Skip to main content
You have permission to edit this article.
Are gutter guards worth it? How to choose the right ones

Are gutter guards worth it? How to choose the right ones

Gutter guards

Proper installation is crucial to getting gutter guards to work properly.

Gutter guards are potent tools to keep your gutters clean. You can choose from several options, but all gutter guards fulfill the same basic purpose: blocking debris from entering your gutters while allowing water to still drain freely from your roof.

That said, there’s no such thing as a completely maintenance-free gutter system. A good cover will minimize debris, but smaller particles can still make their way through. You should still get your covered gutters professionally cleaned at least once every two years — more often, if you have large trees nearby.

If you have gutter guards, don’t let them make you complacent. Keep an eye on your gutters during heavy rainfall and make sure everything goes down the spouts and not over the edges. If you don’t pay attention to gutters, you can find yourself with a damaged roof, fascia or basement.

You can install gutter guards yourself if you’re so inclined, but experts recommend hiring a professional for this work. You’ll want your gutters to be cleaned at the same time guards are installed, to provide a good baseline for the future.

If you do decide to do the installation yourself, follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions closely. Take care to use safe measures, including gloves, safety glasses and a second person to steady the ladder while you work. Pay particular attention if your guards integrate with shingles; improper installation may void your roofing warranty.

Gutter guards by type

The various gutter guard materials offer their own pros and cons. Here’s a look at the most popular options, and their prices:

Metal mesh screens: $1.20 to $4 per foot.

These are sheets of metal with holes punched through. They block most debris, but anything smaller than the holes, such as seeds, will get into your gutters.

Micro mesh screens: $9 per foot.

This is one of the most effective styles — a metal frame covered with fine wire mesh. Very little debris can make it through.

Plastic or vinyl grid screens: $.40 to $4 per foot.

This is one of the least expensive options, but also less effective than others. The grid works similarly to a metal mesh screen, but doesn’t last as long.

Full surface tension covers: $4 to $8 per foot, or higher for name brands.

This is a solid cover with an engineered curve sloping down into a gap between guard and gutter. Water will flow down the curve while debris flows off the edge. It’s one of the most effective methods. Many name brand covers use a system similar to this principle and can cost up to $30 per foot.

Gutter brushes: $3 per foot.

These long rolls of brush fit inside the gutter like filters, allowing water to pass through while blocking leaves. They work well, but need to be cleaned more frequently.

Foam inserts: $2 per foot.

These inserts go directly into the gutter trough. They let water pass below them while leaves get washed off. They’re a cheap and quick way to protect your gutters, but less effective and efficient than others.

Simple home upgrades

You can find many uses for those areas of your home that may have gone to waste until now:

Make your house a home

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Most Popular

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.