Dear Sanitan Man,
Q: I see that Sanitan sells gutter guards. Is it worth my while to get them put on my home? Do they really work?

A: Hmmm. I could really give you a sales pitch here for Sanitan, as we sell a bunch of them. But I calls ‘em like I sees ‘em, with no holds barred. So here goes… and I hope my role here doesn’t go with it.
     First, let’s look at what gutter guards are and the concept behind them. A gutter guard is any metal or plastic covering that covers the gutter; they are manufactured in such a way that water should pass through to the gutter while leaves and other debris can’t get in the gutter to block it up. Sounds to me like a reverse diaper. There are a number of different designs on the market today that claim to be able to do this. The end result is that a homeowner should never have to clean his gutters again. Great concept, huh? Why didn’t I join the inventors club and patent that? I would have made a fortune.
     If you live in the North or the Midwest, these products work very well. Leaves and debris will usually not be able to get by the gutter guards, no matter which design you install. That’s because those parts of the country have old growth forestation, meaning most of the trees are hardwoods that have taken decades to establish themselves. They produce large leaves that eventually turn color and drop off in autumn. Mother Nature will eventually huff and puff, and if she doesn’t blow your house down she will blow the debris and leaves off the roof and the gutter guards.
     But as you are writing me here, it’s safe to assume that you live in Georgia, where the majority of trees are pine trees. They drop pine straw, or if you’re from the North – pine needles. These skinny little creatures show no mercy to gutters. If you use gutter guards that look like a large screen, the pine straw will get stuck in the square openings. If you use solid toppers, pine straw will slide down the small opening into the gutter. A few well placed pieces over the downspout will cause other pieces to get stuck there, eventually causing a blockage. Also, if you have a large concentration of pine trees around or near your home, the pine straw will accumulate on top of the gutter guards. This will cause water to flow over the gutters instead of into it. And with some of the gully washers we get around here in the springtime, the solid toppers might not be able to drain that volume of water adequately into the gutters, even without any pine straw on them.
     I remember when the first of the solid top gutter guard manufacturers came to us many years ago. They told us they were going to market them with a guarantee that the homeowner would never have to clean his gutters again or they would be cleaned for free. So I said, “Well then, when that time comes, and it will come, will you compensate us for going out and cleaning their gutters in order to honor the guarantee?” They said they wouldn’t, that we would have to do that. We told them we weren’t interested in their “guaranteed” product, even though the profit margins were large. It costs the homeowner lots of money for them, usually running over a thousand dollars just for an average sized home. When we are called upon to clean out gutters with the solid toppers on them (usually because the contractors that originally installed them are out of business), the cost runs into many hundreds of dollars as it can take one of our crews all day to undo, clean, and reinstall them.
     I would recommend that you just have your gutters cleaned properly once or twice a year, instead. Your gutters will then function optimally in any kind of rain. You’ll save bunches of money in the long run and your home will be all the better for it, as well as your wallet. However, if you feel you must spend the money to have them on your home, give us a call as we would prefer to have your money over one of our competitors. We use only the best products and install them to manufacturers’ specifications for the best price in the area. There, I got a plug in after all!

The Sanitan Man

Do you have a "Do It Yourself" question?
Send it to The Sanitan Man at

Ask about our 24 Hour Emergency Service Plan

Copyright ©2003 Sanitan Service Corporation. All Rights Reserved. developed and maintained by Pifusion Development Group, Inc.