Whew! This is a much-debated topic among property owners and people in our profession. Here’s some thoughts:
Plastic Gutter Covers – These are tempting because they’re fairly inexpensive and look like they would work. The big problem, they are plastic! Think about this. The surface of your roof can reach temperatures of 140 degrees or more in the summer. The plastic covers get so hot that they warp and lose their shape which destroys the functionality of the product. It ends up being a waste of time and money.
Most Metal Gutter Covers – Many companies sell thin metal that are placed under the first row of shingles and then fastened down or clipped to the front of the gutter. The big problem, they still let in pine needles, seeds, and other debris making proper gutter cleaning impossible without removing them. This in turn cost money to remove, put back, and can damage that first row of shingles in the process.
The Better Metal Gutter Covers – No product names mentioned here, but these “one piece” systems are pretty good. They actually work and do a decent job of keep most debris out. Including those pesky pine needles.
However, they are so expensive you wouldn’t believe it!
Take the average home for instance. It has approximately 200 linear feet of gutter. So, with this average house you can expect to pay about $5,500. That means it will take you about 19.6 years to recoup your money if you have your gutters clean two times per year. Ouch!
Gutter Screens – The metal mess hinged gutter screens have developed a bad reputation over the years and mainly because simply put, gutter screens are a poor choice. Their biggest downfall, good ol Georgia pine needles. They get stuck in the screens, looking like pointed spears sticking straight up. Leaves then get trapped which in turn traps seedlings and other debris swirling in the air or washing down the roof. The result. A water damn exactly where you don’t need it.
Recommendation: Keep your gutters open and clean them as conditions apply. Gutters with covers or screens are very difficult if not impossible to clean once they’re installed. If your still on the edge if covers are for you, search online or better yet, join an online forum where gutter installers and cleaners hang out. You learn the truth as we know it. It’s not pretty.