Gutter covers or gutter guards are designed to protect different types of gutters from the debris that can get trapped during the heavy wind and rainfall in the winter months. If you are near to trees that spread needles, leaves and other annoying organic material into your gutters, consider using covers to save you some cleanup work. However, buying the right types of gutter covers is key to saving you time in the long run.
Grate covers put a screen over your gutters to help protect them from larger types of debris. If you live around conifers with plenty of pollen and needles, the mesh might not be very effective at stopping them - the needles can get stuck in the gaps. If all you are worried about are broad leaves, grate style covers may be a better solution. However, no gutter cover is truly zero maintenance, so you will have to clear out any leaves from the cover before they decay, and you should wash out the inside of the gutter periodically too, to help remove mud and sludge.
Full gutter covers
Full types of gutter covers attempt to cover the entire top of your gutters, everything except for a slim line in the front of the gutter that allows water to seep through. Ideally, this gutter guard will protect you against all kinds of debris, but if you are surrounded by a lot of trees, you may want to rethink this option. Dirt and dust can gum up the thin entry gaps, as can decaying leaves. These full covers also have difficulty in rainy climates, where they do not allow rain to seep into the gutters fast enough and cause overflow problems.
Micromesh types of gutter covers try to combine the best of both worlds with a very small mesh screen that allows more rainwater into different types of gutters, but continues to protect against debris. Tim Carter of Ask the Builder recommends micromesh covers, especially if they are installed on the same (slightly declining) plane as the rooftop instead of level with the top of the gutter.
When possible, match the material of your cover with the types of gutters your home already has. Use aluminum covers on aluminum gutters, and vinyl covers on vinyl gutters. This will help maintain attachments. Also note that there are various ways to attach gutter guards, from clip-ons to more permanent fasteners and screws. You want a guard that is easy to clean and allows you to quickly expose the gutter underneath.
If you still have questions about gutter covers, Findlay Roofing can answer them. Let us know all of your gutter needs.