There’s nothing worse than having to get up on a ladder and unclog your new gutters.
This is where installing one of the industry’s best gutter guards will save you time and keep you off that ladder.
To figure out what kind of gutter guard is right for your home, we have to start with choosing the right style and gutters for your home. This is exactly what we go over in this episode of Material World: all things gutters.
Other than skipping the unclog process, gutter guards extend the life of your gutters – in turn keeping the water away from the house and foundation. Deciding which gutter system is right for you can be challenging, given there are numerous gutter options to choose from. To help, we will go through multiple types of gutters and gutter guards and what we recommend.
Check this video out for the full breakdown, or keep reading if that’s more your style.
3 Best Gutter Guards For Homeowners
Nothing is worse than having to clean your gutters! Here in Minnesota, you know all about those pesky helicopter seeds, whirlybirds, samaras, or whatever you want to call them! They can fill up your gutters on one windy day.
Getting the proper gutter guard can help prevent messy, clogged gutters and keep your water flowing through. Here are the 3 best gutter guards we showcased in the video
1. K-Screen Mesh Screen Gutter Guards.
Mesh gutter guards are a great, simple option to use to keep your gutters free of leaves and debris. They are very easy to install; they attach to the edge of the gutter and slide under your roofing/shingles. These guards are very lightweight and easy to downsize, ensuring they don’t weigh too heavily on the gutters and allowing you to fit them with most gutter profiles.
The K-Screen mesh screen guards are an excellent entry-level option if you are looking for basic, non-intrusive protection at an affordable price.
2. Bulldog Gutter Belt.
The next step up is the bulldog gutter belt, perfect for catching whirlybirds and keeping them from sticking into your gutter or gutter guard. They have a flat surface, with punctured holes that allow debris to flow off the side while water still passes through into the gutter.
They require a bit more invasive installation, screwing into the house, but they are very sturdy and will withstand the elements, giving you long-lasting gutter protection.
The Bulldog Gutter Belt is an excellent option for homeowners in areas with lots of leaves, pine needles, or other blowing debris.
3. Leaf Sentry Premium Gutter Guards.
Leaf Sentry is a high quality, premium brand of gutter guards. These guards give full protection and are designed to allow water to flow over the top and back into the gutter, trapping all leaves and debris behind. They can be customized to match up to 16 different colors to match your gutter.
They create great curb appeal and are going to be a major investment, with amazing long-term results. These will be perfect for your forever home to ensure you never have to clean out the gutters or replace those guards. The colors can always be easily swapped out as well.
Types & Sizes of Gutters & Downspouts
Before we hop right into the best gutter guards, we want to talk a bit about how to choose the right gutters and downspouts. If you have the improper gutter set up in the first place, simply adding a gutter guard won’t fix your problem.
Finding The Right Gutters
A 5-inch seamless aluminum gutter is the industry standard in terms of gutter material and size. It is lightweight, easy to manage, and will excel in its job of water management. Depending on the size of your home or roof, a 6-inch wide gutter may be necessary.
Figuring out exactly what size gutter you need can be daunting. We determine the right size gutters by combining your roof’s surface area and how much water or ice you need to manage. Areas with higher levels of annual precipitation may need larger than the standard 5-inch gutters.
For heavy-duty ice and water management, steel gutters can be used. But that is generally on structures like commercial buildings or pole barns.
Another factor to consider when choosing your gutter size is the material your roofing is made of. Roofs made of a grippier substance will hold the snow on your roof, where snow tends to slide off metal roofs much easier, resulting in more strain on your gutters.
At the end of the day, determining the right size and material for your gutter is something we recommend consulting a professional about. The last thing you want is to install the improper gutter size only to replace them again a year or two down the road.
Downspouts and downspout extensions are used to guide water from your gutters, along the wall, and away from your house and foundation.
They can help prevent corrosion along your foundation, yard, and garden beds. Soil erosion can cause puddling, which can drown your plants or flowers, and destroy the grass, so make sure your downspouts are guiding the water at least 5 feet away from the house.
The standard size for downspouts is 3 x 2 inches. There are also 3 x 4 inches, but you really only need the 3 x 2 for your basic gutter on any home. Once again, if your home is in an area with high annual precipitation levels, you may want to opt for the 3×4, but for the average home, this larger size is unnecessary.
If you are uncertain about the size or material, you should go with, get in touch with a local contractor, or give us a call. We’d be happy to help.
Types of Gutter Guards
Now that you’ve gotten your gutters and downspouts, it’s time to choose a gutter guard. There are three main types of gutters guards most often used by homeowners, and that will work with the majority of standard gutters. Those types are mesh, screen, and reverse curve/surface tension gutter guards. Each gutter guard has its benefits, but also its own disadvantages. Which type you choose will depend on what your gutters are and the amount of leaves and other debris you can expect to fall in your gutters, plus how much maintenance you’ll want to do on your own. We will lay out each’s pros and cons to help you divide which is best for you.
Mesh Gutter Guards
Fine mesh gutter guards are great for catching any debris except for the teeniest sized debris like sand and shingle granules. The mesh is finer than a standard screen gutter guard, so it provides even more protection. The mesh allows water to flow through while catching sticks, leaves, gravel—you name it.
Pros of Mesh Gutter Guards
- Very easy to install. They slide just under your shingle edge and are secured to your gutters.
- They block nearly every debris and particles as small as grains of sand.
- Can work with many roof styles and ages.
- It can actually strengthen your gutter when installed a certain way and attached to the fascia and the gutters.
Cons of Mesh Gutter Guards
- They require some light maintenance by cleaning them with a brush or leaf blower every so often.
- They can be quite flimsy depending on the material (aluminum vs. steel) and can break under ice dams or large branches falling.
- Limited color options
Screen Gutter Guards
The most commonly used type of gutter guard is a screen. These can come in various shapes, sizes, and materials depending on what your gutters are or how much protection you want. They are best for places where leaves are the biggest issue with your gutters. The screens are not as fine as the mesh gutter guards, so sand and shingle granules can make their way through but shouldn’t clog your gutters too much.
Pros of Screen Gutter Guards
- Keeps out larger debris like leaves and sticks
- Inexpensive and easy to install
- Works with most roof styles.
- Easy to obtain and replace when needed.
Cons of Screen Gutter Guards
- It can get clogged by pine needles, whirlygigs, and other seeds.
- It can be damaged by ice dams or large debris.
- It may need occasional maintenance.
- Difficult to clean as things get stuck in the screens.
Reverse Curve Gutter Guards
Reverse curve, or surface tension, gutter guards are incredible for keeping debris out and water flowing. They slide right under the edge of your shingles and are best installed with a slight downward slant, which may require some moving of your gutters. But overall, they are an incredible value.
Pros of Reverse Curve Gutter Guards
- Can withstand snow, ice, strong winds—all of the things that can damage screen and mesh gutter guards
- Many color and style options
- Requires little to no maintenance
- Long lifespan
Cons of Reverse Curve Gutter Guards
- Very expensive upfront costs
- It may need to be specially ordered.
- Difficult to install. Sometimes requires re-installing the gutters to work.
- More visible, which can affect the curb appeal
- They may not catch heavy rain, and it will flow off the edge.
Need Help Finding The Right Gutter Or Gutter Guards?
We know it can be difficult to choose the right gutter setup for your home. Especially if you are on a budget, or haven’t done it before. If that’s the case for you, we want to be there to help! To sign up for a free quote or ask further questions, give us a call at (763) 600-7916 or fill out this online form.
Thanks for tuning in! We hope this information was valuable to you. Leave us a comment below letting us know if we missed anything!