At The Brothers that just do Gutters, we are continually researching new products to make sure that we are always offering the best materials available on the market to our clients. Recently, when doing this research, we found a new-to-market gutter guard unlike any we’ve seen before. By combining some of the best qualities from guards already on the market with research on the biggest complaints and flaws of a number of industry leading guards, our current guard manufacturer was able to create a unique and extremely effective design and solution.
We hear this question from a lot of homeowners, “are there really any maintenance free gutter guards” and it is not uncommon for companies to label their guard products as “maintenance free.” However, unfortunately there is often no such thing as a maintenance free guard product.
Although having guards can significantly decrease the amount of maintenance, as you will no longer need to clean the interior of your gutter system, (with the right guards), you may still need to brush off the top of the guards to remove the leaves and debris that can inevitably pile on top. To do this you could use the Rhino Wand which is a multi-purpose telescopic water tool designed to help with a variety of exterior cleaning needs. In some cases, having patience could be key. With rain, the falling leaves can get hung up on the guards more easily, but as they dry out, quite often, they will blow off on their own. Also, depending on the type of home, your maintenance may be significantly lower than others.
If a contractor is stating that their product is maintenance free, they should have this information clearly spelled out somewhere in their terms and conditions and explain what exactly “maintenance free” means. This claim is often a red flag!
The main purpose of having gutter guards is to protect the gutter system from debris buildup and clogging. Although some of this debris may build up on top of the guard overtime, they ultimately protect the interior of the system, which if clogged can potentially cause damage to your home or foundation like water damage. Eliminating the buildup of debris within your gutter system can also help to prevent rusting. If you have aluminum gutters you do not need to worry about rust, but with steel based materials like galvanized, or galvalume gutters, rusting does happen. As wet leaves and other debris builds up and lays within your gutter system, the moisture it retains lays on the gutter system accelerating the rusting process of these materials.
Guards can also help to strengthen your system as a whole by creating a box-like strength. In the winter, this strength can be especially important in helping your gutter to hold the added weight of snow and ice. Any guard system has the potential to freeze in the winter, which may cause icicles and melting water to drip. You may be concerned about the guard being frozen, but this actually means it is distributing the weight of the snow and ice off the front of your gutter system, which is keeping your gutter interior empty. Guards are secured/installed onto the gutter system differently depending on the product. Our Rhino guard is secured to the lip of the gutter, as well at the fascia or roof which aids in created the added strength. This freezing and buildup may again require some maintenance in winter, but protecting your gutter, and keeping the interior free of buildups is the ultimate goal, which the right guard will do.
So, the short answer to the questions “are there really any maintenance free gutter guards” is no. However, the purpose of installing guards is to keep your system from clogging and to prevent future cleanings of the INTERIOR of your system. Properly installed guards will do this as well as require significantly less maintenance on the exterior of your system/on top of the guards.