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6 Different Types of Gutter Guards

Plastic guard over gutter on a roof with a leaf stuck on the outside

Gutters are one of the most neglected maintenance items in many homes. Many of us aren’t thinking about these devices often, let alone what type of maintenance is required to keep them clear, clean, and in good shape. That’s why you’ll find so many types of gutter guards being marketed to homeowners today.

In fact, there are at least six different types of gutter guards available on the market right now. However, not all gutter guard options are created equal. Some are much better than others, and it doesn’t make sense to purchase the cheapest option that you can find just because it’s more affordable than a more expensive alternative.

This guide will help you understand which types of gutter guards are worth your time and money, and which ones you should avoid like the plague if you want to keep your home healthy in the long run.

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The 6 Different Types of Gutter Guards

Gutter guards are a type of protection that you attach to your gutters to prevent leaves, twigs, and other debris from clogging them up. They come in a variety of different styles to suit your specific needs. When it comes to gutters, you only need to worry about the ones on the ends of your roof.

The rest are called downspouts, and they don’t need to be protected with gutter guards. However, you should still clean out your downspouts so that water doesn’t pool around the sides of your house and damage your siding or foundation.

Here are the main types of gutter guards that you will find on the market today.

1. Metal Roofing Gutter Guards

Gutter protector wideshot
Image Credit: William Hager, Shutterstock

This is the most common type of gutter guard, and they are designed to attach to the bottom of your gutters to prevent leaves and other debris from clogging them up. Although they are the most common type, they aren’t necessarily the best.

Many homeowners report that they constantly come loose, and they can’t be easily fixed because they are attached to the bottom of the gutter. So, you should be wary of this if you’re looking for a gutter guard that is reliable and secure.

  • Solid construction
  • Good for bad weather
  • Expensive

2. Rubber Gutter Guards

These are an excellent alternative to metal gutter guards because they are much easier to install because you don’t have to attach them to the bottom of your gutters. Instead, you can simply slide them over your existing gutter.

However, they aren’t necessarily better than metal gutter guards. More often than not, they are more expensive than metal options, and they may not last as long, especially in warm areas that receive a lot of sunlight which can cause the rubber to crack and break. So, you might be better off saving your money and sticking with the more common metal gutter guard.

  • Easy to clean
  • Easy to install and remove
  • Simple maintenance
  • Expensive
  • Not ideal for all weather

3. Screening Gutter Guards

Plastic guard over gutter on a roof
Image Credit: Suzanne Tucker, Shutterstock

Similar to metal roofing gutters, screening gutters are made from plastic. However, you won’t find them attached to the bottom of your gutter, so you will likely have to attach them yourself. This is one of the more unique types of gutter guards available today because they are designed to attach to your existing roofing or sliding over the gutter. That way, they can block leaves and other debris from getting into your gutter where they could cause damage.

  • Easy to install
  • Great for small debris prevention
  • Can clog easily

4. Leaf Netting and Bag Retention Systems

Leaf netting is a type of gutter guard that is designed to cover the full length of your downspouts. It comes in many different colors and styles and is often sold as a set with a bag to catch leaves inside it. However, the bags can often break, so make sure you inspect them before purchasing them.

If they’re in good condition, they’re a great way to block leaves and other debris from getting into your gutters. However, they also add a little bit of resistance to make it much more difficult for water to travel easily through them. So, they can help your gutters stay cleaner longer, but they are more work than other types of gutter guards.

  • Great for all weather conditions
  • Durable construction
  • Can be customized
  • Expensive
  • Hard to install

5. Wrapped Drain Conveyor System for Gutters

Gutter protector
Image Credit: FrankHH, Shutterstock

These are designed to quickly wrap around your entire downspout and push debris and leaves directly into your sump pump. This type of gutter guard is very similar to the concrete roll off system, except it will prevent leaves and other debris from entering your sump pump as well.

That way, you don’t have to manually clean out your sump pump as often. It is important to note, though, that many homeowners report that they are more work than they are worth. That’s why you should be cautious before committing to this type of gutter guard system.

  • Great for all weather conditions
  • Good for large & small debris
  • Expensive to install
  • Requires expensive maintenance

6. Concrete Roll-Off Hookup System for Gutters

These are designed to connect to your downspout and pull water directly into your home’s sump pump. This is generally recommended for homes that have basements, but it can be helpful for keeping your gutters clear as well. However, they can quickly push debris, leaves, and other debris to the bottom of your gutter which may eventually clog them up depending on the size of the debris.

  • Pushes debris out seamlessly
  • Great for rural areas
  • Easy to install
  • Expensive option
  • Requires thorough maintenance

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How to Prevent Home Gutter Issues: Practical Tips to Keep Your Gutters Clear

Keeping your home’s gutters clean and functional can be challenging. In addition to needing to be cleared of debris on a regular basis, your home’s gutters must also be able to handle water overflow from rainstorms, snowmelt, or other sources of water that come into contact with the roof. Over time, many homeowners discover that their gutters need some attention and repair.

Leaves, twigs, and other debris often end up in them, which causes blockages. Pests such as squirrels and raccoons are known for making their homes in gutter systems. Also, poorly built or installed gutter systems sometimes have leaks or even collapse under heavy rainfall.

