How To Install Gutter Guards

By Laura Hodges

Gutter guards can save homeowners a lot of time and energy attempting to unclog gutters. Once gutter guards are in place, they offer tremendous benefits to the home; however, the installation takes some work. If you want to install your gutter guards, you must have some knowledge about this process. Gutter guards come in several different types, and knowledge of these types and general best practices to install gutter guards is essential. (If you decide you want help with installation, you can search for local installers.)

In this guide, we will show you:

  • How to choose the right gutter guard
  • How to prepare to install gutter guards
  • Tips for installing gutter guards 
  • And more . . . 

Finding the best gutter guards for your home can help you avoid costly water damage and ensure proper draining through your gutters. If you are tired of cleaning your gutters after every storm, we have all the information you will need to help get you through this process.

Top picks from our guide to the best gutter guards of 2022

What Are Gutter Guards?

Gutter guards are a gutter cover or a block put on top of the gutter to stop debris from falling into the gutter itself. With a gutter guard in place, you will not have to worry about pine needles, leaves, and other debris clogging your gutters and preventing water flow.

Gutter guards work to protect your home because they ensure that the gutter system is working to its full extent. If gutters are filled with debris, water flows over the gutter and collects around the home’s foundation. 

When water collects in this area of the home, it can create long-term issues with things breaking down and causing water damage. Gutter guards also help keep homeowners from frequent gutter cleaning.

Choosing The Right Gutter Guard

There are several different types of gutter guards, and they are all going to have their strengths and weaknesses. Choosing the right leaf guard means that you will have to consider the pricing, durability, and ability to install these gutter guards on your own. 

For the most part, the brush and foam gutter guards are the easiest to install for homeowners, but these gutter guards’ overall durability and functionality are not the best. The mesh gutters will be some of the best on the market, and these are typically installed professionally, but many homeowners will try them on their own. 

In addition, screen-type gutters are another do-it-yourself option. However, surface tension gutter guards should not be attempted without the help of a professional.

Gutter Type Price Range Installation Durability
Micro-Mesh Mid to High  Professional Durable
Mesh Mid to High  Varies (yet mostly professional) Durable 
Screen Low To Mid Varies Most Durable
Surface Tension Highest Professional Above Average Durability
Brush Lower Easy / DIY Durable
Foam Lower Easy / DIY Not Durable

Should I Install My Own Gutter Guards?

The big question that homeowners have when it comes to gutter guard installation is whether or not this process should be completed without a professional. Installing gutter guards takes a bit of DIY skill and understanding and isn’t a simple home improvement project. It’s smart to be at least comfortable with tools and a ladder if you are going to install your gutter guards. Here are a few things to consider before taking on this project. 

Tools and Equipment

Do you have the necessary tools and equipment to complete this job? Most gutter guard installation will require basics like a ladder, hammer, screwdriver, and tape measure. However, when you start having to cut pieces of gutter guard to fit into place, you could be looking at more extensive tools like circular saws. 

Balance and Stability

The entire gutter guard project needs to be completed on a ladder. If you are uncomfortable with heights or do not have excellent stability or balance, you must not attempt the gutter guard project. You should be comfortable standing on a ladder while using your hands to complete other tasks. 

General Handiness

DIY gutter guard installation is best for someone with experience with general DIY projects around the home. If you have barely hung a picture frame in your home, save the gutter guard installation for the professionals. 

Cost Savings

It is assumed the money you save from installing your gutters will make it well worth it. However, this is not always the case. The cost savings are sometimes minimal, and this is where it may make sense to have a professional come in. We always recommend having a project quoted to see if it should be completed by a professional or if it makes sense to do it all independently.

How To Prepare To Install Gutter Guards

Gutter guards can be purchased directly from the manufacturer or bought from a home supplier. The gutter guards you buy will come ready for installation, but there is still some prep work that you must ensure before your installation and even before the purchase of gutter guards. Here are the proper steps to prepare for installing a gutter guard.

Clean Out Current Gutters

Before installing new gutter guards, you must first clean out your current gutters and ensure they’re functioning correctly. You never want to put a gutter guard on dirty gutters because the debris would be trapped inside once the gutter guard is in place.

Test Gutters

Once you have the gutters cleaned, we recommend testing them. You can do this with a regular garden hose and simply run water through the gutter system to see if it is functioning the way it should. Testing gutters only takes a few minutes but should be done before the gutter guards are put on. 

Proper Measurements

When you are cleaning the gutters, this is a perfect time to measure for your new gutter guards. Measure your gutters twice to ensure that you are getting the correct numbers. If you purchase the wrong gutter guard size, you will have to cut them down. Without the proper tools and knowledge, this process can be complicated. Measure appropriately from the start, and the process will be much easier.  

