Gutter Screens Versus Gutter Guards: What’s Best for You?

Choosing or replacing a gutter cover is not your typical everyday activity. Many homeowners are unaware of the difference between a gutter guard and a gutter screen. Gutter screens and gutter guards are fantastic inventions, designed to protect your gutter from debris buildup.

These covers keep leaves, debris, and other things out of your gutter without having to clean it regularly. While both covers serve the same purpose, they each have distinguishable advantages and disadvantages. 

Before you decide, you need to understand the difference between gutter guards and screens. Read on to learn the difference between these two products and which may be best for your home’s gutters.



Manufacturers make gutter screens from mesh or perforated material. Gutter screens allow water to pass through, leaving debris on top. However, small debris like silt does pass through.

Therefore, gutter screens will need regular maintenance and cleaning, especially after storms with heavy winds or rain, for them to continue functioning correctly.

Gutter guards are also called solid top gutter systems. Solid top gutter systems are much more efficient and effective at preventing clogs and keeping gutters clean.

Gutter guard systems provide a large barrier that prevents leaves and debris from entering the gutters. As a result, gutter guards reduce the maintenance required for your gutters.



Compared to a gutter guard, installing a gutter screen is more labor-intensive. Gutter experts have to install the gutter screens over the top of existing gutters.

The installers have to measure, cut, and fit the screens to your gutters. The installation expert will have to trim off the excess screen, bend the pieces to fit, and screw them in place. This extra work takes more time and money.

Conversely, gutter guards have a two-piece design. With our exclusive high back trough our installation expert will install under the drip edge of the roof so no shingles will have to be touched.

The installation process is similar to installing screens, except the installer has to cut the guards to size. Because the guards’ design includes an outer lip, professionals must use tools to ensure they fit tightly against the fascia board.


Material and Construction

Manufacturers make gutter screens from various materials, including vinyl, metal, or plastic. The expanded material has perforations to form a mesh that is placed in the gutter and curves along the gutter’s top side.

A solid strip at the top holds the gutter screen in place. The small lip curves down the front edge of the gutter to catch debris that may otherwise fall through the gutter.

Manufacturers use stainless steel, aluminum, or vinyl to create gutter guards. Most homeowners opt for aluminum because it is lightweight, rust-resistant, and easy to install. Plastic or vinyl can also provide many years of service but may not be as durable as aluminum.

Some gutter covers feature a nose-forward design that extends over the front edge of your gutters. The design makes it impossible for leaves, twigs, and other debris to land on your gutters because they fall off one side of the cover instead.

Overall, gutter screens and guards are distinct products that effectively block debris from your gutters. However, not all of them may be the best for you. Ultimately, the best one for you depends on the look you are aiming for and what is important to you in a gutter cover or guard. You will also want to consider your location, climate, and your home’s style. Consult a professional before making any big decisions about installing a gutter cover on your home.

Contact us today at Gutter Shutter of SE Wisconsin for any questions you have about gutter protection.