Installing gutter guards is a good way to keep debris out of your gutters and prevent the damaging flooding clogged gutters cause. It’s also the best way to reduce the number of strenuous and boring cleanings your gutters need. But not every gutter guard system will accomplish these functions to your satisfaction. Here are the four essential qualities of an effective gutter guard system:
Keeps Debris Out
Obviously, you want a gutter guard that keeps debris and animals out of your gutter. That’s the point right? But when it comes to this most important function not all gutter guards are created equal. Micromesh gutter guards are your best choice because they completely cover the gutter, ensuring debris has no way in.
Some types of gutter guards tend to become a haven for birds and insects too, which can be just as damaging as plant debris. The most common gutter guards people use are solid aluminum or plastic covers. This type of gutter guard usually ends in a reverse curve which creates a gap that still allows water to flow into the gutter. Unfortunately, water isn’t the only thing that gains access to your gutter via this gap. Once again, micromesh guards cover the entirety of the gutter which neutralizes this problem.
Allows Water In
You want to prevent solid debris from getting in without inhibiting your gutters’ ability to do their job-collect rainwater. A gutter guard that blocks debris from entering your gutter but also prevents water from entering is useless. You’ll still have excess undirected water and the flooding risk it poses. Micromesh gutter guards are fine enough to prevent even the smallest debris from entering your gutter but still allow water to pass through freely and unencumbered.
Constructed With Quality Materials
It’s common logic that cheaper gutter guards are going to use lower quality materials. But maybe you think you can get by with a low-grade guard. I mean, how important can high performance metals be for a guard meant to prevent light debris like leaves from getting in your gutter? The answer is very important. One leaf or twig may be light, but they add up and en masse can compromise a gutter guard made of materials not equipped to bear the load. Plus, your gutter guards need to hold up in the elements-wind, rain, snow and sleet. And the materials your gutter guards are constructed from don’t just affect their durability; they affect their performance too.
One of the reasons you’re probably exploring gutter guards is because you’re sick of cleaning your gutters. But installing gutter guards that keep debris out of the gutter itself but still allow it to accumulate on the guard defeat that purpose. While gutter guards that accumulate debris may keep your underlying gutters from clogging, they’re still going to require you to get up on a ladder and clean. Gutter guards that utilize a flat plane and do not match the pitch of your roof are notorious for presenting this problem.
A gutter guards that matches the pitch of your roof will largely counteract this is process. That’s because, instead of acting like a shelf, it will perform much the same way your roof does, allowing debris to roll off the roof seamlessly and without interruption. However, if your roof has a tendency to collect debris itself, gutter guards that match its already problematic pitch won’t correct this problem.
Peter Bruzzini is a roofing, gutter and gutter guard expert who loves to share his knowledge with the blogosphere.