Your gutters are important when it comes to protecting your home’s roof, siding, foundation, and landscaping from the effects of rainfall. However, gutters can be a pain to clean, especially if they’re surrounded by tree-heavy landscaping. Leaves, sticks, pine needles, and other debris can easily clog gutters, negating their protective function and sending water pouring over the edge.
Gutter guards, also called leaf guards, prevent debris from entering your gutters and make the cleaning process a little easier. In this guide, we’ll discuss the most common types of gutter guards and how much you can expect to pay for each one to help you find the best gutter guards for your home.
Benefits of Gutter Guards
While many people think that installing gutter guards is a free pass to never cleaning out their gutters again, this is a misconception. Gutter guards block most debris, but no device will ever completely block debris from entering your gutters.
Here are a few benefits of installing gutter guards:
- Prevents animal and insect infestations
- Reduces the chances of a fire
- Improves your gutter’s water flow
- Prevents premature rust and corrosion
How Much Does It Cost To Install Gutter Guards?
Gutter guard materials are typically priced by linear foot, and the average home has about 200 feet of gutters. Here’s how much gutter guards cost to install, by type:
|Cost||Gutter guard price per linear foot||Gutter guard price for 200 linear feet||Professional installation cost per linear foot||Total gutter guard installation cost|
|Plastic screen||$0.40 to $1.00||$80 to $200||DIY||$80 to $200|
|Perforated aluminum||$0.50 to $1.50||$100 to $300||$2.50 to $3.75||$600 to $1,050|
|Steel screen||$1.50 to $3.50||$300 to $700||$2.50 to $3.75||$800 to $1,450|
|Foam||$2.00 to $3.25||$400 to $650||DIY||$400 to $650|
|Micro-mesh||$2.00 to $4.00||$400 to $800||$2.50 to $3.75||$900 to $1,550|
|Brush||$3.00 to $4.25||$600 to $850||DIY||$600 to $850|
|Gutter helmets||$3.50 to $6.50||$700 to $1,900||$2.25 to $12.00||$1,150 to $4,300|
To save money, you can install most types of gutter guards yourself. However, if your house is two stories or higher or you have a steep roof, consider paying a professional to complete your gutter guard installation.
Note: These are average gutter guard installation costs. Material prices and installation costs may vary by to location. Request a few quotes from roofing and general contractors in your area to compare pricing.
Gutter Guard Service Provider Prices
Full-service companies offer premium gutter guards that are professionally installed. These products are often high-performing (such as micro-mesh and reverse-curve), built with durable materials, and backed by warranties that outlast DIY gutter guard guarantees.
The best gutter guard providers, such as LeafFilter, HomeCraft, and Gutter Guards America, don’t offer pricing information online or by phone. Because every installation is different, they require a free in-person evaluation to understand the variables they’re dealing with.
Factors That Affect Gutter Guard Installation Cost
From the width of your gutters to your current climate, here are key factors to consider before installing gutter guards:
Gutter Length and Size
The more gutter guard materials you need to outfit your home, the more the job will cost. You will pay more for additional linear feet of raw materials and extra labor costs for the additional time it takes to install.
Additionally, measure your gutters before purchasing guards. Most gutters are 5 inches wide, but some houses may have 4- or 6-inch gutters. It will cost extra to fit gutter guards to unusually sized gutters.
Roof Configuration and Type
Gutter guard installation costs more if you have complicated gutter runs with elbow corners or long roof lines that cause workers to have to move ladders often. Installing gutters on simple, straight, and short gutter runs is cheaper. The angle of your roof also plays into your final bill. If it is too steeply pitched, the installers will require extra safety equipment, inflating total labor time and cost.
Do you have a tree you’ve meant to trim for a few seasons? Well, that tree and any other obstructions to the work area will increase the cost of labor. Obstructions can be on the ground, too. Complex landscaping, water features, or uneven ground can limit safe ladder positioning. If your installer has to obtain specialized tools or equipment to complete the job, that will be reflected in your gutter guard installation cost.
Multi-story homes are more difficult and dangerous to work on. Expect higher costs for gutter guard installations that include two or more stories.
Location and Climate
Gutter guard installation costs vary depending on where you call home. The local climate and common debris types impact which gutter guard type you should choose and, therefore, the installation cost. For example, flimsy plastic mesh guards probably aren’t the best option for areas with snow and ice, and brush guards won’t stop fine debris like shingle grit and pollen. Additionally, your area’s typical labor cost will inform your final price.
Types of Gutter Guards
Most gutter guards are made of plastic, metal, or a combination of the two. They either sit on top of the gutter or rest inside it. “Gutter guards have a few forms, but the most popular are steel cover guards and screen [or] mesh guards,” says Kyle Shirley, owner of Sol Vista Roofing. Here are the most common types of gutter guards.
The least expensive gutter guards are made out of PVC plastic, and the quality is reflected in the price. Typically, you’ll purchase the material in rolls that are the approximate width of your gutter and cut them before installation. This makes for a fairly easy DIY project, since you simply lay the screen on top of the gutter and tuck the edges under the eave.
These gutter guards stand up reasonably well against leaves and pine needles, but unfortunately, they can be easily blown away or knocked out of place. Additionally, the plastic can become brittle or warp under extreme temperatures. On average, plastic guards only last for three to six years.
