What Are the Benefits of Gutter Guards?

gutter guard with autumn leaves in background

Gutter cleaning is a dirty, tedious, and sometimes downright dangerous job. Now imagine a solution that allows you to keep your gutters cleaner longer without all that hassle.

Many homeowners invest in gutter guards to ensure clean and functional gutters. But just how useful are they? We review the benefits of installing gutter guards to help you decide whether they’re a practical choice for you.

What Is a Gutter Guard?

Before we delve into gutter guards, it’s essential to understand the role of your gutter system. Gutters and downspouts direct rainwater away from your home. In order for this system to be effective, it needs to be well-maintained and free of debris. A clogged gutter system can cause poor water flow and eventually moisture damage.

A gutter guard is a protection system that is placed on top of your gutters to block debris. They are available in various styles and materials, so your selection will depend on your climate, budget, roof type, and width of your gutters.

plastic guard over new dark plastic gutter
Photo Credit: inga / Canva Pro / License

Gutter Guard Styles

  • Micro-mesh gutter guards: Micro-mesh gutter guards have tiny holes that allow water to pass through to your gutters but block debris. Micro-mesh gutter guards are considered a top option for preventing gutter clogs. To remove dirt buildup, simply wipe it or hose it off.
  • Mesh gutter guards: Mesh gutter guards are almost identical to micro-mesh ones, except the holes are larger. While this type works wonders for keeping leaves, insects, and twigs out of your gutters, smaller debris can more easily slide through.
  • Reverse curve gutter guards: This kind directs water into your gutters while pushing debris to the ground. 
  • Brush gutter guards: Brush gutter guards are placed directly inside your gutters. They have bristles that stand up straight and catch large debris; small debris will still be able to enter the gutter system. While brush guards are perfect for DIY installations, you’ll need to replace them approximately every two years.
  • Screen gutter guards: Screen gutter guards are the most common type because they are easy to install, budget-friendly, and adaptable to any roof. The application system is identical to that of mesh gutter guards.
  • Foam gutter guards: This type of gutter guard is actually made of plastic and looks like a block. It fits on the inside of your gutters and keeps debris out.

Gutter Guard Materials

  • Stainless steel: Stainless steel is used to make reverse-curve, micro-mesh, and screen gutter guards. It is one of the most durable options but is more expensive. Stainless steel holds its own against corrosion, rust, and extreme temperatures.
  • Copper: Copper makes highly durable, rust- and corrosion-resistant micro-mesh and screen gutter guards. However, it is generally more expensive and harder to find than other varieties.
  • Aluminum: Aluminum is an affordable material perfect for manufacturing lightweight screen and micro-mesh gutter guards. Though aluminum isn’t as sturdy as stainless steel or copper, durability isn’t of particular concern if your home doesn’t have overhanging branches that could pierce or dent your gutter guards.
  • Plastic: Plastic is used to make gutter guard frames and the bristles of brush gutter guards.
  • Foam: Foam gutter guards are generally composed of polyurethane and shaped into blocks or wedges that allow water to flow through while trapping debris. Though foam is budget-friendly and durable, it is sensitive to mold. Foam also loses its shape and needs to be replaced every 2-3 years.

The best gutter guard brands on the market include LeafFilter, Leafguard, HomeCraft, and Gutter Helmet.

What Are the Benefits of Gutter Guards?

rain gutter guard leaf and debris
Photo Credit: BanksPhotos / Canva Pro / License

If you’re considering installing gutter guards, take a look at the benefits.

Save Time and Money on Maintenance

Without gutter guards, you’ll eventually need to either clean your gutters yourself or pay someone to do it. This costs money and time you could be spending doing something else. 

Gutter guards don’t allow leaves and other debris to enter your gutters. While they’re not completely foolproof, they’re significantly easier to clean than gutters. And since we’re talking about cleaning, both gutters and gutter guards should be cleaned once or twice a year. If you choose a professional service, the typical gutter cleaning price range will be between $105 and $375, with the national average falling near $240.

Fewer Pest Infestations

In addition to keeping your gutters clean, gutter guards stop mice, spiders, mosquitoes, bats, squirrels, and other insects from breeding in your gutter system. 

Gutter guards help make your home less attractive to wildlife and vermin by minimizing the amount of stagnant water and debris in your gutters. Plus, they act as a barrier to birds, rodents, and possums which would otherwise find their way behind your fascia boards and into the roof area of your home.

Reduce Risk of Gutter Freezing and Ice Dams

Another way gutter guards help is by preventing ice dams and gutter freezing. Water that gets trapped in your gutters over winter can freeze and lead to ice dams. An ice dam is a block of ice that forms on the edge of a roof and prevents rainwater or melting snow from flowing off the roof. While gutter guards don’t directly prevent ice dams, they ensure you have clean gutters so water can smoothly flow through.

Less Mildew and Mold Growth

In particularly rainy areas, the risk of mildew and mold growth is higher. Gutter guards prevent that by keeping gutters clean and promoting proper drainage.

Provide Fire Protection

Gutter guards provide fire protection, a benefit you should consider if you live in an area prone to wildfires. When a fire breaks out, embers can travel a long distance. If they come into contact with dry debris, twigs, and leaves accumulated in your gutters, they can quickly ignite your home. Certain gutter guards act as a physical barrier between embers and gutter debris.

Reduce Corrosion and Rust

Your gutters can corrode and rust if they’re constantly filled with moist leaves and debris. Gutter guards don’t allow pine needles, twigs, and debris to accumulate in your gutters. 

Promote Better Water Flow

Gutter guards boost water flow by keeping your gutters free of debris. They also fill rainwater tanks more quickly and ensure clean water.

FAQ About Gutter Guards

How long do gutter guards last?

Depending on the material and manufacturing quality, gutter guards generally last about 20 years. How you maintain your gutters and the climate also affect the life expectancy of your gutter guards.

Will I need to replace my gutters if I get gutter guards?

In some cases. If your gutters are in good shape, you won’t need to replace them. You’ll simply need to clean them thoroughly and re-seal all joints before installing the gutter guards. However, if you’ve had your gutters for a while and they’re deteriorating, speak to a roofing professional about a possible replacement.

How much will I need to pay for gutter guards?

The final cost will depend on the type of material you select and the amount you need. Labor prices also will vary from contractor to contractor. Professional installation for gutter guards costs homeowners between $684 to $2,213, with the national average totaling $1,448.

Get a Pro To Help with Your Gutter Guards

If gutter guards seem like a good solution for your home, discuss your options with a qualified contractor. We can connect you with a top-rated MyGutterGnome professional for advice on next steps and professional installation services.

Main Image Credit: soupstock / Canva Pro / License

Andie Ioo

In my free time, I enjoy traveling with my husband, sports, trying out new recipes, reading, and watching reruns of '90s TV shows. As a way to relax and decompress, I enjoy landscaping around my little yard and DIY home projects.