Gutters Review and Rating Methodology

By Meredith Kucik

How We Rate and Review Gutters and Gutter Guards

At House Method, we’re committed to providing homeowners with an accessible and honest knowledge base for all things home services. From unbiased product and provider reviews to field-tested step-by-step guides and more, all content published on our site is written with the sole intention of helping you make the best decision for your home.

By adhering to a proprietary five-point rating system curated exclusively for our gutter and gutter guard category, our in-house research team can punch out a numeric grade based on how a company scores within five core categories. These grades are then weighted and combined to reflect each provider’s overall rating, also known as “Our Rating.”

Any information used to support our published findings is sourced from primary gutter company sites, credentialed subject matter experts, verified customer reviews, and our public gutters experience survey.

Here is an overview of our overall composite rating system and what each level, from zero to five stars, indicates:

★★★★★ Outstanding

★★★★☆ Excellent

★★★☆☆ Average

★★☆☆☆ Below Average

★☆☆☆☆ Poor

Core Categories of the Gutters Rating System

To fully align with the needs of prospective gutter guard customers, House Method fielded an interactive gutters experience survey, drawing 1,002 responses from homeowners across the country. Using that collected data, we defined the following five categories as our editorial backbone for reviewing any reputable gutter guard company.

Cost 

  • Cost per linear foot
  • Average cost per project
  • Discounts, coupons, deals, etc.

Durability

  • Style
  • Type
  • Materials

Installation Process

  • DIY vs. professional installation
  • Difficulty to install
  • Tools required

Design and Customization 

  • Width
  • Length
  • Color options
  • Additional features

Customer Support 

  • Length of warranty
  • Payment plans
  • Customer service accessibility
  • Online reviews
  • Customer ratings

How Our Rating System Helps Homeowners

From performance to curb appeal to the overall cost, many factors go into choosing the best gutter system and guards for your home. And for homeowners with limited to no prior experience with gutters and gutter guards, pinpointing what makes one gutter company better than the next only complicates the shopping process. All gutter and gutter guard providers featured on our site undergo an exhaustive pre-vetting process before entering our queue for formal review. This way, you can focus on finding a company that truly resonates with your needs without getting bogged down in the details.

How We Created this Gutter Guard Rating System

We compiled data on approximately 43 contending top-rated gutter guard companies, only vetting service providers with established customer bases and competitive scores on reputable trade platforms. Each company we assess must satisfy at least 28 of the 32 attributes listed within all five core categories to earn a proper rating from us.

Beyond numerical grading, we always take it upon ourselves to get a first-hand feel of how the gutter guards and systems in our review bracket fare in real-life scenarios before recommending anything to you. We assess product reliability in at-home and industry-standard simulated settings for an accurate empirical understanding of how any gutter system will follow through post-installation.

Real Homeowners Influence Our Rating System

To create a rating and review process that comes full circle, the five core categories and their 32 subcategories are itemized in the exact order of importance as ranked by the 1,002 homeowners who responded to our online gutters experience survey. This five-section survey sought to identify the factors participating homeowners felt were most important when considering gutter installation, guard installation, and the associated costs.

Respondents were first asked to identify themselves based on their prior experience with gutters and whether or not they:

  1. Have gutters or gutter guards on their roof that were installed professionally — 325 responses (32.4%)
  2. Have installed gutters or gutter guards themselves — 84 responses (8.4%)
  3. Have either DIY’d gutter installation or hired a professional in the past — 104 responses (10.4%)
  4. Don’t have personal experience with gutter guards but know what they are — 251 responses (25%)
  5. Have gutters that the previous owner likely installed — 186 responses (18.6%)
  6. Have no idea what gutters or gutter guards are — 52 responses (5.2%)

In sections two through four of the questionnaire, homeowners were prompted to rank and re-rank the five core categories and the 32 corresponding features of gutters and gutter guards in order of importance. The sequence of our rating system corresponds exactly with these results.

