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Are Gutter Guards Worth It? (2024 Guide)

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Default Author Icon Written by Mike Miller Updated 04/25/2024

Gutter guards can be a significant upfront investment but are often worth it for homeowners who experience heavy rainfall and debris around their homes. Once they are installed, they can save you time, money, and the headache of frequently cleaning your gutters. Gutter guards also help protect your home from water damage to its roof, foundation, and exterior. However, gutter guards may not be worth it if you live in an arid climate or don’t have trees surrounding your home. Our guide explores if gutter guards are worth the cost, how different types of gutter guards work, and which of the best gutter guards may be right for your home.

Key Takeaways

Gutter guards could be a good investment for homeowners who frequently clean clogged debris from their gutters.
Expect to pay between $4,000 and $7,000 for a professional gutter guard installation.  DIY gutter guard installation will cost an average of $170 to $700.
Gutter guards keep debris and pests out of your gutter system.
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Gutter Installation

New gutters added to your home cost an average of $1,700-$3,100

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Gutter Guard

Gutter guard installation costs an average of $600-$1,500

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The majority of gutter repairs cost $143-$604

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How Much Do Gutter Guards Cost?

Installing gutter guards costs between $4,000 and $7,000, on average. For DIY gutter guard installation, expect to pay between $170 and $700. 

To determine the average cost of gutter guards, we read customer reviews for every major gutter guard company on the market and recorded any comments that noted pricing figures. We also surveyed 1,000 homeowners who have installed gutter guards and asked what they paid for their systems. For all DIY gutter guards, we obtained up-to-date cost information from their Amazon product pages. 

The following table provides a more comprehensive breakdown of gutter guards:

Gutter guard typeTotal gutter guard installation costGutter guard material cost per linear footGutter guard material cost for 200 linear feetProfessional installation cost per linear foot
Plastic screen$170–$200$0.85–$1$170–$200DIY
Foam$200–$400$1–$2$200–$400DIY
Brush$600–$850$3–$4.25$600–$850DIY
Perforated aluminum$265–$300$1.32–$1.50$265–$300DIY
Steel screen$300–$700$1.50–$3.50$300–$700DIY
Micro-mesh$4,000–$5,500$2.75–$5$550–$1,000+$20–$27.50
Reverse-curve$3,600–$7,300$3–$6.50$600–$1,900$18–$36.50

What Are the Benefits of Gutter Guards?

Gutters perform an essential function by directing rainwater away from your home’s foundation. However, leaves and other debris can fall into them and eventually block water flow. Birds and pests can also find their way into your gutters, build nests, and cause your gutters to back up and overflow.

When they’re functioning well, gutter guards can:

  • Prevent clogging by reducing or eliminating the amount of debris entering your gutters
  • Improve water flow
  • Ward off damage caused by a water backlog, including ice dams, rotted fascia boards, and roof leaks
  • Discourage insects and animals from making homes in your gutters

The best gutter guards achieve all of this while reducing the time and effort you must put into gutter maintenance. Not all gutter guard systems are created equal, however. Some types perform much better than others.


What Are the Downsides of Gutter Guards?

One major downside of gutter guards is that they can lead to ice dams forming over your gutters. Ice dams are typically caused by poor attic ventilation, but ice and snow buildup on top of your gutter guards can also contribute to the formation of ice dams. We recommend installing heat tape to help prevent ice dams if you live in an area that gets heavy snow or freezing temperatures in the winter. You should also inspect your attic regularly to ensure proper ventilation.

Gutter guards do not eliminate the need for gutter cleaning, but greatly reduce the frequency. According to our survey of 1,000 homeowners who purchased gutter guards, 70% of the respondents stated that they needed to have their gutters cleaned 2 or less times a year after installation.

Finally, if gutter guards are installed improperly, particularly as a DIY project, they can cause damage to your roof or gutters. For this reason, we recommend a professional gutter guard installer who has experience with installation on many different type of gutter systems and roofs.


What Are the Reasons You Should Install Gutter Guards?

