Choosing The Best Gutter Guard Or Cover

Prevent debris from clogging your gutters with a guard or cover.

Rain gutter guards or covers are designed to keep debris out of your gutters and keep runoff flowing in the gutter and out via downspouts. But no matter how good the guard or cover, it won't keep all debris out. Gutter covers won't eliminate required gutter maintenance. Your best bet is to buy the best cover and flush out your gutters a few times a year.

Gutter covers create a flow that carries leaves and debris over the lip of the cover and away from the roof during rain. This prevents accumulation of debris. Debris is a major problem in rain gutters. Water flowing down the roof deposits leaves, seed pods, flower buds, trash and asphalt particles into the gutter. Wind pulverizes leaves and other organic material, creating piles of packed dirt and debris in nooks and crannies in the gutter channel, clogging it. A clogged gutter can fill with excess rainwater and pull away from your roof, allowing water to siphon in behind and eventually enter the structure. In the worst situations, the gutter can come crashing down.

Gutter covers are designed to cap the gutter and prevent this. Large leaves or other pieces flow over the gutter or blow off the roof. Smaller debris flows down the gutter and out through the downspout. But this doesn't always happen. Organic and inorganic material accumulates. Organic stuff decomposes into a goo that traps inorganic debris until you have a mess that must be scraped out and a gutter that must be flushed out.

Gutter covers are available in a wide selection of materials from simple plastic netting to metal and vinyl. They come in cap, slit or open mesh designs available in 3-15 foot lengths. Covers that provide quick and easy access to the gutter are good choices. Some products have a convex curve that is said to increase surface flow. But most are flat lengths attached to the gutters by pushing clips onto the front lip of a standard K-style gutter.

The right type of gutter cover is best linked to maintenance. Choose a gutter cover that

can be easily removed and reinstalled. All manufacturers claim easy installation, but ease of installation may depend entirely upon individual skills and experience.

Netting comes in rolls and can be quickly attached. But netting is prone to sunlight

degradation over time and may have to be removed in order to clean the gutter. Slit types cover the gutter entirely with a solid surface providing only a small slit that water flows into. Water tends to cling to surfaces as it flows. This design provides only a small opening through which water can enter but larger debris flows over. But small pieces of debris, such as pine needles or asphalt granules still can enter and accumulate. It may be difficult to remove smaller debris from the slits themselves. They will have to be removed for gutter cleaning.

Mesh design covers have diamond-shaped access holes in a plate design. This type keeps

out some larger debris and allows easier access for cleaning without removal as long as

the gutter is cleaned regularly. The open-face design allows a stream of water to flush the

gutter clean.

Choosing a gutter cover or guard right for you will depend upon budget and ease of access for cleaning. Covers don't eliminate the yearly need for cleaning, but they can greatly reduce the amount of debris that can accumulate, making home maintenance that much easier.

© High Speed Ventures 2011