Do Gutter Guards Require Maintenance?

cleaning leaves from a gutter

Gutter guards have become an increasingly popular option for people trying to cut down on the messy, tedious business of cleaning gutters, but do gutter guards themselves require maintenance? Yes, they do, but gutter guards require less upkeep than gutters alone.

What’s important to note is that gutter guards are not a maintenance-free solution. You will still need to break out your ladder to do a light cleaning of your gutter guards. This must be done twice a year, or more if you have a large number of trees surrounding your home.

So what’s involved in gutter guard maintenance? We’ll cover that below.

Gutter Guard Maintenance

How much you’ll need to do to clean your gutter guards depends on the type of gutter guard.

Screen Gutter Guards

These gutter guards are the most common gutter guard and are typically made from plastic or aluminum. Screen gutter guards are easy to maintain because they sit atop the gutters, unattached, preventing you from the need for power tools.

However, that makes them vulnerable in heavy rain and strong winds. 

How to Clean: Remove debris that is sitting on top of your gutter guard and detach the guards from the gutters. Rinse the gutter guards with a pressure cleaner or a garden hose. 

Mesh Gutter Guards

close-up of mesh gutter guard on roof gutter, with leaf on top
Photo Credit: soupstock / Canva Pro / License

Mesh gutter guards clip onto your gutters, making them easy to clean.

How to Clean: Remove debris that has accumulated on top of your gutter guards. Then, pry the small metal clips that hold the gutter guards to your gutter with either your hand or a flathead screwdriver. Lift the mesh screens so that they rest on your roof while you rinse them, and your gutters, with a garden hose.

Micro-Mesh Gutter Guards

rain leaf gutter guard
Photo Credit: BanksPhotos / Canva Pro / License

Micro-mesh gutter guards block a lot of twigs and leaves from getting into your gutters and downspouts, but small debris can build up and mat itself on top of the gutter guard, slowing water from getting through.

How to Clean: A gutter guard cleaning brush helps when cleaning micro-mesh guards. Because of their tiny holes, which can become clogged with even the smallest of debris, water pressure doesn’t always penetrate. Brush off the micro-mesh as much as possible before using a hose or pressure cleaner to get the remaining built-up grime and dirt. 

Surface Tension (Reverse Curve) Gutter Guards

illustration of reverse gutter
Infographic by Juan Rodriguez

Surface tension gutter guard systems, also known as reverse curve systems, block most debris from getting into the gutters while allowing water to flow back into the gutters via a bend in the gutter guard. This system is disputable, as some people claim that the water doesn’t cling to its surface as it is supposed to. Others prefer this system because it keeps your gutters especially clean. 

How to Clean: A buildup of dirt, small debris, and grime can accumulate underneath the gutter due to its reverse curve. This requires some extra effort in the cleaning process. Use a pressure cleaner, and, in some circumstances, you’ll need to put in a little elbow grease to get off any tough stains left behind by caked-up dirt and debris.

Foam Gutter Guards

Foam gutter guards, which fit snugly into your gutter system, are one of the easiest types of gutter guards to both install and maintain.

How to Clean: When it’s time for a rinse, remove debris on top of the foam and pull the foam gutter guard from your gutters. Foam gutters will rinse out well with the help of a pressure washer set to a low pressure or a garden hose. 

Brush Gutter Guards

Similar to foam ones, brush gutter guards fit snugly inside the gutter. Brush gutter guards, also like foam gutter guards, are easy to install and maintain. 

How to Clean: To clean a brush gutter guard, simply remove debris sitting atop the bristles and pull the gutter guard out from your gutters. Clean out the debris and dirt built up between the bristles with your gloved hands or with a hose or pressure washer. 

FAQ About Gutter Guard Maintenance

Is There Maintenance Required With All Gutter Guards?

Yes. No matter which type of gutter guard you purchase, there will be some sort of maintenance required to ensure that they can function properly. 

How Long Do Gutter Guards Last?

Depending on the type, gutter guards can last 10 to 20 years. Ones made of steel, rather than aluminum, tend to last the longest.

Do Gutter Guards Work in Heavy Rain?

Gutter guards are designed to work in heavy rain, but certain types work better in severe weather than others. A mesh or screen gutter guard fastened to the gutter can withstand heavy rain the best because it helps direct the flow of the water. Micro-mesh, reverse curve systems, and even foam gutter guards can often deter water from flowing through the gutters the way that it’s supposed to. 

When to Hire a Pro

While there are various types of gutter guards to choose from, all types will require some sort of maintenance. Regular cleanings will keep your gutter guards functioning optimally. But, if the maintenance turns out to be too much for you to handle on your own, hire a professional gutter cleaner. Gutter Gnome connects you to the best gutter professionals near you. With just a few clicks, you’ll receive quotes in minutes.

Main Photo Credit: davidmariuz / Canva Pro / License

Madeline Hoppe

Born and raised in Tampa, FL, Madeline Hoppe is a customer service expert with a deep respect for the written word. In her down time, she enjoys low-key nights watching movies with her family or heading to one of Tampa Bay's local beaches on a summery day.

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