Gutter guards offer a range of benefits, from keeping out pests to preventing foundation damage. The main benefits are the protection they offer your home’s drainage system and the time and hassle they save you on future gutter cleanings. Below, we outline some of the main reasons you should consider installing gutter guards.

Leaves, twigs, pests, and other debris will accumulate within an unprotected gutter system and weigh it down. This buildup will eventually lead to sagging, leaks, overflows, and even gutters disconnecting from your home. Gutter guards help prevent this damaging material from entering your gutter system and extend its lifespan. You’ll still need to clean your system, but the guards will make the cleaning process quicker and easier.

Many gutter guard installers offer gutter installation as an additional service. Some providers, such as LeafGuard, offer an all-in-one gutter and guard system, requiring you to replace your gutters when installing gutter guards. If your gutters are old and in poor condition and require a replacement, it may be worth it to install gutter guards at the same time to extend the life of your new gutter system.

Clogged debris inside gutters will eventually lead to overflows. Overflowing gutters can result in water damage to your walls, foundation, fascia, and lawn. Gutter guards keep this debris out of your system while still promoting water passage. This process prevents other costly problems from developing.

Homes surrounded by dense trees or other greenery require more frequent gutter cleaning due to the leaves and needles they drop into your gutters. Gutter guards make this cleaning easier and quicker while also helping your gutters function more efficiently. We tested more than a dozen gutter guards and found that many only required light brushing with a gloved hand or brush to dislodge debris.

Pests such as wasps, ants, bees, birds, and chipmunks love to nest in gutters. Gutter guards create a physical barrier to keep these pets out.


Who Would Not Benefit From Gutter Guards?

Gutter guards may not be the best investment for homeowners in some instances. They are most beneficial to those surrounded by heavy foliage or living in highly rainy areas because they protect gutter systems from clogged debris and water damage due to overflows. Homeowners who don’t have plants or trees within 20 to 30 feet of their homes and those in arid areas likely won’t benefit from gutter guards. 

Homeowners in coastal areas must be selective about which guards they install. Sea air corrodes metal guards more quickly, so vinyl and PVC options are a better choice in these regions.


You can choose from five different types of gutter guards. The best one for your home should allow water to flow freely while preventing debris from entering your gutters.

Micro-Mesh

Micro-mesh gutter guards have the same basic design as gutter screens but use a much finer mesh. Because the holes in micro-mesh are so small, the maximum size of particles that can pass through is much smaller. As a result, micro-mesh screens are among the most effective gutter covers available. They’re also extremely durable, often lasting 20 years or longer, and require minimal maintenance.

Micro-mesh guards had highs and lows when it came to performance, with material being the deciding factor. Stainless steel products had the best performance of any type of gutter guard; these products blocked all forms of debris, were durable, and withstood strong downpours. However, plastic micro-mesh guards possessed small ridges along the edge of the holes in the screen. These ridges made the holes too small to allow water to pass through effectively, resulting in consistent overflows.

Reverse-Curve

Reverse curve gutter guards use surface tension to guide water into your gutters. One side slides under your shingles, while the other extends out over the top of the gutter before curving back. Water will slide along that curve and fall into the gutters while other debris rolls onto the ground.

This type of gutter guard lasts several years and performs very well, but installation is complex. Every reverse curve gutter cover that our team checked out required professional installation. Popular brands for professional installation include Gutter Helmet and LeafGuard.

We found that DIY reverse curve guards were hit or miss. Higher-end products performed well, keeping out the majority of debris and handling moderate rainfall. However, lower-cost guards made from thin plastic prevented water from entering the gutter system, rendering them useless. You get what you pay for with these guards more than with any other product.

Screen

Gutter screens sit on top of your gutters, often sliding under the first row of shingles. A wide variety of designs fall into this category. Many resemble wire fencing, mesh, or a metal grate. Gutter screens can be made of plastic, vinyl, stainless steel, or aluminum.

The smaller the holes, the better the screen will block debris. However, screens with larger holes may be less likely to clog and are easier to clean. You can expect screen gutter guards to last 5 to 10 years, depending on the brand. Raptor and Amerimax are two well-known brands.

