Are Gutter Guards Right For Your Home? Here’s What to Know

Allie Ogletree
Written by Allie Ogletree
Updated May 23, 2022
A luxury house exterior
Photo: Barbara Helgason / Adobe Stock


  • Gutter guards cost between $600 and $2,000 to install. 

  • Gutter guards can reduce routine gutter cleaning costs by around $320 yearly.

  • Some gutter guards can void your roof’s warranty or damage the roof and cost you more overall. 

  • Call in the pros to install gutter guards correctly and prevent improper installation damage.

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Relaxing while listening to the sound of rain hitting your roof is a peaceful experience, but it’s not so peaceful if water spills over the edges of your gutters and damages your foundation or garden. This, and unsightly gutters clogged by debris, are enough to make anyone want to call in the gutter cleaning services. But, implementing gutter guards might just save you the eyesore and some money long-term.

What Are Gutter Guards?

A gutter guard or gutter screen aims to protect your gutters from debris, thus reducing how often you have to clean them. Gutter guards are made from all kinds of materials, including metal mesh, vinyl, metal sheets, brushes, and even foam.

How Do Gutter Guards Work?

All gutter guards work by filtering or shielding debris from entering your gutters and causing a blockage. How each one works depends on the type of gutter guard you choose.

Types of Gutter Guards

There are five types of gutter guards that you can choose for gutters. Here’s a look at each type to help you decide on the best gutter guards for your home.

  1. Screen gutter guards: Screen guards come in plastic or metal grids to prevent debris from entering your gutter. You install the screens by carefully pushing them under the roof shingles to hold them in place. Keep in mind, that this option can void roof warranties if improperly installed, and high wind can pull the wire out of place.

  2. Micro-mesh gutter guards: Micro-mesh guards also can slide into shingles, only they come in other options, like clips or flanges, making them sturdier than screen guards. These guards are better for small debris like sand, but they can get clogged more easily as a result and come in on the higher end of the price range.

  3. Reverse-curve gutter guards: Ideal for yards with many leafy trees, reverse-curve guards slide under or hook atop the shingles, cover your entire gutter, and have a curve that allows for leaves to slide off the guards. They’re not as DIY-friendly because you have to get the angle right for this guard type to work.

  4. Brush gutter guards: Brush guards are giant, metal brushes with thermoplastic bristles. The shape prevents leaves from clogging your drains while allowing for water to slip past. Brush guards are easy to install and flexible, as you just place them into your gutters, but you might need custom brushes for uniquely-shaped gutters.

  5. Foam gutter guards: A foam guard is another easy gutter guard that comes in the shape of a triangle. The corner and edge of one side lie against the bottom of your gutter, while the flat upper part goes across the top, preventing debris from infiltrating. However, climates with lots of rainfall may not be suitable for foam guards, as they can’t handle intense rain without overflowing. 

Gutter Guards Pros and Cons

A plastic guard over a dark gray plastic rain gutter
Photo: Inga / Adobe Stock

There are many pros and cons to gutter guards, so before you invest in gutter guards, consider the following.

Benefits of Gutter Guards

  • Gutter guards may help reduce maintenance.

  • Most DIY gutter guards are easy to install without a pro.

  • They’re affordable compared to routine gutter cleaning, which costs around $320 yearly.

  • Gutter guards prevent overflowing from plugged gutters, protecting your foundation.

  • They keep stagnant water from encouraging mosquitoes and other pests from breeding inside the gutters.

  • Gutter guards may help prevent frozen gutters and ice dams from accumulated debris.

Drawbacks of Gutter Guards

  • They don’t completely eliminate the need for gutter cleaning.

  • Gutter guards can cause moss and algae to grow and damage your roof.

  • They have high upfront costs, even if they save you money in the long run.

  • Gutter guards can null a roof warranty if improperly installed.

  • Some low-quality gutter guards don’t prevent blockages well.

  • Gutter guards can strain your roof and damage the fascia—the support boards on the edge of your roof.

Do I Need Gutter Guards? 

In short, no. Gutter guards are not necessary, and in some cases, they may cause more problems than they solve. DIY gutter guards can damage your roof and cause leaks, and some gutter guards still need regular cleaning, depending on the kind of gutter guard you choose and the type of debris that falls onto the guard.

If you do decide against installing them, then you’ll need to regularly inspect and clean your gutters for proper drain flow. Clogged gutters can cause all of that runoff rainfall to parade into the foundation of your home and saturate the ground enough to seep through to the interior, which can cause mold and all kinds of damage. 

So, while you don’t need gutter guards, you will want to either inspect and clean the gutters yourself or schedule routine maintenance twice a year. Homes with pine trees may need cleaning up to four times a year. 

Cost to Install Gutter Guards

Gutter guards cost anywhere between $1 and $10 per linear foot, not including installation. Installation costs an extra $9 per linear foot on average. This project usually ends up costing around $1,300 on average, but prices can fall anywhere between $600 and $2,000. Cost factors that can affect the total cost of your project include:

  • The materials

  • Gutter length

  • Type of gutter guard

  • Whether or not you DIY it

DIY vs. Hiring a Pro to Install Gutter Guards

DIYing gutter guards will save you an estimated $9 per linear foot, making it a significant saving. However, you might need to factor in costs for equipment on top of the materials if you don’t already have a ladder and safety gear like glasses and gloves. 

While you can install gutter guards yourself, the installation process is a little dangerous; you can fall off the ladder. It’s also a time-consuming project that can quickly become a major pain after spending a good hour or two figuring out how to install the guards atop a wobbly ladder! Not to mention, improperly installing gutter gutters can void your roof’s warranty or lead to costly roof repairs that make it not worth your while.

If you don’t have experience installing gutter guards or working with rooftops and ladders, it may be a good idea to contact a gutter guard installer near you to safely do the job. 

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