Pros and Cons of Screen Gutter Guards

If you are in the habit of cleaning the gutters yourself, you might be looking for a better way to maintain your gutter system. Gutter guards offer an alternative for homeowners who have to clean the gutters two to three times a year. Screen gutter guards are a type of leaf protection, but before investing in mesh screens here are some pros and cons to consider.

Different Types of Screen Gutter Guards

While they are designed to filter debris from water entering the gutters, there are different types of screen gutter guards. And some work better than others. The four main types of screen gutter guards are plastic screens, perforated aluminum covers, steel screens, and micro-mesh screens. Before purchasing any kind of system, ensure it will work with your gutters, is constructed of quality materials, and will handle local climatic conditions.

Pros of Screen Gutter Guards

Screen gutter guards work best when matched with the microclimate of the home – how many trees, what kind of trees, where the house is situated (farm community, urban environment, near a factory, etc.). Pros of installing a screen gutter system include:

  • they can be installed on the current gutter system
  • gutters don’t have to be cleaned as often
  • plastic screen gutter guards last from 6 to 8 years and work well in Vancouver’s temperate climate because they can efficiently handle both needles and leaves
  • metal mesh gutter guards are reasonably priced, easy to install, and strong
  • perforated aluminum screens or covers can be installed by the homeowner with fasteners or bent into place over the gutter trough
  • keeping out large debris such as toys and twigs

Cons of Screen Gutter guards

Screens just placed over the top of the gutters are the least effective type of screen gutter guards since they can easily be blown away by a strong wind. Regardless of the kind, here are some drawbacks:

  • they do not eliminate the need for gutter cleaning
  • when they do need cleaning, the process takes longer because each panel needs to be removed first
  • plastic screen gutter guards can crack or flake due to normal wear
  • micro-mesh leaf protection systems generally are more expensive because of their construction and the need to be installed by a professional contractor
  • metal screens made of steel will rust within 2 to 4 years if not powder-coated
  • silt and dirt can still enter a gutter system with perforated aluminum screens, creating an environment that encourages plant growth in the gutter trough
  • types of leaf protectors that are installed underneath the first layer of roofing shingles can negate your roof warranty or expose the deck to the elements