Types of Gutter Guard Systems
Not all gutter guards are created equally; literally. A high performance gutter guard needs to be UV-resistant, it must be capable of channelling heavy rain, and most importantly gutter guard must be able to keep leaves and debris OUT of your gutters.
So, here are the most common kinds of gutter protection:
1. Reverse Curve gutter covers
Reverse curve gutter guards are quite popular in the USA. These systems are normally colour-matched to the gutter itself (not the roof) in lighter colours like white or cream, they form a hood like top over the gutter and theoretically allow water to flow over the front and down into the gutter. These types of gutter guard rely on surface tension to ensure rainwater flows into the gutter rather than overflowing to the ground below, but they rarely function efficiently in heavy rain like thunderstorms and downpours after a cool change.
These types of rain gutter covers are also difficult to install, and even more difficult to re-clean.
In Australia, reverse curve gutter guards are rarely used. They may serve a purpose in heavily snowed areas of the world, but for Aussie gutters, they never really got accepted 🙂
2. Foam Inserts
Foam inserted gutter guards are short pieces of (usually black) foam that are cut into a triangular profile and then jammed into the gutters. Some of these foam products are even impregnated with herbicide chemicals that are toxic to plants, these herbicides are there to act as a weed killer making it impossible for weeds to grow inside your gutters (assuming the foam insert is in physical contact with the entire surface inside the gutter).
If your gutters are feeding into rain tanks, these herbicidal foam inserts are absolutely not recommended. You will also want to avoid using these herbicide-laden products if your rainwater runs off into garden beds (which is the case with many older properties in Australia) or drains into nearby waterways (check with your local council or planning authority if you’re not sure).
Packing your gutters full with foam will also restrict air flow meaning the gutters may not be able to dry out in wetter months, which could lead to rust issues.
Generally speaking, foam inserts are a total waste of money and will only make matters worse.
3. Leafscreener or “Ski Slope”
Leafscreener is a term used in the industry to describe permanent gutter guards that are installed over-the-roof-edge-onto-the-gutter. If the roof is pitched, this install method forms a ski-slope effect and almost everything leafy just slides away!
With leafscreener, the gutter mesh is held down to the gutter edge with rivets or screws, and on the roof side it’s pushed under the second tile. In the case of metal roofs, it’s again screwed to the roof itself.
Grayson’s Full Metal™ gutter protection mesh and fixing accessories are sourced from only the best materials, and come in a range of colours. You can find out more about the benefits of this type of gutter guard here.
4. Curled in systems
The curled in method of installation has been used in Australia for many decades. As well as being simpler and less disruptive, curled in gutter guards are more discreet and are less visible from the ground looking up. This type of gutter guard is readily available and usually comes in pre-measured lengths and widths that can be ‘curled-in’ to the gutter.
However, there are a lot of inferior gutter meshes available that do a poor job of properly protecting your gutters, that don’t withstand the elements, and are really just a waste of your money! No other curled in gutter guard works as well as our Triple-G® gutter guard mesh.
Our Triple-G® gutter guard is tougher than other plastic mesh leaf guards — it was originally manufactured for use in screwed-down applications.
Triple-G can also be installed in massive lengths of up to 30 metres, meaning we can tailor our gutter guard installation to suit the requirements of your gutter and roof, unlike the cheap pre-cut rolls of mesh you can find at your local hardware store.
The hole sizes of the Triple-G gutter mesh were formulated to stop smaller items like gum-nuts while being large enough to allow continued water flow in heavy rain.
5. Metal vs. Plastic
Depending on the application, you could choose either plastic or metal gutter guard. During the 1990s and early 2000s, plastic gutter guards were more common. Not all plastic gutter meshes are equal, Grayson’s Triple-G® gutter guard is known as the toughest, most UV-resistant plastic mesh available.
On much hotter roofs, like in Queensland, or even in the southern states during summer heatwaves, some plastic gutter guards have proven to be unsuitable because they will be exposed to very extreme sun that will warp and crack the mesh. Throughout Australia the industry of professional gutter guard installation is rapidly moving towards the metal side of things. New improved systems and products are always being developed, ask us about Grayson’s Full-Metal gutter guards!
6. DIY gutter guards
Various hardware supply stores offer DIY kits for householders to install on their own. These products really should be packaged with a huge WARNING label. If you don’t have the right know-how and equipment, such as ladders and safety gear, installing these DIY gutter guards will be risky.