Do Gutters with Gutter Guards Need to Be Cleaned?

January 19, 2024

Why are Gutter Guards Useful?

Your homes gutter system is a necessary aspect to keeping your foundation, siding, fascia boards, and landscaping safe from water damage. Although, gutters play an especially important role in your roof system, gutters can also be a dreadful chore.  

Gutter guards are an effective way to minimize the agonizing chore of frequently cleaning your gutters. Gutter guards such as Valor, E-Z Lock, and Leaf Defender, are all designed to keep debris from clogging up your gutter system. 

Without a gutter guard, the leaves, pine needles, twigs, and other fragments that fill up your gutter can clog downspouts and cause your gutters to overflow. Overflowing gutters cause wreak havoc on your home’s foundation by allowing water to leach into the ground surrounding your home and drenching the foundation walls. But, with a gutter guard covering the large particles from entering your gutter system, gutters are less likely to fill up with debris and overflow. 

The major advantage of having a gutter guard is that it significantly reduces the amount of work required to maintain your gutter system. Gutters without a gutter guard need to be frequently cleaned out which can be a time consuming and dangerous chore. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, there are 500,000 people treated for ladder related injuries each year, and 97% of these accidents occur at home. 

For most, even the thought of cleaning out the gutters twice, if not more times per year is daunting enough to want to install a gutter guard to their gutter system, and for good reason. However, it is a common misconception that once a gutter guard is installed, there will be no maintenance required on the gutter system. 

Why Do I Need to Clean Gutters with Gutter Guards? 

While having a good gutter guard installed on your gutters is an effective way to minimize the work required in maintain your gutters properly, it does not fully take away the necessity to clean your gutters. There are no gutter guards that are 100% efficient. 

Wet leaves, dirt, pine needles, acorns, pollen, and other organic material that is left to decompose on top of a gutter guard for instance, can decay into a gooey matter that seeps through the gutter guard mesh. Some gutter guards have holes big enough for tiny pine needles to poke through. Most gutter guards have holes big enough for dirt to fall though. If enough time passes with debris decomposing on top of the guards, it can cause the gutter system to clog up and fail. The good news is most of these problems can be solved by simply brushing the debris off of the top of the gutter guards regularly. A push broom with the bristles turned upside down can offer an uncomplicated way for single story homeowners to walk around the perimeter of the home and simply brush the tops of the gutters off. A leaf blower is also an effective way to remove the bits and pieces of organic material that has accumulated on the top of the gutter guards. 

Another reason to clean the tops of your gutter guards off is to avoid a costly repair. If too much debris is piled on the top of the gutter system, especially in areas with snow or freezing temperatures, and this debris get frozen or covered in snow, it can create an ice dam or worse – can cause the entire gutter system to fall from the home, taking the fascia with it. 

Critters like squirrels, raccoons, and woodpeckers can cause damage to gutter guards which can go unnoticed without a visual inspection of the gutter system. 

When Should I Clean My Gutter Guards? 

It can be hard to determine how frequently you should plan to clean your gutter system with gutter guards installed. A good rule of thumb is the gutter guards should be brushed off once or twice a year, sometimes more depending on how much tree cover you have near your home. A visual inspection should be done during your regular roof maintenance. If the insides of the gutters are beginning to fill with grime, it may be time to remove the guards and clean the gutters out. As always, it is a good idea to hire a professional to take care of this chore as it is imperative that gutter guards be installed correctly for them to work efficiently. 

Overall, even though gutter guards are not 100% maintenance free, they are still very effective in reducing the maintenance required to maintain your gutter system. 

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