Another affordable gutter guard material is aluminum sheeting perforated with small holes. This guard is also relatively easy to install and fastens onto your gutters either with included fasteners or by bending the edges to fit around the gutter. You’ll need a hacksaw, tin snips, and gloves for maneuvering the guard safely around the sharp edges of your gutter.
Aluminum gutter guards block most debris and don’t rust. They typically last for 10 to 20 years. However, when seeds or other small debris get inside your gutters, you’ll find these guards are difficult to remove for cleaning.
Steel mesh gutter guards are similar to plastic guards, but they’re more durable and robust. They’re just as easy to install as plastic guards, though you’ll need to use tin snips to fit the gutter guard in your gutter. Steel screen gutter guards are great for blocking leaves and pine needles and are relatively easy to clean—simply wait until the collected debris is dry and brush it away. On average, steel guards last between seven and 10 years.
However, not all steel screen guards are created the same. Make sure you purchase a powder-coated metal guard, as this will repel rust, and avoid the type of steel guard that fastens by tucking under the first layer of shingles, which will expose your roof deck to rain and could void your roof’s warranty.
While screens and mesh guards sit on top of a gutter to prevent debris from falling in, foam gutter guards sit inside the gutter, making them one of the easiest types of gutter guards to install. These polyurethane foam wedges are porous enough to allow water to flow through the gutter and down the spout, but leaves and other debris stay on top of the foam and slide off.
Unfortunately, even polyurethane breaks down over time, sending microplastics into the runoff and groundwater. Additionally, algae and fungus can grow on the foam, making it unsightly and smelly, so you’ll have to remove the foam and wash it from time to time. While these foam inserts can last up to 10 years, they won’t last nearly as long in wet or sunny climates.
These gutter guards are made out of plastic, steel, or aluminum, and they’re more expensive than other mesh guards because of the fineness of the mesh. Micro-mesh guards have smaller holes, which prevent debris, but the smaller holes can become blocked more easily. Because of this, micro-mesh guards are a good option for houses in wet climates surrounded by large, leafy trees.
The price and durability of these guards varies by material. Plastic will be the least expensive, but it may only last for three years. Powder-coated metal can last for up to 12 years, but it’s pricier than plastic micro-mesh guards.
Similar to foam gutter guards, brushes sit inside the gutters and block the flow of debris. These are metal rods with nylon or plastic bristles attached at all angles, just like a circular brush. They install very easily, though you’ll have to cut them with a hacksaw if they’re too long. They’re durable, lasting 10 to 20 years, but they’re also fairly expensive.
While brush guards protect against large debris and dry leaves, seeds and pine needles can stick to the bristles, making them difficult to clean. You may have to clean the brushes as often as you would the gutters. Additionally, as the bristles degrade, you’ll have the same problem with microplastics as you would with the foam.
Gutter Helmets/Surface Tension Guards
Unlike other types of gutter covers, solid-surface gutter helmets cover the entirety of the gutter and feature a metal lip that points down towards the outer edge of the gutter. Water runs down the helmet and onto the lip thanks to surface tension, while leaves and other debris slide off the cover. You can use a broom to remove any debris that doesn’t slide off the cover.
Gutter helmets and surface tension guards are highly durable and can last up to 20 years. However, one end of the guard is fastened to the roof’s fascia, which requires a professional installation by a gutter guard company. Add installation costs to material costs, and gutter helmets are easily the most expensive option on our list.
Note: You may need to purchase surface tension gutter helmets directly from a company that makes and installs them.
Best Gutter Guard Companies
There are so many gutter guard companies in the market that it might be difficult to figure out which company is best for you. We have conducted an in-depth review of dozens of gutter guard providers, including their products and services. Check out the best gutter guard companies below.
LeafFilter makes an excellent gutter guard with maximum protection and strength. Its patented 275-micron steel mesh gutter guard includes a lifetime, transferable warranty.
The company offers a thorough installation process in which a LeafFilter specialist provides a free in-home inspection to determine where there are areas of concern. When the specialist returns for the installation, they remove ineffective gutter guards and install new gutters, if needed. The specialist also cleans and preps your gutter system for LeafFilter installation. Finally, the specialist secures the LeafFilter to your gutter. Call 800-940-4391 for a free quote.
LeafGuard offers an all-in-one product that replaces your existing gutter system. It includes a built-in guard with a reverse-curve design that accepts water and sheds debris. LeafGuard advertises that its products are made of 20% thicker aluminum than the industry standard, resisting warpage and holding up to severe weather.
This product requires professional installation from a LeafGuard dealer. You must first request a free estimate that will require an inspection of your home. The company offers financing through Synchrony Bank and includes a lifetime transferable warranty. This warranty certifies that the LeafGuard product will not chip, crack, or otherwise structurally deteriorate due to manufacturer defects. Limitations apply, and we recommend reading the warranty agreement thoroughly before making a purchase.
HomeCraft Gutter Protection
HomeCraft features one of the best gutter guard designs. Its gutter guards use a patented, raised-screen design called Diamond Raised Technology. Paired with its marine-grade stainless steel and fine mesh material, HomeCraft’s gutter guards are able to allow water to flow freely through its holes while debris is pushed away. This design also keeps wind freely blowing through your gutter system when dry.
HomeCraft features locations throughout Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.
Our Rating Methodology
The This Old House Reviews Team backs 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 then score each provider against our review standards for specifications, services, reputation, warranties and discounts, payment options, and customer service to arrive at a final score out of 100.
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