Another common, and very important questions is “How do I keep the leaves and other debris out of my gutters?” With gutters, comes a good bit of maintenance and upkeep to keep them in the best condition possible and to insure they are operating properly. The most common of these issues is going to be the collection of fallen leaves clogging up your gutter system. When this happens, it will lead to a few different problems, all of which can end up being a pricey fix if it is not tackled right away. If the leaves clog up system, the water will still collecting in the gutter, and then spilling over the sides. Now, while it may seem like that is not that big of a deal, it very much can be. While you could just constantly clean out your gutters, that can be a very time consuming and painstaking process that would need to be repeated quite often. The best option is to install gutter guards on your gutter system. In this article we will discuss the different types of gutter guards and which would be best for which situation.
Firstly, let us take a brief look at the reason we have gutters installed. Gutters are installed around the edge of our roof is to protect our house from water damage. From the top down lets touch on the big issues this can cause. Gutters help collect the water from off of the roof, which this, the water can seep under the shingles as it falls off the roof, which will lead to damage under the shingles. As the water falls down the side of the house, it can also seep between the siding and the house itself, also causing water damage. Lastly, but by far the most important is the protection of the homes foundation. When the water is not properly diverted away from the foundation it can cause erosion of the soil around the foundation, which can even further lead to flooding around the foundation. The constant presence of water will lead to cracks in the foundation, causing flooding of the basement or crawlspace, bringing it into your home which can lead to a whole lot of other issues.
The issues mentioned above can also be caused if your gutters become to clogged up with leaves and other debris, as well as adding to that list the need to clean and repair your gutter system. The answer to this is going to be to install gutter guards. These guards range in price and usefulness. If you live in house that has any trees around it, gutter guards are going to be a great investment. Gutter guards come in different materials and designs but all hold a common purpose, keep the leaves and debris out of your gutters. Let’s look at the best gutter guards options below:
Screens: Screens are one of the more common types of gutters guards. They come in a variety of shapes and materials and can be installed a few different ways. Mostly they can just be dropped into the gutter, one side slipping under the edge of the shingles and the other side against the edge of the gutter. The plastic screens often require no type of fastening. The downside to this is that they are not always as secure. Other screens also fit under the edge of the shingles, but is often fastened on the other side against the gutter itself, which is a more secure option. These screens are common and can be a good choice because they are not as expensive as other types of guards. They keep out larger leaves and debris. They are readily available at many home improvement stores. They are easy to install and works with a variety of roof types including shingles, steel, slate, wood and tile. The downside is that the plastic screens can be damaged by exposure to UV sunlight. Branches, snow, ice and strong winds can damage the screens. The screens do have openings large enough that they can occasionally get clogged with pine needles and seeds. There are limited color choices. The screens and gutters will still require regular cleaning and maintenance and can be difficult to clean.
Surface Tension: Surface tension guards operate so that the water will cling to the rounded nose of the guard, causing the water to flow into the gutter while leaving leaves and other debris to fall off over the edge. Small debris may still occasionally get in but is usually washed down the downspouts without much of an issue. Surface tension guards work best if installed so that the slope of the guard is similar to that of the roof. The gutters may need to be rehung to allow for proper angling so that the water continues to flow down and out.
Some of the Pros to installing this type of guard are that they withstand branches, snow, ice and strong winds. These types of guards require little to no maintenance if they are installed properly, and are long lasting. With all positive attributes, they are not without their drawbacks. These include the fact that they are the most expensive option. They are also not as readily available, meaning they may have to be ordered. They are more difficult to install, and the fact that gutters may have to be rehung to accommodate this guard. They are more visible from the ground and may not be an option on some roofs such as steel, tile, slate or wood roofs. Water can also shoot over the guards if there is a heavy downpour.
Fine Mesh: These guards function much like the screen guards, but they block all except for the smallest of debris. The spaces in the mesh are so tiny that they will not clog with seeds and needles, but can still fill with the very very small particles like shingle grit. Fine Mesh guards will still need an occasional cleaning, but it is not nearly as intensive as other options and they are easy to blow or brush clean. They are installed under the shingles, or bend the back up and screw it into the fascia. This method also strengthens the gutters themselves, making them hold up better to snow and ice.
So, Pros are that these gutter guards keep everything out of the gutter. There are also higher quality version that hold up well to branches snow, ice and strong winds. They are easy to install and work with various roof times. As with the tension guards, these are not as readily available but do require very little maintenance and cleaning.