I'm trying to make a decision on whether or not I should install gutter guards on my house. We do have some tall trees in our backyard about 30ft from the house, so our gutters need cleaning at least once a year. It's about $200/year to hire someone to do the gutter cleaning. Based on my research, installing gutter guards could cost upwards of $1000 if I go with decent quality ones. But, my research also shows mixed reviews for gutter covers. It appears I still need to have a professional inspect and possibly clean the gutters annually, and in some cases, gutter covers make debris deposit worse, and accessing and cleaning debris more difficult. Can anyone share their personal experiences around gutter guards? Are gutter guards worth the investment?
Growing up, our neighbors in the Midwest had aluminum mesh, 1/4" square, gutter screens that worked great at keeping Fall and Summer leaves out and even small branches. I'd be stuck up on our two story roof cleaning our gutters and wondering why we didn't get them. When I asked my Dad why we didn't get them, he said "we don't need them, I got you".
Most of the ones I've seen here in Florida are made out of PVC and they crack easily after a few years in the sun so I'd stay away from any that weren't aluminum. Like @Ecnerwal stated, they won't stop pine needles so the determining factor would be what type of debris you're dealing with.
My experience is that gutter guards are completely worthless. One could say it is my own fault; I am in the Piney Woods of E TX and I foolishly saved most trees on my lot. So I have southern pines ( 6 to 10" needles), sweet gums , oaks , and hickories, and others above my roof. I have put the three varieties of gutter guards available here ( Home Depot, lumberyard, etc.) on aluminum and plastic gutters. I really wanted to stop rain flooding of a walkway between house and garage. The gutter needed to be cleaned every two months , the third month rain just ran over the gutters like they were not there. Cleaning involve pushing about 40 ft of garden hose the length of the gutter section, under the guards. Gutter guards are likely great in the Arizona desert.
I've seen them utterly fail to keep out pine needles, and make the cleaning much harder to do than without them. Don't know with other tree debris, but color me unimpressed. From what I have seen, spending some effort cleaning up the typical gutter installer jagged edges that catch stuff where the water flows would be more beneficial (if it just flows right through, it does not clog) and open gutters are much easier to clean when/if needed.
Gutter guards aren't a permanent solution, they will usually need to be cleaned about twice a year. This sounds like a lot but you might not have been cleaning your gutters before either.
With so many other things going on in life, the time and effort needed to keep on top of this task can truly pile on. What's worse is that if you neglect these important gutter-clearing efforts, the leaves caught up there over winter will eventually turn into an organic film which blocks rainwater from draining out of your home completely! So it's worth asking yourself whether or not deal with all that task every few months seems like too much hassle for something that won't last very long anyway.