For over 30 plus years, we have seen many competitor products come and go in our market offering a host of different products that aren’t what we would consider a permanent solution for clogged gutters but more less a temporary/cheaper solution for homeowners to choose from. One of the most important aspects to look at when reviewing a gutter protection system for your homes rain gutters, in addition to the guarantee that a company provides, is the bracket that supports and reinforces the overall protection system including your existing gutter system. A support system should ultimately do three things:
- Strengthen your existing rain gutters
- Secure your system in place (heavy winds, falling limbs)
- Add support for heavy weight situations (snow, limbs, ice)
Enclosed below, I have scoured the market for you the consumer and provided an overview of the most popular gutter guard products we run across out on the job and the support system they will install on your home if you should choose that product.
Filter – Screen Cover System
This type system utilizes your existing gutter attachment system for support, no additional support is given besides screws into your fascia board and into the front lip of the gutter. This system has been known for years to not stand up during those heavy weight situations (snow, ice, debris), as mentioned above. In extreme cases the system could possibly cave in compromising your entire protection system and disturbing the natural flow of water (melting).
Many of the products you find in big box stores fall into this category. The filter – screen cover system will solve your issues short term (keeping debris out) due to the fact that only a few screws are adding additional support. Most filter systems are pretty light in weight in terms of mass so the product itself will not create additional weight on your gutter system.
One final thing to consider with this product is that it will under extreme conditions (snowfalls, ice) will have the tenancy to buckle and cave in, causing you to make another maintenance call.
One – Piece Gutter Cover System
Internal hidden vinyl/plastic brackets are used inside a one piece gutter guard system for support. Over a shorter period of time then you might think, this bracket will expand and contract then eventually crack. Ahhh not another maintenance call! This system has been shown under independent testing to offer no additional support since your existing gutters will be removed and the system utilizes your existing fascia board as support.
A major downside to a one piece system is that in the event of any damage, a dent or bend, you will be faced with the reality and cost of replacing the entire run of gutter instead of fixing the small section or panel where the damage occurred. Under all the products listed, this the only system where this occurs, so instead of paying for a replacement panel for that particular section, you will be faced with the high cost in the system (gutter and protection system) you paid for upfront.
Smooth Solid – Horizontal Ribbed Panel Gutter Cover System
The rest of the major gutter protection systems fall into this category including Gutter Helmet. Since Gutter Helmet was the first to market, a number of the products below copied their panel after a Gutter Helmet panel. You can check out for yourself by doing a little due diligence on patent right infringement cases between Gutter Helmet and these other systems. Besides Gutter Helmet, all the systems mentioned do not utilize your homes roof as the support system for you existing rain gutters and the new protection system.
Our first product was designed very similar to Gutter Helmet and they do not utilize a bracket system to support a panel or existing gutter at all. The system is installed on your home by screwing thru the lip of the panel into your existing gutter. They claim the strength of the panel will support the system and gutter. Under independent sandbag testing a few years ago, it was shown that this system without brackets could support up to 35lbs of weight compared to Gutter Helmet’s 85lbs of weight.
Also on market today is a ribbed cover system, which looks very similar to Gutter Helmet (is often mistaken for Gutter Helmet) as the design was copied off of Gutter Helmet in the 1990’s. This system is supported by a plastic bracket system (smart clip). This bracket contraption is quite complex which includes a long nail that is secured into your fascia board, ouch that hurt! As with the one piece system referenced above, the plastic bracket will expand and contract over a short period of time then crack. Moreover, our installers have seen these brackets snap under heavy weight situations compromising the system and wait for it…….another maintenance call. Geez I thought we were done with those right? In a nutshell, as with spike and ferrule and other gutter hanging systems, anytime a nail is secured into your fascia board, the system will be prone to loosen over a period of time, just the wear and tear alone.
In Gutter Helmet’s case, unlike any of the other products mentioned, it patented PermaLife™ textured panel is supported by a 48 gauge aluminum bracket that features twin tower beams that transfers the weight of the panel away from your gutters and onto your roof (which can handle the heavy weight we are referencing, 40lbs plus). You may be saying that makes sense, but why did Bob Demartini the inventor of Gutter Helmet conclude this? He knew after 15 plus years of research that in order for a cover system to last a life time on a home, it needed to reinforce the existing gutter system in place, not replace it. Yes under certain circumstances the existing gutter systems we run across are damaged and need replacement but if you have gutters that are in good shape, Gutter Helmet is designed to increase the lifespan of those gutters by making them function as designed and transferring any additional weight away from them and onto your roof.
In conclusion, there are many gutter protection-cover products to choose from on the market today. In this era of bargain shopping, I advise strongly to research the different products for yourself before making a purchasing decision based solely on price. Many of the systems mentioned above have yearly sales and great financing deals that you can take advantage of. Clogged gutters or a system not functioning as planned can lead to water damage on your home and expensive repairs.
If you have any questions, please comment below and we will respond as quickly as possible. For more reviews on the different products, please visit our review section of our website, lots of good information here including independent testing results.