Call Today (612) 254-8060

Are Gutter Guards a Worthy Investment

Are Gutter Guards a Worthy Investment

Are Gutter Guards a Worthy Investment

Gutters are a vital part of your roofing system. They serve the purpose of directing water away from major elements and protecting fascia boards, shingles, soil, siding landscaping, etc. 

Gutter guards may inherently sound appealing, but before you put all your eggs in the gutter guard basket, it’s important to understand the whole story. 

There are multiple factors you should consider before investing in gutter guards such as their effectiveness, advantages, disadvantages, surrounding trees, and type. 

On this page

(Click for a shortcut)

The Purpose of Gutter Guards

There are many names to reference gutter guards such as leaf guards, gutter covers, gutter screens, or gutter helmets. 

Gutter guards block debris and pests from entering the gutter system as devices that attach over your existing gutters. Typically, the reduce the need to clean gutters and protect the home from water overflow. 


Although there is a wide variety of gutter guards each with their own benefits, there are several universal benefits. 

  • Install onto existing gutters: No fear, there is no need to completely replace your whole gutter system in order to reap the benefits of gutter guards.  
  • Reduced gutter cleanings: Without major build up, gutter cleanings will be required less frequently. 
  • Debris deflection: With varied success, gutter guards prevent a majority of debris from entering your gutters and subsequently, water buildup. 
  • Extends the useful life: Because they prevent water build up, the risk of rust and rot is much lower.
  • No more pests: Without water build up, those pesky mosquitos and other insects will not find refuge in your gutters. Additionally, birds and rodents will no longer be able to build their nests. 


As convenient as gutter guards may sound, they don’t come without faults. 

  • Not maintenance free: Despite the hype, gutter guards need maintenance too. 
  • Cleaning is difficult: Unfortunately, gutter guards are not perfect and small debris still make their way through. With an added obstacle, cleaning the gutters may take twice as long!  
  • May increase ice dams: The reason they may increase risk of ice dams is because the temperature inside the gutters varies from the surrounding area causing water build up. Generally, they won’t cause issues unless they are improperly installed. The best gutter guards are ones with holes that allow larger chunks of ice/snow through. There is also a possibility of heated gutter guards. 
  • Extra caution required: While hanging up Christmas lights or performing any activity that involves leaning a ladder on the roof, you MUST be careful not to dent/damage the guards. This can lead to a loss in effectiveness.

Types of gutter guards

Gutter guards are made up of metal or plastic. 

Here, we have provided the most common types of gutter guards. 


As the name may give away, micro-mesh has smaller holes which are effective in blocking debris but could also become blocked more easily. They are made out of either plastic, steel, or aluminum. This option is on the pricier side and could last from 4-12 years. 

Steel screen

With the use of tin snips, this gutter guard can be installed DIY fashion on your gutters. This is installed by ticking it under the first layer of shingles. This option is relatively easy to clean as long as you wait for debris to dry, and then you can brush it away. 

As long as you purchase the powder-coated metal guard, this type of guard will last 7-10 years. 

Plastic screen

Similar to the plastic screen steel screen, this type is less durable and cheaper. This gutter guard is made from PVC plastic. It may be installed by laying the screen atop the gutter and tuck it beneath the eave. With an easy install, this also might lead to problems with the wind. Additionally, extreme heat could warp this plastic. 

The average lifespan for plastic screens is 3-6 years. 

Perforated aluminum

Another affordable option is the perforated aluminum gutter guard. To install, it is fastened, or bent onto the gutter. Small debris is likely to make it through this type and cleaning is difficult. They have a lifespan of around 12-18 years.


A different type of gutter guard is brush which sits right inside the gutters to block debris instead of on top. Because of the simplicity, install is very quick, but cleaning the bristles is a hassle. Micro plastics is also a disadvantage of this type. 

Durable–lasting 10-20 years–brush gutter guards come with a high price tag.


Similar to brush, foam rests right inside the gutter making for easy install. The polyurethane foam has a porous texture that allows water to flow. The deterioration of this plastic leads to microplastics just like brush. 

An additional problem from foam is the possible algae growth that comes with a negative smell. This gutter guard requires an occasional wash by removing the foam temporarily. Expect around 8-10 years of life and shorter in extremely wet/sunny climates.

Surface tension or Gutter helmets

Finally, we have the most expensive option, gutter helmets which are typically metal. These utilize surface tension and completely cover the gutter except for the downward lip that directs water to the outside of the gutter. The debris is easily slid or swept of the cover.

 These require a professional installation as they are attached to the fascia. The durability of this gutter guard is hard to beat with a lifespan around 20 years. 

Things to Consider

First, the average home has a linear 200 feet of gutters and materials for gutter guards are priced by the foot. 

There is always the possibility of doing a DIY install, but if your roof has a steep pitch or more than one story high, paying a professional may be worth the cost. 


The temptation to agree that gutter guards are worth it is strong. Alas, this is not necessarily the case. Financially, gutter guards may not be worth it when gutter cleaning services are available. Instead of paying for gutter guards, you could hire someone to clean your 200-foot gutter system for $300. 

If you are interested in a DIY, a majority of these gutter guards (aside from the surface tension guards) could be found at a large hardware retailer closest to you.  

At the end of the day, it is based on your personal home set up and financial situation. Ask family and friends for their personal opinion. Whatever you do, remember to stay safe!

Need help looking for a company for gutter guard installation? Check out this blog post on finding a local roofing company. 

Call T-10 Construction today for a FREE inspection and estimate!