LeafFilter vs. LeafGuard Cost: Which Gutter Guard Company Best Fits Your Budget?
When it comes to preventing clogs from blocking a gutter, LeafGuard and LeafFilter will both do the job. But which one is more affordable?
Several times each year, many homeowners take on the arduous task of cleaning out their gutters to allow water to drain properly. Those who are unsteady on their feet, don’t like working at heights, or would otherwise prefer not to handle this task will sometimes pay a professional to clean out their gutters. While this expense may not seem huge, it can add up over time.
Maintaining clear gutters is an essential task, since clogged gutters can lead to roof leaks, water intrusion around windows, flooded basements, and ice dams, along with pest infestations. Fortunately, there are a variety of gutter shields or guards that will prevent debris from settling in the gutter to begin with. While these gutter shields have some potential drawbacks, in many cases they’re preferable to a homeowner perchine precariously on a ladder and more cost-effective than paying a pro to do the job a couple of times every year.
LeafFilter and LeafGuard are two of the most recognizable names in the industry, so they’re the first options that many customers investigate. Both are reliable companies with products that will meet customers’ needs, but the right choice for an individual home will be determined by what those needs are, and, of course, the homeowner’s budget. When homeowners are comparing the total LeafFilter vs. LeafGuard cost to see which option is the most budget-friendly for a particular project, there are some elements to consider, such as the condition of the existing gutters and the goals of the project.
1. While neither company lists pricing on its website, a little research suggests that the up-front cost of a LeafGuard system is higher than that of a LeafFilter system.
When it comes to gutter guard costs, customers won’t find specifics on either LeafGuard’s or LeafFilter’s website. The reason for this is because every single gutter or gutter guard installation is a little different, based on the size and shape of the gutters, the height and elevation of the rooflines, the type of roof, and other considerations.
In addition, neither product is actually sold directly to customers as DIY is not an option with these guards. LeafFilter and LeafGuard don’t want to mislead customers, so instead of posting pricing, they offer customized quotes based on the job for each customer. This offers a more specific option for customers who have selected a company they’d prefer to use, but it’s a little annoying for customers who are trying to shop around and get a feel for how much they would spend with each company.
In general, research indicates that both LeafGuard and LeafFilter fall toward the middle of industry’s price range, with LeafGuard’s approximate price landing between $4,000 and $14,000, which is slightly higher than LeafFilter’s approximate range of $3,600 to $9,000. The price differential makes sense, because while both LeafGuard and LeafFilter will prevent debris from entering the gutters, they’re actually different types of product.
2. LeafFilter’s system fits on a home’s existing gutters, so initial costs are generally lower.
LeafFilter gutter protection is a 275-micron stainless steel mesh shield that is installed on existing gutters using a uPVC frame that is attached to the fascia board with structural hangers. The metal ensures longevity because plastic products can warp. Since the hangers are drilled directly into the fascia, there’s no need to lift (and risk damaging) the shingles as is the case with many other gutter guards—roof damage is one of the greatest risks of gutter shields, and LeafFilter’s hanger system avoids that risk. The hangers support a strong frame that positions the mesh properly so that debris sweeps off the gutter to the ground and water drains into the gutter. As the frame is supporting the weight of the mesh, there’s no additional strain on the gutters, which would potentially pull them out of alignment and result in leaks. The mesh is tucked into the gutter and thus is invisible from below.
Providing that the existing gutters are in good condition and solidly attached to the home, LeafFilter will be the less-expensive option at the outset. As LeafGuard is a one-piece product that includes new gutters and a guard, it’s pricier at the time of installation. But if the gutters are structurally firm and the homeowner intends to keep them, LeafFilter is the more cost-effective choice.
“We absolutely recommend LeafFilter systems be installed by our professional teams,” says Mike Gori, vice president of product development, research, and development at Leaf Home Solutions in Cleveland, Ohio. “Every home is built differently, which is why a professional is required to understand the nuances of a gutter guard installation project and to ensure a successfully performing system and safe installation from start to finish. In addition to full gutter guard installs, our professional teams realign and repair gutters to ensure long-lasting satisfaction, safety, and protection.”
3. LeafGuard is a one-piece system that replaces a home’s gutters, which means a higher initial cost but could result in money saved on gutter repairs in the long term.
For customers who are in need of new gutters as well as a gutter cover, LeafGuard is a solid option. LeafGuard is a one-piece unit that consists of a smooth, seamless aluminum gutter and a hood filter, which allow only water to enter the gutter. The hood is shaped into a reverse curve and uses a technology that is referred to as liquid adhesion: The liquid adheres to the curve of the hood and is guided into the gutter, leaving leaf debris behind.
LeafGuard is really two products in one—a new gutter and a debris guard. As it’s visible on the home, the whole product is coated with a ScratchGuard paint that is tough enough to withstand weather and wear and tear. LeafGuard installation is completed by professionals after the gutters themselves are extruded on-site with a roll technique using a heavy-duty aluminum, which means that the gutter and guards are seamless and built to fit each individual roofline. The larger gutters and downspouts can handle up to 32 inches of rain per hour without overflowing.
There are some potential disadvantages of a LeafGuard system. First, it’s a bit more expensive than most other gutter protection products, but then, they also include new gutters, so when the cost of new gutters is added to the cost of other gutter protection products, the price evens out. Also, because the water runs along a solid surface on its way to the gutter itself, the water could potentially freeze during cold weather, and ice dams could build upon the frozen water as additional snow melts on top of the ice and refreezes. This, however, is a risk associated with all gutter cover products. Additionally, LeadGuard gutters can be a little tricky to clean (even gutters with covers need to be cleaned occasionally). Again, this is a challenge with all gutter covers, though LeafGuard’s reverse-curve shape can add an extra layer of complexity to a cleaning.
