There are various ways to classify gutter guards -- you can divide them into very broad or very specific categories. There are six basic types [source: Kraeutler]:
- Reverse curve
- Bottle brush
- Non-gutter cover
- Foam type
The reverse curve is designed to direct water downward into the gutter through a tiny slit but encourage leaves to fall to the ground.
Mesh gutter guards are sheets filled with holes that cover the gutter and attach to the roof shingles. Small holes are better than large holes because they don't clog as easily. Smaller holes sift out all the debris but let water fall down into the gutter.
Bottle brush gutter guards are similar to those pokey bristles that prevent birds from landing on things like statues. The bristles face upright so debris can rest on top while water flows into the downspout.
Nylon gutter guards work especially well in the winter to prevent snow and ice accumulation. You can get them to fit into your gutter without attaching to the shingles.
Non-gutter covers actually replace your gutters with a set of thin louvers that divert rain off the roof.
The final type of gutter guard is the foam type, which is made from a plastic that fits directly into the gutter. It's supposed to block all the debris falling from the roof and into the gutter.
You've been introduced to the world of gutter guards. Now it's up to you to determine if your (or your neighbors') gutters need a guard!