If you’re a homeowner dealing with the buildup of leaves, twigs, and other debris in your gutters, you’re likely considering gutter guards as a solution. You might have heard some details from your neighbors or even seen some on houses in your neighborhood.

But, before you go out and pay for gutter guard installation, it’s essential to know if they will work for your home. Gutter guards are an excellent solution to preventing clogged gutters and reducing how often you need to clean them. But, gutter guards are not for everyone. In addition, a different brand or style may work better for you.

The Today’s Homeowner team has a lot of experience and knowledge about all types of gutter guards. I’ve put together this guide to show you how they work, their advantages and disadvantages, and other factors to consider. Keep reading to learn more.

Gutter Cleaning Service
The national average price of gutter cleaning is $160, assuming you have about 200 feet of gutters.
Gutter Guard Installation
In general, the national average cost of gutter guards ranges from $650 to $2,000.
Gutters Installation
In general, it costs somewhere between $1,000 to $7,000 to get a full set of gutters installed on your home.
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Why Do Your Gutters Need Gutter Guards?

Your gutters are designed to do one thing: channel water away from your home. But they can’t do their job properly when they become clogged with leaves, twigs, and other debris. Clogged gutters can cause all sorts of problems, including:

  • Damage to your foundation;
  • Water in your basement or crawl space;
  • Pest infestations;
  • Landscaping erosion;
  • Death of landscaping plants;
  • Rotted fascia and soffits.

Gutter guards are marketed to keep your gutters clear of leaves and other debris, but do they really work? The quick answer is yes. Gutter guards help to prevent these problems by keeping debris out of your home’s drainage system with mesh screens and other designs to preserve water flow. They come in various materials and styles, so you can find the perfect match for your home and existing gutters.

But while gutter guards are useful for improving gutter drainage, they are not a cure-all for all gutter maintenance. I still recommend at least twice-yearly cleaning and maintenance of your house’s drainage system. The amount of times you may need to clean your gutters depends on the type of tree cover you have and the amount of debris that falls in your area. But overall, gutter guards do a great job of keeping gutters clean and clear.

If you’re looking for a way to reduce the amount of time you spend cleaning your gutters, gutter guards are a great option. They can also help improve the safety of your home.

How Gutter Guards Contribute to Safety

Gutter guards divert rainwater away from your home and prevent damage to your home’s exterior and landscaping. They can also contribute to a safer home environment. First, as mentioned above, gutter guards can prevent debris build-up in your gutters. This, in turn, can prevent pests, such as rodents, from nesting in your gutters or your home and spreading disease.

Gutter guards can also prevent house fires, which is a major consideration if you are living in an area prone to wildfires or are very dry. This is because dried debris can build up in your gutters and, in the unfortunate event of a wildfire, could cause a fire under your eaves. Gutter guards can help alleviate this issue by preventing debris from entering your gutters.

Finally, gutter guards can also make maintaining your home easier and reduce the amount of cleaning you have to do by hand. Going up and down a ladder to remove debris and other clogs from your gutters requires balance and could also be a fall risk. If you want to minimize this issue by not having to clean your gutters as often, gutter guards can be a good choice.

In addition to the above reasons, let’s look at some of the other factors to consider when installing gutter guards.

Factors To Consider When Installing Gutter Guards

There are both pros and cons to using gutter guards. It’s important to weigh them carefully before deciding whether they are suitable for your home.

Benefits of Gutter Guards

Gutter guards leaves and other debris out of your gutters, so you won’t have to hire gutter cleaners often. But you will still need to clean them, just not as often as traditional gutters. And when you do hire a company to clean them, it will take far less time and effort than with unguarded gutters.

Some guard designs are more weather resistant, like gutter guards for snow and ice and gutter guards for heavy rain. They also help to prevent damage to your home by keeping water away from your foundation and landscaping. This can save you a lot of money in repairs down the road.

Additionally, quality gutter guards can increase your home’s curb appeal. They are available in various materials, styles, and colors to match your home’s exterior. This is especially important if you are trying to sell your home.

In the long run, gutter guards may even save you money on repairs. But they come with a few drawbacks you should be aware of.

Disadvantages of Gutter Guards

Gutter guards can be expensive, so you’ll need to factor that into your budget. They typically range in price from $5 to $50 per linear foot, depending on the type of material and style you choose. Some very large and very heavy-duty products may cost up to $250 a piece.

They also need to be installed properly to work correctly. This could involve hiring a professional to help you with this, especially since DIYing this project will involve working at heights.

And while gutter guards do a great job of keeping leaves and other debris out of your gutters, they can’t keep everything out. Small pieces of debris, insects, pine needles, and slimy freshwater algae can still find their way through small holes in the gutter guards and into your gutters.

Another disadvantage of gutter guards is that they can be unsightly. This is especially true of the older, more traditional style of gutter guard. The newer styles are much more sleek and unobtrusive, but they may not be to everyone’s taste. With the right research, however, you can make a solid investment that matches the desired look of your home.

How to Choose the Right Gutter Guard

The most important thing to do when choosing a gutter guard is to make sure it will work with the type of gutters you have. You also need to consider the climate in your area and the amount of debris that typically falls in your gutters. Let’s look at some of the different factors to consider.

Materials and Type

Gutter guards come in a variety of materials, including aluminum, stainless steel, plastic, and vinyl. Each material has its own advantages and disadvantages. For example, vinyl gutter guards are usually the least expensive option but are not as durable, and last an average of only 5 to 10 years. Aluminum and stainless steel last longer, up to 20 years in some cases, but because they are heavier, these types of gutter guards may require professional installation.

