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Does a Good Gutter Guard Actually Exist?

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There is no avoiding gutter cleaning if you live in Seattle or its surrounding area. Unfortunately, manufacturers of many gutter guard systems state otherwise. This blog will protect you from their false promises and prepare you for the reality that if you own a home in the Pacific Northwest, gutter guard or not, you cannot avoid maintaining your gutter system. However, you can have clean gutters without risking injury and unnecessary costs.

The Gutter Guard Promise

A gutter guard supposedly allows the gutter to do its job to send water away from your home and protect its foundation from erosion. As its name implies, the gutter guard is built to protect debris from collecting in the gutter and blocking water flow. If a gutter guard worked effectively, therefore delivering its promise, you would never have to risk injury by getting on your roof to clean the gutters.

Sadly, much of the marketing of gutter guards preys on this real risk. If you live in the Seattle area, your nonsense detector should go off if you hear or read any advertising suggesting that purchasing a gutter guard means you won’t have to clean your gutters ever again — it’s just NOT true.

Not only do gutter guard companies make these false promises, but they also guard themselves (pun intended) when you figure out you spent a significant amount of money on a product that does not work as you had hoped. For example, the warranties on many gutter guards are void if a company other than the installer cleans your gutters. The onus is on you to guard yourself against false promises and unnecessary costs, which we’ll address later. 

Gutter Guard Reality in the Pacific Northwest

We don’t assume these false promises are made intentionally. Most likely, they’re made without a complete understanding of what can clog your gutters and how.

On the surface, it looks like a gutter guard should work. Install the guard, and no leaves, twigs, or branches will get into the gutter, and water will flow easily away from your home. Well, that could work if you lived in the southwest United States where the climate is less humid and dark. But, here in Seattle, gutter guards will make your gutter’s water flow worse. Just take a look at this video that DAPrDAN took of a fairly new system at one of our customer’s homes…

I don’t have to tell you that Puget Sound’s moderate climate comes with high moisture content and limited sunlight, which is conducive to microbial growth. Even the roads in Seattle have moss on them, so how can your gutters avoid that?

They can’t! Pollen, dust, and spores fall into your already moist gutters, and because of the lack of UV rays, they lead to moss and algae growing in them. By putting a guard over your gutters, you exacerbate this greenhouse effect, further limiting water flow, eroding your home’s foundation, and eventually dealing with the ramifications.

Every gutter guard in the Pacific Northwest will fail, requiring both uninstallation or replacement and cleaning your gutters. Read here to dive more deeply into gutter guards in the Pacific Northwest.

Guarding Yourself From the Gutter Guard Promises

By now, you understand that living in the Pacific Northwest renders the gutter guard promise moot. So, what should you do? 

First, do NOT get on your roof to clean your gutters. It’s always best to hire a licensed, bonded, and insured professional company to do this for you. Even if you don’t hire DAPrDAN, we want you to avoid injuring yourself, or worse. We’ll mention how DAPrDAN can help at the end. 

Second if (against our professional advice of more than 20 years in the field) you install a gutter guard system, the one redeeming decision you can make is to choose one that is low-cost to both install and inevitably replace. You are throwing money away if you select a higher-end model. GutterStuff is the only system we are willing to install, and only in specific circumstances. You can see a photo of it here…

Our recommendation comes from twenty years of conversations with clients and yanking out their failed, expensive gutter guard systems. One gutter cleaning client of ours spent $20,000 on a system, which ended up costing additional money to have professionally removed. While we want you to hire us, we are your neighbors and members of the Seattle community. Even if you don’t hire DAPrDAN, we’re happy to see you stay safe and avoid unnecessary costs by understanding the reality of these failing gutter guard systems. 

Lastly, you may not be able to avoid all costs if you want to keep your gutters clean while preventing injury to yourself, but, you can keep costs under control by subscribing to one of DAPrDAN’s maintenance plans. Click here to learn more.

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