How to Install Gutter Guards in 5 Steps

Scott Dylan Westerlund
Updated January 17, 2022
Yellow home with front porch and attic
Photo: David Papazian / DigitalVision / Getty Images

Use these tips for installing gutter guards seamlessly at your home

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Installing gutter guards is the least expensive and fastest way to protect your gutters from clogs that can lead to water damage. While this project isn't extremely difficult, protecting your gutters goes beyond just slapping on some guards. Factors like proper measurements, quality products, and precision during application are important.

Difficulty: 2/5—Flex your DIY muscles.

Time Needed: 2–3 hours

Tools Needed

  • Appropriate work gear

  • Gloves

  • Safety glasses

  • Tape measure

  • A one-story or two-story ladder

  • Drill

Supplies Needed

  • New gutter guards

  • Hex bit

  • Quarter-inch zip screws

5 Steps to Install a Gutter Guard 

1. Decide Your Approach

Handyman on a yellow ladder installing house gutters
Photo: duckycards / E+ / Getty Images

First, make sure you actually want to do this project on your own. If you're not comfortable climbing up to roof level, consider calling in gutter pros to handle the job safely and easily in just a few hours.

Sourcing gutter guards is simple because nearly all home-improvement and hardware stores sell them. However, you need to know what you're looking for. 

Options include:

  • E-Z-lock gutter screens

  • Diamond-back gutter screens

  • With mesh

  • Without mesh

  • With medium holes

  • With small holes

Many homeowners like mesh because it helps to keep leaves, tree branches, and other debris out of gutters. Choose hole aperture based on the size of debris you anticipate in your yard. If you're unsure about the style that's the best fit for your home, consider bringing in a gutter guard pro in your area to do an analysis.

Generally, guards that snap in place are ideal for a DIY job. Some gutter guards out there actually go under your shingles. However, it's not recommended that homeowners try to install this type of guard on their own because it's very easy to damage shingles during installation if you're not experienced. 

You could inadvertently cause damage to your roof that will lead to bigger problems if you're lifting shingles without experience.

2. Measure Your Gutters

Worker cutting gutter with electric saw
Photo: Surachetsh / Adobe Stock

Gutter guards come in pieces. It's necessary to measure the gutters around your home to determine how many inches or square feet are needed. This is also something that a gutter professional can help with. Guards may need to be trimmed to size in some cases.

3. Clean Your Gutters

Worker wearing uniform cleaning house gutters
Photo: ronstik / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Covering dirty, clogged gutters with screens can be counterproductive. Give your gutters a thorough gutter cleaning to ensure you're placing your new guards over a pristine environment.

This is also a good time to check for gutter clogs using your hose to run water through your gutter. You should also check for any cracks or breaks in your gutter system. Confirm that you aren't seeing any of the warning signs that you need new gutters before investing time and money into new gutter guards.

4. Install E-Z-Lock Gutter Screens

Handyman wearing protective gloves installing gutter guards
Photo: indyedge / Adobe Stock

Begin by picking a starting point. This method only requires you to lock each screen into place using the flat side against your home. The curved, latch-like side will lock into your gutter's interior lip.

This method does not require any screws in places other than your miters or corners. While screws aren't always technically required at miters and corners, they can add stability. Continue around the entire perimeter of your home.

5. Install Diamond-Back Gutter Guards

Black diamond gutter guard installed
Photo: soupstock / Adobe Stock

Begin by choosing your starting point. Next, snap each screen into place. You can use screws to secure screens at the miter for added support. Make sure that your guards are as secure as possible because diamond-back guards rely on a pressure fit to stay in place without blowing out. Continue around the entire perimeter of your home.

DIY Gutter Guards vs. Hiring a Pro

Homeowners who want to handle this project themselves should purchase DIY gutter guard kits. These simply slip over the top of the gutter, so you don't have to hire a pro. Keep in mind you'll need a ladder and some basic tools to complete the installation. 

Additional Questions

When is the ideal time to install gutter guards? 

The dry season in your area is the best time to install gutter guards so you don’t have to deal with wet leaves. 

How do you attach gutter guards?

Most DIY gutter guards slide flat under the shingles and attach to the gutters with screws. Other systems insert under the lips of your gutters to create a rounded look or are drilled directly into the gutters and house frame. 

How much does it cost to install gutter guards?

Hiring a pro to install gutter guards typically costs between $600 and $2,150, depending on the type of system you choose. DIY options will save you about $9 per hour of labor. 

What are foam gutter guards? 

Foam gutter guards, also known as gutter sponges, act like filters that conform to the shape of the gutter. They’re typically triangular and are made of dense but porous polyether or open-cell polyurethane foam. Foam gutter guards are worth the cost if you’re looking for a way to cut back on gutter cleaning maintenance.

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