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What are Brush Gutter Guards

Homeowners tend to think more about their gutter guard options when leaves have clogged up their gutters in the fall. Among those options are brush gutter guards. But what are brush gutter guards? 

Brush gutter guards are one of the few options that sit inside your gutters rather than on the top of the gutters. They can reduce the cleaning and regular maintenance your gutters need while extending their useful life.

Some gutter guards aim to filter the incoming runoff from the roof, while others work to deflect debris that could clog the gutters. Both are good options to keep your gutters in good shape while preventing water damage and erosion.

We’ll discuss brush-style gutter guards in more detail, including how they work and their cost, maintenance requirements, and effectiveness. We’ll also mention a few pros and cons of brush gutter guards and offer a few tips for deciding if they are best for you and your home.

How Do Brush Gutter Guards Work?

Brush-style gutter guards sit inside the gutter and allow water to flow between the bristles, preventing large debris from reaching the downspout. 

However, small particulates can still pass as water drips and meanders through the bristles. Roof shingle granules and other small debris can collect under the guards, so eventually, they will require removal to facilitate a good cleaning.

If debris is allowed to collect and block the downspout, the gutters will overflow and possibly cause erosion around the foundation.

In contrast, mesh and reverse curve gutter guards significantly reduce the need for cleaning, as they don’t filter the debris as much as deflect it away. This means the debris does not accumulate or need to be removed as often.

Pros and Cons of Brush Guards

Brush gutter guards are convenient to install but can be a hassle if you hate cleaning. Here are a few of the pros and cons of owning brush gutter guards so you can compare them to other gutter guards:


  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Durable
  • Easily replaceable
  • Easy to clean
  • Can’t be seen from the ground
  • Can usually be cleaned with water pressure instead of completely removing the guards


  • Requires regular cleaning
  • Not always effective for small debris
  • May not work as well for severe debris problems, such as fallen leaves that come from an overhanging deciduous tree
  • Don’t fit well in K-style or box-style gutters

Ideal Applications

There are times when brush gutter guards might be a better solution than other types of guards. These include:

  • You don’t mind frequent maintenance.
  • You need a moderately priced gutter.
  • The debris in your gutters consists primarily of cones, leaves, twigs, and needles.
  • You have half-round style gutters instead of K style or box style.

Applications Where Other Guards Work Better

Here are a few instances where other types of gutter guards may be a better choice than brush gutter guards to solve your problem:

  • Your gutters need cleaning more than four times per year.
  • You can afford a more effective gutter.
  • You’re willing to invest in expert gutter guard installation.

Installation Tips

Before attempting any work around your gutters, ensure safety is a priority, and wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). Working off the ground has its own dangers, so be sure you’re protected.

Brush gutter guards are very simple and often require just a few hand tools to install. You may have to trim the brushes to length, or yours may come in a long, continuous spool. 

Here are a few practical tips for installing your brush gutter guards:

  • Use a long section whenever possible, but avoid sections that turn corners. This can complicate cleaning because removing one section to clean affects the next section. If you remove too much of the brush at once, the entire spool can unravel and fall to the ground.
  • Have a gutter scoop and bucket nearby to collect the sediment under the brushes. This sediment adds tremendous weight to the fasteners and can result in an overflow. Lower the debris to the ground with a rope instead of tossing it from the bucket.
  • Secure any sections of gutter guards you are not actively working with. The spool can get wrapped around your feet and fall, taking you with it.
  • Since brush-type gutter guards are not form-fitting, you can combine them if you decide to enlarge your gutters. Instead of tossing your old brush gutter guards, just add another brush. Or, you can purchase oversized brush guards to fit large gutters.
  • Brush-style gutter guards are unique in that they can be used in the downspouts, unlike screen, micro mesh, and reverse curve style guards. Just remember to secure both ends of the brush so you can remove it as needed for cleaning.

Maintenance Requirements

Brush gutter guards work like filters, so expect regular cleaning and maintenance. The simplicity of brush-style guards makes cleaning easy, as you can often spray a garden hose through the brush, and the pressure will remove the sediment underneath. 

However, check with your local municipality to determine if you need to take measures to collect the runoff. In some areas, uncontrolled runoff is responsible for erosion, which can damage the structure’s foundation.

You can also lift out a section at a time, hose it off, and return it. Brush gutter guards will catch most large leaves, pine needles, and small twigs. However, brush gutter guards won’t help with very small debris, as it will float between the bristles.

Expect to clean your gutter two to four times per year. If you need to clean yours more frequently, consider reverse curve or micro mesh gutter guards instead. These will save you tons of time and effort.

Maintenance frequency will depend on your roof size, local climate, and the amount and type of debris causing the problem. For example, if large deciduous trees dump huge piles of leaves on your roof every fall, you’ll do a lot of cleaning.

On the other hand, if your problem is mild, you can probably get away with one cleaning in the fall and another in the spring.

Cost Comparison

The cost of brush gutter guards will vary from region to region, but expect them to run between $2.00 and $4.00 per linear foot and another $2.50 per foot if you decide on pro installation.

For comparison, vinyl and steel screen-type gutter guards are often less expensive. However, most are not continuous, which makes cleaning more time-consuming than with brush style.

Foam gutter guards have a similar cost to brush-style guards, but they filter out fine particulates better. However, cleaning foam guards can be more involved since they catch more debris.

Micro mesh and reverse curve style gutter guards are often the most expensive options because the installation is more involved. However, they are great options when you don’t want to have to clean your gutters so frequently.

Brush Gutter Guards: Are They Right For Your Home?

Brush gutter guards are effective at filtering out large debris and are easy to replace if they become damaged. The moderate cost of brush gutter guards makes them affordable for many homeowners.

However, if you’re more the install-and-forget type of homeowner, reverse curve or micro mesh gutter guards might be more to your liking. 

If you’re on the fence and still unsure which gutter guards are best for your home, consider contacting our local gutter professionals. We also offer a free, no-obligation estimate for your convenience. Our pros will ensure top-notch service and premium gutters for your home.


Do brush gutter guards work?

Brush gutter guards are very effective at filtering out large debris, like leaves, needles, and twigs. However, they aren’t the best at filtering small gravel and dirt, so the buildup must be occasionally removed.

How do you clean under gutter leaf guards?

In most designs, you simply spray them with a garden hose. You can lift the brush out of the gutter for better access. Then, you can scoop out or rinse the buildup underneath the brush.

Do you ever have to clean gutters with gutter guards?

It depends on the type of gutter guard you install. Reverse curve and micro mesh gutter guards require the least cleaning, while foam, brush, and screen versions require the most.