Some people believe that an outfit isn’t complete without a good hat. The same may be said about your gutters. Gutters will clear rainwater and water from melted snow away from your house, but they can’t do their job effectively if they are clogged with leaves and debris. While having them cleaned is important, the leaves and gunk may begin piling up again as soon as the gutter technician pulls out of your driveway.
You can give your gutters a protective “hat” by installing a leaf protection in the form of gutter guards. When leaves and debris build up in your gutters, they rot and smell. It causes the water to pool and leak over the edge, causing damage to your siding, windows, doors, foundation, and landscaping. Pooling water is heavy, so it can also cause your gutters to sag or collapse altogether. Gutter guards are designed to let water in while keeping everything else out. Your gutters will still need cleaning, although not as often, and they’ll still need regular maintenance to check for damage or wear, but having guards should greatly reduce the amount of labor involved.
Gutter guards, gutter screens, gutter helmets, gutter covers, gutter filters, leaf filters―whatever you call them, they’ll not only require less maintenance of your gutters, they can extend the life of your gutters by keeping clogging clutter and damaging sticks out. They also help to keep snow and ice out of your gutters in the winter. It’s best to have the guards installed at a pitch that is similar to your roof which will allow the snow and ice to slide off more easily. A flat or small pitch may contribute to the formation of ice dams.
Ice dams are ridges of ice that form along the edge of the roof when snow on your roof melts and refreezes and backs up onto your roof, potentially allowing water to find its way through your shingles and into your house. Your gutters can contribute to this. If they are clogged, water won’t drain; it will just sit there, freezing into a dam. If you’ve got gutters, ice dams can occur when there’s a “perfect storm” of factors: a poorly insulated attic that allows heat to escape, clogged gutter spouts and gutters, a fluctuation of freezing and warming temperatures, and heavy snowfall combine to cause the dreaded, damaging ice dam.
To reduce the occurrence of ice dams, buy a roof rake. If you can get most of the snow off your roof, you can alleviate the formation of ice dams and the damage they can cause. Before the snow arrives, have your gutters cleaned. Most gutter guards do a good job of keeping leaves out but it’s best to make sure that anything that may have gotten through is removed. Also, after each storm, make sure your downspouts are clear and able to move the water away from your house.
When choosing a gutter guard, consult a professional gutter technician like ours at Gutter Pros who can guide you on which guard is best for your house. Different types of gutter guards work better with different kinds of roofs and their types vary greatly.
Screens can be plastic or wire mesh and can be dropped into the gutters or attached to the shingles. They’re effective but can tear. Ones that are a sheet of metal with holes work best and are more durable.
These are just dropped into the gutters. Bottle brush inserts are tube-shaped bristles. They’re effective in keeping out larger debris but traps smaller bits. Foam inserts are usually triangular with a flat top to keep leaves out and an angled gap at the bottom for water to drain. Their advantage is the ease in which they’re installed, but their downside is that they deteriorate rather quickly and because they are slow in absorbing water, much of it goes over the side in a heavy rainstorm.
These “helmets” are solid systems installed over your gutters. Rain flows over the edge and into the gutter while debris falls to the ground. Because they’re open at the edge, some debris can still get in there and small birds can get in and build nests. The only way to clean your gutters is to remove the permanent guard altogether which is difficult and time-consuming.
Installation of gutter guards is best left to the professionals. Incorrect installation could damage your roof and your gutters and should only be installed after a thorough cleaning. At Gutterpros, our technicians in our Leaf Protection Services department will advise you on the right gutter guard for your home and budget and provide you with expert installation that is done right the first time. Call Gutterpros today at (314) 656-7195. Your gutters will thank you!