6 Types of Gutter Guards

By Laura Hodges

Cleaning gutters is a chore that most homeowners would love to eliminate from their to-do list. Gutter cleaning is messy and, at times, dangerous. The problem is that it needs to be done for proper water flow and drainage from the roof. How would it feel to never have to clean your gutters again! This is where the gutter guard comes into play. Gutter guards will protect both you and your home. However, there are several different types of gutter guards, and it can be hard to choose the perfect one for your home.

In this guide, we will show you: 

  • What a gutter guard is
  • The types of gutter guards and their pros and cons
  • Which gutter guard type is the best for your home 

Finding the best gutter guard for your home is essential to proper water drainage and avoiding costly damages. Keep reading to learn about the types of gutter guards and the way they can impact your responsibilities as a homeowner. 

Best Overall

Leaf FIlter

Best Customer Service

All American Gutter Protection

Best Design

HomeCraft

What Is A Gutter Guard?

A gutter guard is essentially a cap or a liner that blocks any kind of debris from entering your gutters system. If you have spent some time cleaning your gutters, you know that wet leaves, sticks, twigs, tree nuts, and more will get stuck in the gutter and block their functionality. 

When a gutter is full and water cannot flow properly through the gutter system, several issues can come up. First of all, water will flow over the gutter’s top and down to the house’s foundation. If this improper water flow continues to happen, it can cause structural damage to your home. 

Secondly, the more a gutter gets clogged, the more often you have to head up to your roof to clean them out. Gutter cleaning is dangerous, and hiring a professional to do it is expensive. This helps to make gutter guards the perfect solution. 

Many homeowners are unaware of the different types of gutter guards on the market. There are many options out there that could make a bit difference to the functionality of your home. 

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

Types of Gutter Guards

There are six main types of gutter guards. Each of these gutter guards has some unique benefits and features. In addition, the gutter guard pricing will change depending on the type of gutter guard you are purchasing. The six main types of gutter guards are . . . 

Let’s take a deeper look into each of these gutter types so you can decide which one is best for your home. 

Screen Gutter Guards

Similar to how you have a screen on your windows to stop larger debris (or animals) from coming into the home, the screen gutter guards essentially serve the same purpose. Screen gutters guards have large holes that allow water to flow through but keep the debris out. 

The installation of a screen gutter guard can be done professionally or on your own. Overall, the affordability of screen gutter guards is quite good. The screens fit right on top of your old gutters, so there is no retrofitting that needs to be done. 

The only issue with screen gutter guards is that they need to be cleaned out at least yearly. To ensure that the screen gutter guards continue to work for years to come, a full gutter cleaning job with screen gutter guard removal is necessary at least once per year. 

Pro

  • Fairly priced gutter guards
  • It can be installed without the help of a professional 
  • Block large debris from ending up in the gutter

Cons

  • Holes in the screen are large enough for some debris to pass-through 
  • It will need to be removed and cleaned once per year

Foam Gutter Guards

Foam is a very unique and popular material for home projects and solutions. The great thing about foam is that it is cheaper than many other materials and very lightweight to work with. The foam gutter guard is essentially a piece of foam that fits into the gutter. 

The foam gutter guards are very inexpensive, and they basically stop large debris from collecting inside the tracks of the gutter system. If you see water flowing down your roof but not making it into the downspouts, chances are you get a lot of debris in the gutter. 

The great thing about foam gutter guards is that they are cheap; the bad news is that they still make gutter clean up a little messy. To clean your gutters, the foam gutter guards need to be removed and then replaced. In addition, large debris will collect on top of the foam. If this large debris is left there, it can cause damage to the foam itself.

Pros

  • Very low pricing
  • It can be installed without the help of a professional 
  • Easy to get to fit in a variety of gutter styles

Cons

  • Debris will collect on top of the foam
  • Removing and cleaning will be a significant project 

Brush Gutter Guards

A brush gutter guard is going to look exactly like it sounds. Brush gutter guards look like large bristle brushes that sit inside the gutter. The brush gutter guards stand up inside the gutter and allow for water to pass through; however, the other debris must remain outside the gutter. 

The overall concept of brush gutter guards blocking large debris like most leaves and even pinecones is a great thing. However, there are issues with this type of gutter guard installation, and it is a major reason people will avoid brush gutter guards. 

Certain debris gets stuck inside the brush gutter guard, and it is a hassle to get out. When trying to remove debris, you must take out the entire gutter guard system and have them cleaned. If you have a roof that collects a lot of pine needles and other smaller tree debris, expect to be in for a lot of work with the brush gutter guards. 

Pros

  • Blocks large debris from the gutter system 
  • Easy to install on your own 
  • Easy to remove for cleaning

Cons

  • Increased maintenance
  • Constant issues with debris blockage 
  • It can get easily clogged 

Reverse Curve/Surface Tension Gutter Guards

The reverse curve/surface tension gutter guard will allow water to flow around the guard and into the gutter. At the same time, the gutter guard is allowing water to pass through; it is also blocking debris from making its way down into the gutters. The reverse curve gutter guards allow debris to slide right down along them. 

Reverse curve gutter guards are seen from the ground, so you will notice these gutter guards as you make your way around the house. Most of the time, a reverse curve gutter guard must be professionally installed. They are a bit more complicated to put in but typically come with a warranty. 

The problem you will run into with the reverse curve gutter guards is that they need to lift up roof shingles in order to be installed. This can cause some damage. In addition, you can see the gutter guards from the ground, which may change your home’s aesthetics. 

