How To Guide – How to Fix and Maintain Your Gutter Guards
Homeowners across America look for ways to reduce their annual cost of gutter maintenance. We recommend you clean your gutters thoroughly at least twice per year, depending on your location, the type of annual climate you have, and how much foliage drops in your immediate area.
That leaves those homeowners to install gutter guards, often mesh screens installed to keep large debris like leaves, twigs, and branches from clogging your gutter runs. The debris build-up can allow water to spill out and over your gutters, causing issues in your foundation, basement, and exterior surfaces, leaving you with immense water-damage repair bills, mold abatement costs, and critters making their way into your attic
Public service announcement:
While gutter guards keep large items from accumulating in your gutters, they do not keep out smaller debris like dust, dirt, and seeds. So, even with gutter guards, we recommend you have your gutters cleaned and maintained.
However, for homeowners with gutter guards, it’s important to know how to fix and maintain them to protect your investment for years to come.
Average Cost of Installing or Replacing Gutter Guards in the US
Due to the lower average cost of installing new gutter guards, if your guards are damaged, we recommend you replace each smaller damaged section instead of trying to fix them individually.
Depending on your needs, there are lower-quality, mid-quality, and high-quality gutter guards on the market.
You may need to consult with a professional for some gutter types, while for some gutter types, you may be able to tackle on your own.
Average Low-End Cost of Installing Gutter Guards per linear foot
National Average Cost of Installing Gutter Guards per linear foot
Average High-End Cost of Installing Gutter Guards per linear foot
Common Types of Gutter Guards
Depending on where you are in the country, selecting the right gutter guard material is crucial to ensure they do the intended job. In more rural areas with greater temperature fluctuations, you may select something sturdier than you would if you lived in a location that does not see an excessive number of falling leaves.
The wide range of gutter guard materials has different cost ranges and different methods of repair or maintenance. There are four primary types of gutter guards based on their material. Let’s dive in.
Mesh or Micro-Mesh Gutter Guards
With what appears like a tightly-woven mesh, a professional installation company often installs or replaces mesh or micro-mesh gutter guards.
Foam Gutter Guards
Easy to replace and install, these gutter guards are made from foam and are great for those with some DIY skills.
Screen Gutter Guards
Like screens on storm doors, these gutter guards are installed or replaced over your existing gutters.
Brush Gutter Guards
Brush gutter guards allow water to flow through but attempt to stop large debris with somewhat of a brush apparatus.
Typical Problems with Gutter Guards and How to Fix Them
Gutter guards aren’t a solution for keeping all clutter from your gutter. Most types do a decent job of keeping out the large stuff, but small debris that forms tight clogs and leaves your gutter system non-functional can still get inside the gutters.
This forces homeowners to maintain and clean their gutters, but there is an added cost to remove the gutter guards, clean the gutters, and reattach the guards when the cleaning session is complete.
There are some common homeowner complaints regarding gutter guards. Let’s discuss each and how to remedy those issues.
Before beginning any repair or replacement of your gutter guards, determine whether you can tackle the type of gutter guards installed at your home and if there is an installation warranty that covers labor and materials. Some gutter guard types must be maintained by a licensed professional. This requirement means that if you handle the repair yourself, you could void the warranty.
All recommended remedies are focused on gutter guards that can be replaced, fixed, or maintained yourself and do not include instruction on those that a professional must maintain. Instead, read all manufacturer instructions for installation and replacement. These are general, high-level instructions.
Personal protective equipment
Screwdriver or impact driver
Included gutter guard screws
New gutter guard pieces
Not Installed Properly
If you don’t properly install your gutter guards, debris may get caught inside.
Remove the gutter guards by unscrewing their fastenings. Then, arrange them in the proper place for full coverage, attach the support brackets, and reattach them to those brackets with the included screws or by sliding them under the roofing shingles, depending on the type of guard.
Not the Correct Size
Not all gutters are created equal. Depending on your needs, your gutter width may vary greatly. If you have 5-inch wide gutters and 4-inch wide gutter guards, they will not perform as expected.
Remove gutter guards by unscrewing them from your system. Purchase the correct size of gutter guards and screw them into the mounting brackets or slide them under the roofing shingles, depending on the gutter guard design.
Gutter Guards were Damaged
Sometimes in life, we get what we pay for, and when you choose to install the cheapest gutter guards, there’s a good chance that they will wear and break over time. The mesh will detach from the frame, or the foam will crack and break.
If your gutter guards no longer work due to end-of-life or impact damage, it’s time to replace the bad sections or consider upgrading your gutter guards completely with a new and improved system.
Remove the gutter guard’s bad section by contracting an expert or removing them yourself. Measure and cut a new gutter guard section. Screw it into place underneath the flashing. Many types of DIY-friendly gutter guards snap or lay across the front edge of the gutter, but if your guards require it, secure them on the front as well.
NOTE: Some types of gutter guards can only be installed or replaced by a licensed technician, so read your manufacturer’s instructions before attempting to do it yourself.
Still Allowing Debris Inside the Gutters
Gutter guards are designed to allow water to flow through, but it often allows dirt, dust, and small seeds to penetrate the guards, so you may still see debris piling up inside your gutters and causing clogs and overspills.
Create a cleaning maintenance schedule to remove your gutter guards, clean the gutters, and reattach them to keep your gutters functioning properly. We recommend you clean your gutters twice per year, but with gutter guards, you may need to clean them annually depending on how much debris is getting through.
Insects and Critters
If insects like mosquitoes are reproducing inside your gutters, it’s commonly due to a build-up of debris inside them. Mosquitos love wet areas. You will want to remove the nest if you see rodents making homes in the gutter system.
Remove the gutter guards and inspect the gutter runs carefully. Look for any holes or damage and thoroughly clean inside the gutters before reattaching them.
If you are not experienced with wildlife and how to be safe, consider calling in an exterminator or gutter maintenance company to rid your gutters of all kinds of pests to keep you and your family safe.
Maintaining Your Gutter Guards
To prolong the life of your gutter guards and, in turn, your gutters, you must maintain them. Get up on your ladder and peek at your gutter guards. Catching issues early can save you time and money in repair costs.
Using a leaf blower or a garden hose, blow any large debris from the top of your gutter guards as needed, but a few times during the fall season when foliage sheds its leaves.
Gutter guards can be a helpful tool to keep your home safe from extensive water damage, but there are many solutions to all your maintenance concerns. They will keep large things from clogging up your gutters, but the small items can still accumulate over time.
If you are not well-versed in home improvement or have a condition or circumstance that prevents you from climbing ladders at taller heights, consider hiring a seasoned, insured, and highly trained gutter company to take care of all your gutter and gutter guard maintenance throughout the year.
Risking your health and safety to fix, replace, or maintain your gutter guards will not make the DIY worth it.