If you’ve spent hours of your spring on a ladder cleaning out your gutters, you might want to consider leaf guards. These simple guards can keep a significant amount of leaves and debris out of your gutters, so your job will be much easier next spring.
But if your gutters are still in good shape, you don’t want to deal with the hassle and cost of getting new ones. So let’s take a look at how these guards work to keep leaves out and whether or not they can be installed on existing gutters.

How Do Leaf Guards Work?

There are several different types of gutter guards, but they all do essentially the same thing: let water through and keep debris out. Most guards sit inside or on top of your gutters and act as a filter to anything that runs off your roof. While they won’t eliminate the need for cleaning your gutters or the risk of clogs, they certainly reduce the risk of damage to your home’s siding and foundation caused by gutter clogs and sitting water. 

Types of Leaf Guards

Gutter guards are available in five primary types: screen, micro-mesh, reverse curve or surface tension, brush, and foam. Here’s a look at each type and how they work.


Screen guards are exactly what they sound like: a guard made of a wire or plastic grid that allows water through but blocks large debris and leaves. They are the easiest to install.
Simply lift the bottom row of shingles along the entire length of the gutter and slide the edge of the screen guard beneath the shingles. The weight of the shingles is what holds the guard in place. They are also one of the least expensive types of gutter guards.

They might be easy to install and inexpensive, but screen guards have some downsides. Since there are no screws or nails to secure them, they can be dislodged by high winds and heavy rainstorms. Some roof warranties may also be voided by installing the guards underneath the shingles, so be sure to check with the shingle manufacturer before you install a gutter guard using this installation method. 


Micro-mesh gutter guards are similar to screen guards but with a much smaller grid. They can be installed the same way as screen guards, but there are other options too. You can snap some micro-mesh guards directly onto the gutters. You can screw others into the fascia, the vertical strip of wood just above the gutter.

These kinds of gutter guards are ideal in locations that deal with high amounts of blowing sand and other fine particles that can clog gutters. They need to be cleaned more frequently than other gutters because the fine mesh can get clogged easily. 

Reverse Curve

Reverse curve leaf guards are some of the most popular gutter guards and some of the more expensive options, too. They work by curving over and then dropping back into the gutter. So when water and debris are running off of your roof, the leaves, and debris fall right over the gutter onto the ground, while the water follows the reverse curve right into the gutter. 

These guards are incredibly effective, but they aren’t as DIY friendly. They need to be attached correctly to the fascia at a certain angle. Reverse curve gutter guards installed incorrectly can cause water to run off with the debris and cause severe damage to your home’s siding and foundation. They are installed over the top of gutters, so they work very well with your existing gutters. Just make sure you pick a color that matches what you already have.


Brush guards are very popular for homeowners on a budget and those who like to do things themselves because they are inexpensive and ultra-easy to install. It’s almost like sticking a pipe cleaner inside of your gutters. They are made of a thick metal core surrounded by bristles.

All you have to do is cut the brush to the proper length and then fit it inside of your gutters. There’s no need to attach it to anything; once it slips in, it will stay in place until you take it out.

This style of gutter guard is tricky to clean and can get nasty after a few seasons, but they are highly effective at preventing clogs and keeping large debris out of your gutters.


Foam guards are similar to brush guards in price and ease of installation. They’re a popular choice for DIYers. They come in a triangle-shaped foam block that rests inside your gutters and acts like a sponge that lets the water flow through and keeps the leaves and branches out.

One major downside to foam gutters is that they don’t work well in extremely wet environments because they tend to overflow. The foam can also soak up a lot of water and get very heavy, causing damage to your gutters.

What To Look For

When choosing your gutter guards, opt for something high-quality, so you don’t have to replace them a few years down the road. Poor quality gutter guards can be worse than not having guards, so we highly recommend working with a professional gutter company for the best selection and professional installation.

M&M Gutters Offers Leaf Guards For Your Existing Gutters

Your home is one of the most significant purchases you will ever make, and it’s essential to protect it from rain and storm damage. That’s why M & M Gutters & Exteriors is here to help. We offer several different types of rain gutters and high-quality leaf guards that will work with your existing gutters. 

We have installed thousands of gutter and leaf guard systems on homes across Northern Utah, including Lehi, Salt Lake City, Park City, Ogden, and more. We provide superior service to new construction, remodels, apartments, and even commercial buildings. We also offer siding installation and repair, leaf guards, and ice melt systems. Contact us today for an estimate!