Consult a gutter installation expert

Find a gutter specialist in your area, and get free, no-commitment estimates for your project.

If you keep an eye on the condition of your house’s gutter system, however, you can prevent most issues before they become serious problems. Here are some practical tips to help you avoid common gutter-related issues.

Keep the Drip Edge of Your Roof Clean

The drip edge along the edge of your roof is the first line of defense against debris that might otherwise end up in your gutter. If you see leaves or other debris clogging your drip edge, gently remove it with a rake or other tool.

Also, be sure to clear away any vegetation that has grown up right next to your home’s foundation, which could also end up clogging your gutters. If your drip edge is badly damaged or clogged with leaves, twigs, or other debris, you will need to replace it. This is a fairly simple process that can keep your gutters clean and functional.

gutter with guard full of dry leaves
Image Credit: 123switch, Pixabay

Maintaining the Slope of Your Gutters

The next step in keeping your gutters free of debris is to ensure that they are properly sloped to allow water to flow smoothly down into the downspouts. Gutters that are too shallow may experience clogging, while gutters that are too steep may experience leakage and overflow.

If your gutters are too shallow, you can actually increase the angle by adding a piece of wood or a small piece of metal on top of the gutter where it is too shallow. If your gutters are too steep, you can add wood or a small piece of metal on top of the gutter where it is too steep.

Inspect Your Gutter Installation Every Spring

A maintenance checkup will help you identify any potential problems and address them before they become serious issues. Look for the following issues and inspect them:

  • The condition of the connections between the downspouts and the gutters. If they are rusted or corroded, they may need to be replaced.
  • The condition of the gutters themselves. If they have any holes or other damage, they will need to be repaired. Gutters that are too short may also need to be replaced.
  • The location of the downspouts. They should be directed towards the ground, away from neighboring houses.
  • The presence of any clogs in the gutters. Debris such as leaves often causes clogs that can lead to serious damage to the gutters themselves.
  • The condition of the downspouts themselves. If they clog with debris, they will not be able to function properly.
  • The presence of any pests such as squirrels, raccoons, or other pests living in the gutters.
  • The presence of leaks or cracks in the gutters. Leaks or cracks can lead to serious water damage to your home.

Repair or Replace Any Rotting Wood

If you find any rotting wood around your gutters, repair or replace it as soon as possible. Rotten wood can eventually collapse under heavy water flow, causing leaks. One quick and easy way to spot rotting wood is to look for pink or red discoloration.

If you see discoloration, it is likely a sign of rot, which means that there is significant damage that needs to be addressed. And if you find rotting wood around your gutters, you can repair it with steel or aluminum nails or screws. Make sure that you seal the nail or screw holes to prevent leaks from occurring.

Check for Leaks and Repair

After you’ve inspected your gutters for any damage, you may find that there are a few leaks or cracks. Leaks may occur along the edge of the gutters, in the joints between sections of gutter, or in the downspouts.

Whether you have a leak in one spot or many, you will want to repair it as soon as possible to prevent water damage to your home. There are many DIY methods you can use to repair a leaky gutter. In cases where there is a crack in the gutter, consider placing a rubber sealant in the crack to seal it shut.

Roll of plastic mesh guard over gutter on a roof
Image Credit: Suzanne Tucker, Shutterstock

Install a Gutter Guard

Gutter guards are used to keep leaves and other debris out of the gutters, preventing clogs and leaks. They come in a variety of styles, from mesh to leaf-proof fabric. You can install a gutter guard yourself or hire a contractor to do the installation.

As mentioned earlier, gutter guards are a great way to keep your gutters clean and functional for many years. They are especially helpful for homes with trees nearby, as the leaves that fall from the trees can often cause serious damage to the gutter system without a gutter guard in place.

If you have a large or mature tree nearby, you may want to consider installing a leaf-proof gutter system, which is designed to withstand the heavy flow of water from the tree’s leaves.

Install a Rain Sensor and a Rain Barrel

Rain sensors may still be a bit unknown to many homeowners. But if you’re having trouble with your gutters overflowing or if your home has frequent leaks, you may want to consider installing one. A rain sensor can be programmed to turn off your gutter systems once they have received a certain amount of rain.

Gutters can be tricky because they have to be able to handle heavy rainfall, but they also have to be able to handle the occasional dry days when no rain is falling. A rain sensor can help your gutters stay on track with these two opposing needs. You can also consider installing a rain barrel along the downspouts of your home. This can be helpful for those who want to use rainwater for their gardens or their lawns.

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Gutters are an essential part of any home’s roofing system, and you should take care of your gutters on a regular basis. That means clearing them of debris as often as necessary. It also means inspecting them regularly and making repairs as needed.

When you’re looking for a gutter guard, it’s important to understand what they are, and which types are best. There are multiple different types of gutter guards on the market, and each one offers a little something different. Gutter guards are a quick and easy way to keep debris out of your gutters and catch it in a bag or container.

So, now that you know which types of gutter guards are out there and what they do, how do you choose the right one for your home? Well, it all depends on your budget, location, and needs. You should also consider your own skill level for installation as well as the type of construction of your home.

Featured Image Credit: Suzanne Tucker, Shutterstock


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