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Gutter Guard Types – A Review

There’s no doubt that gutter guards are a great investment for your home.  They reduce maintenance needs, improve the life of your leaf gutters, and help to prevent a host of problems that could arise.  But the truth is that not all gutter protection is created equally.  There are many different types of gutter guards, and they each have their advantages and disadvantages.  So, this article will help you to have a better understanding of the options available, what they involve, and which options are best for your home.

Foam Gutter Guards

Foam is an extremely simple solution, essentially no more than pieces of foam inserted into the gutters.  The benefit is that these guards prevent larger debris from entering the gutters.  Plus, they are relatively easy to install, requiring no special equipment or tools.

This is great for a DIY solution, but there are some huge drawbacks.  First, small debris such as seedlings can easily slide past the foam pieces and grow inside the gutters, damaging them as they grow and requiring complete replacement.  Second, while foam gutter protection helps to prevent clogs inside the gutters, debris can collect on top of the foam pieces and create clogs there.  In dryer seasons, the collection of leaves and other organic debris on top of the foam can create a fire hazard as well.

Finally, though foam gutter guards are easy to install, they have to be completely removed in order to clean the gutter.  And the protection is not complete, so the gutters will still have to be cleaned regularly.  Essentially, you may get a couple of extra months between cleaning times, but you add hours to the job each time.

Final estimation: foam gutter protection, though cheap and quick to install, isn’t really worth the time, energy, or expense.

Brush Gutter Guards

Brush gutter guards are another cheap and simple solution, and they are also manageable for a DIY project.  They are basically huge pipe cleaners that are placed directly into the rain gutters.  They have bristles that extend upward past the edge of the gutters, so they collect leaves and other large debris while allowing rain (and small debris) to flow off the roof and into the gutters.

Though the design is different, brush gutter guards have essentially the same advantages and disadvantages as foam gutter guards.  You can install them yourself within a couple of hours, and they won’t cost you an arm and a leg.  But, since they allow small debris to pass, they get clogged easily.  Plus, you have to remove them in order to clean out the gutters effectively. 

Final estimation: Just as with foam gutter guards, brush style gutter protection can end up being more trouble than they’re worth and less effective than regular gutter cleaning.

Surface Tension or Reverse Curve Gutter Guards

These are curved aluminium installations that overhang the lip of the gutter.  Ideally, they lead water down and around the edge of the guard and into the gutter, while allowing leaves and other debris to slide off the roof.  They work on a very different principle than foam or brush gutter protection, but though they are better than the previous options, there are still some severe drawbacks.

First, they require professional installation.  This can be an advantage, in that professional installation often comes with a warranty.  At the same time, since the installation tends to lift the roof shingles, they can void the warranty of the roof itself.  In some cases, installation will require the purchase of new rain gutters, which increases installation costs.  Plus, they can still clog easily when small particles travel into the gutters along with the water flow.  Wasps or bees can also build nests inside the gutters, making another potential clog hazard.  And, unfortunately, reverse curve gutter guards are also visible from the ground, so they can reduce your home’s curve appeal.

Final estimation: This form of gutter protection is costly and less effective than it should be.  Plus, when clogs occur, it can be extremely challenging to clean the gutters out.  Like the previous options, they are more trouble than they’re worth.

Screen Gutter Guards

Screens are another effective DIY option, inexpensive and easy to install.  If you’re working on a budget, it is one of the most effective solutions.  The only drawback is that small debris can still enter the screens.  So, in order to keep things running smoothly, you’ll have to remove the screens at least once a year and clean the gutters thoroughly, then reinstall them.  Plus, if your home is subject to intense winds, the screens can be blown off of the gutters.

Final estimation: If you’re willing to keep up with maintenance, then this is the cheapest solution available.  However, it’s not the best.  Read on for the ideal solution.

Mesh Gutter Protection

Mesh gutter guards are the best option for a truly maintenance free system.  This is the only type of gutter protection we work with at MKG, since they provide the best service and quality.  The difference between screens and mesh is the size of the hole.  Mesh has tiny holes that prevent nearly all debris from entering the gutters, from the largest to the smallest particles.  Though they require professional installation, they constitute a permanent solution, backed by a warranty to ensure solid gutter protection for a decade or more.

We offer both aluminium and polyethylene mesh solutions.  The polyethylene option is covered with UV coating and comes with a ten year warranty.  Our aluminium mesh has the highest fire prevention rating available.  Plus, it’s versatile, able to be installed on nearly any type of roof.  Finally, it comes with a 15 year guarantee.

Final estimation: Mesh gutter guard protection is the ideal solution for maintenance, curb appeal, and longevity. 

If you’d like to look into gutter guard installation for your home, feel free to contact us.  At MKG, we’re dedicated to providing you the highest quality gutter guard solutions for your home.

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