Lots of people get tired of cleaning out their gutters at least twice a year. But here’s how you can actually do something about it: purchase a gutter cover system.
There are several options available in the marketplace today at a wide range of price points. Here a rundown of the types of gutter covers and what they will probably cost:
- Screens. Their base materials can be made of plastic, aluminum, or PVC-coated metal, and they are sold in both rolls and individual sections. They snap easily into place (sometimes underneath the roofline shingles), but are susceptible to the elements and aren’t designed for lengthy lifespans. Cost: 25 cents to $1.50 per foot for plastic/aluminum for materials only, installation runs $1 to $3 per foot. $2.50 to $10 per foot for PVC-coated metal for materials only, installation runs $6.50 to $22 per foot.
- Solid covers. These are simply flat covers that block the entire top of the gutters except for a thin slot on the outer edge where water can trickle through. The covers either snap into the gutters or are screwed to the roof fascia; however, the front slot tends to get clogged since it sits back from the lip of the gutter. Cost: $1 to $3 per foot for materials only, or $3 to $15 per foot installed.
- Sponges. These products act as gutter inserts and are placed inside the gutters themselves. The idea is for water to soak through the spongy, porous material while debris simply falls away. However, the holes in the sponge can become clogged by shingle grit and other debris from your roof, thus lowering performance. Cost: $2 to $6 for materials only, or $5 to $14 per foot installed.
- Screens with mesh filters. These are a step up from the simple screen gutter covers because they are equipped with a fine mesh filter to further repel debris from entering your gutter. They can be screwed in, slid underneath shingles, or snapped into place, but sometimes ice or heavy rain can cause performance problems and runoff especially if the screen is impeded by debris like shingle grit from your roof. Note a screen system will be more effective if water does not have to jump from your roofline down to the screen covered gutter, any jumping of water can lead to issues overtime to improper runoff. Cost: for generic products, 89 cents to $7 per foot for materials only, or $3 to $10 per foot installed. Some name-brand versions of this product are sturdier but require professional installation at a cost of $8 to $20 per foot.
- Combination gutters/covers. These products require removing your old gutters and putting up these all-in-one combinations of gutters/gutter covers by screwing them to the roof fascia or hangers. They operate using the same approach as the simple gutter covers, but may have trouble handling large amounts of water. Any damage over time to the system should be a cost concern up front as well since you will have to replace an entire run of gutter not just a small panel or screen section like the other options presented. Cost: They can only be installed by a dealer at $16 to $28 per foot.
- Surface tension solid covers. Think of these as next-generation gutter covers. The water adheres to the surface of the gutter covers and runs down through a small (3/8 inch slot) into the gutters, while solid debris slides onto the ground since the nose of the system sticks out past the lip of the gutter. These are installed by professionals using custom brackets providing more support, and are the strongest covers on the market for wind and heavy snow loads. Cost: $15 to $30 per foot installed.
There’s one more thing to consider. When it comes to gutter covers, that old adage applies: you get what you pay for. So any investment you can make toward a gutter cover system will reduce the time spend to maintain, repair, or replace it in the future. We advise….do your research and by reading this post you are well on your way!
And think about this — if you spend as much time up on a ladder cleaning or unclogging gutter covers as you did before you bought them, you’re probably not getting your money’s worth, right? Don’t pay twice.
Photo credits: researchgutters.com