Gutter guards are the thin pieces of aluminum or vinyl that block off most of the gutter so that that water can get in them, but leaves and other debris can’t get in. Gutter guards can prevent gutters from getting clogged and save homeowners the hassle of cleaning out their gutters after storms, or after the autumn leaf drop. However, they are a relatively large investment, especially if you have a large home that has a big gutter system. Are gutter guards worth the money?

How Much Are You Spending Now?

Your gutters currently cost you money in cleanings, clog removals and general repair. If these costs are significant, it may be worthwhile financially to install gutter guards. For example, some people need to get their gutters cleaned more than once a year, typically due to the mature trees on their property dropping needles, branches and leaves.

Regular cleanings, some people have to get these cleanings more than once a year, which can start adding up significantly. If you’re in this circumstance, your gutters may pay themselves off in a few years, or less if you have a small gutter system. From then on, you’ll be saving money by not needing to get your gutters cleaned.

Are Gutters a Hassle for You?

You also have to consider how much time and energy you spend handling your gutters. For many people with busy lives, demanding careers, or kids, it makes sense to try to limit the amount of time you spend handling your home’s maintenance—without sacrificing its value, of course. Gutter guards may be a wise choice for you just so that you don’t need to spend time cleaning them out or finding someone else to do. Depending on how much your time is worth to you, and how much time you spend on your gutters every year, saving time may justify the cost of gutter guards alone.

Will Gutter Guards Solve My Problems?

It’s worth mentioning that gutter guards won’t always completely solve gutter problems. If your only issue is that your gutters get clogged frequently, guards will work. However, if you have related problems such as ice dams or gutters that spill water, gutter guards may not help. Instead, you’ll want to talk with a roofer who has experience with gutters and gutter guards to determine what they need to work properly consistently. If your gutters don’t need guards, they won’t be worth the money.

If your gutters suffer ice dams, it is more likely that your roof needs new insulation than that your gutters need gutter guards. Guards can reduce the severity of the ice dams, but won’t address their root cause, which is having a roof that’s too warm.

If your gutters spill water frequently, and not from clogs, then guards won’t help. Instead, your gutters likely need to be realigned, to direct water properly to the downspouts. It’s also possible that your gutters aren’t large enough for your roof, or that the system drains too much water into a single downspout.

In the end, you’ll want to consult with a roofer to discover if gutter guards are the right answer for your roof, and worthwhile for you financially.