Do Gutter Guards Work in Heavy Rain?

By Amanda Lutz Updated April 25, 2024

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If your area gets heavy rain, powerful thunderstorms, and hail, it may be time to invest in well-constructed gutter guards that can handle lots of rainfall. Foam and reverse-curve gutter guards can overflow if the rain gets too intense while cheap gutter guards may break amid heavy downpours. Read our guide below to find the best gutter guards for you, learn how to properly maintain them, and to compare different gutter guard price points.

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The average cost of gutter guard installation is typically between $1,000 and $2,000.

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Types of Gutter Guards

Five of the most common types of gutter guards are brush, foam, micro-mesh, reverse-curve, and screen gutter guards. Consider factors such as price, aesthetics, how well the gutter guards fit with your existing gutter system, and effectiveness as you figure out which type is best.

Brush Gutter Guards

Brush gutter guards look like tubular bottle brushes and feature solid wire cores surrounded by thick, durable bristles. These gutter guards keep leaves, twigs, trash, and other small debris out of your gutters but still allow for water flow.

Brush gutter guards don’t require fasteners. You can install them by simply placing the lengths of the brush into gutter channels.

Foam Gutter Guards

Foam gutter guards are made from water-permeable polyurethane foams and can either look like right angles or triangular prisms. These gutter guards feature smooth surfaces in which leaves, twigs, pine needles, and other larger debris can’t get stuck. It can take a while for water to permeate through the foam surface, though. Water can consequently sit on top, leading to the following problems:

Micro-Mesh Gutter Guards

Micro-mesh guards are popular in areas with heavy and frequent rainfall and feature thin mesh that’s fixed against a rigid frame. Small holes allow a steady stream of water through and the mesh catches leaves and twigs, which eventually slide to the ground.

Standard mesh options have larger holes in which leaves and muck can get stuck, leading to clogs on top of the gutters. Homeowners should select a fine micro-mesh and inspect it after hailstorms, as hail can punch through mesh.

Reverse-Curve Gutter Guards

Reverse-curve gutter guards look like gutters that have been flipped upside down. They slide under the bottom row of roof shingles and cover most of the gutter opening. These guards allow water to stream down into the gutter, and the guards’ smooth surfaces and narrow openings prevent debris from building up.

The reverse-curve gutter guards’ thin openings can quickly overflow during heavy bouts of rain, though, as they don’t leave enough space for large volumes of water to pass through. Water can consequently hit the edge of your home as if you don’t have gutters at all. These gutter guards can also catch unwanted debris, especially if your property has trees with very thin leaves or thready seasonal debris, which can easily get caught in reverse-curve gutter guards and lead to clogs or mold growth.

Screen Gutter Guards

Screen gutter guards are very similar to micro-mesh guards but feature bigger holes and more rigid structures. Screen gutter guards are cost-effective and aesthetically pleasing, especially if you match them to your existing gutter system. However, screen gutter guards’ large holes can catch and hold onto debris, which could lead to clogs in and on top of the gutter.


Benefits and Drawbacks of Gutter Guards

Conventional gutters play a critical role in protecting your home. They collect water that slides down your roof, funnel it toward downspouts, and direct it away from your home’s foundation and landscaping.

When gutters clog, water backs up into the attic or water overflows onto the dirt. Purchasing gutter guards can help you to reduce or eliminate this risk. Some of the key benefits of using gutter guards are listed below.

There are some potential drawbacks to consider, too.


Gutter Maintenance

You should perform regular maintenance on your gutters at least once or twice a year, but the right gutter guards can drastically minimize the chore of clearing muck and debris out of gutters.

To clean your gutter guard system, rinse down the outside of your gutters and gutter guards with a spray hose attachment. Pay particular attention to any stains or buildup. If you see any leaves or caught debris from an upstairs window,  climb up on a ladder and remove that buildup.

Look for damage, missing pieces of the gutter system, or holes in the mesh if you have micro-mesh guards. Be sure to inspect gutter guards after any heavy hailstorm, too.


Gutter Guard Costs

The average cost to install high-quality gutter guards is $1,492*, though the project can cost anywhere from $648 to $2,438. The total cost can vary based on how expansive your gutter system is and the type of gutters you select. Micro-mesh guards can cost up to $4 per linear foot, for example, while stainless steel screens can cost $3.50 per linear foot.

Gutter guard installation also affects their total cost. Do-it-yourself (DIY) homeowners can install gutter guards with a partner, a ladder, and any required fasteners. Professionals, on the other hand, will charge between $2 and $6 per linear foot of gutters to install guards.

*Cost data in this article sourced from Angi.


Our Recommendation

Gutter guards offer a gutter protection system and keep them from amassing clogs and water damage, even in climates with heavy rainfall. If you live in a rain-heavy area, choose micro-mesh or brush options instead of foam. These will function best and can be DIY-friendly as part of a home improvement project.

LeafFilter and LeafGuard gutter guards are known to be affordable and high-quality options for homeowners. We suggest getting quotes from these and other reputable gutter guard providers if you prefer to have professional installation and regular cleaning done.


Gutter Guards in Heavy Rain FAQ

What type of gutter guard is best for heavy rain?

The gutter guards that work best in heavy rain are mesh and micro-mesh options. Mesh screens allow large volumes of water to move through the gutter while blocking large types of debris.

Can gutter guards handle torrential downpours?

Gutter guards can handle torrential downpours, especially micro-mesh options. However, foam and reverse-curve gutter guards may struggle to prevent overflowing gutters.

Do gutter guards cause gutters to overflow in heavy rain?

Gutter guards can cause gutters to overflow in heavy rain. If the gutter material isn’t permeable enough, water will start to build up on the surface and overflow onto the ground or into the attic. The flow of water may also improve if your roof has gutter covers that keep out large debris or if your home has a large gutter size.

How can I improve the performance of my gutter guards in heavy rain?

You can improve the performance of gutter guards in heavy rain by selecting gutter guards that can handle heavy rainfall or severe weather conditions. Inspect the gutters every season to make sure there aren’t any blockages and to check that the gutters are functioning properly.

Are there specific brands of gutter guards that perform better in heavy rain?

There are specific brands of gutter guards that perform best in heavy rain, but choosing the right style may be more important. Look for highly rated brands and installation services that specialize in the type of gutter guards you need.