Gutter guards are needed in order to keep a home's gutters from clogging and mud and silt from collecting along the bottom and sides of those gutters. This is especially true if you have lots of trees that hang over the home's roof, as these trees will drop seeds, leaves, twigs, sap and other debris into the gutters, increasing the risk of clogs and damage. There are many gutter protection options available, so note a few pros and cons of each choice, and this can help you to find the right one for your home.
A gutter brush is a long, circular brush that you cut to size and then set in the gutter, so it's very easy to use and doesn't need any type of professional installation. The brush will block larger leaves and twigs, and you simply take it out and rinse it off as needed. The downside of a brush is that smaller twigs and seeds can still collect in the gutters, and sap may cling to the brush, making it difficult to clean. A brush may not be the best choice if there are trees nearby that lose smaller pieces or that drip sticky sap.
Foam gutter guards are a type of foam block that is cut and then set in the gutters, to allow water through while blocking solid debris. These foam blocks are also easy to install on your own, and they're very inexpensive. The foam stops virtually all solid debris from getting into the gutters, so it's a good choice for homes that may see small twigs and seeds fall onto the roof.
One downside to foam is that small weeds can actually take root in the material itself, so you will need to pull these out when you clean the foam. This can cause tears in the foam, so it may need replacing more often than other gutter guard options.
Screens are a good choice for gutter guards, as they block most solid debris, and you can even clean them without removing them, using a power washer or scrub brush. However, screens with large mesh may also let small seeds and twigs get past their surface, and weeds can even grow in the gutters if mud and silt are allowed to build up. Micro mesh can be a better option; the mesh is too small to allow seeds to collect, and the gutters will be less likely to fill with damaging mud and silt.