A Guide to Installing Gutter Guards
Are you looking for a way to beef up your gutter system? Gutter guards can help. These screens fit over your existing gutter system and their mesh surface acts as a layer of protection against leaves and debris, allowing runoff to flow uninterrupted through the gutters without blockage. So, let’s learn how to install gutter guards.
Why Gutter Guards?
Let’s face it — cleaning out the gutters is no one’s favorite household chore. Gutter guards can lessen the tedium of the job because the mesh screens sit overtop your gutters, stopping leaves, twigs and other debris from causing blockages. If you find that it is hard to get yourself outside to clean your gutters for the recommended twice-per-year job, then consider gutter guards.
Gutter guards ensure that water is properly channeled away from your home and that debris and leaves are not invited inside the gutter lengths to cause overflow. Not only does this save you from a long afternoon of gutter cleaning, but there are several other benefits when you install gutter guards. They:
- Protect your home. Overflowing gutters means the water is not being directed away from your home, which translates quickly to water damage. Homeowners know that water can wreak havoc on your home’s structural and foundational integrity if it is not dealt with in a timely manner.
- Prevent expensive repairs. Neglected gutters with overflow issues can lead to mold, mildew, leakage and weakening — all of which are expensive to repair. This is why your gutter system is essential and even more important to maintain.
- Create a longer lifespan for your gutters. Installing gutter guards will stop debris from clogging up your gutter runs. Gutters can get weighed down when full of leaves, twigs and debris, causing the system to separate and pull away from the roof. Stopping blockages with the gutter guard’s mesh screens will keep your gutters intact for what they are designed to do, and that means they will last much longer.
- Make for less time cleaning out gutters. Perhaps the main reason why people choose to install gutter guards is simply because with the mesh screens in place, debris is kept out of the gutter lengths, and suddenly your gutters are much less needy. It’s good news for you as it is one less chore.
How to Install Gutter Guards: Steps and Considerations
Most gutter screens snap into place, but for more specific instructions on how to install your new gutter guards, consult the manufacturer’s manual.
1. Measure Your Gutters
Grab a ladder and a tape measurer and measure each gutter length separately. These measurements will determine the lengths of gutter guards you will need for your system. You might want to measure twice, as the saying goes: measure twice, cut once. Measure the gutters’ width, depth and length.
You might also want to denote the pitch of your roof. Roofs with a higher pitch have faster runoffs and that can mean the water will potentially miss being captured by a shallow gutter.
2. Gather Your Tools
Some gutter guards arrive in bulk, and you might need a circular saw, a chop saw, or just a pair of metal snips to fit them to length. There are gutter guards available with a simpler design, so you do not even need to cut them. Some gutter guards will require a power drill and screwdriver if they are set in place with screws, nails, or rivets. You can find out what tools you need for sure by reading the instructions provided by the manufacturer.
3. Cut the Gutter Guards
If necessary, cut the gutter guards to fit the gutter runs. Make sure your gutters are cleaned out and in good shape before you start your project.
4. Install the Guards
Start at one end of your gutter and work your way around the roof. For screens that snap into place, you will clip the screen’s lip to the front of the gutter, then slide the screen under the shingles.
As you continue down the gutter lengths, you can overlap the screens by 1/2 of an inch. At the end of the gutter, cut as needed with tin snips or a utility knife so the screen fits to length.
Some gutter guards are designed to be held in place by the shingles, with the front portion requiring a screw or fastener to secure it to the gutter. Other gutter guards are installed by simply being set into place inside the gutters.
5. Maintain Your Gutters and Gutter Guards
Although gutter guards will dramatically cut down time spent cleaning gutters, you are not completely off the hook for this chore. You’ll want to periodically check to make sure the gutter guards are doing their job, in good shape and are not suffering from piles of debris that are hindering their performance.
Fortunately, gutter guards make it easy to perform a visual check. If there are blockages, all you need to do is gently sweep off the debris and make sure that the inside of the gutter length is still protected by the mesh screens.
Types of Gutter Guards
There are several types of gutter guards you can choose from. Some styles are inexpensive and easy to install, like screen or mesh screens. Others, like reverse curve gutter guards, are more expensive and will require a professional technician to install them.
- Screen. Screen guards have a plastic or wire grid that stops leaves and debris from entering your gutter system. Many of these screen gutter guards are secured in place by the bottom row of shingles. Screen guards are inexpensive and have simple installation.
- Mesh. Micro mesh guards are a similar style to screens with openings that allow for water to pass through unhindered while stopping debris like twigs, leaves and pine needles. Mesh screens excel at blocking even the smallest debris, but because of the micro-sized holes, you will need to clean them occasionally with a sprayer or a scrub brush.
- Reverse curve. These gutter guards attach to the roof’s fascia. They’re made of lightweight metal or molded plastic, allowing water to flow overtop and into the gutter trough below, thanks to its downward curve design. These gutters are more expensive and not as DIY friendly, but still, reverse curve gutters are effective. You’ll want a professional to install these for you.
Gutter Guard Brands
Are you now wondering which gutter guard brand to buy? Here are a few top-rated choices.
1. The Raptor Gutter Guard
The Raptor Gutter Guard is a stainless steel, durable mesh that is favored among consumers because of its easy-to-install design and excellent ability to keep out all kinds of debris. The Raptor Gutter Guard fits nicely over standard gutter systems but can prove to be a bit difficult to cut to length, even with sharp tin snips. Still, this gutter guard is durable, easy to clean and install, and it is a fair price at $119 USD.
2. Superior Gutter Guards
Another micro mesh option is the Superior Gutter Guard. It’s about the same price as the Raptor Gutter Guard ($118.90 USD) and made to fit a standard gutter system. This gutter guard is extremely durable and its advantage over the Raptor Gutter Guard is that it is a little easier to cut the screen to length. However, the Superior Gutter Guard can be a confusing to install.
3. FlexxPoint 30-Year Gutter System Cover
If your home suffers from heavy snow accumulation, then you might want gutter screens that offer additional support and durability. Look no further than the FlexxPoint Gutter System Cover. This gutter guard attaches to the outer edge of the gutter with screws, snapping into place without the need to be secured by the shingles. It’s heavy duty, yet easy to cut. However, you might find that it does tend to catch large debris, but you can easily remove the debris if that occurs. This option is more affordable, at $78 USD.