In this article, we talk all things gutter guards. Keep reading to learn more about:

  1. What are gutter guards?
  2. The three most popular gutter guards
  3. Other types of gutter guards
  4. Pros of gutter guards
  5. Cons of gutter guards

What Are Gutter Guards?

A gutter guard is a gutter protection system that goes over your gutters to keep debris out. Some gutter manufacturers market gutter guards as a maintenance-free solution to gutter cleaning and upkeep. There are pros and cons to having gutter guards. They can be expensive to install, and companies fail to tell you that your gutters still need routine maintenance, even with gutter guards. If you’re thinking about installing gutter guards, keep reading to find out more!

The Three Most Popular Gutter Guards

The three most popular types of gutter guards are screen, surface tension, and fine mesh. Each of these gutter guards are pretty different, so stick with us to find out which type of gutter guard may be best for your needs.


Screen gutter guards are the most commonly used type of gutter guard, and they come in various shapes and materials. Therefore, they can be installed in many different ways. If leaves are your main problem, screens work well to prevent the buildup of leaves in your gutters. That being said, the openings in screens are big enough to let in other natural things, like seeds and pine needles. This means that when you clean your gutters, you may have to also remove the screens. Also, sometimes the screens themselves can get debris stuck in them, and sometimes cleaning screens can be tricky. Don’t expect screens to get rid of all your gutter maintenance, but they are the easiest type of gutter guard to install.

Surface Tension

Surface tension gutter guards also work well to prevent the buildup of leaves and other large types of debris. Small debris does sometimes get in this type of gutter guard, but usually it washes out of the downspouts without many problems. With this type of gutter cover, water clings to the nose of the guard and flows into the gutter. So bigger debris falls right over the edge. This type of gutter guard is also easy to install, but they only work if they’re installed at the appropriate angle. These are also more visible than other styles of gutter guards.

Fine Mesh

Finally, fine mesh guards act like screens do, but they block even more debris. The mesh won’t clog with seeds or needles. These still need to be cleaned on occasion, but these are easier to blow or brush clean than screens are. This type of gutter guard is also easy to install. Strong fine mesh guards are made with stainless steel.

Other Types of Gutter Guards

There are many other types of gutter guards, and it is important to research and decide which type will work best for your home. Your decision should be based off of the number of trees and type of trees surrounding your home. Here’s a list of other types of gutter guards:

  • Plastic PVC: cheap in quality but not cheap in cost. They are inexpensive and easy to install, but they are also cheaply made, which means they are easily manipulated by the weather. This type of gutter guard is good for leaves and needles. You can expect this type of guard to last between 3 and 6 years, depending on climate.
  • Perforated aluminum: affordable but a bit harder to install on your home (though it is possible to do it yourself). Because this type is made of aluminum, this gutter guard won’t rust. Though this guard offers great value, it is more difficult to clean this type because of the fasteners used to install it. You can expect between 10 and 20 years of use.
  • Foam: prevent debris from getting into the gutter, but water can still filter through. This type is easy to install and is effective in keeping out debris, but because water can filter through, this type of gutter guard can create quite a mess. Expect foam gutter guards to last about 10 years in mild climates, but much less in either very sunny or very wet climates.
  • Brush: easy to install and effective in keeping large, dry debris out of your gutters. However, this type of guard doesn’t cover the whole gutter, so seeds and pine needles collect in the bristles. Cleaning this type of gutter is more difficult than others. You can expect 10 to 20 years of use.
  • Solid metal: cover the entire gutter and feature an edge that curves downward to move water into the gutter so it can drain. This type of gutter guard covers the gutter effectively, but installing them yourself takes longer than any other type. Solid metal gutter guards can last up to 20 years, but they are more expensive to install if you’re relying on the help of professionals (which is recommended).

Pros of Gutter Guards

There are many different types of gutter systems out there, and there are advantages and disadvantages to all types of gutters. In general, some find that gutter guards can create more trouble than they’re worth, but there are some positive qualities when it comes to protecting your gutters.

The goal of installing gutter guards on the roof of your home or business is to prevent the gutters from being clogged with debris, which causes overflow during heavy rains. If your gutter guards are doing their job and keeping out debris and clogging, that is absolutely a pro of installing guards. Gutter guards may keep out larger debris too, such as sticks, tennis balls, and toys.

In addition, with gutter guards, you’ll have to clean your gutters much less than usual – typically one-half to one-third as often as you would normally have to clean your gutters. Though we recommend having professionals install your gutter guards, it is possible to do it yourself. Also, if you’re selling your home, many homebuyers will be attracted to the gutter guards already installed on your roof, as this will save the future owners time and money.

Cons of Gutter Guards

Along with the advantages of gutter guards come the negative factors. If your gutter guards are doing a poor job of keeping out debris, this can cause damage to your home. For example, if wet leaves build up on your gutter covers, this will prevent water from entering your gutters, therefore making the water run across the gutter guard and fall to the ground during a heavy rain. This could lead to leaking in your home’s foundation or potentially damage the siding of your home.

When covered with fixed guards, gutters are more difficult to clean. To clean your gutters, you’ll have to remove and clean the gutter guards first, which adds several extra steps to this already tedious maintenance process. Gutter guards can also rust or warp, which can detract from the appearance of your home. Finally, if your attic is poorly insulated and snow piles up on your roof, the snow will melt because of the heat escaping from your home. The water will then run into the gutter where it freezes, and the ice will damage gutter guards and the gutters themselves.

At Alamance Insulation and Gutters, we want your home to be protected from factors that can cost you money, including the debris that can end up in your gutters. Located in Burlington, NC, Alamance Insulation has been proudly serving the Triad area for over 20 years. We provide quality gutters and insulation for our clients across central North Carolina. Whether you need installation or repairs done, we offer a variety of gutter, insulation, and moisture barrier services that will ensure the safety of your home.