You've successfully subscribed to ExpertEasy
Great! Next, complete checkout for full access to ExpertEasy
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
Success! Your account is fully activated, you now have access to all content.

Gutter Guards: A Simple Guide

. 3 min read

Gutter guards are normally known as the slotted plates attached to the edge of a gutter to prevent the leaves and other debris from blocking the gutters. Typically, they cover the gutters' opening like filters, take the leaves, and let the water pass. Although they are not compulsory, many people choose to install them to facilitate gutter maintenance.

Cleaning the leaves is an annual chore for all homeowners who have deciduous trees. If you are lucky to have evergreen trees, cleaning gutter needles is an ongoing process throughout the year. Even if you are not in an area with large leaves or large needles, the gutters will continue to gunk up slowly with the particles from twigs, dirt, and composite shingles.

Many homeowners do not want to climb the ladder to clean gutters because it is time-consuming but want something simpler. For this reason inventors have always tried to develop systems that allow water to enter a gutter while keeping the leaves out.

Gutter guard Types

  1. Filtering or screening devices: They are vinyl or metal screens, which fit on top of an existing gutter or the gutter rail systems where screens of this type are integrated into the product.
  2. Filling or blocking devices: They are very porous foam strips or brush your stuff into the gutter.
  3. Reverse curve gutters: Water sticks to a hood and flows down the gutter. The leaves and other foreign objects don't cling.

Perforated mesh screens

These PVC or aluminum screens fit very well on top of the existing gutters. The water flows through the large holes in a screen, but debris and leaves are filtered or left on top. Sometimes, the wind blows away the debris and leaves.

DIY-friendly?

These gutter guards are easy to install for most DIY enthusiasts. The short section slides over the edge of the gutters.

Pros

  • They are readily available and inexpensive.

Cons

  • The leaves will remain on top of a screen
  • There are large holes in a mesh to allow the small particles to enter the gutter. These particles can either pass through downspouts or be removed manually.

Micro-mesh screens

With the micro-mesh screens, only small particles can enter gutters through the holes, which are up to 50 microns in diameter. Also, this design prevents small particles of composite stone from entering the gutters. However, sometimes sludge will appear and must be removed manually.

DIY-friendly?

They are not DIY-friendly, instead they are purchased from the dealer and then installed by their installers.

Pros

  • Virtually nothing can get into the gutters and has the advantage if you want to collect rainwater in the barrels

Cons

  • Large amounts of water can flow through the screens but not enter the gutter

Foam gutter inserts

The main idea with the foam gutter inserts is actually to block the gutters before they become blocked by leaves together with other unwanted debris. The material used to block these gutters are very porous foam where they come with 4-feet strips. Rainwater comes from the roof and drains quickly through the foam inserts, with the debris remaining on top of inserts.

DIY-friendly?

Yes

Pros

  • There are many low-cost options and easy DIY installation

Cons

  • You need to clean the gutters. The difference is there is the debris at a high level, rather than being buried in a gutter.

Gutter brush

Like foam inserts, the gutter brush fills the cavity of the gutter. Water flows effortlessly over the bristles. The goal is to leave the debris on the bristles and then decompose it. Larger debris is eliminated or removed manually.

DIY-Friendly?

Yes

Pros

  • It is inexpensive
  • Easy to install

Cons

  • It is not possible to remove all the debris

Bottle brush guards

They are made of metal wire or others covered with bristles. Bristles fill the gutter, which prevents the leaves together with other debris from reaching the gutter's bottom while the water to flow through. The bottle brush guards do not push debris over the gutter's edge but trap debris in the bristles up to when it washes away.

DIY-Friendly?

Yes

Pros

  • Economical and easy to remove or install
  • Robust and easy to replace when damaged
  • Prevents the construction of nests for rodents, birds, and insects

Cons

  • Not suitable for a large amount of debris as they remain in the guard
  • Guard needs to be cleaned regularly

Reverse curve surface tension gutters

These surface tension gutters allow water to stick to a curved ridge after bending. At this point, water drains from the ridge and flows into the gutter. Rather than following the curve, the debris flows straight to the ground.

DIY-friendly?

No. In general, these gutters are not available for the retail market and need to be installed by licensed installers.

Pros

  • These gutters are sealed and seamless
  • The curved hood fits in the roofline

Cons

  • Since they are sealed, problems can arise when you need to get inside the gutters
  • You cannot install these gutters alone.

Nylon gutter guards

These guards are thick nylon sheets formed to fit into the gutter system, creating the screen over the gutter. The screen lets the water through and repels debris like the mesh guard. However, unlike the mesh guards, the nylon guards do not stick to the ceiling or gutters and do not rust. Also, nylon allows more water to flow to a gutter than the micro-perforated vinyl or metal.

DIY-Friendly?

Yes

Pros

  • Light and durable
  • They can be molded to fit many gutter systems
  • Immune to UV rays, corrosion, and rust

Cons

  • Can tear or crack under heavy debris or extreme conditions
  • Does not fill the entire gutter


Mark

Part of the expertEasy team in Melbourne. Mark is a keen gardener, a DIY addict and a father of two beautiful girls. He is originally from Perth and is a true Eagles fan.