As I mentioned in a prior post, I'm planning to add some gutters to my house. I see that there's wide variety of gutter guards available and was curious which ones are better?

As far as I can tell, there are basically two types:

  1. Covers that go over the top of the gutters and let water seep through cracks/holes in the cover. alt text

  2. Fillers that line the entire gutter (e.g. GutterStuff).
    alt text

The first option seems to make much more sense but the GutterStuff branding claims not to clog. I can't help but be skeptical.

Any thoughts?

  • Have heard of the first type, but not the second so I've no idea how they compare.
    – ChrisF
    Commented Oct 21, 2010 at 22:21
  • I use the second and it works, but stuff gets clogged in there just as easy as not having them, and with oak trees we get lots of leaves stuck. The worst part is winter when they cover easily with snow, they'd probably result in ice dams if I didn't have a snow rake to clear the roof. I'd say go with mesh...
    – MichaelF
    Commented May 6, 2011 at 16:20

6 Answers 6


I've not found any solution. The guards made of mesh, plastic, metal, whatever, tend to get clogged if you have trees that drop small seeds. Cottonwood is a weed around here. In the spring, the cotton goes flying around. It is impossible to get out of the mesh. I tore those style of guards out after a few years. As well, small stuff from the shingles on our house could fall through the mesh. I found a half inch think layer of black gunk lying in the bottoms of our gutters in spots, since the mesh does not stop really small stuff.

The gutter caps have a reputation as hornet hotels. Wasps can build nests underneath them, and I have a known bee sting allergy.

My solution is a simple one. Clean out the gutters twice a year. I blow them out with a leaf blower, standing on the ground. I added a couple of pieces of pvc angle to my leaf blower, with a long extension. Then I put on a hooded jacket when the gutters are dry, and blow the mess out away from me if possible. I usually get a face full or two, but that is what the hooded jacket is for.

Neighbors of ours chose to skip gutters completely when they just built their new home. But that leaves you with a need to deal with water near your foundation.

  • 2
    +1 I've tried a few types of gutter guards and nothing works reliably. They either get clogged with leaves, seeds, dirt or critters. Either clean out the gutters yourself or hire a handyman if you don't like being on your roof.
    – user45
    Commented Oct 22, 2010 at 10:50
  • 2
    @user558: great idea! How do you connect the PVC pipe to the outlet of the leaf blower?
    – wsw
    Commented May 23, 2016 at 18:54

Consumer Reports recently did a review of various Gutter Guards. (You can buy the issue or join their web site to see the full results.)


GutterStuff scored near the bottom.

CR also said that water surface tension systems (like the Gutter Cap design Jay Bazuzi mentioned) did not work so well during severe downpours.

Fine screen mesh designs generally worked best.

  • I saw some online reviews for the LeafGuard (surface tension system) that were pretty horrible. Again, most said that they work in a small rain (or when you see it in a demo) but not for heavy rains, where heavy can be a pretty normal rainfaill. Commented Jul 13, 2014 at 20:06

I have the caps that rely on surface tension to wrap the water around and get in the gutter. They work OK, but not all that great. If they edge gets dirty, they loose the surface tension and the water goes over. If it rains too hard, some water spills over. A big problem is that ice and snow collects on the edge, causing water to drip off and fall and then freeze in my driveway. Fortunately, I only get a few snows a year. Also if the cap is too horizontal, then water may back up into the eves, causing the facia to rot. All in all I'd say this type is not worth it.

This guy did a study on gutter guards and he recommends MasterShield. Also if you search "Gutter Guards" on his site, you will get quite a few results. http://www.askthebuilder.com/Gutter_Guard_Test_Results.shtml


If you live in an area where there is snow, these so called gutter caps/helmets/guards are horrible. The snow sits atop these "guards" and freezes.

Any melting snow from your roof gets trapped and unable to pass into the gutter and freezes. Before you know it, you have a nice ice dam that is a foot thick, and hundreds of icicles many two to three feet long causing danger below. When the weather warms up, water finds its way inside your house which causes thousands in water damage.

I plan on removing mine this spring - I've had too many sleepless nights.

Oh, people will say you have a poorly insulated attic or eaves. Nonsense. It's the gutters. The insurance adjuster/inspector that came to my house told me that my house was perfectly insulated.


Another option is the "Gutter Cap" (http://www.guttercap.com/).

alt text

I have never seen or tried it, so I can't comment on how well it works.

  • 2
    all you do is an ad for a business. there is no value in your answer.
    – csmba
    Commented Oct 26, 2010 at 19:03

We have half-round gutters so the choices are more limited than they are for K-style gutters. The diamond mesh clip-on gutter guards that we have now do not work very well. The diamond-shaped holes are about 8mm x 6mm and small seed pods fall through the mesh easily and clog the gutters; leaves also get snagged in it. Someone still must climb the ladder to clean the gutters and the guards only make that effort more difficult.

I recently bought a small quantity of GutterStuff to try it out. Just installed it yesterday in fact. Installing it in 5" half-round was easy. You just press it down into the gutter. It is a springy compressible material.

I'm attaching a close-up picture of it. Nothing should be able to fall through the material into the gutter, although seed pods and small leaves might get snagged on the surface. Time will tell. I'll update this posting in the fall.

A smooth, very fine mesh would work best since seedpods and leaves cannot get snagged in it or pass through it. But I haven't found a product like that for half-round.

P.S. From a DIY angle, a 5" roll of stainless micro-mesh coupled with GutterStuff might solve the problem nicely, if the micro mesh could be bonded or fastened to the surface of the GutterStuff. Two beads of latex sealant might be all that's needed. Easy installation with the benefits of mesh -- not having pine needles and such getting embedded.


Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.