Robert Lamoureux | Gutter guards: Do they work?

Robert Lamoureux
Robert Lamoureux

Question: Robert, we’ve been seeing a lot of ads on TV about gutter guards, and we are wondering what your take is on them. Apparently, they allow water in but no debris, so they claim that they never have to be cleaned out again. Is there any validity to this?  

— Jean and John T. 

Answer: Hi again Jean and John, thank you for writing in again. Great question and yes, what they offer is accurate, to the point that you “never” have to clean them out. You won’t find large debris in them but you will have to give them a good rinse every few years depending on how many trees and other debris are nearby, dropping soil.  

There will be a buildup over a few years of dust/dirt, and unless there is enough rain you may have to give them a rinse. Most likely they’ll be OK but definitely a good thing to check.  

On a weather note, rains are coming so some checklist items are needed for your best chance at an issue-free season. Check your area drains, be sure they are clear and flowing freely. The result that I’ve seen time and time again is clogged area drains, which allow water to back up, and, if the conditions are right, it will flow above the weep screed of a home and flood the inside. I get many calls each year, for this very issue. Hire a roofer if you aren’t able to do this on your own, but roofs need to be checked to be sure all tiles are in good condition and that all of the roof penetrations, such as vent pipes, are properly sealed.  

Sika Flex, a urethane-based product, can be used on vent pipe and other penetrations. Mastic looks like tar and essentially acts like it, sealing roofing tiles and other roof areas to prevent water intrusions. Any color issues with mastic can be covered with spray paint to match, after the mastic dries for about an hour.  

Santa Clarita is extremely hot and, in one summer, mastic can dry and crack, offering access for water to enter your home. It may be just a few drops, but when we are hit with severe California waters as we’ve been before, even a few drops at a time can cause much damage because of not being able to dry out for repairs. That’s another thing for folks to know: Often roof leaks cannot be repaired during storms. Sometimes you just have to “ride it out,” as I often say.  

Roofers cannot and will not access a roof, especially with a pitch, in heavy winds. During a downpour, nothing is going to stop the water, so even the temporary repairs have to wait until a storm is over and things begin to dry out.  

Lastly, be sure trees within close proximity to the house are trimmed properly so that you don’t end up with one on or in your home. Best of luck — I hear we are due a wet winter. 

Robert Lamoureux has more than 40 years of experience as a general contractor, with separate licenses in electrical and plumbing contracting. He owns IMS Construction Inc. in Valencia. His opinions are his own, not necessarily those of The Signal. Opinions expressed in this column are not meant to replace the recommendations of a qualified contractor after that contractor has made a thorough visual inspection. Email questions to Robert at [email protected].       

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