Gutter Guard Installation: 10 Tips for DIY Installation

Rain gutters play a crucial role in keeping our homes in good repair. Gutters catch rain from the roof to protect your home from water damage on the roof or foundation. You can save money by gutter guard installation instead of buying expensive ones.

When installing gutter guards yourself, it’s best to use snap-on guards. If you’re not experienced, using snap-on gutter guards will make the process easier and faster. Plan everything out and do as much pre-installation as possible before getting on a ladder or the roof.

The average DIY’er can install many gutter guards on the market today. If you intend to install your gutter guards, read on because the information I compiled below will help.

Recommended Reading: Are Gutter Guards Worth It or a Waste of Money? We Ask the Pros

Best Tips for How to Install Gutter Guards Yourself

If you choose to install your gutter guards on your own, consider the following gutter installation tips to make the job go as smoothly as possible:

1. Take the Time to Organize and Plan

Before you begin the installation, organizing your supplies and planning the project before starting is good. 

An excellent first step is to list all the required materials and tools, such as wire cutters, gloves, metal crimpers, measuring tape, etc. Be sure to include the appropriate screws and other hardware needed. You want to have everything you need in your possession before you even get on the ladder. 

2. Check Your Roof Warranty

Check the policy before installing your gutter guards if you have a roof still under warranty. 

Ensure that your warranty coverage will not become void if you alter your roof with DIY gutter guards.

The same holds for your home insurance policy. If you damage your roof during installation, your insurance may not cover it in a storm.

3. Clean Your Gutters 

Before installing your gutter guard, you must ensure your gutters are clean. Clear away any debris and, if possible, run a hose into the gutter, ensuring the water has a clear path through the downspouts. 

4. Dry Your Gutters

Once you have cleaned your gutters, dry them before starting your gutter installation. If you need to apply any adhesives or sealants during installation, having a dry surface is crucial. 

5. Inspect Your Gutters for Damage

Before installing your gutter guards, be sure that you inspect your gutters for signs of age and damage. If your gutters are not in good repair, there is little sense in investing time and money into this project.

Things to look for are rust, holes, bends, and cracks. If you find any of these conditions, fix them before installing your guards.

You also want to ensure your gutters are not loose or falling away from the fascia.

6. Read the Manufacturer’s Instructions

We are all guilty of it. As experienced DIY’ers, we often think we can figure it out. In the case of the gutter guard installation process, it is best to follow the detailed instructions as much as possible.

Installing gutter guards is a project that requires attention to detail. Even the smallest mistake can ruin your success. 

7. Do as Much Work as Possible While On the Ground

Doing as many tasks as possible while still on solid ground and not on the ladder is an excellent idea. 

Instead of doing it on the roof or a ladder, do jobs like measuring and cutting gutter guard pieces on the ground.

8. Use Snap-On Guards for the Easiest Installation

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If you want the quickest, easiest gutter guard install, snap-on guards are your best bet.

Snap-on gutter screen installation can fit any size gutter and often does not need any tools to install. These guards are a quick fix for clogged gutters as they don’t need much time to install. They are also inexpensive compared to other gutter guard systems.

9. Metal Lasts Longer than Plastic

If you want your gutter guard system to last as long as possible, choose one made of aluminum, not plastic. 

Although plastic tends to be cheaper, it also cracks, fades, and warps over time. Aluminum guards cost more but will last much longer than plastic.

Metal mesh guards last the longest. They filter out everything except water. 

10. Wind-Proof Your Gutter System

Wind can be the worst enemy of your gutter system.

Install gutter guard fasteners to protect your gutter system from wind and bad weather like hail. Screens and guards can blow off your roof if gutters aren’t reinforced. 

Is it Hard to Install Gutter Guards?

Depending on your gutter guard system, installing gutter guards is not difficult. Foam and brush guards are very easy to install. Measure the length of your gutters, cut the required size of foam or gutter brush, and install it in your gutter. 

Don’t worry if you measure incorrectly and don’t cut enough of the foam or brush. Add in another piece to fill the gap. You can piece these two types of gutter guards together without affecting their efficiency. 

Conversely, if you have cut a piece too long for the gutter, you can remove the excess without any problem.

Many companies offer perforated screen gutter guards and reverse curve gutter guards for the DIY’er who wants an easy installation. The difficulty level of installing one of these systems will depend on factors such as the condition of the gutters and the installer’s skill. 

Higher-end micro-mesh screens like the Leaffilter gutter guard system are trickier, so they require professional installation.

Can You Install LeafFilter Yourself?

LeafFilter is a popular brand of mesh gutter guards. It is made of stainless steel micro-mesh gutter guards and is intended for installation on existing gutters. It starts at around $12.00 (installed) per foot and can go as high as $35.00 per foot. The cost will vary depending on your roof and how many stories you have. 

A certified Leaffilter professional must install the leaf gutter guard installation. Investing in a Leaffilter system is a long-term investment in the longevity of your home.

Once you’ve installed LeafFilter, you will never have to worry about clogged gutters again. This system has a lifetime warranty. You won’t need to worry about clogged gutters anymore. It’s a permanent solution.

Types of Gutter Guards

Before entering the installation stage, you must choose your gutter guard system. When deciding on a gutter guard system, consider how it fits your gutters, budget, and climate. 

