Informational Guide

How To Install Gutter Guards

Gutter guards attach to your gutters & keep leaves, dirt, & other debris out. We show you how to install gutter guards from the big brands.

by Ian Haynes

Gutter guards are a useful tool that are meant to keep leaves and other debris out of your gutters and prevent clogs. However, gutter guards are an attachment to your gutters and so require installation. So we put together this guide on how to install gutter guards. 

Gutter guards attach to the top of your gutter and work to keep leaves, dirt, and other kinds of debris out of your gutters. Debris can clog gutters and cause water backup, which can lead to structural damage. 

  • Damage Control
    The most important reason to get gutter guards is to prevent potential damage from clogged gutters and water damage. Gutter guards can prevent thousands of dollars in damage by preventing gutter clogs. 
  • Health & Safety
    Clogged gutters can cause water backup, which can cause mold and algae growth. It can also weaken structural parts of your house, which can be dangerous.
  • Pest Control
    Gutter guards can also prevent pests from infiltrating your gutters, such as mosquitoes, wasps, rodents, and opossums. Gutter guards keep standing moisture out of gutters, so they are not a breeding ground for pests. 
  • Saves Money
    Gutter guards can also save money by reducing gutter maintenance needs and preventing damage from blocked gutters. Damage from blocked gutters can cost a lot of money, so gutter guards can save you from those expenses further down the line. 

What to Consider Before Buying & Installing Gutter Guards 

  • Kind Of Gutter Covers
    The most obvious question is what kind of gutter covers you will need. Do you need to keep leaves out or dirt and other granular particles? What kind of leaves do you need to keep out, broad-leaf or pine needles? Keep in mind that most gutter guards do not really help against ice dams.
  • Size Of Covers
    Most gutters measure between 5” to 7” wide. Generally speaking, wider gutters are more common in places that get more rain during the year. Some types of gutter guards will cover gutters of various sizes. 
  • Roof Slope
    If your roof has a slope, then you will need to get gutter guards designed specifically for sloped roofs.
  • Existing Roof And Gutter Conditions
    Roof conditions also determine the kind of gutter guards insofar as how you need to install them.
  • Installation Equipment
    Figure out what kinds of tools you will need to install gutter guards. The kind of tools you need determines whether you will need professional installation. 

Most Common Gutter Guard Materials 

There are three major metals used to make gutter guards: 

  • Aluminum
    Aluminum is very lightweight and is a cheap metal, so it's commonly used for gutter guards. Aluminum does not build up frost easily and is also resistant to mechanical stress and fracturing. 
  • Metal Mesh
    Metal mesh is very flexible and can be fitted around most gutters. Metal mesh is also slightly flexible so it can handle a bit of expansion from ice without damage. 
  • Plastic/Foam
    Plastic and foam gutter guards are cheap but not as effective as metal guards. These kinds of guards filter out most large debris but will leave a lot of needles, leaves, and seeds. 
gutter guards

How to Install Gutter Guards: Instructions for Different Types 

The exact way to install gutter guards depends on the kind of gutter guard you get. We put together a handful of installation guides for some of the more common types of gutter guards.  

You will need the following tools to install gutter guards.  

  • Measuring tape 
  • Wire cutters 
  • Ladder 
  • Boxcutter 
  • Screwdriver 
  • Pliers 
  • Power drill (optional) 

Also, before installing any kind of gutter guards, thoroughly clean and drain your gutters.  

1. Brush guards 

Brush guards will keep birds out of your gutters but are not as good as other kinds for leaves or dirt.  

  1. 1
    Measure the length of your gutter line. Make sure to accurately measure corners and bends. 
  2. 2
    Cut the brushes to fit the length of your gutters.  
  3. 3
    Bend the brush wire around the corners and slopes. 
  4. 4
    Make sure the brushes are pressed to the bottom of the gutter and extend the whole length. 

2. Foam guards 

Foam guards are another common kind of gutter guard that are relatively easy to install.  

  1. 1
    Measure the entire length of your gutter, including corners and slopes. 
  2. 2
    Cut the guards to fit your gutters. 
  3. 3
    Place the foam guards just under the lip of each gutter. 
  4. 4
    Do not push the guards all the way to the bottom but let them rest under the rim. 