We tested several types of screen guards, including powder-coated steel, plastic, PVC, and aluminum. The performance of each guard varied widely, with the aluminum and steel options coming out on top.

The aluminum guard from A-M Gutter Guards that we tested resembled a large flat sheet perforated with holes. It had a strong connection and was easy to clean. The Amerimax steel option that our team tested had a simple wire mesh snap-in design. It excelled at allowing heavy downpours to pass through while blocking most debris, except for shingle grit and pine needles.

Foam

Foam gutter guards are porous enough for water to flow through, but they often block almost everything else. These gutter guards sit inside your gutters and come in different shapes and sizes to fit different gutter styles.

Foam gutter guards may need to be replaced every one to two years. They can shrink in the sun, leaving gaps that smaller debris can fall through. They’re also prone to algae growth and freezing. Some brands, such as GutterStuff and GutterFoam, extend the life span of their products by applying germicide and a UV coating.

We found that these guards were among the most effective at blocking debris. GutterFoam blocked debris as small as shingle grit. However, it’s one of the priciest options for a DIY product, and it doesn’t last as long as other options. Even with a UV coating, foam gutter guards will break down in sunlight and degrade more quickly than stainless steel or PVC products.

Brush

Brush gutter guards are round brushes with stiff bristles that slide inside your gutters. They resemble giant pipe cleaners or bottle brushes. Although the bristles can effectively prevent large debris from entering your gutters, pine needles, and other small debris will still make their way inside.

This type of gutter guard can last five years or longer. However, you’ll likely need to remove brush gutter guards periodically to clear any debris caught in the bristles. GutterBrush and Gutter Whiskers are two popular brands.

During testing, we found that these brush guards were effective at handling most large debris and allowed efficient water passability. The bristles of the brush guard stopped twigs, leaves, and seedpods from entering the gutters. However, they were the most difficult to clean, requiring our team to completely remove the brush to get debris out. We had some difficulty installing the guard, as it kept getting snagged on our gutter system’s hidden hangers.


How Do DIY and Professional Installation Compare?

As you research gutter guards, you may notice a huge price difference between the products available at your local Lowe’s or Home Depot and the quotes provided by professional gutter companies.

Quotes from professionals include the cost of installation, which includes both materials and labor. Another reason for price variation is that professionals have access to brands and models not sold in stores.

Although a DIY installation may save you hundreds of dollars, gutter guard installation costs aren’t the only factor to consider. Installing gutter guards can take several hours, and since ladders are involved, the job comes with risks. If you choose a style that slides under your shingles, improper installation could even void the warranty on your roof.

Before deciding on a DIY installation, consider the following:

The equipment required: At the very least, you’ll need a partner, a ladder, a bucket, a hose, and gloves. You may also need tin snips, a miter or circular saw, and a drill or screwdriver.
The steps involved: You must identify the style and size of your gutters to ensure that you purchase compatible gutter guards. Before installation, clean your gutters thoroughly. You may need to trim the gutter guards, too.
The difficulty level: Some gutter guards are harder to install than others. The installation will be more difficult if your home has two stories, a steeply pitched roof, or unusual architectural details.

Hiring professionals may cost more, but it will save you time and hassle. Professionally installed gutter guards are typically more effective and may be backed by a lifetime warranty.


Which Professional Gutter Guard Companies Do We Recommend?

Our team read hundreds of customer reviews, searched through company histories, and analyzed each gutter guard product based on its materials, performance, and quality. We also purchased, installed, and tested every major type of DIY gutter guard to determine the most effective option. Our testing included assessments of debris filtration, water passability, durability, and appearance.

After comparing each gutter guard against our objective rating and review methodology, we chose the following professionally installed gutter guards as our top recommendations:

LeafFilter: Our Top Pick

Our survey found that the majority of customers were satisfied with the companies on this list. Overall, 63% of customers were satisfied with these professional installers. The company with the highest satisfaction rating was Gutter Guards America, with 89% of customers noting they were satisfied or very satisfied. 


