How to Install Gutter Guards for Hassle-Free Home Maintenance
From tips to the best type of gutter guards to buy for your home, the following guide will help you learn how to install gutter guards (and when to call in the pros).
Maybe you’re sick of constantly cleaning out the gutters, or you live in an area with frequent weather events that require the gutters to be protected. In either case, you likely need to know how to install gutter guards.
Gutter guards act as a cover to block leaves and debris, ensuring water flows freely and preventing clogs over time. They are available in a variety of styles. While installing gutter guards can be a DIY project, an installation professional can better handle some situations. Keep reading to learn all about gutter guards and how to install them.
Time required: 2 to 8 hours
Estimated cost: $591 to $2,197
Before You Begin…
While it’s not recommended to make your own gutter guards, homeowners can install store-bought guards with the proper tools, equipment, and safety measures in place. Since this job includes the use of a ladder and requires comfort with heights, many homeowners may prefer hiring a professional for this task.
Tips for How to Install Gutter Guards
- Clean out the gutters before installing gutter guards.
- Choose the right type of gutter guards for the home.
- Install the guards according to the instructions or hire a professional to do the job.
- Attach a bucket to an S-hook that hangs on the ladder for easy access to tools and supplies.
- Use a stand-alone ladder instead of one that would rest directly on the gutters.
- Ask a friend or family member to assist or stand by the ladder’s base to help prevent dangerous falls.
STEP 1: Evaluate if you have the necessary tools and skills to complete the job.
DIY gutter guards are an excellent way to save money, but only if a homeowner has the required tools and experience to do the job right the first time. They’ll need a ladder, tape measure, hammer, and screwdriver to get started. If they don’t own a saw already, a homeowner will need to either rent or purchase a circular saw to cut pieces of gutter guard to fit the home’s exterior.
But tools and materials are just part of the recipe for success in gutter guard installation. It’s also best for a homeowner to have some experience or DIY skills under their belt as well as good balance, since this project involves significant time on a ladder. If a homeowner is doubtful of their skills or uncomfortable with heights, it may be time to scrap the idea of do-it-yourself gutter guards and consult a professional instead.
STEP 2: Choose the right gutter guard for your home.
The best gutter guards for a home will depend on a number of factors, from the material’s durability to the homeowner’s budget. The cost of gutter guards can range anywhere from $591 to $2,197, with the average falling at $1,347. If a homeowner prefers to take on this task, brush or foam gutter guards offer the most simple installation and more affordable costs (though foam gutter guards are known to be less durable). Micro-mesh and surface tension gutter guards offer the most durability but require professional installation.
Homeowners may want to consider the types of debris their gutters collect to decide on the appropriate style of gutter guards. For example, if a homeowner lives in an area that’s densely wooded with pine trees, they may want to opt for one of the best gutter guards for pine needles.
Gutters are typically measured in linear feet. Homeowners will want to use a tape measure to determine how many feet of gutters they have to know how many gutter guards to buy.
STEP 3: Clean any leaves and debris from the gutters.
Before a homeowner installs gutter guards or has them installed professionally, it’s best to clean out the gutters first to ensure any leaves, debris, or water does not get trapped once the guards are in place. If a homeowner doesn’t have the time or tools to clean them out, they can hire one of the best gutter cleaning services.
Gutter cleaning costs range from $118 to $224, depending on how many linear feet of gutters there are and the home’s height. Travel time and any potential repairs may also be factored into the cost.
STEP 4: Test the gutters to make sure they’re functioning smoothly.
To ensure the gutters are debris-free and ready for guard installation, it’s wise to test them with water and a hose. For this step, a homeowner can turn on the water and place the hose inside the gutters to see how freely water flows through them. If the water is slow and doesn’t exit the downspout, leaves or debris may still be in the gutters. If the water flows freely and out of the downspout, it’s time for gutter guard installation.
STEP 5: Gather tools and install the gutter guards according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
The more thoroughly a homeowner reads the manufacturer’s instructions, the more smoothly installation should go. It’s wise to gather everything needed first and have the tools and supplies easy to access. Homeowners can put their screwdriver and hammer in a bucket and hang it on an S-hook on the ladder for easy access.
Homeowners will want to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to cut and install gutter guards. Cutting the guards will require a circular saw or handsaw.
During installation, each guard piece must be secured well. If a storm moves through and the gutter guard is not secure, it won’t do its job. This could result in water damage.
STEP 6: Consider hiring a professional to install gutter guards.
Installing gutter guards may seem like a simple job, but it can be surprisingly hard if a homeowner doesn’t have the DIY skills required. Homeowners who are overwhelmed by gutter guard installation instructions or are unsure of their ability to work on a ladder may find it best to have a professional install the gutter guards.
Professional installers will be familiar with gutter guards’ pros and cons and will know how to handle a roof with gutter guards. Plus, they are likely licensed and insured, so if any accidents occur, it won’t be at your expense. Professional installers will also ensure the gutter guards are installed correctly so the system isn’t compromised and no water will collect over time.
By choosing the right gutter guards for the home and reading the manufacturer’s instructions, a homeowner should have no trouble putting the guards in place. Still, working on a ladder isn’t for everyone, and professional installers can save homeowners the time and hassle of a DIY job.
Learn more about gutter guards, from how they’re attached to how they should lay and which type to install.
Q. Can I install gutter guards myself?
Yes, assuming you have the correct tools, supplies, and DIY skills to do it correctly. Improper installation could lead to roof damage or other issues. Hiring a professional gutter guard installer may be a more prudent choice.
Q. How hard is it to install gutter guards?
If you consider yourself a handy person or have completed a number of DIY tasks, you should be able to take on gutter guard installation. However, if you’re not comfortable or unable to work on a ladder, this may be a job for a professional. Homes with multiple floors or steeply pitched roofs may also create more difficult installation situations that are better for a professional to handle.
Q. How are gutter guards attached?
Some gutter guards simply snap into place, while others require screwing or nailing to the fascia with reinforcement hangers.
Q. Should gutter guards lay flat?
No. Flat gutter guards could create a shelf for debris to sit on, depending on the roof’s pitch. The better the guards’ pitch, the less likely they are to hold leaves, dirt, and sticks.
Q. What is the easiest gutter guard to install?
In general, brush, foam, and screen guards are the easiest gutter guards to install.
Q. Do I need to clean gutters if I have gutter guards?
Yes. It’s best to clean your gutters at least twice a year since they can still collect dirt and debris. If you don’t clean them out, it could cause a backup of rainwater, leading to flooding, home damage, or mosquito outbreaks.
Q. Should gutter guards be installed under shingles?
It’s typically better to install gutter guards on top of shingles. Installing them under shingles can compromise the roof’s protection and lead to water damage to the roof’s structure.