Gutter systems serve the same basic function: channeling water away from the home. However, a variety of materials and designs are used to create these, resulting in systems with unique features and benefits. Before having new gutters installed, homeowners should review the options to identify which system is most appropriate for their needs.
A half-round gutter is the most common type and it features an open top. Addition of a cover, guard, filter, or screen prevents debris from collecting in the gutter and blocking some or all of the water from flowing into the downspout. When water fills up the gutter, it then flows over the edge, running down the fascia board or exterior of the house or falling onto the ground. In all cases, damage can result, so a protective or debris collection feature is recommended.
Some gutters feature a plate or screen that contains slots or holes small enough to permit water entry but trap debris. The debris remains on top of the plate or screen, where it dries and is eventually blown away by the wind. A filtering device is a more modern incarnation featuring open cell foam. Another type of system channels water to flow in one direction while debris travels in another direction.
The most effective systems allow only water to enter the gutter, eliminating the need for gutter cleaning. However, most systems permit some accumulation of debris, making periodic maintenance a necessity. Homeowners should consider the amount of debris that could potentially fall into their gutters and select the system that minimizes maintenance. We frequently recommend the K-Guard Gutter Protection System because of how well it keeps debris out of the gutter system.
Cost is another variant with these systems because different materials carry different price tags. Gutter protection systems may be made from steel, aluminum, copper, PVC, polypropylene, or a special polypropylene foam. Steel or aluminum screens tend to be the least expensive and foam systems tend to be the most costly.