Pros and Cons of Reverse Curve Gutter Guards


Reverse curve gutter guards are an effective way to cut down on gutter maintenance and prolong the lifespan of your gutters. That’s why they’re one of the most popular types of gutter guards on the market. However, reverse curve guards are not perfect.

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of reverse curve gutter guards so you can make an informed decision.

In this article:

What is a Reverse Curve Gutter Guard?

Also known as surface tension gutter guards, reverse curve systems have been around for over 100 years. Reverse curve guards are a hood on top of your gutters with a slotted opening on the outside for water to enter.

Essentially, water flows over the top of the guard, around the curve, and into the slot, while debris slides off the top of the cover and onto the ground.

Credit: Juan Rodriguez / LawnStarter

Reverse curve gutter covers are typically made from aluminum or plastic and come in a variety of colors to blend with your roof and existing gutters. The most common sizes available for reverse curve guards are 4, 5, and 6 inches wide.

Pros of Reverse Curve Gutter Guards

Most gutter guards on the market offer similar protection for homeowners. When it comes to reverse curve gutter guards, they stand above the competition in certain areas. Let’s take a look at where they excel.

Most Come with a Warranty

With reverse curve gutter guards, the length of the warranty typically equates to the quality of the product you purchase. DIY guards usually come with a 10-year warranty, while professionally installed systems made with premium materials generally have 20-year and lifetime warranties. 

Reduce Gutter Maintenance

Are you tired of the dangerous chore of cleaning gutters? Reverse curve gutter covers are excellent at keeping larger debris, such as pine needles, leaves, and acorns, from entering your gutters and causing clogs.

Note: Installing reverse curve guards does not mean your gutters will be maintenance-free. However, it will significantly reduce the amount of gutter cleaning each year.

Offer Home Protection

Reverse curve guards are generally regarded as one of the best gutter guard systems on the market for home protection. Through surface tension, they effectively move water from your roof, into the gutter, and to the downspout, while keeping larger debris from clogging your gutter system.

Reverse curve gutter guards can reduce the risk of:

  • Mold and mildew development
  • Foundation damage
  • Fascia rot
  • Basement flooding
  • Roof damage

Prevent Gutter Rust and Corrosion

Debris buildup is never good for gutters. Moisture-laden debris that rests in your gutters for an extended period of time can cause gutter systems to prematurely rust and corrode. Reverse curve guards offer gutter protection by reducing debris buildup in your system.

Alleviate Ice Dams

If you live in a cold climate, it’s important to clean your gutters before winter. Otherwise, clogged gutters can freeze and destructive ice dams can form.

While reverse curve leaf guards do not directly prevent ice dams, they do prevent debris buildup and reduce the risk of ice formation.

As a bonus, some reverse curve guards offer heated options to help prevent ice buildup in frigid climates.

Cons of Reverse Curve Gutter Guards

While reverse curve gutter guards are a popular choice for homeowners, they do have their downsides. 


Reverse curve covers may have the longest lifespan of the different types of gutter guards on the market, but they also have the biggest price tag.

The average cost per linear foot is from $3.58 to $6.69, depending on whether they’re made from plastic or metal.

On top of that, reverse curve gutter guards often require homeowners to purchase new gutters and require professional installation, so costs can add up quickly.

Not Great for Heavy Rain

If you live in an area prone to heavy rainfall, reverse curve leaf guards probably aren’t the best option for your home. Water can gain too much momentum coming off your roof and shoot over the cover and onto the ground.

If rainwater continuously pours over your gutters, it can lead to foundation damage and basement flooding.

Debris Can Still Get into Gutters

While excellent at blocking large debris, reverse curve gutter guards are known to allow smaller debris inside your gutter system. Ironically, this occurs most when it’s raining because of surface tension.

When leaves become wet, they follow the rain off the roof, around the lip of the cover, and into the gutter.

Hard to Clean

Clogged gutters can become problematic because reverse curve systems are difficult to clean. When removing these guards to access the gutters, homeowners can damage their roofs and void their roof warranty.

Even though gutter cleaning is an added expense, it’s probably best to leave it to the pros.

Animals Love Reverse Gutter Guards

When researching gutter guards, it’s common to find that most prevent insect infestations. However, reverse curve guards are notorious for welcoming unwanted pests under their dry hoods. 

FAQ About Gutter Guards

What are the Different Types of Gutter Guards?

If surface tension gutter guards aren’t the best option for your home, there are five different types of gutter guards on the market. Here’s a look at each:

  • Foam gutter guards are an easy-to-install DIY option for homeowners who do not want to spend a lot of money on gutter guards. 
  • Brush gutter guards look like pipe cleaners that sit inside your gutter system. They tend to be high maintenance because small debris can easily get stuck in the bristles.
  • Screen gutter guards have large holes that keep out leaves and other large debris. 
  • Mesh gutter guards have small holes that filter water while blocking debris. 
  • Micro-mesh gutter guards have tiny holes that block all sizes of debris. They are generally considered the best gutter guard for homes with heavy rain and thick tree coverage.

What Factors Should Be Considered Before Installing Gutter Guards?

Homeowners should always consider the roof type, gutter width, and climate before installing gutter guards on their homes. Here’s why:

  • Roof type: Installation costs will be higher for homes with long rooflines, less accessible roofs, and steep roofs.
  • Gutter width: Gutters are typically 5 inches wide, but some can be 4 or 6 inches. Always measure your gutters before purchasing guards.
  • Climate: If you live where there are extremely hot or cold temperatures, flimsy plastic guards probably aren’t the best option because they can easily become brittle. Instead, consider going with stainless steel.

Will Gutter Guards Void a Roof Warranty?

A common misconception is that installing gutter guards will void your roof warranty.

Note: Homeowners should always opt for professional installation when gutter guards need to be installed under roof shingles. Otherwise, improper DIY installation can damage your roof shingles and lead to water damage within your home.

When to Hire a Gutter Guard Specialist

Reverse curve gutter guards are a long-lasting option for homeowners who want to reduce the amount of maintenance on their gutter system. If you’re interested in installing a reverse curve gutter guard system, find a gutter guard specialist near you.

Main Photo By: Stilfehler / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

Whitney Lehnecker

Whitney Lehnecker

A native of Ohio, Whitney Lehnecker is a career journalist and newspaper designer. She now lives in Central Florida with her husband and two pups, Goose and Bindi.