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No one looks forward to cleaning out gutters. To say it mildly, the job can get quite messy. A good solution to tackle this task, and to lessen the headache, is to install gutter guards. Weigh all the types of gutter guards and choose the best. If a planned home remodeling is on your itinerary, invest in good gutter guards and make your living easy and hassle-free.

What Are gutter guards?

Gutter guards are the easiest protective mechanism that prevents clogging outside your house. These guards filter out debris so that only water passes through the installed gutters.

Why are gutter guards important?

They save you time and effort — relieving you from having to clean out house gutters every time it rains. What’s more, they ensure that there are almost no blockages and untimely gutter repairs.

Many homeowners tend to neglect their gutter blockages. They wait until these get completely clogged with leaves, moss, dead animals, and other debris. A grave mistake.

A blocked gutter can be responsible for water pooling around your foundation. This may create several problems such as wood rot, landscape damage, water leaks, and even infestation by pests. All these may damage your home’s very foundation.

Therefore, when these gutter guards work to channel the rainwater away from your house, they play a huge part in preserving its structural integrity.

If you are clueless about which kind of gutter guards to buy, we will help you with the home improvement. This article explores the five different types of gutter guards, their features as well as pros and cons. We are sure, it will help you decide which one will work best for your house.

Types of gutter guards for your home

Gutter protection comes in various materials and differs in features. Having a clear idea of the types of gutter guards you should install helps maximize the lifespan of your roof and home. Here are your options. 

Micro Mesh Gutter Guards

These guards are metal sheets and have thousands of tiny holes. As small as 50 microns in diameter! This perforation is perfect to keep out the smallest of debris while drawing water in. These gutter covers look like metal or uPVC plates and easily fit over the top of your gutters.

The best part about a mesh gutter guard is that you can install it on any type of gutters and roofs. And, it is known for durability. While other materials may deteriorate over time; mesh lasts really long. If you plan to get new gutter guards for your house, mesh guards are a sound investment.

The tiny spaces in the mesh do not clog with seeds, twigs, leaves, and needles. However, they might fill with small particles such as shingle grit. This is the reason, a fine-mesh gutter guard needs occasional cleaning. But, it is easy to blow or brush clean.

This type of guard is suitable for houses that are near a lot of evergreen trees. Pine needles usually do not penetrate micro mesh covers.

Pros

  • Best gutter protection as per Consumer Reports.
  • Maintenance-free and reliable.
  • Mesh guards are a durable and permanent solution to blocked gutters.
  • They are professionally installed so work well for many years.
  • They come with a warranty.

Cons

  • Homeowners have reported that gutter meshes do not handle water well. The rainwater simply washes over the guards instead of flowing into the gutter. This may lead to damage to landscaping and concrete.
  • Thorough research is needed to sift through the superior quality ones from inferior.
  • They cost more than DIY solutions as you need to hire certified professionals.

Foam Gutter Guards

Foam gutter guards aka foam gutter inserts fit inside your gutters. They work to block all debris from entering. Similar to mesh guards, they contain pores that only allow water to penetrate. Made of polyether or polyurethane foam, these are easier to insert into your gutters. In fact, the easiest to install. You can do it yourself and save dollars.

The best part is that they are available in flexible lengths of coarse polyether foam. All you need is a pair of scissors to cut the foam to the required length. You can fit them into the eavestroughs by just pushing or bending them into place. Simple!

Once properly installed they allow water to pour through easily but catch leaves, seeds, and dirt. And, they are one of the least expensive gutter guards.

The downside is that they don’t last that long and need frequent replacement — once every two to three years. Many homeowners have reported that the foam begins to deteriorate and becomes brittle after only two years of use. Furthermore, it allows shingle granules to pass through and collect at the bottom of the gutter. And, are difficult to clean.

Pros

  • They are inexpensive.
  • Easy to install on your own.

Cons

  • Frequent replacement is required.
  • Seedlings and trees may grow inside foam guards — damaging your gutters.
  • Debris tends to build upon them.
  • If inferior in quality, they may be fire hazards.
  • To clean your gutters, you have to take these guards out and then reinstall them afterward.

Brush Gutter Guards

As the name suggests, this cylindrical gutter guard looks like a bottle brush with heavy-duty bristles. Imagine taking a very long bottle brush and laying it inside your gutters. Again, this type of gutter guard is ideal for a DIY project. Planning to install it yourself? Make sure to clean your gutters first.

