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What is a gutter guard?

A gutter guard is a home-improvement product designed to prevent gutters from getting clogged due to debris like falling leaves and pine needles. When gutters clog, water can leak through the shingles and compromise the roof, or it can spill down the sides of the home and pool near the foundation, potentially causing significant structural damage. Having a gutter guard installed prevents this damage, but it also prevents you from having to get on a ladder to clean your gutters (or from paying someone else to do it.)


A gutter guard prevents clogs by allowing water to flow to the gutter while keeping debris out. There are three main categories of gutter guards: screens, inserts or reverse curves.


The most common type of gutter guards is a screen. Screen gutter guards work by covering your existing gutter with a porous material that allows water through, but not debris. The level of protection and longevity of the screen depends on the material and design. The larger the “holes” in the screen, the less effective they are. Generally, screens with several layers of fine mesh are effective at blocking even the smallest of particles.


The least expensive gutter guard is an insert. Instead of fitting on top of a gutter, inserts go directly into the gutter. They are made of a porous material, usually foam, which allows water to filter through while blocking most debris. While they are the cheapest and easy-to-install, they need to be regularly removed and cleaned, and smaller pieces of debris may still collect in your gutter over time.


The third type of gutter guard is a reverse curve. The curve design uses gravity to force debris to fall to the ground and the water is directed it into a small slit that flows into the gutter. The best reverse curve systems require little maintenance. While they’re efficient at keeping debris out, they can run into water collection issues during heavy storms. The Milwaukee Home Improvement Council has recommendations on how to deal with water collection during heavy storms.


Like most products, the type of material used and the level of quality will determine how effective and maintenance-free your gutter guard will be.

Contact us today for more information on gutter guards.