Does Gutter Guard Actually Work?

30/05/2016By Michael Sanders

Humans naturally love to come up with clever solutions for problems. So what do you do when your gutters keep on filling up with leaves and other debris?

Well you could eliminate the problem all together by cutting down nearby tree's, but this isn't always possible! You could get up on your ladder and clean them every few months, but these days who has time to do little jobs around the house.

Which brings us to the main point of this article, Does gutter guard actually work? The short answer is yes and no, read on.

Why Are Clean Gutters So Important?

Does gutter guard actually work

Living in such a dry hot climate as Australia the risk of fire is ever present. Bone dry leaves sitting in your gutters during a hot summer are perfect fire tinder. The last thing you want to see is your family home going up in smoke.

Bone dry leaves are perfect fire tinder

Another problem with having blocked gutters and downpipes is the water can't flow freely away. The water level will rise until it finally spills into your ceiling cavity and this can cause expensive damage. Alot of new homes now feature gutters that have an overflow feature to prevent this, but the majority of older homes face this problem.

DIY Gutter Guard Solutions

A trip to your local hardware store will reveal multiple cheap solutions to install yourself, some requiring basic tools to install, others simply require a ladder for access and two hands.

Plastic Mesh

plastic mesh gutter guard

The cheapest solution, it comes in various styles and shapes. C shape plastic mesh sits inside your gutter with the intention of stopping leaves entering your gutter. Alternatively flat plastic mesh sits under the end of your gutters and then bends in under your roof sheets or tiles.

The issues:

1. Because the mesh isn't securely fixed and warps easily, leaves always find a way to slip around it, making it even more work to clean.

2. The mesh sits very low in the gutter, which encourages leaves to stay on top of the mesh.

3. Most plastic mesh has a very short life compared to other materials since it breaks down due to UV quickly.

4. Plastic mesh isn't fireproof, meaning if a fire were to start somehow, it would be fuel for the fire.

The benefits:

1. Its very cheap per meter.

2. Very easy DIY Installation.

Steel Mesh

steel mesh gutter guard

Virtually the same as Plastic mesh except for the following benefits:

1. It is fire rated

2. Has a much longer product life

Profiled Steel

profiled steel gutter guard

Again there are various styles. Perforated zinc plated steel or mesh colourbond steel are some of the options. You can expect to pay in between $5 to $10 per metre for this style. It is installed by slipping under your roof tiles or sheets, then clipped under the edge of your gutter.

The issues:

1. It sits fairly low in the gutter which traps leaves.

2. If leaves/dirt do find their way underneath, it is very hard to clean.

3. Slightly more time consuming to install.

The benefits:

1. High quality long lasting product that is not affected by the sun.

2. The majority of these are fireproof.

Brush Filter

brush filter style gutter guard

This can be best described as a very long bottle brush. It's a twist of wire that holds the 5cm long bristles, It works by sitting in your gutter. The brush bristles stop large leaves from entering your gutter. It comes in 1 meter lengths and is very easy to install and remove. Expect to pay up to $15 per meter.

The issues:

1. Smaller leaves can still easily work their way through.

2. Again being mostly made of plastic the product life is limited.

3. Needs to be removed to clean the gutters.

4. Regular inspection required to make sure it is performing well.

5. Unfortunately not fire proof.

The benefits:

1. Extremely quick and easy to install, and remove aswell.

2. Effective as stopping large leaves from getting into the gutter.

Profssional Gutter Guard Solutions

Professional gutter guard installation

As you can expect professional solutions work extremely well. This is mainly because they go from the gutter edge to atleast 100mm up your roof, which means leaves don't have a low stop to catch in and are blown off by the wind. Of course this comes at a price! The product costs up to $15 per meter, but this does not include installation.

HDPE Poly Mesh

This high quality plastic mesh is UV stabilized, meaning it will stand the test of time. It can also be installed in your roof valleys, which stops leaves collecting in your roof valley.

The issues:

1. Professional installation required.

2. Permanent installation, it can be removed, but can be very time consuming.

3. Very small leaves and other objects can still get through.

The benefits:

1. No low points, leaves get blown off by the wind.

2. Long lasting solution.

3. Gutters can simply be hosed out as only small debris can get through.

4. Comes with warranty, often over 10 years!

5. Available in a wide variety of colours

Aluminium Mesh

This product is often epoxy coated, and being aluminium it is immune to rust. This is the longest lasting solution ready to take anything mother nature throws it's way! It can also be installed in your roof valleys, which stops leaves collecting in your roof valley.

Virtually the same as HDPE Poly Mesh except you can expect an even longer life span. It usually has a 15 year warranty.

The Verdict

Gutter guard definitely works, as long as you purchase a style that works.

You can't beat the professional gutter guards. If properly fitted they virtually make gutter maintenance a thing of the past, aside from the odd inspection to ensure the system is working.

If professional gutter guard installation is out of the reach of your budget, profiled steel solutions may be an option. But remember these often still trap leaves and need attention. Alternatively if your quite handy, purchase a professional kit and install it yourself from sites like DIY Gutter Guard Kits Online.

Cheap gutter guard usually ends up being more of a nuisance then a help, and makes cleaning your gutters even more time consuming.

Do it once, do it right or just clean your gutters regularly.