Gutters protect your home from water damage caused by heavy rain, ice, and debris. Installing gutter guards is a great way to ensure your gutters can efficiently carry out their protective work. Gutter guards protect the gutter system by preventing leaves, twigs, pests, and other debris from entering the gutters and clogging the downspouts.
Without gutter guards, these blockages can prevent water flow within the gutter system, causing costly overflow damage to your home’s roof, walls, and foundation. By installing a quality set of gutter guards, you’re taking an important step towards protecting against this type of expensive future damage.
This article outlines the steps involved in installing gutter guards on your roof and provides an overview of how to choose the best gutter guard for your home. We will look at the different types of gutter guards, go through the installation process and help you figure out whether you want to do this or call in a professional.
What are Gutter Guards?
Gutter guards are gutter covers that serve an important function in protecting your home from costly water damage. They are installed to keep leaves and debris from entering and clogging gutters. Gutter guards come in various materials, including plastic mesh, galvanized steel screens, foam filters, copper, and aluminum covers.
These guards are easy to install and allow rainwater to flow freely into the gutters while trapping leaves and other debris so it won’t clog them up. Installing gutter guards is often one of the most cost-effective ways to protect your roofing system from unnecessary rusting and water damage, saving you time and money in the long run.
Benefits of Gutter Guards
Gutter guards are important in protecting your home from water and snow damage. The three main benefits of gutter guards include preventing clogs, reducing mosquito infestation, and keeping debris away from your gutters. Gutter guards prevent major clogs by blocking out leaves, branches, shingle granules, and other debris, whereas unguarded gutters must regularly be cleaned of these items.
Installing gutter guards also prevents mosquito infestation, as stagnant water from blocked gutters is a primary breeding area for mosquitoes. Lastly, they keep debris away from the gutters, which helps protect them from premature wear and tear. Gutter guards are an invaluable investment for every homeowner concerned about their home’s upkeep in the long run.
Types of Gutter Guards
Various types of gutter guards come with their benefits and drawbacks. It’s essential to understand them all before making a decision. Here is an overview of six different types of gutter guards.
Screen Gutter Guards
These guards are made of a strong mesh that fits over the top of the existing gutter system. The mesh keeps leaves, twigs, and other debris out while allowing water flow. The main benefit of screen gutter guards is that they’re relatively inexpensive compared to other types of guards. However, they can also be easily clogged by small particles like sand or silt.
Mesh Gutter Guards
Mesh gutter guards are similar to screen gutter guards in that they fit over the existing guttering system. However, they feature a much finer mesh material that allows smaller particles like pollen or sand grains to pass through while blocking larger debris like leaves or twigs. The main benefit of mesh gutter guards is that they offer better protection against clogs than other types of guards. However, they can be more expensive than screen or foam gutter guards.
Micro-Mesh Gutter Guards
Micro-mesh gutter guards feature an even finer mesh material than standard mesh guards. These guards block debris from entering the gutters while allowing water to pass through freely. These types of guards are more expensive than standard mesh or screen gutter guards but offer superior protection against clogs and overflow.
Reverse Curve Gutter Guards
Reverse curve gutter guards feature an angled surface on the underside, which causes debris to slide off the ground rather than stick inside the guard. The main advantage of reverse curve gutter guards is that they require very little maintenance since there is no need for cleaning or replacing them as often as other types of guards. However, water may flow over the gutter guard during heavy rains.
Foam and Brush Gutter Guards
Foam gutter covers fit over gutters and feature microscopic cells designed to trap debris while allowing water to pass through freely into the gutters. Foam gutter guards offer excellent protection against clogs and overflow. However, they trap seeds that sprout and grow. Brush guards fit inside the gutters and catch large debris. However, they can clog easily, allowing small debris in the bristles. Both need regular maintenance.
Should I Install My Own Gutter Guards?
If you have some knowledge about working with tools and materials for home improvement projects, then installing gutter guards may be something you can do yourself. However, if you need more confidence in your handyman skills, it may be best to hire a professional who is experienced in this type of work.
One of the main drawbacks of DIY installation is safety. Installing a gutter guard requires climbing up a ladder and walking on the roof. Both activities come with significant risks if not done properly. Additionally, if the gutter guards are installed incorrectly, it could lead to leaks or other problems down the road that require costly repairs.
