Gutter Covers and Gutter Guards are “Insurance” for Your Home?

That’s the essence of the first sentence of an article I read recently. I rushed to see what the product was and was amazed to find a screen—not even a sophisticated screen.

The article went on to note all the ways that moisture from clogged gutters gets into the home to cause mold, rot, stained and damaged siding, soil erosion, and so on.

Then the article said that gutter covers are a “proven solution to avoid costly problems.” Obviously this writer/contractor was a novice or a rip off artist to make such a claim with a screening product.

Screens are flat and get installed on the top of the gutter. They have openings to allow the water to enter the gutter and are supposed to be small enough to keep out tree debris. But the problem is that debris accumulates on top of the screen and deteriorates with time. As the rain fall hits the debris the debris is broken into tiny pieces. A significant portion is small enough to enter through the screen openings and clog the gutter.

The remainder of the debris stays on top of the screen where it accumulates in sufficient quantity to clog the openings of the screen. In fact all screens do is put off the inevitable damage associated with clogged gutters. They require vigilant maintenance to keep the gutters clean and flowing. The problem is that when a contractor sells them under the guise of being an insurance policy, the homeowner may be led to believe that the clogged gutter problem is solved and never needs to be dealt with again.

But this is only the tip of the iceberg. There are nearly a hundred different products on the market—some of them costing $20.00 per foot or more—that promise your problems are over.

Foam insert are similar to screens. They are installed inside the gutter and somehow those who market and sell this product lead the homeowner to believe that the gutter will never clog again. They claim that debris just blows off. And yes, if the winds of the north blew at just the right time every year, maybe they’d be right, but that doesn’t happen and the debris ends up deteriorating before it’s blown away and then get pummeled into the foam when it rains.

In fact most of the gutter protection gutter guard business is a big laugh. There are solid top systems that claim to be the same insurance policy. One type is a solid top cover with a rounded fin in the front. Water flows across the top and follows the fin downward and into the gutter. Is this type of gutter guard an insurance policy? Yes, if the winds of the north blow all the debris away before the rains come, but it’s not that way. The rains knock the leaves off the tree and wash them down the roof across the top of the gutter guard where they follow the contour of the fin and go into the gutter. Insurance policy? What about the solid top with a trough? Here’s a statement. Why do solid top fin type gutter guards have troughs? Because the fin type doesn’t work—that’s why. But why should a fin type gutter guard with a trough work better? It doesn’t because once the debris gets below the gutter line it can only go inside the gutter.

The new kid on the block with gutter covers are the mesh types. They use surgical steel to make the mesh. Do they work any better than basic screens? Go to YouTube and decide for yourself. You’ll find video clips of them comparing themselves to other mesh products. The question is, “What keeps debris from accumulating on top of the mesh devices? The answer is, “nothing.” The tops still need to be cleaned.

In fact there isn’t any gutter cover or gutter guard or leaf guard that doesn’t need to be cleaned. Is it hopeless? No, the closest gutter guard to an insurance policy has a solid top. But instead of one long fin along the front top surface collecting water, the gutter protector has two rows of louvers collecting rain water. The louvers limit the size of the debris that can get into the gutter meaning that gutters never clog. But what about the accumulation of debris on the gutter guards? As opposed to all other types of gutter guards accumulating debris where it can’t be seen, debris that accumulates on this gutter protector can easily be seen from the ground. And even better news is that the homeowner can easily brush off the debris with a telescopic pole and brush that can reach the highest gutters from the ground. It’s called “suit and tie” maintenance because it’s not a dirty job and the homeowner can literally do it dressed in a suit and tie in less time than it would to get out the ladder. This feature makes this gutter guard the best gutter cover available.

To find out more about the best gutter guards–self cleaning gutters– please visit

Richard Kuhns B.S.Ch.E. President and CEO of R.K. Industries manufacturer of the Waterloov® Gutter Protection System. To learn more please go to