Money Over The Long Run

The final benefit of gutter guards is that they save you money over the long run.

If you factor in the potential cost of damage that can occur from large debris blocking the gutter drainage and the cost of your time from having to clean them more frequently, then you’ll quickly find that gutter guards pay for themselves.

No more worries about the downspouts getting clogged (which are the harder parts to clean on gutters).

And when you do have to still do a little cleaning on them, it will take a quick 10 minutes to clear off the top of the gutter guards.

Lots of money and time saved over the long run!

What Are The Drawbacks Of Using Gutter Guards?

Here are the drawbacks of using gutter guards.

Drawback One: Small Debris Can Still Get Through

The first drawback of gutter guards is that small debris can still collect in the gutters.

As you can see, gutter guards won’t solve all your problems. They do block out most of the large debris, but small debris, like seeds and pine needles, can still pass through the system.

Seeds can still sprout in a gutter guard system because some dirt will still pass through.

A sprouting plant can damage your gutter guards so you will still need to watch for that, especially in the spring. 

You may not be able to get out of a late fall cleaning either because pine needles can still get through the gutter guard system, even though it wouldn’t be as many as in an uncovered gutter. 

That type of debris typically won’t block a downspout though because it can easily be flushed out with water and directed away from the house.

Should I remove gutter guards in winter
Gutter guards will still collect some debris on top, but it will help minimize the downspouts from becoming clogged and causing water to pool.

Drawback Two: Still Requires Some Time For Gutter Maintenance

The next drawback of gutter guards is that they still require some maintenance.

As discussed above, seeds that grow into plants can become a big problem, so you will still need to do some gutter cleaning, at least once in the spring and once in the fall.

Also, bear in mind that gutter guards don’t keep your roof clean. There could still be pine straw, leaves, and other debris accumulating on your roof and that would still need to be cleaned occasionally. 

However, the cleaning is MUCH QUICKER than cleaning regular gutters (as discussed above and can be seen in the video below), so this is a small disadvantage.

YouTube player

Drawback Three: Can Make Ice Damage On The Roof Worse

The next drawback of gutter guards is that they can potentially cause ice damage to the roof.

Ice can build around roof shingles on homes with a gutter guard system. Eventually, it could melt and leak into your home through a weak spot. 

Some of the ice and water issues depend on the type of gutter guard you install.

Gutter guard systems that require going under shingles are the worst for causing water damage. Choose a system that fits against the roof instead.

Additionally, gutter guards can freeze and that could amount to gutter damage if the debris in the gutter is significant enough to cause weight in the freeze.

Heated gutter guards can help resolve some of this problem but they are more expensive.

gutter guards pros and cons
Gutters will start to pull away from the house with too much weight.

Drawback Four: Costs More Money In The Short Term

The final drawback of gutter guards is that they cost more money in the short term.

Yes, gutter guards cost more money to install on top of the regular gutter installation, so it might be tempting to skip this expense.

Our home does not have gutter guards, and while the gutters aren’t terrible to clean out, they could be much easier to maintain with gutter guards.

We have a pretty low, flatter roof (our house is a ranch), so the gutters are easier to clean. If you have a tall, much more steep roof that requires a lot more work to clean, then gutter guards would be worth the extra cost to save yourself the time and headache of more frequent cleans.

While the expense can be hefty, you can always choose to install them at a later time. And any money you spend on a reasonably priced system will help protect your home for years to come.

Other FAQs About Using Gutter Guards

Here are some other frequently asked questions about gutter guards to help you make the decision on whether to use them or not!

Should I remove gutter guards in winter?

You don’t need to remove your gutter guards in the winter. However, anything metal can freeze and that may cause icicles. They will melt over the gutter guard and could cause icy patches on walkways or paths they drip onto. Be aware of this danger and remove the gutter guards if they cross over several entries into the home. 

Do gutter guards work in heavy rain?

Gutter guards can be overwhelmed in heavy rain because they restrict water flow into the gutter. Most problems occur in homes with a large roof surface. Rainwater in a heavy storm could flow over the gutter’s edge if the guard is overwhelmed. 

Do gutter guards go under the shingles?

Some gutter guard systems require to go under shingles while others don’t require it. Most roofers state to avoid those systems that require to be installed under the first row of shingles. Such an installation could ruin the water barrier on your roof and create water damage later. 

How often should I clean my gutters with a gutter guard system?

The answer depends on how many trees, and the type of trees, you have around your home. The general rule is to clean out your gutter guard system every two years. Those with a lot of large trees still may need to clean it out once a year, either in the fall or spring to eliminate pine straw or sprouting seeds.

For a more complete timeline on how often to clean out your gutters, check out my article here.

Should gutter guards be removed when replacing a roof?

Gutter guards should not be removed when replacing a roof because not all roofers know how to remove and re-install gutter guard systems. Make sure your roofer understands how to protect your gutter guard system during the roof project before you hire them.

Which type of gutter guard is best?

There are several different types of gutters guards to choose from, each with different pros and cons. Check out Architectural Digest’s article which goes over the different types to help you choose the best gutter guard system for your home.

Final Thoughts On Installing Gutter Guards

There you have it! Gutter guards might seem like an annoying extra expense for the time being, but over the long run, the amount of time and money they will save you will be worth it.

And if you don’t want to pay for them now, you can always install them later and reap the benefits.

Hopefully, this helped you decide whether gutter guards were worth it or not. Catch you in my next post!

gutter guards pros and cons
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How To Decide Whether To Install Gutter Guards Or Not (Pros & Cons List!)

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