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Gutter guards and covers are designed to act as a filter over your gutters in an attempt to block debris from entering your gutter without inhibiting its ability to draw water away from the roof.

Although they’re are often advertised as a cure-all solution to cleaning your gutters, many models may block only larger debris, while allowing smaller debris to enter the gutters despite the shield.

Here’s a look at the pros and cons of different gutter guards, and their material cost:

Metal mesh screens: These sheets of metal have holes punched through them and stop most debris. Anything smaller than the holes will still get through. They cost $1.20-$4 per foot.

Micro mesh screens: These steel or aluminum frames are covered with fine wire mesh. It’s one of the most effective options, but the material costs around $9 per foot.

Plastic or vinyl grid screens: They’re not as durable as metal guards, but they’re among the cheapest, at 40 cents-$4 per foot.

Full surface tension covers: These solid pieces allow water to flow into a gap between the guard and gutter. Debris flows off the edge. They’re effective, but cost $4 to $8 per foot.

Gutter brushes: Long rolls of brush inside the tray allow water to pass through but block leaves. They do need to be periodically cleaned. They cost about $4 per foot.

Foam inserts: These fit inside the trough and allow water to pass through while leaves get washed off. They cost about $2 per foot, but are far less durable than other options.