Are Gutter Guards Worth The Investment?

Having gutter guards installed , can be expensive when you consider the costs as in:
1. The contractor protecting your interests as in work-man’s comp and liability insurance.
2. Marketing costs like the investment of paid advertising, home shows, yellow pages, google
ad-words which can all add up to thousands of dollars every month.
3. Sales commission costs which can often be a significant percentage of the investment.
4. Trained and specialized labor to install the gutter guards correctly.
5. Having a professional contractor and reputation with an office and a clerical staff rather than someone operating out of a truck.

When you sum up all these costs it can add up to thousands of dollars to have gutter guards installed. Thus it makes sense to make sure the product will do what you’re paying for.

What makes a leaf guard worth this kind of investment? Answer: Keeping homeowners off the roof can make the investment well worth while. Consider this: a hospital visit because of broken bones can range from a few thousand to $100,000 or more. Add to that weeks to months of limited mobility and there’s thousands of equivalent dollars in pain and suffering. And don’t just think it only happens to others.

It doesn’t take an MIT graduate to realize that all leaf guards will not keep the homeowner off the roof. And in many cases, once the gutter guard is installed, if it fails and clogs the gutter, the homeowner can’t even get into the gutter to clean it; but instead he’s totally dependent on the installing company to come and service the system. And then it’s also important to read the fine print as some installers charge the homeowner to clean a clogged gutter–that’s like adding insult to injury.

Basically there are six different types of gutter devices to solve the problem of clogging gutters
and only one is worth the investment:

1. Gutter screens.

2. Membranes, filters, and brushes installed in or on existing gutters.

3. Fin type (rounded front nose) with flat solid top.

4. The fin type flat solid top with rounded front nose and a trough.

5. Flipping type of gutters and the rain dispersal system.

6. Flat solid top with rounded front nose and louvered vertical surface such as the Waterloov® leaf guard.

Screens (the first type) are often installed by companies that sell and install gutter. What’s amazing is that just about every year a new style is invented. They just don’t get it that no matter how they modify the openings in a screen device or how many steps or troughs they make it into, it’s still the same product and will fail in mild-to-heavy debris conditions. They don’t keep homeowners off the roof as they require yearly maintenance to replace blown away screens, clean clogged ones and remove others to clean clogged gutters.

Filters (the second type) which, if you really study their design, are a type of screening. Water easily flows through fresh debris that accumulates on top of them, but after a year or so the debris becomes like paper machete and becomes a barrier to rain water getting to the filter. Actually one manufacturer recognizes this and recommends that the brush be removed periodically and cleaned–again they do not keep the homeowner off the roof.

If you look at the graphics of the third type (fin) of gutter guards you are led to believe that debris is jettisoned off the gutter cover and onto the ground. However, it’s been demonstrated that in mild-to-heavy debris conditions debris adheres to the front rounded downward surface of the gutter guard and actually goes into the gutter in sufficient size and quantity to clog it. These covers are usually installed by dealers representing the manufacturer and servicing must be done by the dealer. Ending up with clogged overflowing gutters is not a bargain. The homeowner probably wont’ be falling from the roof, but he may lose his sanity getting the clogged system serviced before his basement floods.

The fourth type of gutter guard is an answer to the failure of the third type (fin). Again it doesn’t take an MIT graduate to see that the debris that sticks to the downward curved surface still must enter the trough with sieve openings. Like in the third type of gutter guard, experience has demonstrated that either the sieves (a type of screen) clog or sufficient debris passes the sieve to enter and clog the gutter.

The fifth type of device is of many types. Debris can collect on the dispersal system and render it ineffective. It also fails to disperse slow rainfall as there is insufficient kinetic energy of the rain water coming off the roof. The result is soil erosion all around the roof line. The plus of the gutter flipping system is that the gutter is dumped from the ground, but can you imagine being under a gutter full of water and putrid debris as you dump it? Or dumping the wet debris from an upper roof onto a lower roof? These gutters are also known to warp causing the locking mechanism to fail–again, no bargain!

With all the deficiencies in other gutter guards, wouldn’t it be great to actually have a gutter protector that limits the quantity and size of debris that goes into the gutter–one that keeps gutters clean and free flowing and makes gutters self cleaning? Wouldn’t you actually like to know of a gutter protector that actually has a track record of keeping gutters clean and free flowing in heavy debris conditions for over twenty years?

Knowing the truth that all gutter covers will clog, wouldn’t it be great to know of one which can easily be seen where it has clogged (from the ground) and then be able to clean it from the ground wearing a suit and tie if you desired?

And then if you have roof valleys wouldn’t you like to know of a company that actually has a product that can be used in conjunction with the gutter guard that can actually collect water from valley and dormers valleys?

The good news is that there is such a system that keeps homeowners off ladders and for 85% of all homeowners is completely maintenance and for many maintenance is required only once every year or so.

Richard Kuhns B.S.Ch.E. President and CEO of R.K. Industries manufacturer of the Waterloov® Gutter Protection System.