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Does Gutter Guard Even Work?

This is the most asked question in the industry, so I thought I might put it on the homepage for all to have a read! "Does gutter guard work?" The answer is not so simple, as it depends how you define the "work" aspect of the statement. It works to keep sticks and leaves out of your guttering and keeps your downpipes clear. It does not work to keep pine needles and very fine pollens out of your gutters. If you are reading a website and they mention the following: YOU WILL NEVER HAVE TO CLEAN YOUR GUTTERS AGAIN , close your browser immediately! Suppliers and installers should not use that wording when selling gutter guard, it's just not true at all. After installation of gutter guard it is highly recommended to get your gutters inspected for fine debris at least every 12 months. You should have them checked even more frequently if you are exposed to a lot of leaf litter. A leaf screen has a wide enough hole aperture of 3.5mm to allow unrestricted water flow into the gutters, anything with a narrower hole aperture will cause water to either bead off the end of the guttering during rain or dew, or sheet over the top of the guttering if the hole aperture is extremely small. If you are in a Bush Fire rated zone in Australia, then you will unfortunately need to get a gutter guard with a maximum of 2mm aperture to keep the small burning embers out of the gutters. I can install this bush fire rated gutter guard upon request. So anyway, back to the question, having the 3.5mm aperture does enable fine materials to get through the mesh. They are usually (but not always) flushed out of the system during the next rainfall and you will have no buildup. If there is a slope issue with the guttering then the build up will occur quite quickly. It is recommended not to install gutter guard onto gutters that are older than 10 years, it is wiser for the homeowner to start saving up for new guttering! Gutter Guard is extremely good at aiding in the harvest of clean water for your household water tanks. When combined with the tanks own dirt filter, gutter guard is an absolute "no-brainer" for households with water tanks. Which customer would not be satisfied with gutter guard? A customer who has a pine needle tree, sorry guys and girls, there is nothing you can do except regular gutter cleaning. Please don't get tricked into the smaller holed products, yes they will keep the needles out, but they will also keep the water out of your gutters due to the holes being too small. A Customer who has damaged, rusted, incorrectly sloped or aged guttering(10yrs plus), if you fall into this category, it is better to keep cleaning the gutters as much as you can and save up for new gutters. Customers getting aluminum leaf screener installed within 100 - 200m of salty water. Unfortunately you would have to go with the plastic leafscreener as the aluminum mesh is too thin and will corrode from exposure to excess salt. Finally gutter guard works at keeping gutter cleaners off your roof. As your maintenance needs are drastically lowered by the installation of gutter guard, you will not need someone trampling around on your roof or scratching the gutters with their ladders so frequently!

What about the Effectiveness of Gutter Guard Against Pine Needles and Pollens?

Firslty let's talk about Pine Needles. If you have a pine tree, you must not get gutter guard end of story. There is no product that can assist against pine needles and allow water to pass freely into your gutters. Pollens are ok, if your gutters don't have sloping issues and are checked up on a regular basis. Pollens get washed out of the gutter system during the rains if your slopes are all good. This is why gutter guard is highly recommended to be installed on gutters no older than 10 years. If your gutters are pporly sloped and are not regularly checked and older than 10 years then gutter guard will not be effective against pollens. So to summarise: Gutter Guard is not effective at all against pine needles as they pass easily through the mesh. If you purchase a gutter guard with small holes then the water will not pass into your gutter during rain periods. Over time this will make stains on the gutter and moss and algae will breed like wildfire in this environment. Pollens are a bit of a nuisance, but are cleaned out effectively during rain periods on gutters that are in tip top shape. If you have older guttering, you should rather be budgeting for new gutters down the track and rather stick with regular gutter cleaning until you have the funds to replace them.

What about Gutter Guard Versus the Dreaded Jacaranda Tree?