Foam gutter guards are very easy to install and are good for leaves and sticks, but they can leave smaller seeds and needles in your gutters.  

3. Mesh guards 

Mesh gutter guards have small holes that let water through while blocking sticks, leaves, and other debris.  

  1. 1
    First, measure the gutters. Make sure you measure precisely as you cannot always cut mesh guards.  
  2. 2
    Slip the edge of the guards under the lip of the gutter. 
  3. 3
    Attach screws if required. 
  4. 4
    Snap the other end of the guard over the gutter or screw it into place. 
  5. 5
    Make sure that the guards are not too tight over the gutter, or else they can bend and damage them.  

4. Perforated guards 

Perforated guards are similar to mesh guards, except that they are made out of aluminum sheets with perforated holes in them.  

  1. 1
    Make sure that the guards you get match the size of your gutters.  
  2. 2
    Place the edge of the guards against the grain of the gutters.  
  3. 3
    Adhere the guards using screws or other adhesives. 
  4. 4
    Cut diagonal pieces out of corner junctions so that they can fit together properly. 
  5. 5
    Make sure the guards do not pull on the gutter and make it bend. 
leaf guard

Installing the Most Popular Gutter Guard Brands 

Here are some of the most popular brands of gutter guards and how to install them.  

1. Amerimax 

  1. 1
    Clean out your gutters first using a scoop and scrub the insides clean 
  2. 2
    Next, place the front edge of the guards against the outward interior edge of the gutters. 
  3. 3
    Snap the other end of the gutter guards into the back of the gutter. 
  4. 4
    Make sure you create an end cap to prevent birds and other animals from nesting. 
  5. 5
    For corners, cut a diagonal line so the pieces can join in the corner. 
  1. 1
    First, measure your gutters and make sure you buy the size that fits. 
  2. 2
    Place the edge of the gutter guards underneath the lip of the gutter. 
  3. 3
    Using a power drill, screw the grates in using a screw every foot along the edge. 
  4. 4
    Cut the corners diagonally so they can fit together at the joints. 
  5. 5
    Make sure the grates are not bending in the center when you screw them into place. 
  1. 1
    First, decide whether you want to tape or screw the guards on.  
  2. 2
    Next, create a small end cap to be placed over the outer edge of the gutter by bending the grate. 
  3. 3
    Next, slide the other side of the gutter guard under the roof shingle. 
  4. 4
    Or, bend the other edge of the gutter guard and screw it into the wall on the other side. 
  5. 5
    Cut the grates along the edges with a box cutter or sheet cutters when you need to conjoin grates diagonally. 

If you would like a professional to install your new gutter guards, fill in the form below for a free quote in your area!


People also Ask (FAQs)

Can you install gutter guards on existing gutters? 

Yes, absolutely, you can install guards on existing gutters. In fact, it is recommended that you install guards on existing gutters. Most metal gutters are compatible with gutter guards.  

How often should you clean gutters with gutter guards? 

With gutter guards, you only need to clean your gutters once every two years. Even with gutter guards, some kinds of debris can find its way into your gutters. If your home has heavy tree coverage, then you need to clean them more frequently. 

What are the disadvantages of gutter guards? 

Gutter guards still require regular maintenance and can still allow some debris through like tiny seeds and small particles like dirt and sand. Gutter guards do NOT contribute to ice dam formation.  

Is it OK to put gutter guards under shingles? 

Gutter guards can ruin your shingles if they break the water seal that keeps water out of your roof. It is recommended that you not place gutter guards under shingles but screw them into the wall or other side of the gutter.  

Do gutter guards need to be removed when replacing a roof? 

Yes, you will need to remove your gutter when changing your roof. However, you can leave the guards in your gutters and reinstall them when your roof is finished.  


Conclusion

Gutter guards are useful for keeping debris and blockages out of your gutters. Gutter guards need to be installed correctly, so make sure that you understand the process of attaching gutter guards.  

Ian Haynes is an expert writer who has successfully deployed over 500 plumbing pages and other related content. He has an excellent understanding of home plumbing issues and translates his experiences via Plumbing Lab so readers can have a better understanding of common household problems. Outside of his work, Ian likes exploring Brooklyn with his Labrador.

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