Should You Remove Gutter Guards?

Leaf screens, gutter guards or other types of gutter protectors are designed to filter rainwater, keep debris out of the gutter channel, and to reduce the amount of time spent in maintaining the gutters. In most cases, leaf screens or gutter guards are a useful tool in preserving a home’s exterior. However, there are reasons gutter guards can outlive their usefulness. When this happens, often the best solution is to remove the system if it’s doing more harm than good.

Installed Incorrectly

It doesn’t matter what it is made of, how much it cost, or how many good reviews it received, if it was installed incorrectly, it’s probably not doing the job it was intended for. Improper installation of gutter guards, specifically a closed leaf protection or an all-in-one gutter system, can lead to overflowing gutters, unwelcome nesters or mold/mildew/algae growth. A gutter professional will be able to advise whether the system can be repaired or if it’s in the best interest of the homeowner to have it removed.

Wrong Type of Leaf Protection

While there are many variations, gutter guards fall into three general categories – screens, inserts (typically foam) and covers. Any type of leaf protection should be compatible with your gutters, local climatic conditions, and roofing system. The material the leaf guard is made of should be able to withstand the elements. Signs that the wrong type of leaf protection has been installed for you and your home include:

  • gutters pulling away from the fascia because the gutter guard system is too heavy
  • having to constantly replace pieces or sections
  • not functioning as per the manufacturer’s documentation
  • becoming worn before life expectancy

Less Help, More Trouble

Leaf guards should improve the functionality of your existing gutters. If you end up troubleshooting the leaf guard system more often than not, perhaps it’s time to admit that it’s no longer efficient or cost-effective. Also, conditions, including microclimate (i.e. fewer trees, a new structure built near your property) might have changed since the gutter guard was installed. When it’s more trouble than it’s worth or if it no longer seems beneficial, consider removing the leaf guard system.