As a closing question, section five of the survey asked participants to name which factor would be most important to them when considering any home improvement upgrades, gutters or not. Specific to what was ranked as most important, 985 homeowners responded with:

  1. Cost: 522 responses
  2. DIY-ability: 188 responses
  3. Professional Installation: 170 responses
  4. Difficulty: 105 responses

Scoring and Weighting Each Feature Within the 5 Core Categories

By blending the raw data gathered from our survey with our own expertise in the gutters category, we rate every gutter guard provider featured on House Method based on affordability, product durability, ease of installation, customizability, customer support, and overall user satisfaction.

Our initial ratings for these five categories are converted into a score value using a custom five-point scale with a numeric index ranging from 0.00 to 1.00. These point-based values are then translated into star ratings using whole and partial star increments between one and five.

Below is a summary of the weighting schema per category and subcategory used by our research team when scoring each gutter guard provider:

Weighing the 5 Core Categories

Cost (36%)

  • Cost per linear foot (10%)
  • Average cost per project (12%)
  • Discounts, coupons, deals, etc. (14%)

Durability (24%)

  • Style (8%)
  • Type (8%)
  • Materials (8%)

Installation Process (15%)

  • DIY vs. professional installation (10%)
  • Difficulty to install (2.5%)
  • Tools required (2.5%)

Design and Customization (13%)

  • Width (1.5%)
  • Length (1.5%)
  • Color options (7%)
  • Additional features (3%)

Customer Support (12%)

  • Length of warranty (1%)
  • Payment plans (2%)
  • Customer service accessibility (2%)
  • Online reviews (3%)
  • Customer ratings (4%)

Cost

According to our survey results, 60.2% of participants marked cost as the most important aspect of selecting a gutter system, and 50.7% responded the same for gutter guards. For that reason, we’ve prioritized it as the largest category in our collective rating system, accounting for 36% of any score we assign.

Cost Per Linear Foot

The national average cost of gutter installation ranges between $7 and $13 per linear foot, though the amount you’ll pay largely depends on your selected material. Higher-end materials like stainless steel and copper can easily exceed that price range. On the other hand, vinyl and aluminum offer a more cost-effective option for homeowners on a budget.

For gutter guard installation, you can expect to pay anywhere from $0.50 to $7 per linear foot, which is also contingent on the quality of material used. Plastic screening and perforated aluminum are lower-cost options, whereas full surface tension covers will be more of an investment.

We awarded more points to gutter guard companies with installation estimates that fell within the national averages relative to each material.

Average Project Costs

This subcategory evaluates the total collective costs of gutter guard installation, including less obvious expenses related to labor, long-term maintenance, tools, and bonus features. For the 200-foot perimeter of the average home, the total project cost for gutter installation can range between $1,400 and $2,600+. For gutter guards, installation tends to fall between $900 and $2,000 per home.

Gutter guard providers who included cleaning, sealing, realignment, and reinforcement prior to professional installation earned a more favorable score from us. For DIY options, we only bumped our ratings up for companies that included necessary installation tools like self-tapping screws with the main hardware at no additional cost.

Discounts, Coupons, and Deals

To help you maximize your savings on installation costs, we always keep an eye out for providers offering generous seasonal discounts or exclusive new customer promotions. Other specific discounts that yielded higher scores for any given company include:

  • Military and senior financing
  • Bonus estimate incentives (gift cards, free inspections, etc.)
  • Free shipping
  • Referral promotions

Durability

This category evaluates the overall quality of each gutter guard company’s physical hardware based on customer feedback specifically pertaining to poor post-installation performance,  low-grade material, and signs of early rust, corrosion, warping, and debris collection. Of 950 responses from participating homeowners, 326 (or 34.3%) marked quality and durability as the most important aspect of selecting the right gutter guard.