Most gutter guard installation processes are, while a couple require professional installation. Here are five different types of gutter guards and what you should know about them.

What About Homemade Gutter Guard Options?

A homemade gutter guard is a DIY solution to prevent clogging in gutters. It can be made using mesh, wire, or even nylon stockings.

Installing these gutter guards is easy. They filter out debris, like leaves and twigs, and ensure water flows. This prevents damage to the roof and foundation.

1. Foam Gutter Guards

Foam gutter guards are made from porous foam polyurethane formed into long blocks set right into your gutter. They are triangular, which creates a channel underneath them to allow water to flow.

The foam keeps out all types of debris and is especially effective at removing pine needles. Debris settles on top of the foam, where it will blow away, or you’ll need to clean it. Water finds its way through the foam into the gutter.

This gutter guard is also suitable for keeping snow and ice from accumulating in your gutter, making it an excellent choice for a cold climate. 

Installing foam gutter guards is easy enough for a DYI project, as they need to be measured, cut, and placed in the gutter. That’s it! It is recommended, of course, that you clean your gutters before installing the foam.

Foam gutter guards should be replaced every 2-3 years. If left out during winter, they won’t last as long. You should expect to pay around $100 for 32 feet of foam.

2. Brushes 

At around $3.00 per foot, gutter brushes are the most cheap solution for clogged gutters. Brushes are shaped like cylinders and have thick bristles made of heavy plastic. These bristles catch leaves and big debris but let water flow through the gutter.

Brushes are also an excellent way to keep snow from accumulating in your gutters, as they will stay on top of the brush until it melts into water and runs off. Leaving them out during winter but will shorten their lifespan.

This type of gutter guard will last around 4-5 years and needs cleaning once or twice a year, depending on how much debris reaches your roof.

3. Perforated Gutter Guards

This gutter guard type comprises a metal or plastic sheet (PCV) perforated with small square or diamond-shaped holes. The sheet slides under the shingles and then fits over the gutter’s edge. 

These gutter guards are easy to clean. They let water flow down the roof and into the gutter. They also catch big debris like leaves and needles. Unfortunately, these sheets don’t catch granular matter from your shingles as the perforations are too large. 

Perforated gutter guards will last, especially if you choose the metal version. PCV may become weakened over time depending on conditions and usage. But, with regular cleaning, both versions should last 5-10 years and cost around $2.00 to $4.00 per foot.

4. Reverse-Curve Gutter Guards

These gutter guards are also known as Surface Tension Gutter Guards, a classic design that has been around for many years. This gutter guard is excellent at keeping large debris and small animals and nesting birds out of your gutter.

The curved guard goes under the roof shingles and over the gutter, allowing water to enter. Everything else falls off the edge of the guard, including snow. 

While there are DIY options, having a professional or dealer install the gutter guard is usually better. 

To make this gutter guard last, have it installed and cleaned. It costs around $10.00 per installed foot.

5. Mesh Screens

If you have an asphalt shingle roof and notice an accumulation of shingle granules in your gutters, mesh screens may be the best solution.

Mesh screen guards on the market today are made of super-fine metal mesh that only allows water to pass through. These guards fit over the entire gutter and butt up the roof’s edge.

Any debris that does not blow away will accumulate on the screens and is easy to access and clean off. 

These guards are a step up from the perforated guards as the holes are so small that they are perceptible to the human eye. They offer a permanent solution to blocked gutters.

Mesh guards need to be installed by professional gutter guard installers. If you do not install them, they can be prone to gapping, bending, or becoming loose and ineffective. 

With a yearly gutter cleaning, these guards can last a lifetime. The longevity of these guards justifies the higher price tag.

Gutter Guard Installation FAQs

Can I install gutter guards myself?

Yes, you can install gutter guards yourself, depending on the type of gutter guard system you choose and your level of DIY experience. Some gutter guard systems, such as foam or brush gutter guards, are relatively easy to install and can be done by homeowners with basic tools.

How much should I charge to install gutter guards?

The cost to charge for installing gutter guards can vary widely depending on several factors, including your location, the type of gutter guards being installed, the complexity of the job, and your level of experience.

Why is gutter guard installation so expensive?

Gutter guard installation is costly due to high-quality materials, labor-intensive work, specialized tools, complexity, customization, safety measures, warranties, licensing, reputable services, and business overheads. Despite upfront costs, it offers long-term benefits like reduced maintenance and home protection.

Will Home Depot install gutter guards?

Home Depot offers gutter guard products for purchase, but the availability of installation services can vary depending on your location and the specific Home Depot store. Home Depot often partners with local contractors or installation professionals to provide installation services for various home improvement quality products, including gutter guards.

Final Thoughts

If installed and maintained, gutter guards are worth installing on your house. 

Depending on how heavy tree coverage on your property is and how much rain you get, a gutter guard could save you significant time and money.

There are guard systems suited for every budget and installation skill level. Even the most inexpensive product can help keep your gutters clear and working.



Hubert Miles | Licensed Home Inspector, CMI, CPI

Hubert Miles is a licensed home inspector (RBI# 2556) with more than two decades of experience in inspection and construction. Since 2008, he has been serving South Carolina through his company, Patriot Home Inspections LLC. As a Certified Master Inspector, Hubert is dedicated to providing his expertise in home inspections, repairs, maintenance, and DIY projects.