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Gutter Screen Installation

Gutters are designed to capture water from the roof and channel the water drainage down to the ground. As water runs down the roof, the water accumulates in the gutter at the edge of the roof. The water is then carried out of the gutter and off the house using a system of downspouts around the house to allow the water to flow down to the ground.

There aren't many people who enjoy cleaning their gutters. In fact, because it's such a time-consuming and filthy task, most homeowners will try anything to avoid it. That's why gutter screen installation has become quite popular in recent years. 

A gutter clogged with leaves and other debris may not drain correctly into the downspouts. Clogged gutters can cause a water back-up in the gutters, causing the water to overflow the top edge of the gutter. Clogged or overflowing gutters are often the source of water damage in roofs, eaves and walls. 

Every year your gutters have to be cleaned. Of course, the problem is that the cleaning usually requires a tall ladder and a good sense of balance. To avoid an unfortunate accident followed by a trip to the emergency room, some people turn to the help of gutter screens or gutter guards.

There are many different types of gutter screens and guards, each with its own set of pros and cons. Some models can be expensive, so consider your gutter situation carefully before making the investment.

The Facts:

  • Gutter screens and guards are designed to keep leaves and debris from collecting in your roof's gutters. There are many types of gutter guards, but the basic idea behind all of them is to block leaves and debris while allowing rainwater to flow unimpeded. If rainwater is not able to flow freely, it could pool, possibly causing damage to your gutters and even the roof itself. So it is important to be wary of any gutter guard that may eventually become clogged.

  • One of the major benefits of gutter screens and guards is the prevention of clogged gutters. This is especially important in regions that experience periodic freezing. If there is water trapped in the gutter, it will expand as it freezes, possibly severely damaging your gutter system. Although gutter guards cannot prevent snow or ice buildup on your roof, minimizing clogged gutters will increase the lifetime of your current gutter system by ensuring the free flow of water.

  • Gutter screens are a type of gutter guard that use a mesh cover to keep leaves from entering the water channel. Gutter screens come in a variety of models with holes of different sizes to accommodate the particular foliage of your region. For instance, if you have fir trees, you may want a screen that will stop pine needles. Con: Gutter screens can become blocked as leaves layer themselves on top of the screen. Pro: Cleaning them is fairly easy because the leaves can be simply brushed or hosed off.

  • Style Helps the Function; To accomplish this, the gutter guard is usually one these basic designs:
    Filler - A block of porous material is placed in the gutter. This block minimizes the room left in the gutter for leaves and other debris, so the leaves don't stay in the gutter. The water flows through the block, allowing the gutter to drain into the gutter system's downspouts.
    Screen - A plastic or metal screen or mesh is placed on the top of the gutter. This provides a barrier into the gutter through which only small particles of debris can pass.
    Filter - A filter is placed on the top of the gutter that allows water to enter the gutter, but filters out leaves and debris. A filter is often topped with a screen.
    Cap - The gutter is topped with a solid cap which basically seals off the open gutter.

  • Placement of most gutter guards calls for installation on existing gutters. You do not have to buy new gutters to have a gutter screen or guard installed. There are several gutter screen / guard installation styles:

  1. Clip on
  2. Lay on top of the gutter
  3. Slip under the first row of shingles.

Avoid a gutter screen or guard which is fastened directly to the roof since this type of installation may void the roof's warranty.

  • All gutter screens and guards are designed to keep debris out of the gutter. Compare the various designs to ensure that your specific needs are met. Some styles work best for certain roof styles. Other styles, such as ultra-fine micromesh screens, are specifically designed to guard against very small pieces of debris such as sand. Look for a gutter screen or guard that does not have any wide openings, seams or cracks. These could allow debris to enter the gutter and potentially stop the water flow. Snow and wind can play havoc on a gutter screen or guard that is not designed to be securely fastened to the gutter. Melting snow can also increase the water flow requirements of your gutter, which could make a insert-style design impractical.

Bottle-Brush Gutter Guards:

Bottle-brush gutter guards are simple, cylindrical brushes that lie in your gutter and keep leaves from entering the water channel. Leaves and debris will occasionally need to be cleaned off the bristles. To do this, you will have to remove that particular section of brush and shake the leaves off. Pro: They are very inexpensive. Con: The brushes will require occasional cleaning, somewhat defeating the purpose of having gutter guards in the first place.

Mesh Gutter Guards:

Mesh gutter guards are sheets filled with holes that cover the gutter and attach to the roof shingles. Small holes are better than large holes because they don't clog as easily. Smaller holes sift out all the debris but let water fall down into the gutter.

Reverse-Curve Gutter Guards:

Reverse-curve models have a slit that allows water to pass through as it comes off the roof. Because the guards have to be aligned with the pitch of the roof to ensure that water enters the slit properly, this type of gutter guard should be installed by professionals.

Foam Gutter Guards:

Foam gutter guards consist of a porous foam insert that allows water to pass through. Because mold and fungus could be a problem, the foam is chemically treated to prevent their growth. Pros: Because the gutter is completely full, there is no chance of leaves clogging the channel. Also, they are fairly easy to self-install. Con: They are more expensive than brush-types.

Nylon Gutter Guards:

Nylon gutter guards work especially well in the winter to prevent snow and ice accumulation. The benefit to this type of gutter guard is that you can get them to fit into your gutter without attaching to the shingles.

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