Cleaning out gutters is a miserable, messy, stinky job. Installing gutter guards could put that headache behind you, but how the heck are you supposed to know which type to buy? In this article, we’ll examine the three most popular types of gutter guards: screen, surface tension and fine mesh. We’ll compare the different features, installation methods and prices to help you decide which ones will work best for your house. And if you install them yourself, you can save tons of money—some pro installers charge as much as $20 per ft.! The guards we’ll cover are designed for 5-in. K-style gutters, typical on many homes
Screens are the most common type of gutter guard. They come in a wide variety of shapes and materials and can be installed in a few different ways. Screens work well in situations where leaves are the main problem. However, the openings in screens are large enough to let in seeds and pine needles, and cleaning them out may require removing the screens. Second, the screens themselves can become plugged, and cleaning screens can be tricky because some of the debris gets entangled and isn’t easily brushed or blown off. So if you currently find lots of seeds or needles in your gutters, screens may help, but don’t expect them to eliminate gutter chores.
Screens are the easiest to install. Some can be slid up under the shingles, which is ideal because the screen will angle downward and allow debris to slide off the roof. Other screens just drop in, which makes them a good choice if you have old, brittle shingles, or a shingle type other than asphalt that can’t be pried up.