Style and Type of Gutter Guard

When asked about the type of gutter guard material they’d most like to install on their own homes, 950 survey respondents answered with:

  • 37.8%, or 359 responses, for screen guards
  • 26.4%, or 251 responses, for micro-mesh guards
  • 25.1%, or 238 responses, for surface tension and reverse curve guards
  • 6.4%, or 61 responses, for brush guards
  • 4.3%, or 42 responses, for foam guards

Across all other popular styles, micro-mesh gutter guards have been proven most effective for their fine-straining ability, overall low maintenance, and longer lifespan. For these reasons,  companies offering one or more micro-mesh options scored positively in this section.

Materials Used

Different gutter guard companies are largely defined based on the primary material used in their product. Heavy-duty metals like stainless steel, copper, and aluminum are the most durable gutter guard material options, as opposed to foam, brush, and plastic. Providers marketing metal-based gutter guards garnered a full point more than those working with less reliable materials.

Withstanding Warping, Weather, and Debris

Not all gutter guards are created equal. Opting for cheaper materials and DIY installation can, in some cases, comprise the quality of your gutter protection. Our testing procedures for each company’s most popular gutter guard option examined the ability to withstand debris without sagging, poor drainage leading to build-up, extreme temperature resistance, and a general assessment of waterflow in the absence of debris.

Installation Process

Based on our survey data, 32.4% of all respondents had their gutter systems professionally installed, whereas 8.4% went the DIY route and handled installation themselves. The remaining percentage either didn’t have personal experience with gutter systems or moved into a property with gutters already installed.

DIY vs. Professional Installation

Regarding installation, we strongly advise investing in professional help over taking matters into your own hands. Improper gutter systems and gutter guard installation can have expensive repercussions like secondary water damage, mold or rot, strain on your roof, and an invitation for bugs and pests. Even if you opt for a more DIY-friendly gutter guard, consider sourcing a local professional’s help to ensure the installation is adequate.

Gutter guard companies that bundle full-service professional installation scored two points higher than those that only provided the gutter guard itself.

Installation Difficulty

The difficulty of installation varies by gutter guard type. Reverse curve gutter guards are known to be more tedious to install because they need to be attached in alignment with the pitch of your roof. Most mesh guards made of metal have also proven difficult to post.

Tools Required

This subsection only negatively impacted companies if they provided DIY-friendly main gutter guard hardware without a basic tool kit. Self-tapping screws, gutter tape, and magnetic hex head drivers are commonly bundled with DIY gutter guard packages. For more complex professional installations, your contractor will have all the necessary tools on hand already.

Design and Customization Elements

Additional Features or Services

Though added features like heated elements can increase the overall cost of the gutter guards you purchase, having options can still be valuable to homeowners in colder climates. Providers with applicable technology were awarded .05 points per each unique feature. For instances of gutter replacement, professional haul-away services facilitated by the company resulted in boosted points.

Customer Support

Commitment to customer care is a telltale indication of whether or not a company’s service promises are fulfilled in the eyes of its clients. Out of 950 responses, 31 marked customer service as most important when comparing different companies.

Warranty Options

Most companies across the gutter guard market automatically include a lifetime warranty, though primarily for material defects. Most of these warranties are usually transferable, meaning they remain intact for the next owner should you ever decide to sell your home.  Warranty options typically only apply to professionally installed systems and guards, as DIY options are liable to user error and therefore not eligible for financial protection through the original manufacturer.

Payment Plans

This segment of our rating system considers the availability of a provider’s promotional financing options in lieu of upfront payment. We prioritized companies offering zero-interest financing options and no prepayment penalties. Gutter guard companies that honored initial quotes for a set grace period scored favorably here.

Reaching Customer Service

Our evaluation of each gutter guard provider’s customer support initiatives begins with looking for multiple communication channels between representatives and customers, including phone, email, and online chat features. Companies with 24/7 call or chat centers scored higher than those with limited business hours.

Online Customer Reviews and Ratings

Next, we take to the experiences of current and former customers by reviewing prominent online review platforms like TrustPilot, the Better Business Bureau (BBB), Google Reviews, Yelp, etc. Our focus is to identify clear trends in complaints to pinpoint red flags and make a note of any mentions of pending legal action in our reviews.

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