How To Prepare To Install Gutter Guards
Before you begin, you should take a few steps to ensure that the installation goes smoothly and that your gutters are working properly. Here’s how to get ready for gutter guard installation.
Clean Out Current Gutters
The first step in preparing to install gutter guards is to clean out your gutters. Remove any debris, such as leaves, twigs, dirt, and other build-ups, that may be blocking water flow from your roof. Depending on the amount of debris you’re dealing with, you can do this with a garden hose and a trowel.
Test Gutters and Repair First if Necessary
Run water through the gutters to find cracks and holes. If you need to make any repairs before installation — such as replacing broken downspouts or patching holes — it’s best to do that now, so those issues don’t interfere with the installation process.
Measure Your Gutters
To order the right size gutter guard for your home, measure the length and width of each section of gutter you plan to cover. Use these measurements when ordering your materials, so they fit correctly during installation.
Purchase the Right Gutter Guards
The right gutter guards will depend on your climate, whether you have trees close to your property, and your preferred materials. Some materials, like stainless steel and copper, will last much longer than plastic or foam.
If you live in a tropical climate prone to gusts of wind carrying sand, then micro-mesh guards may be better. If you live in a windy area, you need to have screw-in guards instead of snap-on guards, as they may be blown out of place.
Install the Gutter Guards
Before you get started, read the installation instructions that came with your gutter guard product. The instructions may have a specific installation guide for that brand and will be super helpful. Instructions will help ensure you install it correctly and avoid any potential problems.
Installing Snap-On Gutter Guards
Use a putty knife to lift the shingles. Insert the knife between the shingles and the roof underlayment and lift just enough to fit in the gutter guard. Take care not to damage the shingles, so don’t lift too much, Just enough to slide the guard in between. Align your guard with the roofline, then clip on the front end of the guard to the gutter’s lip. Generally, the outer edge of the gutter guard should align with the gutter rim.
Pinch the clipping mechanism in place. Once the guard is aligned with the gutter, pinch the clipping mechanism to snap the gutter guard in place. Continue this process for all the gutter guards until you’re done. Make sure you overlap the guard by about a ½ inch unless directed otherwise in the instructions.
Tricky corners. Corners can be quite tricky, depending on your type of gutter guard. If you have a mesh or grate guard, you may need to cut miter joints or just butt-join them.
Installing Screw Mounted Guards
Install the support brackets. If your gutter guards came with support brackets, start with those. You’ll need to secure them along the roofline using self-tapping roofing screws. Depending on how many guards you’re installing, you’ll need to space them as directed in the instructions.
Insert the guards beneath the shingles. Carefully lift the edge of your shingles and slide the gutter guard between the shingle and underlayment. Don’t insert your guard between the underlayment and the roof deck.
Mount the guard on the gutter lips. You’ll also need to use self-tapping screws here unless the guard came with screws of their own. Align the gutter guard with the gutters and drill in the screws with a power drill. You may need to trim the corners to make miter joints.
What are the Downsides of Gutter Guards?
While they can help protect your gutters from clogs, there are some disadvantages to installing gutter guards.
Maintenance is Still Required
Gutter guards may prevent leaves and other debris from getting into your gutters and causing clogs, but that doesn’t mean they’ll never need maintenance. The gutter guards themselves may require regular cleaning. If the surface becomes covered in a layer of dust or dirt over time, it won’t be able to repel water as efficiently as it should.
Potential Damage From Debris
Gutter guards may be effective at keeping out large pieces of debris like leaves, twigs, and acorns, but some could be better with smaller stuff like pine needles or sand grains. These particles can easily slip through the guard’s grates and pile up inside until they form clogs.
Hire a Professional Gutter Guard Installer
Consider hiring a professional for safety. Installing a gutter guard requires climbing ladders and working on steep roofs. A professional team will have the experience and safety gear necessary to get the job done safely and quickly.
A professional will also be able to assess your needs and choose the right materials for the job — something that might be difficult if you were doing it yourself. Moreover, a professional knows how to properly install a gutter guard without causing damage or leaving gaps where water could enter your home. They also have access to special tools and techniques that may not be available when attempting DIY installation.
Installing gutter guards can be a great way to protect your home from potential water damage while saving time on regular maintenance. Installing gutter guards isn’t that hard if you have the right materials, but if it all seems overwhelming, call an experienced professional for assistance. They’ll answer any questions or concerns you might have and deliver the quality results necessary to protect your home.