The Pros and Cons of DIY Gutter Guards

D.P. Taylor
Written by D.P. Taylor
Updated February 14, 2022
Gutter guard on roof gutters
Photo: ingae / Shutterstock

We get it—sometimes you want to take things into your own hands

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Every homeowner can benefit from clear gutters, which is why gutter guards are worth it for so many people. If you’re an avid DIYer, you may opt to build gutter guards yourself, rather than pay for professional gutter guard installation. DIY gutter guards can help keep debris from invading your gutters, but you should consider a few factors before clearing your weekend schedule for this project. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of DIY gutter guards.

What Is a Gutter Guard?

First, it’s good to know how your gutters work. These vital home featureskeep rain flowing off your roofand away from your home, keeping everyone inside nice and dry, and your foundation safe. But irainwater often bringsdebris like leaves and sticks intoyour gutters, leading to clogs. That’s where gutter guards come in. They’re made of mesh or screen covers placed on top of the gutter to block debris, which is helpful—because if your gutters get clogged, they could overflow and cause damage to your home and foundation. 

Advantages of DIY Gutter Guards

DIY gutter guards can be an effective alternative to professionally-installed gutter guards. Here’s why. 

DIY Gutter Guards Can Reduce Maintenance

Yes, smaller debris still makes its way into your gutter and will build up over time. But it will take a lot longer, meaning that while you can't eliminate maintenance altogether, if you get quality gutter guards, you can reduce how often you need to climb up on that ladder. The development of moss is a concern, but as long as you check the gutters regularly—even if less regularly than before—you should be able to get ahead of problems.

They’re Easy to Install

Unlike some gutter guards that require professional installation, you can buy a DIY gutter guard at a home improvement store and simply slide it over top of the gutter. 

They’re Not That Expensive

Considering the average price for a gutter cleaning is $160—and you should clean them twice a year—gutter guards pay for themselves in just a few years. And if you DIY gutter guards, you’ll save on labor costs.

They Improve Water Flow

A gutter guard can help water flow better through your gutter system by keeping debris out that can disrupt the flow or clog it up. A blocked gutter will cause water to overflow, which can result in foundation damage or even cause water to get inside the home.

You Can Buy the Gutters and Call a Pro to Install Them

This is the best of both worlds. With DIY gutter guards, you can purchase the gutter materials you want from the retailer of your choice, then call a pro to come out and install them at a convenient time for you. This way, you have control over which gutters you want for your home, but you don’t have to handle the installation if you don’t want to.

Disadvantages of DIY Gutter Guards

A worker installing gutter guards
Photo: indyedge / Adobe Stock

DIY gutter guards come with a few setbacks. Here’s what you’ll compromise on if you go the DIY route.

You'll Still Have to Clean Your Gutters

Gutter guards, whether they’re DIY or professionally installed, don't stop you from having to clean your gutters. Debris can build up on top of the gutter guards, so you’ll still have to pull out the ladder for cleanings. 

Moss May Thrive

If you're maintaining your gutters less often because of gutter guards, then the small amount of debris that does make it into your gutters has more time to decompose and grow moss, which can spread to your roof and damage it.

They Have a Significant Upfront Cost

Gutter guards typically cost between $600 and $2,150, depending on what type of system you get and how much square footage you need to cover. At that price, it may be cheaper—at least in the short term—to hire someone to maintain your gutters.

Should You Buy Gutter Guards, Or Hire a Professional?

It depends on your situation.If you dread cleaning out your gutters, even if it is only a few times a year, but aren’t keen on spending money hiring a professional, then gutter guards can at least cut down on some of that labor cost

You could also have a professional install more-complex gutter guard systems like under-shingle designs, which slide under the edge of the shingle, or reverse-curve systems that better direct debris away from your gutters.

But if you don’t mind this biannual chore or worry about moss build-up, you can probably skip gutter guards. Or you can avoid the chore altogether by hiring a professional gutter cleaner near you.

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