Out of all the home maintenance jobs needed to be done around the house, cleaning the gutters is perhaps the most hated. It’s an arduous task that involves dragging a ladder around your home and scooping out wet, decaying leaves, and that’s even if the land around your home is even all the way around. If it’s not, then you’re bound to run into into ladder troubles.
That’s not even including the problems you could hit with the stuff clogging your gutter. Wet leaves are just are one thing that could be clogging your gutters. There could also be sharp sticks or even the makings of an old bird nest. Even worse, insects may have made their homes inside your clogged gutters. Mosquitoes especially like to lay their eggs in standing gutter water, and you may find other insects or even live animals hanging out in your gutter and on your roof.
And of course, there’s always the possibility of ladder injuries. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 500,000 people are treated for ladder injuries each year, and about 300 people die from ladder-related injuries. Uneven ground around a home or a faulty ladder can contribute to the possibility of a ladder injury around your home.
No wonder Houstonians avoid cleaning their gutters.
If you’re like thousands of other houstonians who put off this task, then you may want to look into installing gutter guards around your home to protect your gutters. Gutter guards fit over the top of your gutters. They have holes big enough to allow water to fall in but small enough to prevent leaves and sticks from piling up inside. For homes surrounded by big trees that drop a lot of leaves each fall, gutter guards can work wonders.
But gutter guards aren’t the end all, be all in Houston, and they aren’t right for every home. Here’s what you need to know about gutter guards in Houston and whether they might be right for your home.
Benefits of gutter guards in Houston
There are a few different types of gutter guards that can work for your home. They vary in terms of how they work and what type of installation is needed. Here are a few common types of gutter guards in Houston.
- Mesh gutter guards: Metal mesh guards slip over the top of your gutters and have thousands of little holes in them. This allows water to slip through easily, but prevents any debris from falling in. The metal material is incredibly durable and relatively easy to maintain, but remember, it can rust and discolor your gutters, so be aware.
- Screen guards: Similar to mesh guards, screen guards have holes, although they’re larger than ones you’ll find on mesh guards. Smaller debris can fall through these holes, and the guards can be made of either metal or plastic. In terms of installation, screen guards are easier to install, though not as durable, than mesh guards.
- Foam gutter guards: Foam gutters actually fit inside of your gutters rather than on the top of them. They block all debris from getting into your gutters, but the pores in the foam allow water to get through. These types of gutter guards are easier to install yourself, but they need to be replaced more frequently.
Anything that limits the amount of time you need to spend cleaning out your gutters is worth learning more about. Here are some of the top benefits of installing gutter guards around your Houston home.
Yes, gutter guards reduce the amount of maintenance you need to spend on your home, but they don’t get you off the hook for maintenance entirely, as you’ll soon see.
With gutter guards, most large debris will slide right off your gutters and down to the ground, thus reducing the likeliness of clogs and the time needed to be spent unclogging them. If you’re one who particularly hates cleaning out your gutters, then gutter guards will definitely cut back on the time spent hauling your ladder around your home.
Mosquitoes aren’t the only ones who want to make a home in your gutter. Rats and other rodents will sometimes make nests in the leaves that collect in a gutter. If they find a hole in your roof, they might even move from your gutter to your attic, creating another headache for your.
When a properly installed gutter guard covers your gutters, they can stop insects and rodents from making a home in your gutter. They may avoid your roof altogether and look to build homes and lay eggs elsewhere.
Allow water to flow freely
The main purpose of your gutters is to move water from your roof safely down to the ground. Gutter guards allow that process to happen without obstructions, and they can add another layer of protection to your foundation.
Because gutter guards prevent water from becoming clogged, there will be less of a chance of water freezing and unfreezing in your gutters during a Houston ice storm. When water freezes and then unfreezes, it expands and contracts, which means the frozen water could push out on your gutters and dent them or even puncture them. Holes in gutters let water fall directly down to your foundation, thereby increasing your risk of flooding in your basement and other structural damage around the base of your home.
All that clogged water also contributes to the possibility of rust and corrosion. When your gutters don’t get a chance to dry, the water and soggy leaves trapped in your gutter causes rust to form. Eventually, you will need to replace your gutters, but a gutter guard can prevent this corrosion and even add a few years to your gutter system’s life.
Decrease fire potential
There’s nothing better than sitting around a fire pit in your backyard with your family. The warm glow and the fun of roasting marshmallows and relaxing good friends and family members is an excellent way to spend a summer evening, but it does come with a potential fire hazard.
