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Rigdon, Inc. Blog

Understanding Gutter Guards

by Kerry Rigdon on 01/20/16

Gutter guards...gutter screens....gutter helmet...gutter covers...Google any of these terms and you will get hundreds of different types of gutter guard systems.   There are relatively inexpensive do-it-yourself products at stores like Home Depot or Lowe's, and there are very expensive professionally installed systems available.  With so many products available it isn't easy to determine which ones are the best.  Below you'll find details on some common designs, but first we need to understand what guards are intended to do.


HOW GUARDS WORK

Gutter guards are intended to reduce the chance of home damage caused by clogged gutters, and reduce the frequency of gutter cleaning / maintenance.  No guard will eliminate the risk of water damage or eliminate the need to clean / maintain your gutters.  There are many different guard designs and all claim to be the best...however some guards do a better job than others of helping homeowners reduce the risk of clogged gutters, and some guards (from our experience) encourage clogs!



 

COMMON TYPES OF GUARDS

Gutter Screens come in several varieties including roll-out, hinged, and snap-on.  You can find them manufactured from plastic or metal.  Some simply lay on top of the gutter.  Generally, these guards are promoted as easy to install, inexpensive, and openings will allow rainwater to easily flow through while blocking leaves and debris. 

One of the major problems with screens is that the ends of the sections aren't sealed-off.  This creates gaps where leaves, debris and sticks can get through.  It also creates opportunities for squirrels, birds, (and we've seen raccoons and opossums) to wedge under the screen to nest.  And once debris is in the gutter, the rest of the screen prevents this debris from simply blowing out.  Additionally, leaves, sticks, and stems get caught in the large screen openings, which collects and traps more debris, and the problem escalates.  Also, if the screens simply roll out or lay on without secure fasteners, they can blow out of position or completely off the gutter.  Another drawback with these systems is that they can be aesthetically unattractive and visible from the ground.    

Bottle Brush guards simply lay in the gutter channel.  The good part about this product is that it is generally not  visible from the ground.  That's about the most positive thing about this system.  The brushes may help a little with large leaves, but actually trap maple seed 'helicopters' that are so common in this areaduring the spring.  Worse yet to clean out the brushes you must remove them and shake them scattering debris.  At least when cleaning gutters with no guards at all it is easy to scoop and bag debris.  The bristles snag almost all types of debris and then keep it from being washed away with a normal rain.




Foam Gutter Inserts are designed to fill the gutter channel so no debris can get that it seemingly works for about a year, then the material starts to deteriorate in but water can flow through.  Homeowners who have used this product find

 and degrade.  Upon removal what they find is that this product traps fine particulate matter in the gutter. The other big problem is that it can't absorb rainwater fast enough.  Even with moderate rainfalls, the water runs directly over the gutter and landscaping / drainage issues are the result.

Gutter Helmet and similar products are professionally installed systems that are designed to allow rainwater to flow in and debris to fall away.  They are permanently attached to the fascia and/or roof and sometimes under the bottom row of shingles.  These systems are not completely closed-off; there is a space for water to flow into the gutter. 

The biggest problem with these type of guards is that the opening will allow for debris to enter (especially maple seeds) and for small birds to enter and build nests. Since the covers are fixed, permanent systems, there is no way to get into the gutter to clean it out without ripping out the system risking roof and/or gutter damage. 


WHY WE PREFER GUTTER RX

The following are the main features and benefits we like about Gutter Rx:



  • Completely covers the entire gutter channel --no openings for animals or debris
  • Constructed of aluminum -- will not rust or deteriorate
  • Attaches to the fascia and the front of the gutter -- extremely secure and reinforces gutter strength
  • Perforated like a colander -- allows for water flow but too small and won't trap maple seeds
  • Stair-stepped surface -- reduces coefficient of friction / surface debris can simply blow away
  • Fits flush to the gutter -- not visible from ground
  • 20-year NO CLOG Guarantee from manufacturer -- one of the industries strongest guarantees

Gutter Rx consistently out-performs other gutter cover systems because it is well designed, keeps debris out of the gutter, is aesthetically pleasing, and for the quality extremely cost-efficient.  It is the only system we offer!

For more information about Gutter Rx, visit our website.


FINAL NOTES

We have many clients who have recently had new roofs/gutters installed and are given some sort of gutter cover system either free or at 'extreme discounts' by the roofer as an added bonus.  Some of these clients are calling us with concerns because they still seem to have clogged gutters. Removing these covers to clean can result in additional fees for time and labor, and sometimes is impossible if installed under the first row of shingles.   If you are in the market for a new roof or gutters and are offered free or discounted gutter guards, be sure to ask what type of guard it is, if there is a no-clog warranty, and consider it carefully before having them installed.

Another issue is that homeowners tend to install a gutter cover system and assume that they don't need to worry about gutters again. All gutters, covered or not, need to be checked periodically to make sure that they are operating correctly.  Winter snow and ice, falling tree limbs, and industrious animals can cause damage that is often undetected until water damage occurs.  Rigdon offers gutter inspection services that include cleaning if needed. 

We highly recommend Gutter Rx -- it is the best gutter protection product we've worked with in the 24 years we've been in business.  This is the first special offer we've had for these guards and encourage you to take advantage of it!

Regardless if you choose to install guards or not, keeping your gutters maintained is critical to avoid water damage that can result from clogged or damaged gutters.  Contact us for more information about gutter guards or any of our services!

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