It filters out large debris such as leaves. Thankfully, the spikes allow air to circulate and helps to keep the gutters dry. That is why this mechanism prevents rusting. All you need to do is remove the gutter guards, shake them off, and you are done. They save you money, time, and labor. No wonder they are one of the most popular gutter guard choices by homeowners. Their price ranges from as less as $20 to $300.

However, you need to know that the brush bristles themselves may catch leaves and require frequent cleaning, lest the accumulated debris impedes the flow of water into the gutter.

Pros

  • It’s a DIY project.
  • Keeps the gutters dry.
  • Brush gutter guard is easy to install.
  • It is inexpensive.
  • Easy to remove for cleaning.

Cons

  • It doesn’t block all types of debris. Small debris, such as maple spinners and pine needles, may get caught in the bristles.
  • Leaves simply build up behind the projecting bristles.
  • Requires too much hassle while cleaning. It cannot be taken out in parts. The whole thing needs to be taken down.

Screen Gutter Guards

These are the most common type of gutter guards. Generally, they are made up of metal, coarse polyether foam, or nylon filaments. Shaped like a screen, they resemble a hardware cloth or chicken wire. You can take this screen and fit it over the top of the gutters.

The best part is that this gutter screen is lightweight, inexpensive, easily available, and not very difficult to install. With so many qualities, it has downsides too. It generally doesn’t last as long as other guards.

While it tackles the problem of filtering larger debris and leaves, smaller ones, seeds, dirt, and pine needles may easily penetrate through this guard and into the eavestrough. Another problem is that high winds or falling branches can entirely bend or dislodge them.

The screen itself may become plugged. Most homeowners have a complain that cleaning screen is a tricky affair as some of the debris generally gets entangled and isn’t easily brushed or blown off.

However, as mentioned above, screens are one of the easiest to install. You can simply slide them up under the shingles. This is ideal because the screen will angle downward and allow debris to slide off the roof. There are other kinds such as an easy on gutter guard that you can just drop on to your gutters. If you have old, brittle shingles, or a shingle type other than asphalt — this makes for a good choice.

That said, if you are plagued with small debris, we suggest you go for fine mesh gutter guards. Also, metal screen gutter guards are prone to rusting, they may even stain your home. Opt for the plastic versions instead.

Pros

  • Fairly easy to install as a DIY project.
  • It is inexpensive.
  • Lightweight.
  • Comes in various shapes and materials.

Cons

  • Smaller debris easily makes its way through this guard.
  • It may blow off your gutters in windy conditions or during storms.
  • Clogs easily.
  • Requires regular maintenance.

Reverse Curve Surface Tension Gutter Guards

These are probably the oldest types of gutter guards — over one hundred years old! Of course, there have been improvements over the years — with companies coming up with patented nose-forward designs to improve its performance and durability.

The science behind is simple — water flows around the edge of the nose and into the gutter. This is due to surface tension. The leaves and debris fall over the curved edge and on to the ground.

Typically, reverse curve surface tension gutter guard completely covers the top of the eavestrough and then curves back (toward the house), creating a horizontal slot that leads back into the gutter. The water flows over the top of the guard, around the curve, and into the slot. It completely prevents leaves and other debris from dropping into the gutter from above.

Here, installing gutter guards needs a proper technique and is not DIY home improvement. As it’s bulky, it is difficult to remove during cleaning and maintenance. And, such a guard is visible from the ground. Be sure to buy a color that matches your house’s roof.

Pros

  • It is professionally installed and comes with a warranty, offering peace of mind.
  • This kind of guard is a better option than foam or brush guards.

Cons

  • Heavy and bulky option.
  • Installation requires lifting up of roof shingles — this may void your roof warranty.
  • It lowers your home’s curb appeal, as it’s visible from the ground.
  • Costly installation.
  • Debris may build up in the opening (or snow and ice in winter).
  • It may lead to a serious pest problem due to the openings.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know the various types of gutter guards, it’s up to you to make the final choice. Do remember, that even the best of gutter guard systems do not guarantee to be totally maintenance-free. They will not be able to block 100% of the dust, dirt, debris, leaves, seeds, and twigs.

The best option is to weigh all the pros and cons, and according to the region and climate where you stay, choose gutter guards that strike a balance between pricing and usability.

Types of Gutter Guards: Their Unique Features Plus Pros and Cons was last modified: May 7th, 2019 by Ramona Sinha
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