The Best Leaf Gutter Guards for Your Home

Nobody likes to clean out their gutters.  It stinks, it’s messy, and it’s a Saturday morning that could be spent sleeping in.  Leaf gutter guards can help you win back your weekend, but there are more than a few different types and more brands of leaf gutter guards than you can count.

leaf gutter guards

Here’s where to start:

Choosing Your Type of Gutter Guard

There are three popular types of leaf gutter guards you can choose from: the screen, surface tension, and mesh.  The name of the game is to keep the leaves out, but the method in which these types of gutter guards do so changes in their aesthetics, costs, and installation process.  It’s up to you to find one that works best for your home and if you decide to install them yourself, with your skillset (and patience).


You’ll notice when gutter guard shopping that screens are among the more common of the three types.  That’s because when it comes to leaves—and only leaves—screens get the job done.  For smaller debris like pine needles, seeds, and other small droppings from trees, screens tend to let them through. This will require a full-on removal-and-cleaning.  So, if you currently find just leaves in your gutters, then screen gutter guards should be the perfect fit for your home.

The best screen gutter guards:


Screens are among the easiest gutter guards to install.  Some screens are designed to slide right under the shingles, which makes for a nice sloped angle where leaves and debris will roll right off your roof.  Other screens drop-in, which are ideal if you have shingles edging on the brittle side or a specific type of shingle aside from traditional asphalt that refuses to budge when trying to pry it up.

Surface Tension

This type of gutter guard allows water to flow smoothly into the gutter while washing leaves, sticks, and debris over the edge.  Smaller bits of debris can get in through the gutter guards but it all ends up getting washed through the downspouts without issue, an advantage that this type has over its screen style counterparts.

Surface tension gutter guards are the most noticeable as they’re solid plastic instead of screen or mesh, and that’s something to consider if aesthetics are at the forefront of your mind.  You might also run into the issue of availability with surface tension gutter guards, as most are only sold through authorized gutter contractors and not through retail stores.

However, they do have the advantage of easier cleaning because its solid surface just requires a quick wash down with a garden hose to relieve the gutter guards of any blockages.  These gutter guards are also the longest lasting among the different options.

The best surface tension gutter guards:


The downside with surface tension gutter covers is that they are difficult to install, leaving these to the capable hands of a professional installer.  This makes this style more expensive because you’ll be paying for the installation instead of doing it yourself as well as the higher quality of the gutter cover.

Installation can be tricky because the gutter guard must be installed at the same angle as the slope of the roof, and that’s not always possible.  Longer runs of the guards have to be pitched so the water can reach the downspouts, and so one end must be higher to create a slope for the water to flow.  You can see why a professional installer is often needed for this job.

Fine Mesh

Fine mesh looks like the screen styled gutter guards but there’s one crucial difference: smaller weave construction.  These gutters guards, unlike screens, blocks the smallest particles that fall onto your roof making them effective against things like pine needles and seeds.  The downside is that they can fill with dirt, so you’ll need to bust out a brush for the occasional scrub, but don’t worry, they’re easy to clean.

The best fine mesh gutter guards:


Fine mesh gutter guards that boast easy-on installation can be installed beneath the shingles, or screwed directly to the fascia.  By installing them this way, you’ll be strengthening the gutters, and they’ll hold up better against harsh conditions like ice, snow, and wind.

But not all fine mesh gutter guards have easy-on installation.  Some will require the professional skills of a gutter contractor.  Like other types of gutter guards, it depends if you’re able to purchase them through retail stores or through a certified contractor, who would then do the installation for you.

The Best Leaf Gutter Guard for Your Home

plastic gutter guard with a leaf stuck on the outside

Perhaps the most essential question to ask yourself when it comes to choosing the type of leaf guard for your home is: what type of debris your roof is subject to throughout the year?

Screens can take care of large debris. Surface tension guards are effective against almost anything. Lastly, fine mesh is the middle road between them, although it does suffer from occasional dirt blockage.

Costs will play the next biggest role, and bundled with this is the installation.  There’s the ease of just having a professional do the task, but also the expense, or doing it yourself, which is cheaper but time-consuming and frustrating for many homeowners.

The best gutter guards for your home are ones that will cause the least number of headaches.  Invest in gutter guards that require minimal upkeep, last a long time, and are high quality products that will keep all debris out.  If that means spending a little more for the best gutter guards, it’s certainly worth the investment and professional installation.

Replace Your Gutter and Install a Leaf Gutter Guard

Let’s face it, your gutter is not functional. If your gutter has problems such as sagging and it’s battling with debris then it’s time for a replacement. You don’t want these problems to continue so it’s better to replace your gutter with a seamless aluminum gutter.

At Feldco, we take care of the installation and services. We profoundly serve the Midwest with great products, service, and installation. Now’s the time to speak to a product specialist about gutter replacement. Get a free quote online today!

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