Gutter guards or leaf guards are a popular home improvement option for homeowners looking to protect their gutters from leaves, debris, and other foreign objects. These covers or screens are installed over the gutters to prevent clogs and protect the gutter system from damage.
But can gutter guards get clogged? Yes. Gutter Guard can get clogged if not correctly maintained. While most gutter guard systems will dramatically reduce gutter maintenance, small debris fall can block or sit on the gutter guard surface. Some gutter guards are more susceptible to this than others.
In this article, we will explore the factors that can lead to gutter guard clogs and discuss prevention and maintenance strategies for homeowners.
How Gutter Guards Work
Gutter guards prevent leaves, debris, and other foreign objects from clogging a home’s gutter system. There are several different types available on the market, including:
- Brush gutter guards: These are guards with a wire core with protruding bristles that trap leaves, needles and other debris, allowing water to flow freely.
- Foam inserts are a sponge-like material that fits inside the gutter and allows water to pass through while blocking debris.
- Gutter covers or screens are made of a fine mesh material that allows water to pass through while preventing leaves and other debris from entering the gutter.
- Flat mesh panels are metal (Aluminium or stainless steel mesh)or plastic that fits over the gutter’s top. Water flows through small holes in the panel and into the gutter, while the wind carries leaves and other debris.
- Reverse curves are curved piece of metal or plastic that fits over the gutter’s top. Water flows over the curve and into the gutter, while leaves and other debris are carried away by the wind.
- Gutter protection systems are gutter protection systems installed on the roof slope and secured with trims and roof saddles. Water flows over the mesh filter by the perforated holes. The surface tension encourages leaves and debris to fall from the roof or be carried away by the wind. It is the most durable and permanent gutter guard solution.
Factors That Can Lead to Gutter Guard System Blockages
While gutter guards prevent blockages, several factors can lead to clogs, including:
- Debris: Leaves, twigs, and other debris can accumulate on top of gutter guards, eventually blocking water flow through the guttering system. This is especially true for gutter guards with solid surfaces that do not allow debris to pass through.
- Ice and snow: Gutter guards can become clogged with ice and snow during winter, primarily if the gutter system is not maintained correctly. Ice dams, which form when melting snow refreezes at the roof’s edge, can also block water flow through the gutter system.
- Incorrect installation or maintenance: Gutter guards installed incorrectly or unmaintained can quickly become clogged. For example, if the leaf guard system is not tightly sealed against the gutter, debris can easily pass through the gaps and cause clogged gutters.
- Types of gutter: Box gutters or internal gutters are far more likely to develop blockages or clogs as there is nowhere for the leaves and debris to go, and they can get stuck on top of the leaf guard.
- Guard types: Gutter guards installed via insertion into clean gutters are inherently flawed as leaves, twigs and dirt accumulate on the top of the guards, causing blockages and water pooling. Many homeowners will need to replace gutter guards like brush guards or foam inserts more often than other gutter protection types like micro mesh gutter guard systems.
Prevention and Maintenance of Gutter Guard Clogs
To prevent gutter guard clogs, homeowners should take the following steps:
- Regular gutter cleaning and inspection: Gutter guards should be cleaned and inspected regularly to remove any accumulated debris, including pine needles. This can be done using a ladder or a tool to clean gutter guards. While gutter guards should not need frequent cleaning, it is a myth to say that they are always maintenance-free.
- Choosing the right gutter guard: Different systems are more or less effective at preventing clogs, depending on the climate and surroundings. When choosing a gutter guard system, homeowners should consider factors such as the amount of tree coverage in the area and the type of debris, such as pine needles and other debris, that can penetrate even the tiniest holes.
- Proper installation and maintenance: Leaf guards should be properly installed and maintained to ensure they function correctly. This includes sealing gaps between the leaf guard and the gutter system and replacing damaged or worn-out guards.
Here are some general tips for gutter cleaning gutters fitted with gutter guards:
- Check the gutter guards regularly for any visible debris. If you see any leaves and debris stuck on top of the gutter guard, you can use a broom or a soft-bristled brush to remove it gently.
- If debris is built on top of the gutter guard, you can use a hose to rinse it off gently. Be sure to use a low-pressure setting to avoid damaging the gutter guard or the gutters themselves.
- If you need to remove gutter guards, handle them carefully to avoid damaging them. Use a ladder to reach the gutters, and be cautious when working at height.
- If you notice any issues with your gutter guard system, such as holes or tears, be sure to address them as soon as possible to prevent water from entering the gutters and causing damage to your home.
- If you need more time to get comfortable with gutter cleaning yourself, consider hiring a professional to do it for you. A professional will have the tools and experience to safely and effectively clean your gutters. Aussie Gutter protection can offer this service for our gutter guard customers and those with leaf guards installed by others.
Aussie gutter protection is a leader in the gutter guard industry, working with high-quality materials; products GutterMesh, TuffMesh, SteelMesh and SolarMesh; installation methods for leaf guard, bird proofing, rainwater harvesting, bushfire prevention and solar panel protection. AGP offers professional installation at affordable pricing to keep your gutters clean and ensure rainwater flows freely. Get a free consultation that brings you one step closer to ridding yourself of clogged gutters.