How much does a leaf filter cost? And are gutter guards really worth the investment? Do they work?
Don’t worry — we’ll answer these questions and more in our complete guide below.
Read on to learn all you need to know.
Leaf Filter Cost Explained
Thanks to the ever-increasing labor cost for professional installation, leaf filters can be more expensive than you might think. Here is the average cost breakdown:
- Average gutter filter cost per linear foot: $4.5-$30/linear foot
- Average leaf guard cost per linear foot: $15-$30/linear foot
- Average perforated aluminum gutter guard cost per linear foot: $7.5-$10/linear foot
- Average foam gutter filter cost per linear foot: $7.5-$10/linear foot
- Average vinyl/metal gutter screen cost per linear foot: $4.5-$7/linear foot
- Average total leaf filter cost per home: $1,000-$5,500
The average total cost for the standard 200 feet of gutters on a home is between $1,000 and $5,500. As a rule of thumb, expect to pay between $4.5 and $30 per linear foot for gutter guards.
The cost varies widely based on the type of material, brand, and quality of the product installed. We’ll cover each of these factors in greater detail below.
Factors Affecting Leaf Filter Pricing
Leaf filters work by creating a barrier between your gutters and debris such as leaves, seeds, and trash. These barriers work by creating a filter that prevents leaves from entering the gutter but allows water to flow through.
Every style of gutter guard is different in some ways. The materials and the design of each kind of leaf filter will vary based on the goal of the gutter guards you install. Some of these designs function better than others but increase in price because of that.
The primary way that leaf filters for your gutters differ is the material they consist of. Not all materials work the same as others.
That difference means that each type of gutter guard design will have both pros and cons and accomplish a different task.
1. Leaf Guards
Leaf guards are reverse curve, aluminum covers that block the gutters from receiving debris. They are the opposite curve of your gutters and fit just above them.
That way, when it rains or when leaves fall, the leaves can’t get trapped inside the gutter, but water travel through the holes made by the leaf guard.
Leaf guards are the most expensive option because they have to fit over your gutters. Also, leaf guards tend to require professional installation, increasing the average cost of installing them.
Still, leaf guards are effective thanks to their design, allowing leaves to fall right off of them.
2. Perforated Aluminum Guards
These gutter guards are fitted aluminum sheets with perforations all across their surface. These holes are big enough to allow water to flow through them but not large enough for leaves to slip into your gutter.
The leaves settle on top of the perforated sheet, which means they can’t clog up the downspout of your gutter.
Much like leaf guards, these aluminum guards require fitting to your gutter system. Professional installation is common with these guards, too.
However, these guards tend to work well thanks to their durability and weight capacity.
3. Foam Gutter Filters
Foam gutter filters insert into your gutters. Once installed, the porous foam catches debris from the roof on top of the foam while water flows through the foam’s pores. These filters look like sponges on the surface but don’t absorb water as sponges do.
While these filters are less expensive than leaf guards, they tend not to work well if not maintained often. This is because the leaves or debris that collects on top can decompose over time and plug up the pores in the filter.
Once that happens, replacing these filters is the easiest way to fix the issue, which can be expensive if it happens frequently.
4. Vinyl/Metal Gutter Screens
Whether they use vinyl or metal, gutter screens are filters that you slide into the gutters that work similarly to perforated guards. Debris that falls into screens collects there while water continues to flow through the screen.
However, the holes on these screens are larger than the perforations on fitted aluminum sheets. Since the holes are larger, smaller debris like seeds can collect and clog the gutter’s downspout.
These screens also don’t change much in your gutter maintenance since you will still need to climb up on the roof to remove the gathered debris.
Still, they are the least expensive option to try and prevent large, frequent clogs in the gutter’s downspout.
Leaf Filter Pros and Cons
There are benefits and drawbacks to installing a leaf filter for your gutters. Not all of these are financially based. So, let’s look at some of these good and bad aspects to understand this purchase.
These are the biggest benefits to have leaf filters for your gutters:
- Debris Buildup Prevention: Leaf filters keep leaves and other debris from collecting in your gutter, causing a downspout clog. These clogs can cause all sorts of problems down the road.
- Pest Control: If your gutters clog or get cluttered with debris, the standing water and leaves can become nests for pests like rats and mosquitoes. Filters that keep clogs from happening mean these pests have no home to roost in.
- Decreased Maintenance Costs: By keeping clogs from occurring, you can prevent damage from ice and rust. Skipping these headaches will lower the maintenance cost of your gutters over time, helping you save money.
In other words, installing a leaf filter means that you can save the headache from regularly climbing on the roof to unclog your gutters.
Here are some of the drawbacks to having leaf filters installed:
- Up-Front Cost: All of the options shown above require extra money on top of your gutter system to install. You can spend that money on other aspects of the house or house maintenance instead of the gutters.
- Installation Requirements: All these filter options require separate installation by the homeowner or a professional service.
- Durability/Replacements: Not all leaf filters will last a long time. Some will have to be maintained or replaced over time, especially if you ignore regular maintenance.
The drawbacks of leaf guards come down to the financial and maintenance costs.
Frequently Asked Questions
These are some of the most common questions we’ve seen asked about leaf filters and gutter guards:
Are Gutter Guards a Waste of Money?
Gutter guards are only a waste of money if the installation cost is less than the money you save preventing damage or time wasted cleaning your gutters. This comes down to how expensive your gutter costs are in a year and how expensive your gutter guard solution is.
Do Gutter Guards Actually Work?
Most gutter guards work great. They trap debris, keeping it from falling into your gutter. Or, they deflect debris from the gutter entirely in the case of leaf guards.
How Do You Clean a Gutter Guard Without Removing It?
Depending on your gutter guard option, this will change. With most gutter guards, you can manually remove debris they have trapped without removing the gutter guard. For others, using a water hose on high can dislodge debris trapped by the gutter guard.
How Often Should I Clean My Gutters
You should clean out your gutters twice a year. This maintenance keeps debris from building up too long inside the gutter and removes pools of water that attract insects and activates rust.
On average, leaf filters cost between $4.5 and $30 per linear foot of gutter.
This wide range depends on what option you choose between leaf guards, perforated sheets, foam filters, or vinyl/metal screens.
Professional installation of these solutions also drives the cost of these filters up.