Q&A / 

Gutter Covers

This is the best gutter guard I've ever tested. A stainless-steel micromesh prevents any pine needles from getting into the gutter. Copyright 2018 Tim Carter

"I started to test different products and discovered quickly they all did a great job of keeping leaves out of my gutters. But in the spring, or after two spring seasons, all of the gutter cover products I tested FAILED."

Gutter covers are a huge business. They really came of age back in the 1990s.

Related Links

Extensive Gutter Guard Tests By Tim Carter

Gutter Guard Truth - Be Sure Guards Are Sloped!

Gutter Covers Work - But Most Allow Debris Into Gutters - BEWARE!

I clearly remember seeing these products multiply when I'd attend the different trade shows like the National Hardware Show and the International Builders Show.

Both of these shows have a playpen area that's got smaller booths designed for start-up companies.

If you want to see really new products, that's the best place to go in both shows. All the little guys are there and some have spectacular products such as the metal pegboard I spied at one of the shows back about fifteen years ago. But I digress.

When the gutter covers, or gutter guards as many call them, came about, I was intrigued. My own home had nearly 400 feet of gutter and huge oak, maple and gingko trees surrounded my house. Cleaning gutters was a huge task and it was dangerous.

I started to test different gutter cover products and discovered quickly they all did a great job of keeping leaves out of my gutters. But in the spring, or after two spring seasons, all of the gutter cover products I tested FAILED.

There were two primary designs:

  • Slots, Grooves, Holes, and Knockouts
  • Rounded Nose or reverse curve as the industry calls them

Goal: Water In - Everything Else Out

The slots, grooves, holes and knockout-type gutter cover were designed to let water into the gutter through the openings in the gutter cover. Big leaves couldn't pass. But small twigs, pieces of bark, pine needles, tiny leaves, roof shingle granules COULD get into the grooves and slots.

When this happened, some got into the gutter and the larger pieces CLOGGED the slots and grooves causing water to then shoot over the gutter guard onto the ground. That's BAD!

The rounded nose gutter guard works based on water's surface tension. As water flows over the metal roof of the gutter guard it tends to stick to the gutter guard and flows down into the gutter. Large leaves can't get into the slot.

The issue I discovered is, once again, all the small roof debris did get sucked down into the gutter.

Gutter Cover Test FAILURE Results

After a few years, my CLEAN gutters had an inch or two of organic MUCK in them. So much for great gutter covers!

Another reason they failed is that many gutter covers lay very flat over the gutters. This creates a shelf where debris can collect. The best design is to have the gutter cover be sloped and that slope should match the slope or pitch of the roof.

gutter guards pine needles drawing

Here's a quick cross-section showing how the gutter guard - in green - is in the same plane as the roofing material. The drawing is not to scale. I used to make drawings like this sitting at customers' kitchen tables. Copyright 2018 Tim Carter

The Best Gutter Cover - Micromesh

Finally, I discovered a new product years ago that was made from a remarkable ultra-fine stainless steel mesh. It reminded me of pantyhose fabric. The openings in the mesh were SO SMALL that you could barely get the head of a pin through it.

I thought they'd never allow water through. I KNEW they'd stop all the small debris from entering the gutter but would water flow through the mesh?

YES! They worked! You can discover MORE about the gutter covers I ended up using on my house just below. Click the link next to the STOP sign after the two videos.

Here are two videos that show you my test results.



Well, I have Amazon affiliate links throughout my site showing you great tools and products I own and use. Thousands of my newsletter subscribers BEG ME to tell them about the products I love and they have no issue with me getting a small commission as does a real estate agent, a car salesman or any other person who invests their time to help you make an INFORMED DECISION.

You could spend years and tens of thousands of dollars testing different gutter covers yourself, or you can just accept that I've invested all that time and money for you. That's fair, isn't it?


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