What To Consider When Looking For Gutter Screens and Covers

by Rachel Laurendeau on October 9, 2013

roofer WILately, we’ve talked a lot about outdoor maintenance and home improvements that need to be done in the fall and it’s come to my attention that a whole lot of people really dislike having to climb up and clean their eaves or gutters. So let’s talk gutter covers and screens.

There are a number of different screen and cover systems on the market at varying price points but all of them have the same end goal: keeping debris out of the actual gutter or eaves to make clean-up easier.

If you are planning on installing one of these systems, consider:

• Certain materials like plastics, will become extremely brittle and crack easily in cold climates, so buy a material that works for your local weather.

• Different systems are available depending on the type of debris that you’re trying to keep out. For example, a finer mesh is required to keep out pine needles than would be required for oak or maple leaves.

• Often, debris will get caught up in the mesh systems and then you have to clean the mess off the screen instead of out of the gutters and they can be even more difficult to clean. With the cover-type systems, leaves often tend to get washed or blown away by rain or wind.

• These systems are not maintenance-free. While screens and covers can keep larger debris out of your gutters and eaves, the finer stuff will still get through so you’ll need to climb up and spray them out anyway. In many cases, you will actually have to remove the cover or screen in order to spray out the gutter, meaning that you have more work to do up on the ladder taking the cover off and replacing it when you’re done.

• Screens and covers provide extra shelter for pests. Wasps and other stinging insects seem to find them attractive for building their nests. Not so fun when you’re trying to clean them out.

Essentially, the jury is still out as to whether gutter screens or gutter covers are worthwhile. Some people swear by them, others take them down after just a few seasons, saying that they create more problems. You can also talk to your local home improvement expert or roofing contractor to see where they weigh in on the issue.  I’ll let you do your homework and give the screens a try, if that’s what you choose. Around here, we’re going to stick to cleaning out our gutters the old fashioned way twice a year and trimming the trees back so they aren’t overhanging and dropping more litter on the roof.

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