When gutters become clogged, they can cause flooding in the basement, damage to siding and create an environment for mold to grow. Installing gutter guards are supposed to keep your rain gutters free of debris and relieve you of the hassle of having to clean your gutters. With so many different kinds out there, what will work best? Gutter protection roughly falls into three categories: screens, solid covers and inserts.
Screens, made of metal or mesh, are easily added to your gutters by snapping them into place over the gutter channel. They let the water into the gutters, but not the debris. The idea behind screen type gutter protection is that wind and rain will eventually remove the trapped twigs and leaves. Metal screens can have holes in the shape of diamonds, circles or slots. Many professionals agree that the first two tend to work better than slots, which can allow debris to enter the gutters. Some types of screens can be installed underneath the shingles. They are generally more expensive than standard metal screens, but are more durable.
Solid cover gutter guards are designed to let the water in but direct the debris off to the side and then down to the ground. Because they totally cover the gutter channel, popular perception is that they offer the best protection. However, they have been known to underperform in climates that experience heavy rainfall. Solid cover gutter guards are also known as surface tension gutter guards and are typically made of vinyl.
Gutter Filters or Inserts
Another option is the gutter filter or insert, usually made of some type of foam. They are inserted inside the gutter channel. Rainwater flows through the foam while debris is intended to land on top of the inserts and then blow away without causing clogs or blockage.
Some kinds of gutter guards work better than others. Most professionals agree that a gutter protection system of some type can reduce the amount of gutter cleaning a homeowner has to do. But they also warn not to give in to the “never again” mentality – you will still need to check on your rain gutters from time to time. And don’t forget the downspouts. Gutter guards can keep out a lot of debris but if it does somehow enter the gutter system, build-up in a downpipe or gutter section can cause problems if not spotted early enough.