A Quick Guide to Roofing Gutter Guards
A clean and functional gutter system is essential for the integrity and health of your roof and home. Most roofsÂ are designedÂ to carry water off and down to the ground to prevent stagnant water from causing rot and mold growth. Your guttersÂ are designedÂ to carry that water well away from your homesâ€™ foundation to keep the same issues from developing at ground level. Over time, though, sticks, leaves, and other debris can build up in your gutter systems, causing the water to back up and overflow.Â LikeÂ guards and filters, gutter protection systems are designedÂ to keep the worst of the debris out and make the regular cleaning that your gutters need much less of a headache.Â Letâ€™s go over the benefits of installing a gutter protection system, some commonÂ concerns that homeowners have,Â and what your options are.Â
What are Gutter Guards?
The rain gutters installed on your home serve a critical purposeÂ – they redirect the water that runs off of your roof away from the buildingsâ€™ foundation, preventing both short-term disasters like flooded basements and long-term structural damage. To do their job, gutters have to be free of debris that could block running water and cause overflow.â€¯Â
Gutter guards, also known as leaf filters or gutter covers, are accessories that attach to your homesâ€™ gutter system to filter debris and block animals from clogging or interfering with the flow of water from the roof to the ground away from your home. They play a crucial role in extending the life of your gutter system and saving an incredible amount of time and money on gutter maintenance.
Benefits of Gutter Guards for Your Roof
For many roofing experts, gutter guards are considered an essential part of a roofing system. Theyâ€™re low maintenance, can be added to most existing gutters, and make a critical difference in your homesâ€™ drainage system. Aside from the obvious benefit of preventing debris buildup, gutter guards can prevent rust, ice dams, animal nesting, and even lower fire riskÂ for your home. They also make regular gutter maintenance a much easier process, saving time and effort from the moment theyâ€™re installed.Â
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Better Drainage for Your Roofing
If water is allowed to build up or pool on your roof, potential disaster is not far behind.Â Standing water can lead to leaks, mold, structural damage, and, in the worst case, roof collapse.Â Gutter systemsÂ are designedÂ to make sure that water flows off of your roof, through the downspouts, and away from the foundation of your building, and for them to work correctly,Â they mustÂ be as free of debris as possible. The fewer obstructions present, the more efficient the water flow will be.
Keeping Debris Out of Your Gutters
Another main benefit of gutter guards, and arguably the most important one, is their ability to keep leaves and other debris out of your gutter system. Debris like leaves and pine needles can create clogs that jam up your gutter systemsâ€™ ability to drain rainwater effectively. Gutter guardsÂ are designed to keep these kinds of debris from piling up and causing these problems. Having clean gutters that are free of debris can help keep rust and mold at bay byÂ preventing water from pooling in specific areas and eliminating the damage that damp leaves can cause simply by sitting directly on your gutters.Â
Less Maintenance for Your Roofing and Gutters
Every homeowner knows that gutter maintenance is a hassle. Dragging a hose and a ladder around each side of your home and fighting damp, nasty clumps of matted-up leaves isnâ€™t most peoplesâ€™ idea of a fun Saturday.Â To add insult to injury,Â if you live in an area with lots of trees and grass, some roofing experts recommend cleaning out your homesâ€™ gutters every three months! Save yourself the trouble and let gutter guards do most of the work. While youâ€™ll still have to clamber up a ladder occasionally, gutter guards significantly reduce the amount of maintenance your roof and gutters need by catching most of the debris that would otherwise end up clogging the works.â€¯Â
Common Concerns with Roofing Gutter Guards
When considering upgrades or improvements to your home, itâ€™s common to have questions and concerns about some of the potential downsides that might come with your investment. There are several common misconceptions about gutter guards and their effectiveness.Â Many have to do with areas that get excessive amounts of heavy rainfall or regularly get exposed to below–freezing temperatures.â€¯
Do Gutter Guards Work in Heavy Rain?
There are several kinds of gutter guards, and most are more than capable of handling heavy rain as long as they haveÂ been maintainedÂ and kept clean. Just like your gutters on their own, excessive amounts of leaves and other debris canÂ cause clogs that heavy amounts of water will have difficulty passing through, so keep them clean,Â especially in theÂ Spring andÂ Fall.Â
Do Gutter Guards Cause Ice Dams?
