Do Gutter Guards Really Work in Kansas City?
Do Gutter Guards Work?
Short Answer: Yes, Gutter Guards do work! However, you have to get the right gutter guard.
Longer Answer: You may have heard that gutter guards do not work – in fact, they are more frustrating then simply cleaning your gutters. This can also be true. However, certain gutter guards do work – quite well actually. As with most products on the market, not all gutter covers are created equal. There are several designs out there, and it is important that the one you choose is designed for your home’s needs, is high-quality and is installed properly.
When it comes to whether gutter guards work, five factors must be taken into consideration.
- Your Home’s Location
- Gutter Guard Design – Perforated vs Solid
- Installation – DIY vs Professional
- Quality of Gutter Guard Materials – Plastic vs Aluminum
- Company Backing the Gutter Guard
5 Keys to Finding a Working Gutter Guard:
1. Your Home’s Location
We mention location because certain gutter filters/guards/covers might work well in one part of the country and not so well in others. Be sure to research what kind of debris falls from your trees year-round. This will help you identify your gutter protection needs.
For Kansas City homeowners the large variety of trees can prove to be a unique challenge for leaf filters and screens. This is a challenge because the debris includes very tiny, slim pine needles, sticky oak tassels, pervasive whirly-birds, gum-balls and large maple leaves.
In order for a gutter guard to work in Kansas City, it must be designed to keep both large and small debris out – while still allowing all of the rainwater in.
What kind of design can do all of that?
2. The Design of the Gutter Guard
Keep your home’s debris in mind as we explore two of the most-common gutter guard designs available in Kansas City.
These gutter guards are intended to work like a filter – keeping debris out while allowing water through.
Let’s explore the pro’s and con’s involved with some designs under this category.
Screens have been in the gutter protection industry the longest and are widely available. These look like a metal net that covers the gutter.
Pro: Screens keep out large debris – such as leaves and gumballs.
Con: The net design allows medium to smaller size debris (whirly birds, pine needles, seeds, etc.) to clog the top of the screen. For this reason you must continually clean the top of the screen. This could lead to as much – or more maintenance than just cleaning the gutters themselves. If this maintenance is not performed, the clogged holes will not allow the water through, which will lead to water overflowing and damaging your home, foundation and landscaping.
Micro-mesh sometimes called leaf filters were designed to address the frustrations of screens. These look more like a fine filter, allowing nothing but water and small dirt particles to pass. They are made of various materials, ranging from plastic to surgical steel.
Pro: Micro-mesh filters keep all debris out of the gutter itself – from the smallest pine-needle to the trickiest maple-seed.
Con: Micro-mesh filters clog over time. It’s not large or medium sized debris (leaves, pine needles, etc.) that clog the leaf filter, but sticky oak tassels, dirt, pollen and mold. Once the small holes are clogged it blocks water from entering. This results in water spilling over the top of the gutters, and pouring down the siding causing wood rot and foundation damage.
Think of a micro-mesh leaf filter like a furnace filter – the filter keeps dirt from circulating through the house but the dirt eventually clogs the filter and chokes the furnace so it can’t move air. Just like that furnace filter, maintenance is required with a gutter filter since huge amounts of debris and pollen fall from trees. To keep a micro-mesh filter in working order, it needs to be cleaned regularly.
There are other perforated products out there that don’t fully fit the screen or micro-mesh category. However, any product with perforations in the top will have similar cons to those listed above.
These gutter covers are completely solid and use surface tension to direct water into the gutter.
Pro: There are no opening for debris to enter the gutter. Additionally, a smooth solid surface encourages debris – even sticky debris such as oak tassels to wash off during a heavy rainstorm.
Con: If your home has a chronic oak tassels problem, occasional maintenance may be needed. However, with the right system, this can be done from the ground with a quick spray of the hose.
3. Proper Installation of the Leaf Guard
Just as incorrect wiring will result in poor or no electricity, incorrect installation can render a well-designed, high-quality gutter guard useless.
Proper training and knowledge is critical in the efficacy of a gutter cover. Additionally, the installer needs to pay attention to the gutter itself. Is it installed properly and in good condition? Are the gutters the right size to handle the amount of water it carries? If the installer is solely focused on installing a gutter filter, but the gutters themselves are incorrectly installed – water problems will still persist.
