Gutter Screen Buyer's Guide: What to Look For

Gutter Screen Buyer's Guide: What to Look For

When it comes to maintaining your home, the importance of a functional gutter system cannot be overstated. Gutter screens play a crucial role in this system.

Let’s navigate the various options available in the market, ensuring you make an informed decision that suits your home’s needs.

Understanding Gutter Screens

Gutter screens are essentially protective barriers installed over your gutters to prevent debris from clogging your gutter system.

By serving as a shield, they help ensure water can flow freely through your gutters and downspouts to protect your home from potential water damage.

Gutter screens are typically made from various materials and come in different designs to fit a wide range of gutters.

Common problems that gutter screens solve

Gutter screens address several common problems associated with gutter systems:

  • Clogging: By preventing leaves and other debris from entering the gutter, screens reduce the likelihood of blockages that can cause water to overflow and potentially damage your home's exterior or foundation.
  • Maintenance: Gutter screens reduce the frequency of cleanings needed by keeping most of the debris out.
  • Pest infestation: Gutters filled with stagnant water and debris become breeding grounds for pests like mosquitoes. Birds sometimes use open gutters as nesting areas. Gutter screens help mitigate this problem by keeping gutters covered, clean, and free-flowing.

Types of Gutter Screens

Close up of a RainDrop black gutter screen.

Let's take a closer look at 5 popular gutter screen types: plastic, thermoplastic, metal, vinyl, and micro-mesh.

Plastic mesh gutter screens

Pros: Resistant to rust and corrosion, these screens are lightweight and easy to install. They are effective for blocking larger debris.

Cons: Plastic can become brittle over time, especially in areas with extreme weather conditions. They’re not as durable as other options.

Cost: Typically inexpensive, making them a cost-effective option.

Thermoplastic gutter screens

Pros: Thermoplastic screens are highly resistant to rust and corrosion and can adapt to different gutter shapes and sizes. They’re resistant to weathering and typically require less maintenance than other screens.

Cons: In very cold climates, thermoplastic may crack. Also, depending on the design, they may be more visible than other types of screens.

Cost: The cost of thermoplastic gutter screens is generally affordable, often falling in the mid-range price bracket compared to other materials. 

Metal mesh gutter screens

Pros: These are durable and effective at keeping out larger debris. Metal mesh screens are often easy to install and can fit various gutter sizes.

Cons: They can be prone to rust over time and may require regular maintenance to ensure small debris doesn't clog the mesh.

Cost: Generally affordable, but prices can vary based on material quality.

Vinyl gutter screens

Pros: These are lightweight, rust-proof, and easy to install. Suitable for areas with moderate weather conditions.

Cons: Vinyl can become brittle and break in extreme temperatures. They’re not as durable as metal or micro-mesh options.

Cost: Generally inexpensive, making them a budget-friendly choice.

Micro-mesh gutter screens

Pros: These screens are effective at keeping out even the smallest debris, including pine needles and seeds. They are durable and often made from materials that resist rust and corrosion.

Cons: Micro-mesh screens are more expensive and may require professional installation. They can also become clogged with very tiny particles, requiring cleaning.

Cost: Generally on the higher end.

Key Gutter Screen Features to Consider

Close up of someone installing RainDrop gutter screen guard.

When choosing a gutter screen, there are several key features you should consider. 


The material of your gutter screen is paramount in ensuring its durability and longevity. 

Screens made from durable materials like stainless steel or aluminum are typically more resistant to corrosion and weather elements. On the other hand, plastic and vinyl gutter screens, while being more cost-effective, won’t offer the same durability.

For example, RainDrop gutter screens are made of flexible polypropylene, a type of thermoplastic that will resist breakage, is durable, and absorbs both heat and cold.


The design of a gutter screen can significantly impact its performance. 

Factors such as shape, size, and specific design features contribute to how well a screen prevents debris from entering your gutters and how efficiently it allows water to flow through.

For instance, RainDrop utilizes a unique, water-siphoning design that keeps water moving and keeps pine needles, leaves, and other debris from entering your gutters. 

In contrast, metal, plastic, or vinyl screens may have larger openings, which can be more effective with larger debris but may let smaller debris through.


While some gutter screens are easy enough to install with a bit of DIY enthusiasm, others may require professional installation due to their complexity. 

Improper installation of gutter screens can lead to numerous issues, including roof damage, gutter overshoot, and issues with your roof warranty.

If installed incorrectly, a gutter screen could potentially disrupt the flow of water and cause it to back up onto the roof or spill over the sides of the gutters. This can lead to water damage in your roof, siding, and foundation.

To prevent these issues, ensure the gutter screens are installed at the proper angle and securely attached to the gutters. 

For complex systems like micro-mesh or RainDrop, professional installation is recommended. 


While gutter screens reduce the amount of debris entering your gutters, many of them are not completely maintenance-free. 

Over time, small particles may accumulate on the screens and need to be cleaned off to maintain optimal performance.

Additonallly, metal, plastic, and vinyl gutter screens tend to have larger openings and require more frequent cleaning as smaller debris can still get through. 

For this reason, consider choosing gutter screens that are easily removable. 

Or you can opt for a system like RainDrop that is self-cleaning and won’t require you to perform any maintenance to get the most out of your system.

Making the Right Choice for Your Home's Gutter Protection

RainDrop gutter screen guard installed on a brown roof.

When making your decision, consider not just the cost but the long-term value of the gutter screen in terms of maintenance, durability, and overall protection. Your choice should align with your home’s needs, climatic challenges, and budget, ensuring your gutter system remains efficient and effective over the years.

The right gutter screen can offer peace of mind, knowing your home is safeguarded against potential water damage and ultimately saving you time and resources. 

To explore your options, especially for solutions like RainDrop, contact Pacific Gutter Company or call us at (866) 701-1082

Recent Articles

Get a free estimate

Our team of specially trained technicians will come to your home and provide a thorough gutter assessment & solution plan custom built for you and your home's needs.