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, or a different brand/style may work better.

The Today’s Homeowner team has a lot of experience and knowledge about all types of gutter guards, and we put together this guide to show how they work. So, keep reading to learn more.

Do Gutter Guards Work?

Gutter guards are marketed as a way to keep your gutters clear of leaves and other debris, but do they really work? The quick answer is yes – they do exactly what they are designed to do: keep leaves and other debris out of your gutter.

However, they are not a cure-all for all gutter maintenance. You may still have to clean them out from time to time, depending 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. But all homes and situations differ, and your home may not need them. Or one of the below top brands may be a benefit for your home:

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
  • Landscaping erosion
  • Death of landscaping plants
  • Rotted fascia and soffits

Gutter guards help to prevent these problems by keeping debris out of your gutters with mesh screens and other designs to allow good drainage and water flow. They come in various materials and styles, so you can find the perfect match for your home and existing gutters.

Pros and Cons of 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 keep 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 frequently as traditional gutters. Small debris, insects, and algae can still find their way inside your gutters, so it’s essential to do regular maintenance. And when you do hire a company to clean them, it will take far less time and effort than with unguarded gutters.

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. Foundation repair and water damage can cost homeowners thousands to tens of thousands of dollars. By installing gutter protection, you can help to prevent these costly repairs.

Additionally, quality gutter guards can increase your home’s curb appeal by keeping your gutters clean and free of debris. 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 $7 to $30 per linear foot, depending on the type of material and style you choose.

They also need to be installed properly to work correctly. This means hiring a professional to do the job, which can add to the cost. But, you could save money in the long run since you won’t be paying for gutter cleaning as often.

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. From there, these small pieces of debris can clog them or cause problems. That’s why it’s essential to do regular maintenance and upkeep, even if you have high-quality gutter guards installed.  However, many home homeowners with gutter guards can go over a year without cleaning their 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.

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.

How often you need to clean your gutters with gutter guards will depend on the type of guard you have and the amount of debris in your area. Many homeowners only need to hire a gutter cleaner every other year or every three years, depending on the amount of debris in their area.

How Long Do Gutter Guards Last?

Gutter guards are designed to last for many years, but they will eventually need to be replaced. The lifespan of a gutter guard depends on the type of material it is made from. Aluminum and stainless steel gutter guards can last 20 years or more with proper maintenance. But, plastic and vinyl gutter guards may only last 5 to 10 years.

When do you need to replace your gutter guards? You’ll know it’s time when you start seeing leaves and other debris accumulating on top of them, if they are rusted, or 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..

Are Gutter Guards Worth the Investment?

Gutter guards are a great way to protect your home from water damage and keep your gutters clean. They prevent blockages and can save money on gutter cleaning and repairs for many years. However, they do come with some minor disadvantages that we noted above.

If you decide that gutter guards are right for you, be sure to do your research and choose a quality product that will last for many years. Regardless of which type of gutter guard you choose, remember that you will still need regular maintenance on your gutters to ensure they are working correctly.

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. With those factors in mind, you can narrow your choices and choose the best gutter guard for your home.

Here are the major considerations:

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 don’t last as long as other types of gutter guards. Aluminum and stainless steel last longer, but they are more expensive.

Along with the material, the different types of gutter guard systems – leaf guards, mesh gutter guards, gutter helmets, micro-mesh gutter guards, and leaf filters. Many styles and brands just go on the top of the gutters. These are just a few of the options available to homeowners.

Installation Method

Gutter guard installation has a few different ways. Some types snap onto the front of your gutters, while others attach to the back. Some even install inside your rain gutters. The installation method you choose will depend on your preferences and the

Size and Shape

Gutter guards also come in various sizes and shapes. The size 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.


Price: 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 plastic and vinyl options are more affordable. You can also find some do-it-yourself gutter guard kits for very low prices.

DIY vs. Professional Installation

You can install most gutter guards yourself, but some types are best installed by a professional. Installing gutter guards yourself may take you a few days, especially if you’ve never done it before. And you might accidentally damage your gutters, shingles, or other parts of your home.

If you’re not sure whether you can do it yourself, ask the manufacturer or retailer for guidance. Professional installation will cost more, but it may be worth it if you’re not confident in your ability to do it yourself.

Professional installation is worth it because:

  • 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.
  • They guarantee their work: If something goes wrong with the installation, a professional company will come back and fix it for free.
  • They have 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.
  • They can do a custom installation: If you have a unique gutter system, a professional installer can do a custom installation specifically designed for your gutters.

Can Gutter Guards Cause Leaks?

If your gutters are installed correctly, gutter guards should not cause leaks. In fact, they can actually help to prevent leaks by preventing a buildup of debris in your gutters. However, if your gutters are old or in poor condition, your gutters may leak, but they would have anyway (with or without gutter guards).

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. It’s also possible that your gutters were installed incorrectly, in which case you should contact a professional to fix them.

Key Takeaways: 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 to 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, be sure to do your research and choose 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, ensure 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.

If you choose to install your gutter guards yourself, follow the instructions carefully and take your time. It’s also a good idea to have someone help you, especially if you’re uncomfortable working on ladders. And, of course, we can’t stress enough about being safe up there!

Editorial Contributors
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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Lora Novak

Senior Editor

Lora Novak meticulously proofreads and edits all commercial content for Today’s Homeowner to guarantee that it contains the most up-to-date information. Lora brings over 12 years of writing, editing, and digital marketing expertise. She’s worked on thousands of articles related to heating, air conditioning, ventilation, roofing, plumbing, lawn/garden, pest control, insurance, and other general homeownership topics.

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