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Gutter Protection 101: Understanding the Different Types Available

Do you need to climb to your roof with a bucket and a trowel to clean leaves and debris out of the gutters – again? Or, alternatively, shell out money for a gutter cleaning service? It’s a hassle, and paying for someone else to do the chore can get expensive, but failing to keep your gutters debris-free and unobstructed can lead to even more hardships and expenses. Some people don’t have to clean their gutters very often, while others find themselves doing a lot of it. However, if you’re sick of it, there may be alternatives that can decrease or eliminate the need for you to clean your gutters. Take a look at some of the gutter protections available.

Gutter Screens

gutter screen

There are different types of gutter screens on the market, so it’s important to understand your options.

Gutter screens include a few different types of gutter protection. While some are just referred to as gutter screens, you may see others advertised as gutter mesh or gutter micro-mesh.

No matter which choice you go with, gutter screens are installed on top of your gutters – there’s no need to replace the gutters you already have. The screen or mesh contains small holes that allow rainwater to pass into the gutter system as it should, but they prevent larger debris and wildlife from getting into the gutter system.

How much debris the screens or mesh block depends on which you choose. Micro-mesh contains the smallest holes, allowing little or no solid matter to pass through. Regular mesh and screens have larger holes that could let some small items (or bugs) pass into the gutter system.

While they’re installed in the same place, there are differences in how they should be installed as well. Gutter screens can be professionally installed but are also a common DIY job for homeowners. Gutter mesh is recommended to be professionally installed, and micro-mesh must be professionally installed. This creates a significant price difference in installation costs among the three.

Gutter screens of all types have some benefits. They’re easy to come by, the ability to install some of them yourself can be a benefit, and they’re generally affordable. There are many varieties at different price points. However, they’re not perfect. Gutter screens won’t last indefinitely – eventually, you’ll have to replace them. The non-mesh screens should be removed and cleaned once a year. Another problem is that they lie flat, which means that while leaves and debris may not fall into the gutters, they can pile up on top, blocking rain from getting into the gutter system. They’re also not impervious to damage – severe weather or a determined wild animal could create holes that let debris through.

Gutter Foam

Gutter foam is just what it sounds like – large pieces of foam that fit inside the gutters. Larger pieces of debris won’t fit inside the gutters with the foam pieces, which should prevent clogs and backups. The biggest advantage of gutter foam is that it’s one of the least expensive gutter protection options available and something that most homeowners could handle installing themselves.

However, foam gutters can also make a mess. They’ll need to be removed and replaced periodically, which means that while they may be cheaper upfront, but if you keep using them, the costs add up. Like gutter screens, large pieces of debris can settle on top of the pieces of gutter foam, preventing rain from entering the gutters. If the debris isn’t removed, or if you just leave the foam pieces in there too long, the foam will degrade, negating its usefulness and possibly causing a blockage itself. That means you’re still going to be climbing to the roof to clean the gutters, and if it begins to break down, the foam itself is messy and unpleasant to deal with.

Gutter Brushes

Gutter brushes are pieces that look like the bristles from a brush that are placed inside the gutters, similar to gutter foam. They block debris the same way the foam does as well – water passes through without a problem, and other debris gets pushed out – or caught in the bristles. Gutter brushes are simple to install and are another option that’s handy for DIYers. The bristles are also easily removed for cleaning. And like foam, they’re one of the more affordable options for gutter protection.

However, brushes have some serious drawbacks. Pieces of debris that don’t get pushed out by the brushes get caught in the bristles. If your home has a lot of pine trees, for instance, that’s going to happen a lot. If too much clutter builds up in the bristles, that will actually cause a clog, which means they’re going to need to be removed and cleaned before that can happen, and while the brushes come out easily, the debris doesn’t always come out of the bristles easily. Many homeowners avoid brushes for this reason. On the other hand, at least the brushes can be moved to the ground and cleaned there instead of having to do it at roof height.

Gutter Guards

sun blasting over house rooftop

If you want to stay off your roof entirely, gutter guards are the only solution. 

If you’re looking for a solution that keeps you off the roof completely and that you don’t have to worry about replacing or cleaning every year or so, give or take, gutter guards are the type of gutter protection you’ve been waiting for. Also referred to as gutter covers, gutter guards are installed over your existing gutters. Unlike screens or mess that sit flat and that debris can pile on top of, gutter guards are curved to allow debris to bounce off. A small opening allows water in, and nothing else enters. You can’t remove them to clean your gutters, but you won’t need to – nothing is getting in there. They’re a permanent solution that will be there are long as your gutters are – and because your gutters won’t clog or be damaged from the inside, they may last longer than they would have otherwise.

Gutter guards are a type of gutter protection that must be professionally installed. They also carry a higher upfront cost than other gutter protection choices, but when you factor in the costs and hassles you’ll no longer have to deal with – no longer having to pay for gutter cleaning or do it yourself, no longer having to replace other types of gutter protection, no longer dealing with the damage that comes from undetected gutter clogs – they can pay for themselves over time.

Lednor Home Solutions is your go-to source when you’re looking for a way out of gutter problems. Their years of experience with homes like yours make them the perfect choice to help you find the right solution for your home and put it in place for you. If you’re ready to make a decision about gutter protection,  schedule a free estimate.

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I recently had the Gutter Helmet by Harry Helmet installed on my house. It not only looks amazing, but the guys arrived on time, were professional and efficiently got the job done. I am very satisfied with Gutter Helmet's attention to detail and fulfilling their work as promised. I will definitely tell my neighbors about the Gutter Helmet.
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I have had Gutter Helmets for 20 years. In all that time I've never had a problem until recently a bird's nest found its way into one of my gutters. The installer who came to replace the product was the same installer from 20 years earlier. Now that's impressive. Everyone at Gutter Helmet inclusive of the office staff were professional and a pleasure to work with.
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VERY happy with our entire experience adding Gutter Helmet by Harry Helmet to our house. Installing this was a great value for us. The gutters are working perfectly in heavy downpours and with year-long leaves and debris coming down from our river birches. Terrific customer service and a first class product.
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We needed our roof repaired due to wind damage. After several quotes, Gutter Helmet was the only company that went into our attic to look and see if more damage had occurred. If it wasn't for them taking the extra time to look at everything, we would have had rotting wood under our new roof. They were very professional and gave a fair quote.
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We just had Gutter Helmet installed on our gutters and couldn't be happier. They provided us with useful information about Gutter Helmet and cleaned up everything, leaving no mess behind. We definitely recommend Gutter Helmet to anyone considering this product.
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