Gutter guard manufacturers promise to make your life easier. Install this awesome system on your roof and you'll never have to clean your gutters again! That's the promise, but how accurate is this? Do these system really work? Are they worth the money?
Clogged gutters are a big deal. Homeowners are better off with no gutters than clogged gutters because clogged gutters will eventually become overflowing gutters. This leads to water intrusion, rotted soffits, rotted fascia, and all other kinds of bad stuff you don't want at your home. If you have large trees near your home, you need a plan to keep your gutters clean. The traditional methods are to either work off a ladder or walk on the roof. Safer methods involve using tools such as pressure washer attachments or leaf blower attachments.
I haven't tried any of these methods, I'm not endorsing them, and I can foresee problems with all of them. But still, none of these potential problems could be as bad as falling off of a roof.
Gutter guards can do a very good job of keeping gutters flowing freely. If you have big trees in your yard, gutter guards really will save you time and nasty work by helping to prevent your gutters from getting clogged.
There is no such thing as a maintenance-free gutter guard system. Even the best systems can be completely overcome by debris on the roof. No matter what you install, someone will still need to get on the roof or a ladder to clear off debris. If this isn't done, water can overcome the gutters.
Additionally, there is no perfect system. Solid 'shield' type of gutter guards rely on the capillary properties of water to get water into the gutters. This works well with normal rain but can overflower with heavy rain, despite what manufacturers claim on their websites.
High-quality gutter guards are great, but they're expensive. You could spend up to $30 a foot on an installed system. There are many great option available, and I'm not going to try to steer you in one direction or another, because I've seen them all perform well when properly installed and properly maintained. If you do end up purchasing gutter guards, make sure to purchase either a high-end system or have a high-end system professionally installed.
If you prefer to install a system yourself, check out the installation instructions to make sure it's a job that you can tackle, and if it seems too easy to too good to be true, it surely is. If you're going to hire a pro, work with a company that you like and be sure to ask about warranties.
Most importantly, remember that you'll still need to periodically inspect your roof and gutters for debris. Also, remember that someone will need to get up there to periodically clean stuff off.