Gutter Covers: Install Yourself or Hire a Pro?

Perhaps you have finally reached the point where you are sick and tired of cleaning out your gutters. You despise the idea of scraping out slushy dirt and debris with your hands or a garden spade. Or you’re worried that you’ll slip and fall off of a ladder and hurt yourself. Maybe you just have better things to do on a weekend than clean your gutters.


It looks like this guy just finished cleaning out his gutters… again.

That’s why you’ve opted to put gutter covers on your existing gutters. But are you going to do this yourself, or are you going to hire a professional to install them for you?

The answer largely depends on the precise type of gutter protection system that you will select. Here is some information on your choices:

1. Snap-on pieces. These gutter covers are usually made of a lightweight metal and are designed to snap onto the outer edge of your gutters. The other end of the product rests on top of your shingles so that leaves and other debris simply bounce off the cover during a rainstorm, while water flows through a crack and into the gutters themselves.

2. Underneath-shingle pieces. Like snap-on gutter covers, these can usually be installed without the aid of a pro. But instead of snapping onto your gutters’ outer edges, the inside edge slides snugly underneath the edge of your shingles on the roofline, and the gutter guard lays on top of the gutters. Holes in the product lets water seep through while repelling solid debris.

3. Mesh or screen pieces. This is generally the least expensive gutter protection option. Each section is made of soft metal (or even plastic) and either sits on top of gutters or can be squeezed inside them just below the top edge. Water flows easily through these screens or mesh pieces, while leaves and pine needles stay out of your gutters.

4. Bottle brush pieces. Picture a large pipe cleaner whose width is about the same as your gutters. These simply sit inside your gutters and collect or repel solid debris, while permitting water to trickle through the “spines” and through your gutters.

5. Reverse curve pieces. Unlike the other four options, reverse curve gutter covers are generally installed by professionals. The slanted metal is situated on top of your existing gutters so that water adheres to the inverted curve and flows into your gutters — while pine needles, twigs, and other debris just slide off and fall to the ground.

So which of these options is right for you? And can you install it yourself? Here’s what you need to know:

    • The first four gutter covers can be purchased at home improvement or hardware stores (so you’ll have to measure your gutters to determine how many you’ll need). They’re relatively inexpensive, but they aren’t really designed to last more than a few years. Also, some of these products are often installed incorrectly, which can result in water being channeled to unwanted areas.

 

  • Conversely, reverse curve gutter covers are usually guaranteed to be installed correctly by the professional who puts them up; and they also come with a lengthy warranty as well. The costs of this type of system are higher than do-it-yourself solutions, but reverse curve gutter covers are manufactured to last for many years … or even decades.

So if you’re on a tight budget and don’t mind climbing up a ladder every so often to replace them, DIY gutter covers may work for you. But if you want to put up a gutter protection system one time and then forget about it, you should definitely choose professionally-installed reverse curve gutter covers. The choice is up to you.

Photo credit: Jo Jakeman