If a home is in need of gutter replacement or repair, LeafGuard is a solid product that will likely increase the water-handling ability of the entire gutter system while preventing clogs and debris buildup. The slightly higher initial cost is well worth it for those who will need to replace their gutters regardless.
4. Customers can get a free quote from either company to determine the exact cost of gutter guards for their home.
Both LeafGuard and LeafFilter require an on-site visit before providing an estimate. LeafFilter representatives will evaluate the condition of the existing gutters and factor any gutter repair costs or gutter cleaning costs into the estimate, then will carefully measure the size, length, and pitch of the gutters that will be covered. Then, a detailed and specific estimate can be provided. LeafGuard representatives will measure to determine the linear footage of the roofline where the gutters will be installed, and they will also measure for downspouts and the number of support brackets (installed every 2 feet for strong support) that will be needed for installation. Because LeafGuard gutters are installed just off the roof, there’s no need to worry about the pitch of the brackets. After gathering these measurements, the LeafGuard representative will offer a quote.
These costs will undoubtedly be somewhat higher than the costs associated with a number of DIY gutter cover or gutter shield products that are available on the market. If cost is the only consideration, it will be tempting to choose one of those less-costly products, and some of them will do a fine job. However, the cost of both LeafFilter and LeafGuard includes installation, some maintenance, and a warranty. The LeafFilter warranty guarantees that the gutters will remain clog-free for the life of the product, and the warranty is in effect for the life of the home. LeafGuard’s warranty also protects against manufacturing defects and clogs, and it’s transferable if the home is sold. Even if a homeowner knows how to install gutter guards, neither company allows DIY installation of its products, so there’s no way to offset gutter installation costs. These products will, however, most likely outlast DIY products (even the best gutter guards) by several lifetimes, so while the up-front cost is higher than the DIY options, the lifetime cost is likely equal or lower.
5. Prior to installing LeafFilter, homeowners may need to pay to have their gutters cleaned out or to have sections repaired or replaced, increasing the up-front cost.
How much does LeafFilter cost? That will depend somewhat on the condition of the existing gutters and fascia. LeafFilter is installed onto existing gutters, so if the current condition of those gutters isn’t ideal, there can be complications or additional charges. One of the disadvantages of LeafFilter is that in order to install LeafFilter, gutters need to be clean. Some parts of the gutters may need repair, reattachment, or replacement, especially if they’re warped, damaged, or pulled away from the home. Cleaning and repair or replacement can add significantly to the cost of the project, and while LeafFilter installation technicians can handle every step of the process, it’s still a complication. If a LeafFilter cost estimate includes a lot of gutter cleaning and repair charges, it may be worth investigating LeafGuard costs, as LeafGuard will replace all of the gutters with a brand-new gutter and leaf filter combo.
If only small repairs to the existing gutters are needed, then LeafFilter can transform the existing gutters into a more efficient tool that can handle heavy rains and prevent leaves, pine needles, and debris from getting through the micro mesh and into the gutter, thereby preventing buildup and clogs.
6. Homeowners who are considering gutter replacement may save money by opting for a LeafGuard system over new gutters and a traditional gutter guard system.
Pricing out the cost of new gutters can result in sticker shock. Once the shock is over, adding on the cost of gutter covers to prevent the new gutters from clogging can bring the shock right back—and may suddenly make the cost of a LeafGuard system look downright reasonable.
Choosing the LeafGuard system over separate new gutters and a gutter cover system will add an excellent warranty and an outstanding clog-proof, free-flowing gutter system with a protective cover built in from a company that stands behind its product. For customers considering complete gutter replacement as well as a gutter cover, it’s absolutely worth comparing the costs and benefits.
7. Ultimately, a homeowner’s decision needs to be based on their needs and budget when choosing a gutter guard company.
If a home needs new gutters as well as a gutter cover, LeafGuard is a single product that will provide both. If the homeowner is happy with the existing gutters and looking to prevent even small debris from entering and clogging the gutter, LeafFilter will get the job done at a slightly lower cost. Both companies have excellent ratings with the Better Business Bureau and are well regarded by customers. Either way, customers will be making an investment in the health of their roofs and walls, so they’ll likely find that gutter guards are worth it.
“The LeafFilter gutter guard system and patent pending structural hangers have a lifetime no-clog guarantee by ensuring your home’s water management system is installed with no gaps, holes, or openings, which keeps debris and critters out for the long-term,” explains Gori. “LeafFilter gutter guards have also been designed and tested by our own in-house engineering team to ensure quality, performance, and longevity of the system. LeafFilter’s surgical-grade stainless steel mesh offers excellent durability of the system by preventing corrosion.” These factors may sway customers toward LeafFilter.
Clogged gutters can cause significant damage to a home, and not all of that damage may be initially obvious. A small gutter overflow can infiltrate the fascia, causing a slow drip that leads to mold growth that’s nearly undetectable until it’s a huge problem. The debris and sludge in the bottom of a partly clogged gutter is a haven for insects that will look for shelter as the weather begins to cool, and inside the home is a handy, nearby spot. Certainly gutter guards of all kinds require some maintenance and cleaning, but overall, they’re a long-term solution to a tricky problem—and LeafFilter and LeafGuard don’t require the homeowner to risk life and limb on a tall ladder.