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Types of Gutter Guards, Explained

Gutter guards exist to stop debris from getting stuck in your home’s gutter system. We’ll explain the various types of gutters to help you find the best model for your house.

Gutter guards are inserts that go over your gutters to prevent small debris, leaves, and twigs from clogging them. There are many types of gutter guards, each with their own features, price points, pros, and cons. Read about the types of gutter guards in our guide, which also includes tips on picking the best gutter guard system and explains how to install and maintain them.

What Is a Gutter Guard?

Gutters direct the flow of water away from your home and foundation, and gutter guards assist them in this effort. Gutter guards fasten on top of or around your gutters to protect your house’s existing gutter system.

Gutter guards provide many benefits. They protect the inside of your gutters from ultraviolet (UV) rays that can damage sealant and prevent pests from crawling into gutters or damaging your roof. They also make it easier for homeowners to clean out dirt, debris, leaves, and twigs.

Gutters can get clogged without the help of gutter guards and may crack or break. Replacing gutters is an expensive, time-intensive job, and gutter protection using gutter guards could save you considerable time and money.

If you’re trying to decide which gutter guard type is right for you, consider what suits your budget, home aesthetic, and style. Below are the main types of gutter guards:

Brush Guards

Brush gutter guards resemble large-bristle brushes and sit directly inside your gutters. Brush gutter guards are designed to be one of the best guards for blocking pine needles, twigs, and leaves from clogging gutters, while the open-air construction allows water to flow through your gutters normally.

Brush gutter guards offer easy installation and replacement and require no special skills to install. Smaller particles can stick to the brush, though, and they can be difficult to remove by hand. Brush guards need regular maintenance to keep them working at peak capacity.

Foam Inserts

You can slip foam inserts directly into your gutters without any special skills. Foam gutters are affordable, versatile, and available in a wide variety of colors and styles.

There are many downsides to foam gutters, though. They aren’t long-lasting and deteriorate after a few seasons. Large debris can also pile on top of foam gutter guards and homeowners must manually remove such buildup. Foam gutter guards don’t offer good airflow, either.

PVC Covers

PVC gutter guards are among the most durable guards and can protect your gutters from large debris and sticks. PVC covers are mildew-resistant and work effectively in most weather conditions.

PVC gutter guard covers can be difficult to install through do-it-yourself (DIY) methods, though, so most homeowners opt for professional installation. They can also be expensive to replace and require immediate maintenance if they crack or incur water damage.

Mesh Screens

Mesh screen gutter guards are popular, high-quality, durable, and excellent in harsh weather. They can last for several decades with regular gutter maintenance and aren’t very noticeable, meaning they won’t affect your home’s curb appeal. Mesh screens allow for optimal water flow through gutters, too.

Mesh screens are expensive, however, and can be a tough DIY gutter guard installation method for homeowners to master.

Micro-Mesh Guards

Micro-mesh gutter guards are similar to basic mesh gutter guards but have much smaller holes that allow for small particles to pass through. These stainless steel or aluminum gutter guards are attractive to the eye. Stainless steel micro-mesh guards can last up to three decades and are very durable in all weather conditions.

These types of guards are high maintenance and require regular cleaning and immediate attention if damage occurs.

Surface Tension Helmets

Surface tension helmets conduct water into the eaves troughs of your home and prevent leaves and other debris from falling into gutters from above. These guards stand out because they completely cover the top of the eaves trough.

The downsides of gutter helmets are that they’re heavy and bulky to install, requiring professional gutter guard installation. You’ll also need to hire experts to clean and maintain surface tension helmets.

Choosing the Right Gutter Guard

Choosing the right type of gutter guards is an important decision whether you’re looking to replace your existing system or build a brand-new home.

Think about what sort of debris is common in your area. If you don’t notice a lot of large debris on your roof, caught in shingles, or in your gutters, consider something designed for small particles like a mesh guard. Aesthetics are also important, so think about the design and style of your roof.

Finally, set a budget. Knowing how much you want to spend on the gutter guard project will keep you on track financially.

Gutter Guard Installation and Maintenance

The gutter guard installation process varies depending on which type of guard you choose. Types such as PVC covers are heavy and time-consuming to install, so it might be best to hire a professional. A contractor will examine the gutter system, downspouts, and roof before providing a price for installing gutter guards. Brush guards and foam inserts, on the other hand, are perfect for DIY installation.

Required maintenance varies depending on the gutter type as well. Some gutter guard varieties need regular attention from a home improvement company and many contracting companies offer a lifetime roof warranty. Homeowners can inspect other types such as brush guards on their own.

Schedule inspections after severe weather events, especially if you notice damaging winds or windblown branches. Cracks or breaks that form in gutter guards could compromise the integrity of the whole system. Also have experts inspect where gutter hangers connect to the house’s fascia board and consider asking them to check the condition of your home’s roof shingles.

Our Conclusion

Gutter guards are an essential part of your home’s roofing system. They protect your gutters from corrosion, prevent clogging, and stop dirt and larger debris buildup. Think about aesthetics, curb appeal, your budget, and overall installation goals when deciding which new gutter type is right for you. Remember that some gutter guards require professional installation while others can be installed using DIY methods.

Commit to regular gutter maintenance appointments once you’ve successfully installed the system. If you regularly maintain and clean gutters, they’ll likely be able to perform at peak capacity for years to come.

FAQ About Types of Gutter Guards

What is the most effective type of gutter guard?

The most effective type of gutter guard is whichever one works best for your property and financial needs. Consider your budget, the style of your roof, and the climate in your area.

How many different types of gutter guards are there?

There are about 10 different varieties of gutter guards and even more variations on those styles. Mesh screens and foam inserts are two popular types.

How do I choose a gutter guard?

To choose the right gutter guard, consider your curb appeal goals, budget, and the type of weather that’s common in your area. If your area gets a lot of heavy rain, choose a gutter guard type that’s resilient and long-lasting such as a PVC gutter cover, such as one of our most recommended gutter guards for heavy rain.

What is the difference between LeafFilter and LeafGuard?

LeafFilter and LeafGuard are two of the top gutter guard brands. LeafFilter gutter guards come as a three-piece micro-mesh system that attaches to existing gutters while LeafGuard features a one-piece, reverse-curve gutter guard system.

Are gutter guards worth the investment?

Gutter guards are almost always worth it despite their expense. Gutter guards protect your gutters from clogging and make it easier for regular gutter cleaning.

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