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How To Choose The Best Gutter Guard System

The constant hassle of having to clean out your gutters every season, especially in the fall, is something most homeowners find time consuming, potentially dangerous and a maintenance task they could do without. But, no matter what climate you live in gutters get clogged with leaves, pine needles and a host of other debris. There are now numerous gutter guard systems on the market, but you need to think about cost, effectiveness, the region you live in, materials, appearance and ease of maintenance before spending the money to have a professional install them or to DIY (Do It Yourself).

Gutter Guard Materials

Aluminum Mesh Gutter Guard from Leaf Relief

Aluminum Mesh Gutter Guard from Leaf Relief

The range of different gutter guard systems is considerable. The primary materials are copper, aluminum, plastic, nylon, metal mesh and foam. Each of the different gutter guard materials has distinct advantages and disadvantages. Copper does not rust though is more difficult and expensive to install. If you are looking for a nice copper-colored finish then you need to perform annual maintenance on the sealant to keep the copper from turning green. Aluminum is lightweight, less expensive than copper, and will typically last longer than any plastic or foam. However aluminum can cost a bit more than plastic and may require a more demanding installation. Plastic is durable and will not rust, but can crack in colder regions and is not as strong as metal products. Nylon, mesh and foam are most commonly used as gutter filter systems, rather than gutter covers, and therefore can still get clogged with debris easier than full gutter covers, but do have better water flow and are less expensive.

Types of Gutter Guards

Gutter Cover Type Gutter Guard from Gutter Helmet

Cover Type Gutter Guard from Gutter Helmet

The primary gutter guard systems fall into two primary categories: screens and covers. Screens act as a filter that allows much more water throughput into your gutters while keeping out large debris. Screens are usually made from nylon or metal mesh, foam or aluminum. Due to the relative thinness of screens they are less durable than covers, but are much easier to install and cheaper. They usually sit in the gutter or just along the top so are not seen. Gutter guard covers are much larger and more difficult to install. They are usually made from metal (copper or aluminum) or thick plastic. They sit atop your gutters so their appearance is a necessary consideration. Gutter covers keep all debris from going into your gutters, but do not allow as much water throughput during heavy rainstorms because their surface area over the gutter is much greater than a screen system.

Safety and Maintenance

Thousands of people get hurt every year trying to clean their gutters. They fall off ladders, slice open their hands on sharp edges or slip off their roofs. One of the best reasons to get a gutter guard system is safety. Once installed the standard gutter guards only need an annual maintenance check so you won’t have to be up on the ladder every season. If you have a professional install them, ask if annual checks are a part of your installation agreement. If you decide to install a gutter guard system yourself, then be aware of the dangers of using a ladder and take all necessary safety precautions. No matter what sort of installation you prefer, gutter guards – both screens and covers – will save you substantial maintenance time.

Choose The Best Gutter Guard System For You

You should take special care in determining what gutter guard system is best for you and your home. According to Gutter Protection Reviews, the best overall system is micro-mesh over an extruded frame, with the reverse curve waterfall gutter cover a close second. But, if you have extensive debris problems then micro-mesh may catch too much of it to be effective with water throughput, so a full gutter cover may be better. It is best to discuss the various gutter guard options with an installer in your area and then decide on what the most suitable choice is for you.
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