Burning embers that float into the air can fall into your clogged gutters and start a fire. Because this happens outside where there’s no smoke detector, these fires can spread quickly and do more damage before homeowners know anything is wrong. Gutter fires are common in areas where people have outdoor fire pits or prefer to burn their leaves. Gutter guards could go a long way in preventing fires.
Drawbacks of gutter guards in Houston
There’s no denying that gutter guards in houston can be immensely beneficial, but they’re not for everyone. For some homes, it may be better to leave gutter guards off. Here’s why.
Mesh and screen gutter guards rely on those tiny holes to keep debris out and let water flow through, but what happens when leaves stick to the top of your gutter guards, preventing water from getting into your gutters at all? That water gets redirected, and it usually falls right down to your foundation. It could even slip behind your siding and start cause mold and mildew to grow along the side of your home.
Having gutter guards doesn’t quite protect you from every single problem you might encounter. You still need to be diligent about cleaning off your gutters when needed.
When clogs do happen, gutter guards can make it extremely difficult to clear them away. To clean them out, you’ll need to remove you gutter guards, clear out debris and then reinstall the guards. Not only does this create more work for you when you need to unclog your gutters, but there’s always the chance that you might reinstall your gutter guards incorrectly. The incorrect installation can lead to more clogs and other problems that come without having gutter protection.
Heavy rain damage
If there’s one thing that Houston is known for when it comes to weather is that our city can take a beating when it comes to rain. Hurricanes aside, the city of Houston gets a lot of precipitation every year, and those heavy rains can do a lot of damage to your gutters and your gutter guards.
Though some gutter guards are made of durable materials, there’s only so much they can do in a pounding rain storm. A heavy rain can damage gutter guards and even knock them off your gutters entirely. With so much water falling, there’s also the chance that all that water will shoot over your gutters and fall right to the ground. In those cases, than mesh may work just a little too well. All that rainwater can lead to problems with your foundation and even flooding.
Installation costs and upkeep
Gutter guards don’t magically appear on your gutters. You will need to install them or you will need to hire someone to do it for you. Some materials may be more expensive than others, but if you opt for a cheaper option, such as the foam guards, then you’ll have to replace them more frequently.
Unless you have a lot of experience with home maintenance and repairs, it’s best to hire a contractor to install your gutter guards. With an expert, you can ensure the guards are being installed correctly and securely. Since most contractors rely on good word-of-mouth advertising, many will come out and fix problems with little or no fee if the guards are falling off or failing. Having a contractor can help protect your investment, and you’ll have peace of mind knowing the guards were installed correctly.
Of course, there are some gutter guards that you can install yourself, and if you don’t mind the work, you can give it a try. You will, however, need to have a sturdy ladder, and if you already didn’t like cleaning your gutters, then installing gutter guards yourself won’t be much better.
Once you do install gutter guards, you do have to keep up with them and take care of them. Even with mesh guards, there’s always the chance that wet leaves can stick to the guard, blocking the way for water to flow into your gutters. Others, such as screen guards, will still allow finer debris, such as pine needles or small twigs, to get stuck between the holes.
Though properly installed gutter guards will usually prevent most debris from clogging your gutters, you will probably still need gutter cleaning services, albeit not at frequently. Having gutter guards can make it difficult to clean out gutters, so be aware of this when you hire a professional gutter cleaning service in Houston.
The verdict on gutter guards in Houston
So when all is said and done, is it worth it to install gutter guards on your home in Houston?
The answer is complex and varies depending on the type of home you have, the amount of trees dropping leaves and twigs on your gutters, the pests that like to hang out in your gutter and how committed you are to handling problems with your gutter guards.
For some ranch-style homes with only a few large trees, gutter guards can be easier to install, and they will keep out most of the debris. Bigger homes with lots of large trees, however, may not benefit as much from gutter guards. The installation may be difficult, even for a contractor, and all the heavy leaves and sticks falling may still get stuck to the gutter guards.
If you have questions about your gutters or gutter guards, contact the experts at Advantage Pro Services. We serve homes all over Houston, and we’ve helped thousands of homeowners take better care of their gutters and do what’s best for their homes and lifestyles.
Advantage Pro Services wants to help you keep your home in its best shape, so give us a call today to find out how gutter guards may help or hinder your gutters and how our regular gutter cleaning services can protect your home no matter the weather.
Share with us: What other questions do you have about gutter guards in Houston? Leave us a comment and tell us your thoughts.