Customers ask me constantly if they should get gutter guard installation to protect their gutters. I always advise not to install them. Informing, them they will still need me to at least clean off their roof and the top of the screens or guards. If we do not complete this, the moisture under the debris will start the decay process of the shingle and facia boards. Maybe you still want them installed. Below we will cover in specific gutter guards, gutters screens and another option you may not know exists.

Gutter Guards

gutter guard installation

Gutter guards, which are sometimes called a gutter helmet, are a sheet of metal or plastic that covers the entire gutter opening except a small opening at the lip of the gutter to allow water to enter the gutter system.

Pros
Leaves and pine straw, mostly, do not enter the gutters Helps with keeping dirt out but not always
Cons
Birds and small animals can build a nest in the gutter Blowing off the roof and top of guards is still needed Does not do as well with heavy rainfall Gutter Cleaners cannot clean in the system if dirty
Very expensive.

Average Price (200 linear feet of gutters)
Materials- $525
Labor- $1475
Total- $2000

Before my next statement, I want everyone to understand the company I am about to talk about is not paying me, they just sell a great product and service. The only company I recommend for gutter guard installation is LeafGuard. This is because of their lifetime warranty on materials, work, and lifetime cleaning. The only problem most people have is that the company is so expensive. However, with everything they offer, I don’t blame them. A quick note on the cleaning this only includes if there is debris in the gutter. It is not an annual cleaning of the roof and top of the gutters.

If You Buy Guards: Never Cheap Out

With plastic guards, they never last long. First, they make the guards in 4-foot sections and do not overlap each other very well. Compared to metal guards, that are one long piece made specifically for each gutter system. Second, the UV light from the sun will slowly deteriorate the integrity of the plastic.

You can purchase some metal guards that are cheaper and come in 4-foot sections. While they make these guards latch onto each other I have seen repeatedly, these connections failing to cause a massive amount of debris to infiltrate the gutter system causing a blockage of water flow. Yet, in every instance I saw this, it was because of poor workmanship.

Gutter screens

gutter guard installation screens

Unlike guards there are different types of gutter screens on the market. While, many people would think of the most prevalent aluminum mesh screen. The other is a stamped metal with holes to allow the water through.

Pros
Keeps out larger leaves
Less expensive than guards

Cons

Pine straw gets stuck even during cleaning.

Does not stop dirt and smaller debris from getting in.

A cleaner is still needed to clean off your roof, and the small debris that gets in.

Gutter cleaning with screens on the gutters cost more.

Average Price (200 linear feet of gutters)
Materials- $175
Labor- $425
Total- $600

If you install this product, I advise you to use Snap Tight gutter screens. When installed, ensure they are properly screwed down to the lip of the gutter trough. Also, firmly set the screen next to the shingles under the shingles.

Installing Downspout screens

Downspout screens or wedge is a cheaper viable option most customers are unaware of. They make these screens from the same material that they make gutter screens from. However, they only cover the downspout. Allowing all debris to fall in the gutters yet they stop the larger debris from entering the downspout.

Pros
Keeps the downspouts clear of the large debris
Reduces the chance of a hard clog in the downspout

Cons
Can cause water to build-up
Downspouts can still clog

Average Price (10 downspouts)
Materials- $30
Labor- $150
Total- $180

Confusion may set in after reading the cons at this point from my “viable option” comment earlier. Let me explain, I called this a viable option for its low cost, and it still keeps out debris from the downspout the same as a gutter screen does for the gutter trough. If you go with one of these two options, I advise the downspout wedge. The wedge helps to lift the leaves further from the downspout to give a slightly better result.

MICRO MESH Gutter Guards

Gutter guard installation mico-mesh

                The customers that have had the best success with gutter protection are those with micro mesh filters. These filters are like gutter screens, yet there is a micro-mesh material that does not allow even small debris to enter.

Pros
Covers the gutter completely Allows good water filtration
Animals can’t get in

Cons
Debris can stop water if allowed to sit on the top
Still needs Gutter Cleaning

Average Price (200 Linear feet of gutters)
Materials- $425
Labor- $425
Total- $850

Even though gutter guard installation isn’t for me, I like these filters. Yet, homeowners keep in mind even with the best gutter protection one still needs to get the tops of their gutters and roof blown off regularly to avoid clogged gutters – filters or rotting shingles. 

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