Gutter covers seem like a simple idea. They’re covers or inserts that fit over or inside your gutters to keep everything but water out, thereby making it easier to keep your gutter clean and functional. Despite the simple nature of their design, shopping for a gutter cover can be overwhelming with the dozens of different options available to you. Below, you can learn more about how to choose the right gutter cover or leaf guards for your needs.
Know Your Gutter’s Style and Size
First things first, you will need to determine the size and style of your gutter system to purchase the right gutter covers. Your gutters are likely either half-round or K-style; you can tell the difference just by looking at them. A half-round gutter is a U-shaped curve, whereas a K-style gutter has noticeable corners. You should also consider your gutter’s size. Most gutters in the US are either 5” or 6”, though some go all the way up to 7” or 8”. Just measure across the opening of the gutter to determine this and narrow down the selection significantly.
Consider Covers vs. Inserts
The next thing to consider is the style of gutter cover that will best suit your needs. A gutter cover, as its name would imply, is a device that fits over the gutter to keep leaves and other debris out while still allowing water to flow in. Other types of gutter guards are more like foam inserts that sit inside your gutter and prevent debris from finding its way into the system. The former is easier for you to clean with time, but the latter is better for self-installation. Either option can be beneficial for homeowners.
Understand the Types of Debris in Your System
The last time you cleaned your gutters, what did you find? Different homeowners deal with different types of debris, which can range from fallen leaves to twigs, acorns, pine needles, and even animal nests. When it comes to choosing a gutter cover, it’s important that you choose one designed to filter out the debris for your specific home. Some of the gutter covers designed to keep out leaves are not very effective at keeping out pine needles, for example. With just a little bit of research, it’s easy to narrow down the choices.
Look at Your Budget
Gutter covers range in price from affordable for almost any budget to significantly costlier; this range all depends on the materials from which the gutter cover is made. Screens tend to be a little less expensive than specialty gutter covers, and covers made from PVC plastic tend to be more affordable than those made of metal, but they are not quite as long-lasting or durable.
Though choosing the right gutter cover is not a difficult task, many homeowners rely on the knowledge and expertise of their local gutter installers or contractors for help. They often have access to a wide selection of options, and they can go over these choices with you to help you choose the right one for your situation, location, and budget.