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What is a Gutter Guard?

Gutter guards or gutter screens are designed to prevent debris from falling into your rain gutters. In turn, you’ll need to clean your gutters less which will save you money long-term. It’s important to keep in mind, that gutter guards are designed to keep out leaves and debris, so finding the best gutter guards for your home will cut down on gutter cleaning maintenance! 

Roof of a house showing the best gutter guards for your home

Types of Gutter Guards

There are five popular choices when researching the best gutter guards for your home. The types include screen, micro mesh, reverse curve, brush, and foam. 


Screen guards are made of a wire or plastic grid that blocks leaves and debris from falling into the gutter. They are the least expensive option and are easily installed with no tools needed. Screen guards can be installed by lifting the bottom row of shingles and sliding the gutter screens in along the entire length of the gutter. No additional tools are required because the weight of the shingles will hold the screen in place. 

Additionally, because screen guards are held by only shingles, they may be dislodged by high winds. Depending on your roof warranty, installing screen guards may void your warranty.

Gutter Screen gutter guards

Micro Mesh

Micro mesh gutter guards are similar to screen guards but the openings are smaller and closer together to block smaller bits of debris. Because of the small openings, micro mesh gutter guards need to be cleaned more often with a hose and scrub brush to clear fine debris from the mesh. 

They can be installed 3 ways: inserting the edge under the first row of shingles, snapping the guard directly on top of the gutter, or attaching the rim to the vertical strip above the gutter (or fascia).

Micro mesh gutter guards are made in a variety of materials. They can be made of plastic or stainless steel. Depending on the brand, they offer 20-year to lifetime warranties which makes them a people’s favorite when it comes to the best gutter guards for your home.

micro mesh gutter guards

Reverse Curve

Reverse curve gutters are typically made from lightweight metal or molded plastic. Water flows around a downward curve before going into the gutter. It’s designed so the leaves and debris will slide off the edge and fall to the ground. Reverse curve gutter guards work well to keep leaves and larger debris out of your gutter.

Reverse curve gutter guards are one of the more expensive options so far. They can range between $650 and $2,000 for materials and installation. Reverse curve guards are more difficult to install and must be attached at the correct angle to the edge of the roof. It’s best to hire a professional to install this type of guard. 

reverse curve gutter guards


Brush-style gutter guards act as oversized pipe cleaners that lay inside the gutter. They prevent large debris from falling into the gutter and causing clogs. Brush gutter guards are inexpensive and easy to install. 

Brush-style gutter guards are typically made of a thick wire core with bristles extending from its center. They require little equipment to set up and the wire core is flexible, allowing the guards to be bent to fit into the corners and crevices of the gutters. 

Gutter brush


Foam gutter guards are relatively inexpensive and easy to install. The guards are a triangular block of foam that simply sits in the gutter. One side lays flat against the back of the gutter, another faces up to prevent debris from falling in, and the third side lays diagonally in the gutter. This allows water and small debris to still flow through the gutter but keeps out larger debris like leaves and twigs. 

Foam gutter guards don’t require nails or screws to remain in place, they just need to be cut to the proper length. However, this specific gutter guard may not be the best choice for homes in areas that experience heavy rain, as the rain can quickly saturate the foam causing the gutters to overflow. The climate you live in is something to seriously consider when choosing the best gutter guards for your home. 

Foam gutter guards to keep water out


The main reason homeowners opt for gutter guards is to reduce the need for gutter cleaning. Gutters need to be cleaned at least twice a year. Professional gutter cleaning can range between $150-300 depending on the size of your house and stories. Here are some of the pros when deciding the best gutter guards for your home and if they’re right for you. 

Easier Cleaning

Gutter guards keep larger debris like leaves, twigs, and pine needs out of your gutter system. Although the gutter guards and gutters still need to be cleaned a couple times a year. 

An effective way to clean your gutter system without removing the guards is to use a garden hose to rinse out the gutters. Alternatively, if you’ve chosen mesh gutter guards, you can install a panel for easy access and cleaning. 

Roof and Gutters Cleaning

Pest Control

Gutter guards also help with deterring animals and pests from entering your gutter system. They create a barrier between rodents and birds and the gutter below.

Additionally, clogged gutters can be a breeding ground for mosquitoes and other insects. Mosquitoes hatch in standing water, so clogged gutters can pose a pesky problem. 


Moss and Algae Growth

Even with the added protection of gutter guards, debris can still enter the gutter system. Even small amounts of leaves and sticks can fall in a begin to decompose. 

Decomposing leaves, in addition to mud and sediment in gutter systems, can cause moss and algae growth. Left unchecked, moss and algae spread quickly to your roof causing immense damage. Roofs with excessive moss growth often need to be replaced entirely. 

Extra Strain on your Roof

While gutters and downspouts are lightweight, adding additional weight to your gutter could damage the fascia (the long board that supports the lower edge of a roof). Ultimately, gutter guards can prevent you from seeing the inside of your gutters and the debris stuck in them. This may result in unnoticeable buildup until it’s too late.

Gutter Guards Aren't Made for Winter

Depending on how much snowfall your area gets and how cold it can be, ice dams and snow buildup can damage your gutters, home and roof. Frozen debris will block water flow and add significant weight to your fascia. 

Ice stalactite hanging from the roof with red brick wall


Considering the price of installation and maintenance, gutter guards aren’t always cost-saving. Gutter guards cost anywhere from $200 to $1200 to install, depending on the type of guard you choose. Particularly if you live near many trees, have yearly snowfall, and freezing temperatures. The cost and time of cleaning and maintenance for the gutter guards, often outweigh the benefits.


There are so many different types of gutter guards and finding the best gutter guards for your home depends on a number of factors.  It’s true, they keep larger debris out of your gutters, however, they still need to be cleaned at least a couple times a year to remove smaller debris. Moreover, the cost of cleaning and installation doesn’t amount to much of a savings. 

It’s important to decide what fits best in your lifestyle and budget when considering gutter guards. If you live in a tree dense area, they will need to be cleaned just as much as gutters without guards. Snow heavy winters can create ice dams and snow buildup that may damage your gutters and create long-term damage to your roof.