Well there is really no way to give a simple yes or no answer to that question. But one thing is certain, and that is that rain gutters need to be unobstructed so that water can flow freely to the downspouts and be carried away from the house. If that doesn’t happen you are sure to run into serious problems in and around the house. But, if for some reason your gutters are not subjected to falling leaves and other debris such as branches, twigs, etc., then you may not need any type of protection, but they should be checked occasionally. If your home does have trees near it and leaves blow onto your roof and into your gutters, and you are willing and able to clean the gutters out frequently then you may not need a gutter guard. And of course you could always pay someone to clean your gutters frequently once again eliminating the need for a guard. But let’s be realistic about the situation. It is very unlikely that your gutters will be cleaned frequently enough to assure that problems do not occur. And paying for cleanings frequently enough can run into some serious expense. And even when the situation is being handled frequently, there are things that can be overlooked. For example, downspouts can be clogged with leaves and that problem goes unnoticed because the clog is out of sight (and out of mind). While it may sound as if I am stating that there is a need for gutter guards, I am not. I am simply stating that gutters need to be free of leaves and other debris in order to function properly. Gutter guards may be the easiest and most economical way to make that happen.
So, if you decide on using a gutter guard there are a few things to consider. There are many types of guards on the market, ranging from extremely expensive, to very cheap. The thing to remember is not to judge the performance based on the price. Some of the most expensive guards can actually cause more problems than they solve. So what should you look for? It certainly isn’t rocket science. Gutter guards need to be made of a sturdy material. The very cheapest ones can collapse into the gutter and become a catch point for debris to form a dam and block the flow of water. Avoid guards with gaps in the front because leaves can blow in the gaps, clog the gutters, and then cannot be reached in order to clean them out. Many of the gutter hoods are effective in light rain, but can overflow during heavy downpours, and can also have the dreaded gap in front. And avoid anything that needs to be attached to the roof as this can affect your roofer’s warranty should a leak occur. So a sturdy guard that attaches only to the gutter, with perforations to allow only water into the gutter seems to be the most logical choice. Often times this is the most economical (not cheapest) way to go. If the installation is being done by a professional (highly recommended) be sure to get a written warranty and performance guarantee. Avoid contractors who do not specialize in gutters or those that make use of sub contractors. Doing this job right will allow you to have many years of trouble free performance.