Gathering Proper Tools

Once you have cleaned and purchased your new gutter guards, you can now start gathering the tools necessary for the installation. You will need a ladder that is sturdy and durable. Ensure that you feel comfortable on the ladder before using it. In addition, it is a good idea to gather tools that you need like a screwdriver, screw gun, tape measure, and more. The type of gutter guard you decide to install will help you determine which tools you need. 

How To Install Gutter Guards

Installing a gutter guard will entirely depend on the type of gutter guard you purchase. If you are smart about the type of gutter guard you choose, you could end up having a gutter guard that snaps directly on the gutter itself. 

Some other gutter guards require screwing or nailing the guard into the rain gutters or fastening them to the fascia with reinforcement hangers. The installation of gutter guards is not a complex process, but if you are not a very handy person, you should consider having a professional take care of this process for you. 

Take a look at this video that helps to explain how to install a gutter guard. Then keep reading our tips for installing gutter guards so that you can save yourself time, money, and a potential injury.

Tips For Installing Gutter Guards

Now that all the prep work is completed, it is time to install your gutter guards. The process will be relatively straightforward, but you will need to pay careful attention to the gutter guards you choose and the specific instructions for installation. Most homeowners will try and install screen or mesh-type gutter guards as these seem to be the most effective and offer the best longevity. 

Read Instructions Fully

Installing a foam gutter guard is different than installing a mesh gutter guard. If you don’t have the proper method for installation down, you may find that you struggle to get the gutter guard in place. 

Remember that if a gutter guard seems to lose or as if it will move as soon as you get down off your ladder, it will not stay in place during a heavy rainstorm. Ensure you’ve read through the directions and know exactly what you need to do to get your gutter guards adequately installed. 

Safety Precautions

The most dangerous part of gutter guard installation has to be using a ladder to complete this process. The issue with being on a ladder is that you will need to ensure that you are stable while still working to fit your gutter guards in place. 

One of the best tips for staying safe on the ladder is attaching a bucket with an S hook to the ladder you are working on. This bucket can be used to keep your tools and supplies and allow you to keep two hands on the project at all times. 

Many people fall off ladders each year, and the fall can be deadly. Installing your gutter guards will save you plenty of money, but it is not worth risking your health. The best thing to do is to ensure that you take the proper safety precautions. 

Another tip is to find a ladder that stands on its own and does not rest directly on the gutters. Resting on the gutters can break or damage them. When you do this, you may compromise your work on the gutter guards. Taking the proper safety precautions is essential to ensure your gutter guard project is effective. Additionally, you will likely need many of these same tools to clean large debris off the top of your gutter guards once or twice a year so that they will come in handy again. 

Snap-On Or Fit Inside

The type of gutter you choose will impact the difficulty of this project. The gutter guards, like foam or brush guards that fit inside the gutters, are quick and straightforward to install. Look for a snap-on type gutter screen if you want durability and longevity. These are the easiest to install. 

Try to be honest with yourself about your DIY abilities before you start installing gutter guards

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I install gutter guards myself?

Gutter guards are just as commonly installed by homeowners as by professionals. Certain types of gutter guard systems will not install well without professional tools. Any kind of gutter guard that requires you to lift shingles and make changes to the roof will be far too complicated for homeowners. Stick with easy to install gutter guard choices to avoid long-term issues with your gutter guards. 

How do you attach gutter guards?

Some gutter guards will attach directly to your gutters. Others will slide into place or require a nail or screw to keep them from moving. Some gutter guards require a bit of caulk to be used to seal any gaps in the guards themselves. Overall the attachment of gutter guards to the gutters themselves is pretty simple. 

Do gutter guards go under the shingles?

Some gutter guards will go under the roof shingles, but it is not recommended that homeowners install this type of gutter guard on their own. The issue with going under the shingles of your gutters is that you can cause damage to your roofline that you will not be able to repair on your own. Qualified gutter installation contractors will be able to complete this type of gutter guard installation without damage. 

Is there a downside to gutter guards?

Some gutter guards can require additional maintenance and make it just as challenging to keep your gutters clean. However, if you purchase the correct type of gutter guards and install them correctly, you will see that there are typically very few downsides to the gutter guard installation

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you now have a better idea of installing gutter guards. As you can see, the gutter guard installation process will vary considerably depending on the type of gutter guard you purchase. For the most part, homeowners should stick with an option that sits inside the gutter or snaps onto the top. Some of the custom micro-mesh fit gutter guards will require professionals to come in and get the job done. Professionals cost quite a bit of money, and this is a process that you will very likely be able to figure out on your own. Spend some time researching the best products and methods, and you will be happy you have your new gutter guards in place. 

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