man installing new gutter guard
Hammerhead shark silhouette - black Posted BY Hammerhead Roof

Did you know that the average homeowner spends over $100 each year on gutter cleaning costs?

While you can get up there and do the cleaning yourself to save some money, this project is time-consuming, grimy, and somewhat precarious if you’re unused to spending time on your ladder.

One way to cut down on the number of times you need to get up close and personal with your gutters is to install gutter guards. These tools keep most large debris out of your gutters while still allowing water to flow through.

With so many types of gutter guards on the market, it can be difficult to determine which kind is right for your home. Keep reading to learn some of the key differences between the forms of gutter guards that are on the market today.

1. Screen Gutter Guard

Screen gutter guards are sometimes called gutter screens. Usually made of steel, aluminum, or vinyl, these gutter guards are flat pieces of material with diamond or square-shaped holes cut throughout the material.

The great things about these gutter guards are their cost and ease of installation. Most gutter screens only cost a few dollars per square foot. To install, simply lay the gutter guard on top of your gutters and snap it into place.

However, it does have some downsides. Gutter screens are notorious for clogging, leading to water running over the edges of your gutters instead of into the gutters and down through the downspouts. Expect to unclog your gutter screens every six months to a year.

Gutter screens also only keep large debris, such as leaves, out of your gutters. If you get pine needles or small seedlings in your gutters, gutter screens may not actually solve your problem.

Finally, since gutter screens aren’t screwed into your gutters, they tend to blow off roofs in high winds or during extreme storms.

2. Mesh Gutter Guard

If you’ve ever heard someone talking about a micro screen, they’re referring to mesh gutter guards. These are very similar to gutter screens except that the holes cut into the material are even smaller than they are on gutter screens. This means that mesh gutter guards are great at keeping even small debris up and out of your gutter.

Mesh gutter guards are easy to install, and they often screw into your gutters, making sure they stay put no matter what. Another benefit of mesh gutter guards is that they usually aren’t visible from the ground, so installing them won’t affect the curb appeal of your home.

Because dirt and sand can still slip through the holes in the mesh, you’ll need to rinse out your gutter system regularly. Also, if you live in an area that experiences all four seasons, ice dams can build up on the mesh, adding too much weight to your gutters and potentially causing damage to your entire system.

Mesh gutter guards are slightly more expensive than gutter screens, and they also sometimes require specialized knowledge to be installed properly. It isn’t advised to try to install these gutter guards on your own.

3. Foam Gutter Guard

These gutter guards sometimes go by the names of sponge gutter guards or gutter foam. Picture a long piece of foam that fits into your gutter. Leaves, twigs, and other debris sit on top of the foam, while water flows through the foam and out through your downspouts.

Foam gutter guards are the cheapest and easiest to install gutters. You can also cut the foam if you need to, so you never have to worry about purchasing a product that will be too big for your gutters. They’re also easily removed whenever you need to do some gutter cleaning.

Unfortunately, foam gutter guards have the shortest lifespan of any of the gutter guards on this list. Expect them to last less than five years. Gutter foam also changes shape over time, making it lose its efficacy throughout its lifespan.

They’re also not ideal for use on homes that experience extremely high or low temperatures; gutter foam should not freeze, and it also degrades in intense, direct sunlight.

4. Bottle-Brush Gutter Guard

Ever heard of a gutter brush? It’s a popular name for bottle-brush gutter guards.

They look exactly as the name suggests: picture a bottle brush laid sideways in your gutter, and you’re envisioning a bottle-brush gutter guard. Stiff bristles trap debris while allowing water to flow through. The bristles are usually made of hard plastic, while the center of the gutter guard is often made of galvanized steel or a similar material.

Gutter brushes are easy to install, and they have been known to prevent gutter rust because of how much air can flow between the bristles. They also deter rodents, birds, and other pests from making nests in your gutters.

A major con to bottle-brush gutter guards is that they are in no way fire-resistant, so don’t use them if you live on the West Coast or in other fire-prone areas.

Also, these gutter guards are not the most aesthetically pleasing, so don’t use them if you’re worried about detracting from your home’s looks.

5. Reverse Curve Gutter Guard

The final gutter guard on the list is the reverse curve gutter guard, or the surface tension gutter guard.

These are often made from aluminum or plastic and come in a variety of colors to blend in with your roof. They sit under the bottom row of shingles on your roof and stick out over your gutter. The design encourages leaves, twigs, and other debris to fall over the edge of your gutters while forcing water into the gutter itself.

These gutter guards dramatically decrease the amount of maintenance you need to perform on your gutters, and they’re very unlikely to promote the development of ice dams. Most manufacturers will also provide a warranty for this kind of gutter guard.

Reverse curve gutter guards do tend to be costly. Expect to pay at least five dollars per square foot plus installation costs. And you will want to pay a contractor to install these gutter guards for you; when installed improperly, they can cause leaks and roof damage that your insurance company is unlikely to pay to fix.

Choose Your Favorite Types of Gutter Guards

Now you know the main differences between the most popular types of gutter guards on the market today. Depending on what you’re looking for, any of them could be the right choice for you.

Whether you have storm damage or simply have a roof that’s at the end of its lifespan, Hammerhead Roof is here to help. Our qualified contractors can help you with repairs, replacements, gutter installations, and more!

Ready to get started? Call today!

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