How to Install Gutter Guards – Beginner’s Guide with Pictures
Rain gutters are unsung heroes — quietly defending your home from costly water damage. But if they are clogged with leaves, moss lumps or squirrel nests, they will struggle to keep water away from the home’s foundation and walls. Gutter guards help gutters in diverting rainwater away from the house. But how to install gutter guard by myself? From prepping your gutters adequately to installing gutter guards properly, we have you covered.
Gutter Guard Installation Procedure
There are many gutter guard products, and not all of them are installed in the same way. But there are specific procedures that anyone working on the gutters must follow:
- Clean the gutters – Remove any debris by hand, take a soft brush to clean dirt or mildew, and run a hose over each to ensure it is flowing correctly at the downspouts and to wash any small debris you may have left behind;
- Make the necessary repairs – Seal small openings with a gutter sealant. For larger openings, employ a piece of aluminum flashing that’s set in sealant to hold it in place. Ensure that all gutter attachment points are secure;
- Work safely – Leaf guard installation often demands working from a ladder, so ladder safety is an integral part of the task. If you are operating from an extension ladder, use a ladder stabilizer (stand-off). It is U-shaped and attaches to the ladder. This device keeps your ladders steady and provides a necessary grip with the workplace.
How to Install Gutter Guards (5 Different Types)
Our gutter experts share below how to install the 5 most common types of guards.
Gutter systems only work properly if they are correctly installed, therefore it’s highly recommended to hire a gutter guard installation service.
1. Mesh Gutter Guards
Mesh gutter guards are similar to perforated models. Still, they are made from a different material with a much more sufficient opening for water flow. Thanks to this, you may have to wipe the screen clear of debris more often to keep small openings clear for water passage.
They also have a decent life span when adequately cared for.
Required tools: measuring tape, screws, cordless power drill, and sturdy ladder.
- Measure gutter lengths and apply them to the guard. You won’t always be able to trim these because of how the guards are framed to tension. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for trimming or overlapping or trimming the product if required.
- Push it gently under the roofline and adhere with screws if necessary.
- Screw to the gutter edge or snap over gutter considering the style.
2. Reverse-Curve Guards
Most, but not all, reverse-curve guards are professionally installed. If you are interested in this type, look for explicit installation instructions for a proper fit. This style also fits up under the roofline or attaches to the fascia to let water flow over it and follow its curve down into the gutter. When performed correctly, they are beneficial, and these typically are very long-lasting.
Required tools: measuring tape, screws, cordless power drill, and sturdy ladder.
- Measure gutter lengths and apply them to the guard. You won’t usually be able to trim this type due to its design.
- Push it carefully under the roofline or right under it, depending on the design and adhere with screws if necessary.
3. Foam Guards
Foam guards are constructed of porous polyurethane foams. They are also a friction fit and cover the top part of the gutter inside to prevent debris but enable water to flow through and under. These guards do need some removal of debris build-up and with good care last 2-3 years. Foam guards are a great solution against gutter debris build-up.
Required tools: measuring tape, box cutter, and sturdy ladder.
- Measure your gutter lengths and apply them to the foam guards.
- Cut the guards to fit.
- Climb the ladder and make sure to push to each end of a gutter to ensure complete coverage. Don’t push to the bottom, but let it fit snugly under the gutter’s rim.
4. Perforated Guards
Perforated guards include a series of gutter covers that use metal and vinyl for a more fully adhered fit using hardware or a snap-in style. They typically attach directly to the gutter to allow water to flow smoothly through the perforations and into the gutter while stopping debris. They also wipe residue very quickly and need minimum maintenance to last for many years.
Required tools: measuring tape, tin snips, screws, cordless power drill, and sturdy ladder.
- Measure the gutter lengths and apply them to the guard.
- Trim to fit and slide edge up under roofline and adhere with screws if necessary.
- Snap over gutter or screw to gutter edge according to the style.
5. Brush Guards
Brush guards are a friction fit type that looks like a big bottle brush. They are typically made from heavy bristles attached to a durable wired center for a customized fit. These stop large debris and even snow from entering into the gutter but enable flowing water to pass freely. Brush guards require some cleanout from time to time but are considered as efficient and last 5 years with proper care.
Required tools: measuring tape, wire cutters, and sturdy ladder.
- Measure your gutter lengths and apply them to the gutter brushes.
- Cut the brushes to fit.
- Climb the ladder and make sure to push to each end of a gutter to ensure complete coverage.
DIY Gutter Guards Installation : Things to Avoid
When you install gutter guards on your own, you need to be aware of several different considerations. Below are some mistakes to ditch when installing gutter guards.
- Nailing into the roof – Some rain gutter covers will require you to nail the system into your roof. It will create damage on the roof, and the shingles will no longer play their role at protecting your house from the intrusion of the water. Once you poke a hole in the roof, you will reduce its efficiency in supervising that barrier;
- Lifting the shingles – Other guards require installation under the first row of shingles. This can break the roof’s barrier, leading to expensive water damage. Professional gutter installers will ensure it’s performed properly to avoid damage to the shingles.
- Choosing the wrong size – This is a fairly common mistake usually committed by DIYers. If you are buying off-the-shelf guards, measure the width and total length of the gutters before going to the hardware store;
- Damaging the gutters — Modifications or installation processes that damage the gutters should be avoided. Fasteners should be the proper size and type; otherwise, it may cause corrosion and wood rot. Changing the gutter pitch, whether intentionally or accidentally, may render the gutters ineffective in routing rainwater. Also, standing water and reduced capacity may occur;
- Not protecting the downspouts – Downspouts diverse the rainwater away from the house, so it has to be protected from clogging. Professionally installed gutter protection systems come with downspout protection, and choosing such systems avoid the consequences of unprotected downspouts.
There are many factors to be considered — the gutter type, the debris load, how they fasten — with screws or snap-in, and whether or not they install under the shingles or don’t disturb the shingles.
Gutters are efficient at directing rainwater away from your house, but sadly, it’s easy for them to get clogged with pine needles, leaves, animal nests and other debris! Gutters are especially prone to clogging in the spring and fall. In order to prevent these clogs, you need to install gutter guards.
The gutter guard is customizable. If your gutter is between two and four inches, you can bend the guard in half, so it will fit the small gutter. When you install the guard, try and retain between a 5 and 25-degree forward slant on guard. Why? To make sure the gutter guard’s front edge lies flat on the front edge of the gutter, so you have no gap – then you should achieve the desired performance.
It is essential to understand that no gutter guard is 100% maintenance-free. However, the high-quality gutter guards from Out of the Gutter require the least amount of upkeep of any other guard on the market.