Along with the material, there are different types of gutter guard systems – leaf guards, mesh gutter guards, gutter helmets, micro-mesh gutter guards, and leaf filters. Depending on the exact type that you choose, your gutter guards will need to be installed in different ways. Some types of gutter guards snap onto the front of your gutters, while others attach to the back. Some even install inside your rain gutters.

Size and Shape

The size of gutter guard you need will depend on the size of your gutters. Most gutter guards are made to fit standard 5-inch gutters, but there are also options for 6-inch gutters. As for shape, most gutter guards are either flat or curved. Some have a V-shaped design that can handle a large volume of debris. This, as well as the above factors, will influence how much you can expect to spend on gutter guards overall.


The price of gutter guards varies depending on the type, size, and shape you choose. Aluminum and stainless steel gutter guards are the most expensive option, while vinyl and plastic gutter guards are more affordable. You can also find some do-it-yourself gutter guard kits for very low prices.

It’s also important to know how many linear feet of your gutter needs to be protected when budgeting for this home renovation. Some homeowners may opt to cover their house’s entire drainage system. You may be able to save money by installing gutter guards only in problem areas of your home, such as where there are overhanging trees. The overall amount that you can expect to spend will depend on whether you opt to complete this project yourself or hire a gutter maintenance professional.

DIY vs. Professional Installation

You can buy gutter guards at Lowes and other home improvement stores and install most gutter guards yourself, but some types are best installed by a professional. This can save you time and also prevent you from damaging your roof, shingles, or other parts of your home. I also strongly recommend contacting a professional in your area if you don’t work well at heights.

Hiring a professional to install your gutters can also provide the following benefits:

  • You get a warranty: When you have your gutter guards professionally installed, you usually get a warranty. This protects you if anything goes wrong with the installation or the product itself.
  • Good professionals guarantee their work: If something goes wrong with the installation, a professional company will come back and fix it for free.
  • Contractors have both the tools and experience: Professional installers have the tools and expertise to do the job quickly and efficiently. They also know how to troubleshoot any problems that might come up.
  • You can purchase a custom installation: If you have a unique gutter system, a professional installer can do a custom installation specifically designed for your gutters.

    Overall, gutter guards are a good investment, whether you DIY them, because they can save you money down the line and prevent water damage to your home.

Why Gutter Guards are Beneficial

Gutter guards can be an excellent investment for your home. They can save you money on gutter cleaning and repairs and help protect your home from water damage. However, they are not an end-all, be-all solution, and you will still need to do some regular maintenance on your gutters. When choosing gutter guards, I recommend doing your research and choosing a quality product that will last for many years.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do gutter guards go under the drip edge?

No, gutter guards do not go under the drip edge. The drip edge is installed over the gutter guard to protect it from damage.

Do gutter guards work in heavy rain?

Gutter guards are designed to work in all types of weather, including heavy rain. However, if your gutters are old or in poor condition, they may not work as well and may even leak. If you have concerns about your gutters, check them regularly and do any necessary repairs or replacements.

Do gutter screens really keep debris out?

Gutter screens do a good job of keeping leaves and other large debris out of your gutters. However, they may not be as effective at keeping smaller debris, like dirt and sand, out — keep this in mind if you live in a dry climate.

And if you live in an area with a lot of wind, you may also find that the screens blow away or become detached from your gutters if they are not properly installed.

Do gutter covers cause ice dams?

Gutter covers do not cause ice dams. However, if your gutters are old or in poor condition, they may be more likely to form ice dams. Check your gutters regularly, make sure water drains properly, and do any necessary repairs or replacements to prevent ice dams.

Some homes are more prone to ice dams based on their location, roof type, and even the insulation in their attic. If you live in an area with a lot of snow and ice, you may want to consider installing heat tape or heated gutters to prevent ice dams.

Can I install gutter guards myself?

Some gutter guards are designed for do-it-yourself installation, while others must be installed by a professional. Check the instructions before purchasing a gutter guard to see if you need professional help.

Do you have to clean your gutters with gutter guards?

Gutter guards do not entirely eliminate the need to clean your gutters. While they do a great job of keeping leaves and other debris out, various smaller materials can still get through them and into your gutters and downspouts. So, they are not maintenance-free, and they will still need regular cleanings.

When do you need to replace your gutter guards?

You’ll know it’s time when you start if they are rusted, or are visibly falling apart and detaching from your gutters. At that point, they are no longer doing their job, and you will need to replace them.

Can gutter guards leak?

If your gutters are installed correctly, gutter guards should not cause leaks.

If you have leaks, you should first check your gutters to see if they need to be cleaned or repaired. If they are clean and in good condition, then you may need to replace your gutters or repair them.

Article Update Log
Reviewed for accuracy, cost data, industry best practices, and expert advice by Nikki Stavile.
Editorial Contributors
avatar for Jonathon Jachura

Jonathon Jachura


Jonathon Jachura is a two-time homeowner with hands-on experience with HVAC, gutters, plumbing, lawn care, pest control, and other aspects of owning a home. He is passionate about home maintenance and finding the best services. His main goal is to educate others with crisp, concise descriptions that any homeowner can use. Jon uses his strong technical background to create engaging, easy-to-read, and informative guides. He does most of his home and lawn projects himself but hires professional companies for the “big things.” He knows what goes into finding the best service providers and contractors. Jon studied mechanical engineering at Purdue University in Indiana and worked in the HVAC industry for 12 years. Between his various home improvement projects, he enjoys the outdoors, a good cup of coffee, and spending time with his family.

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photo of Nikki Stavile

Nikki Stavile

Nikki Stavile is a writer based in Tucson, Arizona. As an avid backpacker and passionate environmentalist, her work often focuses on sustainable movements at the personal and societal level.

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