Gutter Guards – Do they work?

Every once in a while I get asked to clear weeds that have grown in gutters and have to turn the job down.  There is or was a trend to install gutter guards, gutter brushes, gutter netting to new guttering especially in hard to reach places such as above extensions or conservatories in the hope it will stop the need for any maintenance by only letting the rainwater through, into the gutter to run off.  A sensible plan?  You’d think so.

Unfortunately, for most homes it’s not the leaves that are the main problem.  Moss, grit and dirt that washes off your roof also makes it into the gutter, through the mesh or bristles, and this provides a great organic growing medium for any tiny seeds that blow or drop into the gutters with the rain or bird droppings to germinate.


Moss growing through gutter protection netting.

Here are a few examples from around the World where people have found problems with gutter guard products:


This website is actually promoting another kind of gutter protection system using a foam to let water through but stopping solids.  Another website has photos of this system failing too:

When people install gutter guards, they will normally start with nice clean gutters.  You’ve got a good few years of maintenance free gutters anyway, regardless of any so-called protection.  Once weeds start growing through the mesh, there is no easy way to get it out.  You are going to need to get up there and remove it by hand.  I’ve seen mesh clipped, cable-tied, wedged and just left lying in the gutters.

The best solution for trouble-free gutters is to have a quality gutter system installed with a good angle for the water to run toward the downpipe.  When it rains the water will wash away any debris and keep the guttering weed free.  If you have overhanging trees within 10m of your guttering, be sure to keep them trimmed back and keep an eye out for weeds growing, because with the onset of summer, they will rocket up and it’s much easier to deal with them as small shoots than as 5 foot tall saplings.


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