Metal roofing is becoming an increasingly popular choice for new construction projects. While not as traditionally common as the asphalt variety, metal roofs are gaining traction in the roofing market. The reason being their highly durable and economic attributes. These roofs canÂ effectivelyÂ shed inclement weather like snow and ice. They also last far longer than their asphalt counterparts and are seen as more environmentally friendly.Â
What to Look for When Choosing Gutter Guards
Once youâ€™ve decided to upgrade your gutter system with professionally installed gutter guards, there are a few more choices to make and options to consider. Depending on your local weather and climate, some guard styles may be a better fit for your homesâ€™ needs. Every type of gutter guard has its pros and cons, so itâ€™s essential to determine which one will best suit your home.Â
Types of Gutter Guards
Gutter guards come in many different types and designs, each with benefits andÂ usesÂ for different situations. Some are better suited to heavily forested areas, and othersÂ are made to handle frequent heavy rainfall. Which type you decideÂ to install will primarily be based on your homesâ€™ location, common weather patterns in your area, and your budget.â€¯Â
Gutter screens are relatively simple guards that consist of a mesh grid or screen that blocks leaves, sticks, and other largerÂ types of debris from entering the gutter. Theyâ€™re typically constructed of aluminum, plastic, or vinyl and install quickly andÂ efficiently under your roofâ€™s bottom row of shingles. Theyâ€™re among the most affordable and convenient options,Â but they have their downsides. Because theyâ€™re only held in place by your roofâ€™s bottom row of shingling, extreme weather and wind can loosen the screen or tear it away completely.
Micro-mesh gutter guards follow a similar design idea as gutter screens; the main difference isÂ the size of the holes in the mesh. As the name implies, micro-mesh guards are screens with muchÂ smaller filter holes than standard gutter screens and effectively keep smaller particles like sand and dirt out while allowing rainwater through. These mesh guards are made from various materials, from more affordable plastic or aluminum to heavy-duty stainless steel for extra durability.
Reverse curve gutterÂ guards,Â sometimes referred to asÂ surface tension gutter guards,Â use a form of trickeryÂ to keep debris outÂ of yourÂ gutter. These guardsÂ are designedÂ to take advantage ofÂ surface tension to keep water flowing into yourÂ gutterÂ while keeping debris outÂ entirely.Â Typically made from lightweight metal like aluminum or plastic, these guards are designedÂ to lastÂ and eliminate muchÂ of the regular cleaning needed by other guards. However,Â theyÂ tend to be moreÂ costlyÂ thanÂ screen guards and typically need to be installed by aÂ professional to be at theÂ correct angle to work correctly.â€¯
Foam guards are, simply put, big blocks of foam that sit inside of your gutter trough. The foam absorbs water and passes it through to the gutter while blocking out most kinds of debris. If you live in a climate that gets an above-average amount of rain, though, the foam can get saturated and begin to rot or grow mold. These guards are not designed for longevity and need to be cleaned or replaced more often than other styles.â€¯Â
The trade name for brush guards is â€œpipe cleaners,â€ and itâ€™s easy to see why. These guards slide directly into your gutter, allowing the bristles to catchÂ largerÂ pieces of debris while still allowing water to run through. They are another cheaper option and great for the DIYer, as all you need to do to install this typeÂ of guard is cut it to length and slide it into the gutter. These guards tend to require more regular cleaning than others, but the design makesÂ cleaning a relatively quick and easy process.
Having a Professional Install Your Gutter Guards
Although itâ€™s possible to install some types of gutter protection systems on your own,Â PRQÂ Exteriorsâ€¯always recommendsÂ a professional touch when it comes to anything involving the protection of your roof and, by extension,Â yourÂ home. Ensuring the proper fit and installation is a job often best left to the experts, especially where roof warranties are concerned. Atâ€¯PRQ,â€¯we install gutter guards and covers from all top manufacturers customizedÂ to fitÂ your needs and your home.â€¯Â
Regular roofing inspections are an essential part of maintaining a healthy roof year after year. Whether youâ€™re concerned about your roof after a major storm, just need a check-in, or want to talk about some options for installing new gutter guards to make life a little easier and provide more peace of mind, contact the roofing experts atâ€¯PRQ Exteriorsâ€¯for a complimentary roofing evaluation and free estimate today!â€¯Â