You have rain gutters or are installing new rain gutters and you wonder, “Do I need one of those screens or foam guards to put on my gutters to keep debris out?”
The answer in the overwhelming number of cases is a flat out “NO.” Here’s why:
SCREEN HOLES ARE TOO BIG
The screens that sit on top of rain gutters have openings that may prevent some leaves from entering the gutters. However, for the most part, 50%-75% of the debris that enters your rain gutter is smaller that the openings of the screen. Even with the screens, your rain gutters will fill and need to be cleaned with the same frequency.
FOAM PORES ARE TOO SMALL
Foam Guards that insert into rain gutters are porous but the pores are tiny and clog fast. How much sandy water can pass through a sponge before the sponge clogs? Not much. Even with the foam, your rain gutters will clog and need routine cleaning.
DOUBLES THE PRICE OF CLEANING
As mentioned above, your rain gutters will still clog and fail to operate properly with or without screens and guards. This means that either way, you will still need routine cleaning. The major difference is that you’ve now doubled the time it takes to clean the rain gutters because the screens and guards need to be uninstalled, cleaned and reinstalled. This directly translates into a cleaning bill that is double the original service fee.
Screens and guards also rot faster than gutters, so you will need to reinstall new screens and new guards multiple times before the end of the life of the rain gutters. Overall, you are adding to your expense with very little benefit.
IS THERE ANY VALUE IN GUTTER SCREENS OR GUARDS?
Yes! Some homes have surrounding trees with large leaves that fall regularly. If you find that your gutters are filling with large leaves with a frequency that requires rain gutter cleaning every month to two months, then gutter screens and guards will help stretch this to once every six to twelve months. However, in a low-rain, high-dust city like San Diego, this is almost never the case.
Don’t waste your money on screens and guards. Instead, set up a low cost annual or bi-annual cleaning schedule to extend the life and function of your rain gutters.