Cleaning the gutters is a home maintenance chore most people don’t enjoy. So, some type of leaf protection seems like an all-purpose solution to reducing the number of times per year the gutter system needs cleaning. One of the simplest kinds of leaf protectors is screen gutter guards. Perfect for do-it-yourselfers, they are easy to install. However, while mesh screens are helpful in some cases, they are sometimes less effective in other situations. For overall performance and maximum protection of your home’s exterior, there are some important things to know before installing mesh screens.
Materials for Screen Gutter Guards
Screen gutters guards are constructed from aluminum, metal or nylon mesh, and plastic. Aluminum screen gutter guards tend to be the most expensive but last the longest. Mesh screen leaf protectors have a longer lifespan than plastic ones. Plastic screen gutter guards can dry out and become brittle as they age.
Types of Screen Gutter Guards
Designed to keep debris from entering the system, there are three types of screen gutter guards, the main difference being how the screens are attached. One way they can be installed is to slide them underneath the first row of roof shingles, allowing the weight of the roof tiles to keep them in place. The second type of gutter screen snaps into the gutter sections. Other kinds of gutter screens are mounted with hardware, usually screws.
Flat versus Hinged Screens
Most types of screen gutter guards are flat. Usually, the gutter slope provides enough of a “tilt” that encourages leaves, twigs, and other kinds of materials to not hang around. If you are concerned about debris gathering on top of the screen long enough to break down into smaller pieces that can get in through the holes, select hinged gutter screens for your gutter system.
These mesh leaf protectors have a rounded top, reducing the amount of debris accumulation, and clip to the front edge of the gutter section. They are also easier to clean than standard flat screen gutter guards. Although not as often, screen gutter guards still require cleaning and need to be inspected. Any screen gutter guard system you choose, ensure it can be removed easily and then put back once the gutters have been cleaned.
Choose the Right Design
Before investing in screen gutter guards, do an inventory of the types of trees growing close to the house and on your property. Choose gutter guards with small holes when pine trees are near enough to the gutters that they can drop inside a gutter section. On the other hand, if you have fruit trees or flowering trees, screen gutter guards with diamond or round holes effectively keep leaves, blossoms, pods, and twigs out of the gutters.
When to Install Screens
It might be more effective and cost-efficient to install leaf screens in specific places along a gutter run. Simple screen gutter guards can reduce the need for frequent gutter cleanings and inspections where trees grow close to gutter sections that are hard to access. If a house has a multi-level roof design, screens can be installed on the upper levels, allowing them to be maintained less often.