gutter screens vs gutter guards

Gutter Screens Vs Gutter Guards: Which Is Right For Your Home

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
Get Smarter On Architecture and Design

Get the 3-minute weekly newsletter keeping 5K+ designers in the loop.

Enter your Email to Sign up


The main reason to have gutters on houses is to help lead water and moisture away from most of the home, especially its foundation. However, they can easily get clogged with leaves, debris, and other types of dirt, causing water to overflow and potentially damage your property. 

To prevent this and ensure the gutters drain properly, many homeowners turn to gutter guards or gutter screens. But which option is suitable for your house? Let's delve into the differences between gutter guards and gutter screens to help you make an informed decision.

What are Gutter Guards?

gutter guards

Image Source:

Gutter guards, like those from reputable sellers, are typically solid covers that are installed over the gutters, creating a barrier that prevents debris from entering. These covers come in different materials, including plastic, aluminum, and stainless steel. 

Certain gutter guards are designed with small holes or slots that allow water to enter while blocking larger debris. Others feature a curved design that directs water into the gutter while leaves and other debris slide off the surface.

One of the main benefits of gutter guards is their effectiveness in keeping debris out of the gutters. Because they cover the entire gutter system, there's less chance of leaves and twigs getting trapped inside. This can reduce the need for frequent cleaning and help prevent clogs and water damage to your house.

However, gutter guards can be more expensive to install compared to gutter screens. Additionally, some types of gutter guards may require professional installation, adding to the overall cost. Despite these drawbacks, many homeowners find that the long-term benefits of gutter guards outweigh the initial investment.

Types of Gutter Guards

There are various types of gutter guards available, including:

  • Micro Mesh Gutter Guards: These guards feature a fine mesh material that effectively blocks debris while allowing water to pass through. They are highly effective at keeping even smaller debris such as pine needles and shingle granules out of the gutter system.
  • Reverse Curve Gutter Guards: These guards utilize a curved design to direct rainwater into the gutter while preventing leaves and debris from entering. They rely on the principle of surface tension to guide water into the gutter while repelling debris.
  • Foam Gutter Guards: Foam gutter guards are made from porous foam inserts that fit inside the gutter. They block debris while allowing water to flow through, making them an affordable and easy to install gutter option for homeowners.
  • Solid Gutter Covers: Solid gutter covers are designed to completely cover the gutter, preventing any debris from entering. They are often made from durable materials such as metal or plastic and offer excellent protection against clogs and blockages.

What are Gutter Screens?

gutter screen

Image Source:

Gutter screens, also known as gutter covers or gutter filters, are mesh-like covers that are placed over the top of the gutters. These screens are designed to allow water to run through while blocking debris such as leaves, pine needles, and seeds. Gutter screens are often made from materials like aluminum or stainless steel and come in various styles, including mesh, perforated, and foam inserts.

Gutter screens are typically more affordable than gutter guards and can be installed by homeowners with basic DIY skills. This makes them a popular choice for budget-conscious homeowners who want to protect their gutters without breaking the bank. Additionally, because gutter screens are less invasive than gutter guards, they may be easier to remove and clean when necessary.

Types of Gutter Screens

There are several types of gutter screens available, including:

  • Metal Gutter Screens: Metal gutter screens are often made from aluminum or stainless steel and feature a fine mesh design that effectively blocks debris while allowing water to pass through. They are durable, long-lasting, and suitable for all types of roofs.
  • Plastic Gutter Screens: Plastic gutter screens are lightweight and easy to install, making them a popular choice among homeowners. They feature a perforated design that prevents debris from entering the gutter while allowing water to flow freely.
  • Simple Screens: Simple screens are basic gutter protection systems consisting of a mesh material stretched over the gutter opening. While they are affordable and easy to install, they may not offer the same level of protection as more advanced gutter guard systems.

Gutter Screens Vs Gutter Guards: Comparing the Two

gutter guards vs gutter screens

When deciding between gutter guards and gutter screens, it's essential to consider your specific needs and budget. If you're looking for maximum protection and don't mind the higher upfront cost, gutter guards may be the best option for your home. 

On the other hand, if you're on a tight budget or prefer a DIY approach, gutter screens may be a more practical choice. When choosing between gutter guards and gutter screens, there are a few key factors to consider: 

  • Installation: Gutter guards typically require professional installation. The covers must be custom-fitted to the exact shape and size of the gutters. Improper installation can lead to gaps where debris can still enter. Gutter screens are easier for do-it-yourself installation in most cases.
  • Effectiveness: Gutter guards generally provide a more comprehensive barrier from all types of debris. Their solid or perforated surface leaves little opportunity for leaves and debris to penetrate. Screens are effective at blocking debris, but small debris can still get through the openings.
  • Cost: Gutter guards tend to be more expensive than gutter screens. The custom-fit installation increases the cost. Screens can be purchased as DIY kits for much less.
  • Appearance: Many homeowners prefer the look of gutter guards over screens. Gutter guards appear to have a cleaner finished look that integrates nicely with the roofline. Screens are visible inside the gutters.
  • Clogging: Gutter guards are less prone to clogging since debris sits on top of the surface. Screens can be more likely to get clogged up with debris over time. Proper maintenance is required.
  • Durability: Gutter guards often last longer than screens. Their solid construction withstands weather and debris. Screens need to be cleared of accumulations to prevent corrosion and damage over time.

When deciding between gutter guard or gutter screen systems, it’s crucial to assess the design of your home, your budget, and your own capabilities for maintenance. For example, one-story homes are simple to install with DIY gutter screens. But multi-level homes with complex rooflines may warrant professional gutter guard installation. 

Always make sure to evaluate any company and review feedback from past customers. Investing in the right gutter protection system will provide lasting benefits and prevent costly home repairs or gutter replacements.

Final Thoughts

With regular gutter cleaning, both guards and screens can effectively keep your gutters free from large debris. Guards may provide lower maintenance and longer-lasting performance. But gutter screens present a more affordable DIY option. 

Homeowners should weigh the pros and cons of each when deciding which solution is the best fit for protecting their home's gutters and avoiding problems like water damage or foundation issues. Reach out to your local gutter company for help choosing the ideal debris-blocking system for your specific needs and budget. With the right maintenance, you can enjoy years of properly functioning gutters, keeping your home safe from the elements.

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
Related Articles
Best countertop water filter

Best Countertop Water Filter For Clean, Odorless Water

Water filters are getting popular, and almost every household has one. If you are planning to buy the best countertop ...

Best Tankless Gas Water Heater

Best Tankless Gas Water Heater for Every Household

According to the US Department of Energy, tankless water heaters boost energy efficiency by 24-34% compared to the regular water ...

How Much Does It Cost to Replace Copper Plumbing?

There are many reasons you will want to repipe a house. For example, you can be looking to stop leaking ...