Compare Gutter Guard Providers

Star Rating Product Image Gutter Guard Type Average Cost Link
LeafFilter
LeafFilter LeafFilter Micro-mesh $5,528 Visit Site
LeafGuard
LeafGuard LeafGuard Reverse-curve $5,242 Visit Site
Gutter Guards America
Gutter Guards America Gutter Guards America Micro-mesh $5,270 Visit Site
HomeCraft
HomeCraft HomeCraft Micro-mesh $6,338 Visit Site
All American Gutter Protection
All American Gutter Protection All American Gutter Protection Micro-mesh $5,630 Visit Site
LeafFilter
Star Rating
Logo LeafFilter
Product Image LeafFilter
Gutter Guard Type Micro-mesh
Average Cost $5,528
Visit Site
LeafGuard
Star Rating
Logo LeafGuard
Product Image LeafGuard
Gutter Guard Type Reverse-curve
Average Cost $5,242
Visit Site
Gutter Guards America
Star Rating
Logo Gutter Guards America
Product Image Gutter Guards America
Gutter Guard Type Micro-mesh
Average Cost $5,270
Visit Site
HomeCraft
Star Rating
Logo HomeCraft
Product Image HomeCraft
Gutter Guard Type Micro-mesh
Average Cost $6,338
Visit Site
All American Gutter Protection
Star Rating
Logo All American Gutter Protection
Product Image All American Gutter Protection
Gutter Guard Type Micro-mesh
Average Cost $5,630
Visit Site
Company
Star Rating
BBB Rating
Best For
A+
Best Filtration
A+
Best for Large Debris
A+
Best Customer Responses
B
Best Additional Services
A
Best Deals and Discounts

Are Gutter Guards Worth the Cost?

We believe gutter guards are worth it for homeowners who have issues with debris buildup and rain overflows within their gutters. If left untreated, clogged gutters can cause expensive water damage to your home. And, while gutter guards don’t eliminate the need for gutter cleaning, they make it a much less frequent and easier chore. Choose one of the best gutter guards for your climate and debris type to make it a worthwhile investment. For example, some gutter guards can’t keep up with heavy rainfall or block smaller debris such as pine needles. If you choose a less expensive DIY product, such as a thin plastic guard, you may have to replace the guards every few years. Homeowners living in arid climates without many surrounding trees may not want to invest in gutter guards. 

We recommend requesting quotes from multiple companies, comparing their products, and browsing customer reviews. This will help you identify whether gutter guards are worth it for your home and which type would work best.


FAQ About Gutter Guards

Do you still need to clean gutters with gutter guards?

In most cases, you still need to clean gutters with gutter guards. However, by blocking most debris, gutter guards can make the job easier or less frequent. How often you need to clean gutters with gutter guards depends on the brand and type of guard.

How do I install gutter guards?

The exact process of installing gutter guards will vary. However, most installations will involve the following steps:

  1. Clean and test your gutters.
  2. Repair any leaks or damage.
  3. Measure and cut the product, if necessary.
  4. Place the gutter guards.
  5. Secure the gutter guards.

Do gutter guards work for all types of roofs?

Gutter guards can be installed on all types of roofs. However, the options and level of difficulty may vary depending on the pitch and style of your roof. Consider hiring a professional if you have a particularly steep roof, a metal roof, or another unusual feature.


Our Rating Methodology

We back up our gutter guard recommendations with a detailed rating methodology to objectively score each gutter guard product and provider. We conduct research by reviewing product specifications and provider website information, speaking with customer representatives, and analyzing customer reviews. We reinforce this research with thorough firsthand product testing, assessing each gutter guard’s durability, quality, filtration, and cleanability. To date, we’ve tested more than a dozen professionally installed and DIY gutter guard products. We then score each provider against our review standards for gutter guard design, customer support, the quote process, services, and reviews to arrive at a final score on a 5-point rating scale.

To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews Team at reviews@thisoldhousereviews.com.