If you’re a homeowner struggling with pests entering your home through the attic and roof, you’ll want to look at gutter guards as a possible solution for pest prevention and home improvement. Gutter guards are caps that snap or screw on the top of your house’s gutters to protect them from debris, leaves, and pests.
So, what kind of gutter covers are best for keeping pests out and easy gutter cleaning? Below, we’re sharing everything you should look for in a gutter guard and the best gutter guards for keeping pests out.
Screen Gutter Guards
Many types of gutter guards have a wire or plastic grid that prevents leaves and pests from entering your gutter trough. These gutter guards are easy to install. Simply lift the bottom of the roof shingles and slide the edges of the gutter screens underneath the shingles. The weight of the shingles will help hold the gutter screen in place.
Screen gutter guards are one of the most inexpensive gutter guard options and offer easy installation. You won’t even need tools for the gutter guard installation, making these a great DIY gutter guard option.
Micro-mesh Gutter Guards
Micro-mesh gutter guards are very similar to screen gutter guards and allow water flow to run efficiently through the small holes in the mesh while preventing large debris, twigs, pine needles, and pests from entering your gutter trough.
For more information about these types of guards, read our in-depth review of the best gutter guards for pine needles.
Stainless steel micro-mesh gutter guards can be installed in three simple ways: snap in the gutter guard onto the top of the gutter, slip the guard edge underneath the first row of roof shingles, or attach a flange to the fascia, which is the vertical strip above the top of the gutter.
Foam Gutter Guards
Another great DIY gutter guard is the foam gutter guard. Foam gutter guards are triangular blocks of foam that sit inside the gutter, preventing pests and debris from entering the gutter trough. Their third flat side will lie diagonally in the gutter, only allowing water and smaller debris to enter the drainage system.
We like that foam gutter guards are a great DIY option and inexpensive. You can easily cut the foam to customize it to the length of your gutters. Foam gutter guard installation also won’t require screws or nails to be installed, reducing water damage and the risk of leaks to your gutter system.
Remember that foam gutter guards will not be ideal for areas with high precipitation levels because the heavy rain and snow can saturate the foam and cause the gutters to overflow. If your gutters consistently overflow or are weighed down by snow, this can lead your gutters to break down faster and develop ice dams or corrosion. It can also be harder to clean gutters with foam, another factor to keep in mind.
Another downside to foam gutter guards for pests is that some persistent pest infestations may be able to chew their way through the material and even use the foam as nesting material. However, this can be a quick fix or a temporary solution in the meantime.
Brush Gutter Guards
Brush-style gutter guards are large pipe cleaners with bristles placed inside the gutters. The “pipe cleaners” prevent larger debris, pine needles, and pests from entering the gutters and clogging them.
Like foam gutter guards, they don’t require any screws, connections, fasteners, or specialty tools from Home Depot, Amazon, or Lowe’s to install. We like that you can add these to your existing gutters, saving you money by avoiding needing to replace and install new gutters. Like the foam gutter guards, these aren’t ideal for areas with heavy rainfall or many trees or pests that increase the need for gutter maintenance.
Reverse Curve Gutter Guards
Reverse curve gutter guards are less DIY-friendly and may require a professional gutter guard company for the installation process. They’re made from high-quality lightweight metals, like aluminum or molded plastic. Aluminum gutter guards work by allowing water to flow over the top of them, then around a downward curve, before the water drops to the downspout below. Any leaves or small debris slide off the edge and fall to the ground. As a result, reverse gutter guards are often recommended for areas with many trees.
Unfortunately, reverse curve gutters are not easy to install on your own. If they’re installed incorrectly, water will run over the edge of the gutters rather than the reverse curve into the gutter stream.
If you choose reverse curve gutter guards, you can rest easy knowing that it will be difficult for pests to get through because the cover is made from metal or plastic, and there is no screen a pest could chew through. However, be prepared to look for a reverse curve rain gutter guard with many color options so you can match it to your gutter system. If the color doesn’t match, it can quickly ruin your home’s aesthetic.
Don’t be afraid to check your roof warranty or gutter guard system lifetime warranty to see if you’ll get help with the cost of replacing or adding leaf guards to your existing system. While some gutter guard systems, like brush gutter guards and foam gutter guards, are easy to install on your own, others may need professional installation. Lastly, seek help from a professional, as the alternative of having your gutters break apart will be far more expensive.