Gutter Screens and Covers: Which is the Best and Worst?

Gutter Guard
05 Jan
2017

Types of Gutter Guards

There are four general types of gutter guards: screens, covers, foam, and bristles. Because foam and bristles are a little less commonly used (although they are still useful), this article is going to focus on the main differences between gutter covers and screens.

Gutter Covers Versus Gutter Screens

 

Screens

Gutter screens can be made from a variety of materials. Mesh and micro-mesh are common materials, but you can also easily find metal or plastic screens as well. A screen lays over top the gutters and blocks debris from entering the gutters while allowing water to still flow through.

Depending on how large or small the holes in the screen are, more or less water can go through while smaller or larger debris is blocked. Micro-mesh screens are some of the most effective against debris of all sizes, even small dirt, but they also block a lot of water and aren’t effective in heavy rainfall. Plastic or metal screens with larger holes are great in all rain conditions, but they will fail to block small-medium debris.

Pros

  • Screens are very easy to install; you don’t need professional installation
  • Metal and plastic screens are quite affordable
  • Easy to find in stores
  • Fits with most gutters on almost every home
  • Great at preventing leaves from getting clogged in the gutter

Cons

  • Small debris like pine needles and seeds can still enter
  • Ice may build up inside the gutters
  • Metal screens may rust and cause stains on the house

Gutter Covers

Covers

Gutter covers are different from screens in that they actually cover the entirety of the gutter, leaving only a small area for water to enter the gutters. They do this in a few ways. Either there is a flat cover that leaves a small area between the guard and the edge of the gutter, a hard cover with slots, or a curved cover that drains water in the gutter while expelling debris.

The most popular type, reverse curved gutter covers, are curved in a way that water can drip down into the gutter while nothing else can get inside. They are fairly effective, but useless in a heavy rainfall, because the water will not all drip into the gutters. Other covers can have similar problems, but they may also collect snow and weigh down the gutters unnecessarily.

Pros

  • Sturdy and semi-permanent installation
  • Effective against a lot more debris
  • Very effective at keeping leaves out of the gutters
  • Help prevent rusting in your gutters

Cons

  • Snow tends to collect more easily on gutter covers
  • Covers may not work well in heavy rainfall
  • Small animals and birds can easily nest inside the gutters, and it’s hard to clean them out

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