In order to insure proper installation, make sure that the company you choose:
1. Does not use subcontractors. Uses ongoing training for quality installation.
2. Specializes in guttering and gutter guards, as well as proper water drainage. Just like you wouldn’t hire an electrician to do your plumbing or vice versa, a jack-of-all-trades won’t necessarily be able to deliver the quality installation you deserve.
4. Quality of the Gutter Cover
Make sure the product you choose is a material that will withstand the elements in Kansas City. Kansas City enjoys all four seasons. That means both bitterly cold winter temperatures and sweltering heat in the summer.
Due to KC’s varied weather patterns, plastic is a short-term material. Over time, it will get brittle and break in the winter, and warp in the summer.
A metal gutter cover is ideal – metal can endure both weather extremes. Usually a heavy-gauge aluminum works well – this is likely the material of your existing gutters and is a lasting solution.
One last thing to look for when testing the quality of a leaf guard – the material of the attachment bracket. Some metal gutter guards use a plastic bracket. This is a reduction in quality because the bracket reinforces the attachment of the gutter to the home while connecting the gutter cover to your guttering system. It must hold up to the extreme weight of ice and snow. Therefore, it needs to be strong. Generally, it’s best to avoid products that use plastic in any aspect.
5. Reputation of the Company Backing the Gutter Guard
The company behind the product is especially important when purchasing a gutter guard. Why?
Like other services you might hire, for a gutter guard to work, it requires professional installers who will customize the gutter guard for your home, and will address any issues that may arise. A life-time guarantee isn’t a life-time guarantee if there isn’t a company to address potential service issues later.
As in all industries, look for the following when checking the company’s reputation:
- Variety: Look for a good reputation across multiple platforms. In Kansas City look at Google, Angie’s List™, BBB, Yellow Pages, Facebook, etc.
- Genuine Reviews: Despite review companies’ best efforts, reviews can be synthetic. So, look for reviews with personalized information in them, spread out over a period of time. For example, If multiple reviews show up within a week of each other, that could be a sign of fake reviews. Also, there are reputation management review sites that somehow bury bad reviews, so dig deep and use reputable sources.
- Longevity: How long has the company been in Kansas City? Even national companies in Kansas City have closed down and reopened with changed ownership. What happens to the customers of the closed business? Sadly, their warranty is voided because the company is not around to do the work. It is important to choose a company that will be there to back up the warranty. The Better Business Bureau can be a good resource for how long a company has been in Kansas City. Not all companies are a part of the BBB, but shouldn’t they be?
An Example of a Gutter Guard that Works:
Now that we have considered the factors that determines whether a gutter guard works, you might be thinking – what product fits all of the parameters? Let’s look at a product that hits all the marks for Kansas City.
Location & Design
As discussed before, Kansas City has debris that spans from tiny pine needles and whirly-birds, to giant maple leaves. This means that a gutter guard in Kansas City must be able to keep out all forms of debris.
Advantage Gutter Guard® was designed in Kansas City – for Kansas City. It is a completely solid, smooth cover that utilizes surface tension and a nose forward design to keep all the debris out, while letting all the water in.
Advantage Gutter Guard® is installed by the Gutter Cover Kansas City team. They been have installing gutter guards that work in Kansas City for nearly 20 years – it is truly their specialty. All of their installers are professionally trained and supervised by both a production manager and a quality control manager.
The Advantage Gutter Guard® is made of a heavy gauge aluminum – and so is the bracket. It is also available in copper – if the homeowner desires.
For further assurance, Gutter Cover Kansas City offers and honors a Lifetime No-Clog Guarantee.
They believe that just installing a standard product will not produce long-term results. That is why Gutter Cover Kansas City creates a custom plan for your guttering system – involving evaluation of roof angles, gutter sloping, landscaping and everything in-between. Surprisingly, all of those issues can be addressed for the same price – or less – than many companies offering products with perforations.
Advantage Gutter Guard®
The research points to Advantage Gutter Guard® as being the best gutter protection for Kansas City homes. If you’d like to enjoy spring and fall without any consideration for your gutters, give Gutter Cover Kansas City a call. They will send a professional out to evaluate your home and provide a custom solution to resolve you gutter problems forever.