Gutter covers, or gutter guards, reduce the time that homeowners must spend on routine upkeep. Although these covers do not keep every leaf, bug and twig out of the gutters, they do drastically cut down on the amount of trapped debris. In addition, gutter covers save people up to $350 that would otherwise be spent on a professional gutter cleaning service.
Varieties of Gutter Covers
There are several types of gutter covers from which homeowners can choose. One of the most popular styles is the vinyl cover. These guards are made from PVC, which resists corrosion and dents. Also, vinyl gutter guards do not need to be painted or maintained. While these covers are ideal for moderate climates, they may become brittle after long-term exposure to cold weather.
Aluminum gutter guards are another low-maintenance option. These guards are durable, particularly those that are made from thick primary aluminum, and they come in many colors. With proper maintenance, aluminum guards can last 30 years.
People who want the sturdiness of metal covers for a lower price than those made from aluminum can purchase galvanized steel gutter guards. Due to their tendency to rust, galvanized steel gutter covers only last from 15 years to 25 years. However, these gutter covers are well-suited for cold climates.
Copper gutter covers are an excellent choice for the eco-conscious consumer because many manufacturers use recycled materials to produce them. Like steel covers, copper gutter covers are durable and cold-climate friendly. On the other hand, copper guards eventually rust, and they may need to be replaced in 15 years.
Each material is available in different designs. Some gutter covers are geared toward blocking debris. Other covers are made to keep water away from a home's foundation. Also, gutter guards may utilize bristles, foam, mesh or nylon to prevent debris accumulation.
To professionally install an entire gutter guard system, Consumer Reports' test findings indicate that gutter cover costs range from $20 to $30 per square foot. The average home requires approximately 160 square feet, ranging in total price from $3,000 to $5,000. Often, the installation company will clean the gutters for free in the event of a clog. During the test, Consumer Reports discovered that while professional gutter guards do not always prevent pooled water, they are highly effective at keeping out debris.
Consumer Reports' test also included gutter covers that are available to homeowners, such as those sold in home improvement stores. According to Consumer Reports, these gutter covers are less effective at preventing rainwater pools and debris accumulation than their professional-grade counterparts. However, the gutter cover costs for consumer-brand gutter guards are significantly lower than professional-brand gutter covers. It costs about $500 to have a professional install consumer-brand covers. Do-it-yourself homeowners can slash the installation cost by approximately $400 if they install the guards themselves.
Clogged gutters cause rainwater to overflow. This water will pool around the house, causing damage to the foundation and siding. To avoid this problem, people should clean non-protected gutters anywhere from two to four times each year. Several factors determine the number of times homeowners should clean their gutters every year, including tree types and density. For instance, a property that has an abundance of pine trees may require the homeowner to clean the gutters four times each year.
Gutters that have guards do not have to be cleaned as much as those without covers. Most people who have gutter covers on their home only need to clean their gutters one to two times per year. However, professionals recommend that homeowners inspect their gutters at least twice each year to make sure that the gutter guards are working as intended.