Pros

  • Typically come with a warranty 
  • Do a good job of allowing water to flow properly 
  • Can handle blocking of large debris

Cons

  • Can cause damage to the roof if the installation is not done properly
  • Visible from the ground 
  • Clogs can still be a problem even with the high pricing of reverse curve gutter guards 

Mesh Gutter Guards

A mesh gutter guard is very much like a screen gutter guard in that it has holes that debris can be blocked, but water can still flow through the gutter system. The great thing about mesh gutter guards is that they are durable, and they do a tremendous job of keeping you off the roof. 

Mesh gutter guards will block out most debris and should rarely need to be removed for cleaning. In addition, the way the debris collects on top typically allows it to flow over and off the side of the roof. Most homeowners would agree that a quick raking around the perimeter of the house is better than a monthly gutter cleaning. 

The only issue with mesh gutter guards is that they are one of the most expensive gutter guard options on the market. However, when you consider the functionality, the price is likely worth it.

Pros

  • One of the best types of gutter guards
  • Will block out large debris
  • It helps improve water flow
  • It keeps homeowners off their roofs

Cons

  • It should be professionally installed
  • Can be higher in price 

Micro-Mesh Gutter Guards

The micro-mesh gutter guards are very similar to the mesh gutter guards. The only major difference is that the holes in the mesh are even smaller. This typically ensures that almost no debris is able to get through the guard. Some of the holes in the micro mesh are so small that you can barely see them. 

The micro-mesh gutter guards are often referred to as the best gutter guard type. Since these guards block the most debris and cause the least amount of damage for a homeowner, it is very easy to justify your gutter guard purchase. 

Micro-mesh gutter guards need to be professionally installed, and you will have to be careful when you look at the overall quality of the option you choose; however, for the most part, micro-mesh gutter guards will not disappoint. 

Pros

  • One of the most effective types of gutter guards
  • Easy debris removal and cleaning
  • Allows for the best water flow away from the foundation 

Cons

  • Higher pricing of installation 

Considerations For Choosing The Right Type Of Gutter Guard

When choosing gutter guards for your home, you must be well aware of the differences between one gutter guard type to another. In addition, many gutter guards will have varying levels of quality depending on the company or individual they are purchased from. Here are a few things to consider to ensure you choose the right type of gutter guard for your home. 

Pricing

The higher the pricing, the more effective the gutter guard is. Although we don’t always like to associate quality with price when it comes to gutter guards, this typically tends to be the case. When gutter guards get more effective, they go up in price. 

The price increase in gutter guards such as mesh and micro-mesh is directly related to the amount of work you will need to do to keep the gutters clean and functioning. The lowest maintenance solutions are higher in price. 

Set your budget before looking for gutter guards and find which options will fit within your budget. 

Visibility

Many gutter guards are going to be visible from the ground; others will be completely hidden. If you are worried about changing the look of your roof, you will want to choose a screen or a mesh gutter guard that won’t be visible. 

However, even some of these gutter guards will have clips or a side piece that is something you can see from the ground. Ensure that you choose colors that are going to match the styling of your home. This will allow your home to be visibly aesthetic without any plastic or metal sticking out and being seen from the ground.

Installation

There are two types of installation when it comes to gutter guards. Gutter guards can be installed professionally or on your own DIY. Some gutter guards are easier to install than others. The foam and brush gutter guards can typically be done on your own. Mesh and screen gutter guards need professional installation. 

Remember that when paying for installation, you will have to pay a bit to have this handled for you. Incorporate this into your total budget for the home gutter installation project.

Best Overall

Leaf FIlter

Best Customer Service

All American Gutter Protection

Best Design

HomeCraft

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of the different types of gutter guards on the market. If you are getting a quote on gutter guards, make sure you fully understand the type that you are getting. Sometimes a quote for a gutter guard will seem relatively low, and then when you find out that it is a foam or brush gutter guard, you will see why the pricing is so low. Take your time to consider the benefits of all the different types of gutter guards on the market. Once you get the one that works for your needs, you should not have to purchase more gutter guards for many years.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Best Type of Gutter Guard? 

The best type of gutter guard is typically the mesh or micro-mesh. These gutter guards do the best job of blocking the debris, and they make it much easier to maintain the overall condition of the gutters. In addition, the mesh or micro-mesh gutter guards allow for the best water flow away from the home’s foundation. 

Can I Install My Own Gutter Guard? 

Gutter guards can be installed professionally or on your own. It is important to remember that certain types of gutter guards are easier to install than others. Many gutter guard installation companies will offer a warranty if you let them install the gutters independently. 

What Are The Disadvantages of Gutter Guards? 

Most gutter guards have very few disadvantages; however, it is essential to use the right type of gutter guard. Gutter guards such as foram or brush gutter guards need to be cleaned quite often. Mesh or micro-mesh gutter guards have very few disadvantages except for the higher initial cost.

Do Gutter Guards Work In Heavy Rain? 

Most gutter guards will work in heavy rain; however, it is important to choose the proper type of gutter guard. Some of the reverse curve or surface tension gutter guards don’t do all that well in heavy rainstorms. Micro mesh gutter guards don’t have any issues with allowing water to flow through quickly when heavy rain starts, 

Are Gutter Guards Worth It? 

Gutter guards are worth the price you pay because of the time and energy they will save you. Not having to clean out your gutters constantly and knowing that water is flowing away from the home properly and without issue will give homeowners peace of mind. If you are currently paying for gutter cleaning, the gutter guards will quickly pay for themselves. In addition, having gutter guards on the home can increase the resale value. 

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