All About Gutter Guards: Types & Sizes
gutter guards

All About Gutter Guards: Types & Sizes

There’s nothing worse than having to get up on a ladder and unclog your gutters. This is where installing one of the industry’s best gutter guards will save you time and keep you off that ladder.

Gutter guards extend the life of your gutters, which keep the water away from the house and foundation. Deciding which gutter guard system is right for you can be a challenge because there are many gutter options to choose from. To help, we will go through multiple types of gutters and gutter guards and what we recommend.

3 Best Gutter Guards For Homeowners

Nothing is worse than having to clean your gutters! Here in Missouri, your gutters can fill up on one windy day. Getting the proper gutter guard can help prevent messy, clogged gutters and keep your water flowing through. Here are 3 great options!

1. K-Screen Mesh Screen Gutter Guards

Mesh gutter guards are a great, simple option 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 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. It has 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 allow water to flow over the top and back into the gutter, trapping all leaves and debris behind. We can customize them 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 are easy to swap out, too.

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, use steel gutters.

Another factor to consider when choosing your gutter size is the material they make your roofing with. Roofs made of a grippier substance will hold the snow on your roof, where snow slides off metal roofs much easier, resulting in more strain on your gutters.

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.

Choosing Downspouts

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. 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, opt for the 3×4. For the average home, this larger size is unnecessary.

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 gutter guards most often used by homeowners that will work with most 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. Here are the pros and cons to help you decide 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 secure to your gutters.
  • They block nearly every piece of 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 get and replace when needed.

Cons of Screen Gutter Guards

  • It can get clogged by pine needles and seeds.
  • Ice dams or large debris can damage it.
  • 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.
  • 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?

It’s 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! Call us today at 636-699-0449.