Are gutter screens worth it?
November 22, 2020 12:51 PM   Subscribe

We can get our gutters cleaned for $450 or we can get gutter screens installed for $1,250. But if we get the gutter screens don't we still need to call someone out at least annually to make sure they are working well? Will we really save any money in the long term by getting the screens or should we just have someone come clean the gutters annually and forgo the screens?

Some of our gutters are way off the ground and there's no way either of us is going up there to check or clean them.
posted by Tehhund to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I’ve got gutter screens with my house and I didn’t need to think about my gutters for ten years.
posted by bq at 12:56 PM on November 22, 2020 [1 favorite]

I've had two different gutter workers tell me most screens are worse than nothing, because smaller silt accumulates deeper bigger clogs, whereas normal leaf clogs are minor and easy to clear. This kind of rings true to me based on experience. Your total leaf burden will change this calculus too: screens probably work great if you're not expecting a ton of debris like I often do.

That said, they have a conflict of interest, and also that price sounds really high, unless maybe you live in a really expensive place or have a giant house.
posted by SaltySalticid at 1:04 PM on November 22, 2020 [1 favorite]

It also might depend on where you are and what kind of trees are all around you. I had new gutters installed last March, and my gutter guy told me to skip the gutter screens because I'm surrounded by oak trees that have these weird stringy...things that happen in the spring, they get mushy when wet and get past anything.
posted by vrakatar at 1:38 PM on November 22, 2020

I have gutter screens. They keep out the leaves, but the small stuff (pine needles included) tends to collect on top of the screen and over time it forms a mat that needs to be physically removed. Otherwise no water gets in, and the gutter isn't doing its job. Seems I have to remove the mat every 2-3 years on average.
posted by yclipse at 1:53 PM on November 22, 2020 [3 favorites]

Pine needles and other small debris got through our gutter screens, which came with the house. We had to remove them because of the matting and gunk that built up and impeded water flow.
posted by Elsie at 2:04 PM on November 22, 2020 [2 favorites]

Depending on your climate, they may or may not be effective. We live in a dry, dusty climate, and screens do keep out larger-sized debris. But they don't prevent dust and dirt from settling in the gutter, which eventually block the drain holes. If the dirt is left too long, weed seeds in the air settle in and can sprout into weeds.
posted by davcoo at 2:25 PM on November 22, 2020

We get both pine needles and maple leaves falling on the roof, so we had gutter clogs during every heavy rainfall. To fix this we had wire mesh screens installed near the bottom of our downspouts, instead of on the horizontal gutters. All the debris now collects on the downspout screens which can be cleaned out by hand in a few seconds. We no longer have to to climb a ladder in a rainstorm to unclog gutters!
posted by monotreme at 4:19 PM on November 22, 2020 [1 favorite]

I might an extendable pole with a sort of book on the and that's worked out ok this year. It's been good for big chunks of moss, leaves and sort of soil/grass which the seagulls cause to build up. You can get a replacement wiper to switch for the hook to wash upstairs windows also.
posted by biffa at 5:04 PM on November 22, 2020 [1 favorite]

$450 seems extremely high for gutter cleaning, assuming your house is normal size. I had mine done over the summer by a gutter company at it was $120.
posted by jonathanhughes at 6:51 PM on November 22, 2020 [2 favorites]

$450 does seem high for gutter cleaning. If the house has a lot of gutter square footage and some odd rooflines I can see the price being higher, but...that's high. (Previous Seattle homeowner who now lives Out In The Sticks.)

That said, if you have a lot of pine trees around, those needles will either get in through the gutter vents or will mat up on top. If you are surrounded by pine trees that are 15 feet or less from the house, gutter guards will be more aggravation than help.

If you're surrounded by broad-leaf trees, gutter guards can help. They will need to be checked at about five years - someone will have to go up, move the gutter guards aside a little, hose out the gutters, possibly check said guards to see if they need to be replaced. But that's five years where you don't have to do anything.

If any trees are more than 25 feet from your house, gutter guards are probably overkill.

Also, effective gutter guards can be pretty inexpensive. I got mine at Home Depot, they were thin, wide, and had a fine mesh, and just slid onto the tops of the gutters and just beneath the existing shingles (but on top of the underlayment.) I had a huge maple on one side of the house that dumped a lot of leaves on my roof every year.
posted by Tailkinker to-Ennien at 7:51 PM on November 22, 2020 [1 favorite]

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