In and around Charleston, natives are very familiar with palmetto trees. Homeowners often jealously guard these coastal beauties, and roofers don’t mind them. Palmetto fronds seldom find their way into your home’s gutters because of their great size. If your Charleston-area property has just about any other kind of native tree, though, you already know the answer to the question, “Are gutter guards worth installing?”
Trees, Lots of Trees
We may all be living on a Triassic-era seabed, but we South Carolinians enjoy a wide array of well-rooted, native trees that thrive in our sandy soil, including:
- Seven species of conifers with needles — Eastern Hemlock and Shortleaf Pine are two examples
- Two species of scale leaf conifers — Eastern redcedar and Leyland Cypress
- Eight types of untoothed simple-leafed trees — Black Tupelo and Southern Magnolia, of course
- Eleven different trees with toothed, simple leaves — Beauties like Southern Bayberry and American Holly
- An even dozen native trees sporting lobed simple leafs — Think Sassafras and Red Oak
- Our native trees round out with six trees dropping compound leaves — Beloved pecan trees and Shagbark Hickory, for example
If your property in the tri-county area contains even just a few of these native splendors, that means leaves, lots and lots of leaves. If any trees overhang your home, that means a lot of leaves falling into your home’s gutters.
You came here for hard facts and clear information. You probably also came here hoping to save money, so when could you avoid having gutter guards installed? Could any conditions exist for a South Carolina homeowner when gutter guards make no sense?
Sure! If you by chance live on one of the state’s barrier islands, close to the beach, you probably have only a bit of sea grass and gulls to contend with. No need for gutter guards. Similarly, if you live inland but have a completely bare lot, with no trees overhanging your home or even threatening to blow their leaves your way, you probably could escape the need for gutter guards.
Perhaps you are thinking you could use the exercise by cleaning your gutters yourself, several times a season. We caution against that, because only one-story homes can safely have their gutters cleaned by amateurs, from the relative safety of a folding ladder. For anything above one story, hire professionals. Better still, have gutter guards installed.
Perhaps the best reason to avoid paying for gutter guards is, alas, temporary: If you have a teenager needing an allowance, have your single-story gutters cleaned twice a month, once a week, or every day if you like. No gutter guards are needed as long as Junior does not mind climbing a folding ladder and needs some spending money.
To determine when to install gutter guards, consider the risks you take from having clogged gutters:
- Rainwater fills the gutters, pulling them free of their screws or brackets
- Water overflows the gutters, soaking your home’s fascia boards and, eventually, rotting them
- Overflowing water ruins landscaping
- Overflowing water saturates the ground directly next to your foundations, weakening them
Though we seldom get snow and ice storms, an occasional freeze can also cause ice dams due to clogged gutters. For most tri-county homeowners, the time to get gutter guards installed is the moment you realize how much you risk by letting your gutters become choked with leaves, twigs, and organic debris.
Look at the Time
You have two options for gutter guard installation:
- An ideal time is during seamless gutter installation — If you have already arranged to have your home’s gutters replaced with new, gleaming, seamless gutters custom-fit on site, ask your professional gutter service to install gutter guards at the same time; you may even qualify for a price break on having all the work performed at once
- A not-so-ideal time is when you detect a major problem with your gutters and clogging leaves; any sign of damage, rot, or saturated foundations means you need gutter guards installed as quickly as your local, professional gutter installer can get to you
Weigh the Cost
You (or your partner) may balk at the idea of spending money on gutter guards. Weigh the relatively minor cost of gutter guards, installed by skilled, trained professionals, against the costs for typical repairs like these:
- Having gutters repaired, reshaped, or re-attached to your home — Hundreds of dollars
- Replacing ruined shrubs, flowering plants, and bushes — Hundreds of dollars
- Fascia board removal and replacement — Hundreds of dollars
- Replacing ruined gutters — Costs vary, but could add up to thousands of dollars
- Foundation repair — Tens of thousands of dollars
Trico Exteriors provides a complete range of exterior services for your Charleston-area home. Contact us today to see what we can do to transform your home’s roof, siding, windows or gutters.