Aaah the good old Jacaranda! The debris from a Jacaranda tree is sometimes quite fine and will get through the mesh over time. Gutter guard will work against a jacaranda tree, but you need to keep a close eye on it after installation to check that there is no build up underneath. It is recommend to inspect your gutters yearly after installation of gutter guard, but I would say you should check on your gutter 6 months after the installation date to see if there is any build up occuring underneath the mesh. If there is no buildup, then you can do you check ups annually. If there is build up, then unfortunately you will need to sweep your roof bi-annually. Again gutter guard is not very effective on gutters with slope issue(and age issues!), so if you have jacaranda litter hitting your roof and your gutters are older with slope issues, gutter guard will not be a wise investment. But if you gutters a newish and you are able to inspect them bi-annually if needed, then gutter guard will work for you. Once a year the jacaranda will drop a ton of flowers onto the roof and gutter guard. They can someties stick to the gutter guard, but can easily be swept of with a broom.

The Mathematics Don't work for Gutter Guard, It's too Expensive

Allright, most people like to see numbers as they are a great way to present a proposal. At first glance the numbers for gutter guard don't look good, lets have a look:
* Pricing Based on a Double Storey Home 4 bedrooms in Size with Valleys located in close proximity to a ^Gum^ tree*
-Gutter Cleaning:
AVG cost per clean = $300 inc GST.
2 x Gutter Cleans per Year = 2 x $300 = $600 Inc GST per Year.
Fast Forward 15 years = 15 x $600 = $9000 Inc GST.
^^ Some folks might think that annual cleans are fine for a home in close proximity to a tree, but they are kidding themselves! ^^
-Gutter Guard:
AVG cost of Installation = $3300 inc GST.
1 x Gutter Clean per Year = 15 years x $300 Inc GST (Gutter Cleaning Avg Charge) = $4500 in GST.
Add Installation Cost of $3300 to the Gutter Cleaning Cost of $4500 = $7800 total lifetime cost.
***** GUTTER GUARD WINS BY $1200 over 15 years ***** That in my opinion is not a huge result as it only works out at $80 a year. I would not be rushing to my next gutter guard installer to get gutter guard installed for a measly $80 per year saving! I don't expect you too either! Also you save only $80 per year, but have to invest $3300 upfront. If we delve deeper into the mathematics we can establish that gutter guard only start to win over manual gutter cleaning 11 years after installation, as per below:
(11years cleaning x $300per clean)+($3300 Installation Cost)=$6600 [total spent on gutter maintenance]
(11 years cleaning x $600 anual cleaning fee)=$6600 [total spent on gutter maintenance]
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The Value of Having a Gutter Guard Installed is the Reduction in Repair Bills
Great, now that the numbers are out of the way, you can see that Gutter Guard is not a dead set winner here based on those initial numbers. But have you or a friend ever had any of the following repair bills? Blocked down pipe requiring a plumber to rectify; Repainting interior due to roof, valley or gutter leak; Flooded ceiling and or floorboards. If you have experienced one of these repair bills, you will know that they are not cheap. Also having rubbish sitting inside your gutter is both a fire risk and can cause water to pool accelerating rust and gutter deterioration. Not having gutter guard will decrease the lifespan of your gutters, meaning they will need to get replaced earlier than expected. Rapid gutter depretiation was not taken into account in the previous gutter maths (lol!). So now you can start to see the value of getting a gutter guard installed at your property.
Gutter Guard also Requires Maintenance
Hopefully this page has convinced you that gutter guard is a great investment and hugely beneficial to improving your roof. I do want to stress that it is not a maintenance free solution, you will still need to check up on the gutter guard at least every 12 months after installation to look if any leaf debris has come through the gutter guards. The steeper the roof the lower the maintenance needed, but the more you will be charged for installation. Steep roofs mean there is going to be a fantastic ski slope effect as leaves hit the roof and will slide down the mesh. But steep roofs take more than double the amount of time to complete installation than a regular pitched roof. This would increase the initial cost of the gutter guard by up to double. You can either self maintain with a broom and a lightweight blower or you can hire a professional to clear the leaves off the gutter guard. Remember if you need to open up the gutter guard in order to clean underneath, you must use your original installer otherwise you will lose both your workmanship guarantee and the product guarantee.
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