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Do Gutter Covers Work? (And Do You Really Need Them?)

Do Gutter Covers Work? (And Do You Really Need Them?)

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Gutter covers, also known as gutter guards, function as filters to prevent leaves and debris from going into your gutter cavity.

As a result, it saves you from the hassle of gutter clogs. Plus, you don’t need to clean out your gutters as often.

But do gutter covers work?

Yes. With proper installation, gutter covers are effective not just in preventing obstructions, but they can let you save on maintenance costs in the long run too.

That said, do you really need gutter covers? Are there risks of having gutter cover installations? Read on to learn more about gutter covers as well as their advantages.

Do You Need Gutter Covers?

Yes. You may need gutter covers if you have blockage problems resulting in water damage or poor drainage. Besides that, there are other reasons why you might need gutter covers.

Gutter Clogging

You may need gutter covers if your gutter and downspouts get clogged easily.

Common gutter obstructions like windborne wastes, animal nests or droppings, and leaves prevent water from draining freely.

Meanwhile, gutter blockages can spark a cascade of problems that may increase the chances of damage and moisture in your home.

Gutter Damage

Accumulation of debris can weigh your gutters down and cause them to droop.

Over time, excess weight can weaken the gutter, loosen screws, and disrupt the slope of your gutters.

Erosion or Trench Formation

A blocked gutter restricts water from flowing freely into the channels, so instead of draining properly, they overflow and fall to the ground.

That said, excess water that flows to the ground may erode your landscaping or form muddy trenches.

Your house’s foundation or patio becomes prone to damage or may suffer from cracks too.

Flooding and Leaks

Water that overflows from an obstructed gutter can back up, reach your ceiling, or leak into your home. The leaks encourage moisture that may progress into mold buildup.

On the other hand, water can seep into your home, especially in places easily prone to flooding.

Given that fact, an obstructed gutter can be one reason your basement floods, especially during heavy downpours. In due course, floods compromise your basement’s structural integrity.

Less Cleaning and Maintenance

Cleaning your gutter at least twice yearly discourages waste material and organic matter buildup.

So, gutter covers may come in handy if you want to skip the tedious process of cleaning and clearing obstructions from your gutters often.

Since gutter guards effectively filter out debris, you don’t have to clear the gutter cavity from dirt or leaves that can prevent proper drainage.

Pest or Animal Infestation

Your gutter can be a hotspot for birds or rodents that leave out droppings or build nests that can occlude your gutters.

Thanks to gutter guards that work as a safety net, these pesky creatures won’t be able to enter and dwell in your gutters easily.

Reduce Fire Hazards

If you’re residing in areas prone to bush or forest fires, a metal gutter guard can help fire risks.

It’s because gutter covers can protect against embers from nearby fires that the wind can blow in.

Your roofing is especially vulnerable to embers that can potentially ignite the dry leaves and organic debris accumulating in your gutters.

With a gutter guard that serves as a barrier against flammable elements like dry leaves, embers won’t have something to ignite and cause a fire.

What Are the Common Types of Gutter Covers?

Gutter covers are crafted with different materials like steel or mesh.

The efficiency and suitability for different debris vary for each design or material, not to mention that they also differ in degree of strength.

1 – Mesh Screen

Mesh-type gutter guards are effective in filtering leaves and other debris. They’re either made with stainless steel or aluminum.

However, they aren’t effective in filtering small debris out. You can opt for the micro mesh variant instead.

The micro-mesh variant has finer mesh screens that allow tiny dirt particles or pollen filtration.

While its filtration capacity is superior, it can restrict water flow.

2 – Foam

Foam gutter guards are DIY-friendly and easy to install. They’re also inexpensive and effective in blocking small and large debris.

Despite that, foam inserts are less durable and may cause overflowing.

3 – Brush

The thick plastic bristles of brush-type gutter guards effectively trap both small and large debris.

4 – Reverse-Curve

They’re solid metal or plastic hoods with curved edges that permit water entry but leave debris to slide off.

The reverse-curve gutter cover usually needs professional service since wrong installation can mess with your roof warranty.

Why Are Gutter Covers Bad?

Depending on the circumstances, gutter covers can be disadvantageous, and poor installation can be one of the reasons.

Here are some factors why gutter covers can be harmful:

Gutter Covers Can Void Your Roof Warranty

Choosing a gutter guard that isn’t compatible with your roof might cause damage due to invasive installation.

It can also strain your roof or gutter, damaging shingles or causing it to sag because of too much weight.

At the same time, DIY solutions may result in irreparable damage to your roof, revoking your warranty. That’s why it’s always best to work with reputable contractors to ensure safe and effective installation.

Gutter Covers Still Require Maintenance

Despite preventing gutter blockages, gutter guards, especially screen-type ones, aren’t a perfect system.

Debris may still accumulate on top, especially if trees surround your area and leaves fall all year round. Therefore, you’ll still need to clean out your gutters occasionally.

Gutter Covers Encourage Formation of Icicles

Both solid and mesh-type gutter covers can encourage ice chunks or snow to build up on top of them.

Once it freezes and thaws due to temperature changes, it eventually forms icicles around the edges of your gutter.

Furthermore, icicles are a safety concern and can weigh your gutter down too.

Final Thoughts

Gutter covers work by preventing debris from entering your gutter cavity and clogging them.

However, they’re not foolproof and can be problematic, especially during winter, as they can encourage icicle formations.

Apart from that, gutter covers can void your roof warranty due to poor installation.


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