Perhaps one of the most difficult and dirtiest jobs that homeowners have to do is to clean the gutters. Gutters are critical to the home. They help rainwater and melting snow and ice move away from the home’s foundation, minimizing the risk of damage to the structure. To do that, they have to be clear of debris to enable water to flow. That means cleaning them out on a consistent basis, especially in the fall months when leaves are falling. There’s one way to prevent this need – install gutter guards.
What are gutter guards?
Gutter guards are designed to protect the surface of the gutters, allowing only water to get into them and blocking leaves and other debris. That helps to minimize the need to clean the gutters in most homes. Though older models were inefficient and hard to install, today’s modern products are readily available and work very well for years.
There are several types, each one with a bit of a different structure. Most are like vents that allow only liquid to get through them. They keep all of the twigs and leaves (not to mention all of the other material that becomes a sludge that’s often very difficult to clean) out of the gutters themselves.
Choose the right gutter guard
The first step is to choose the best type of gutter guard for your needs including your budget. The most common forms are mesh or plastic screens. Some are designed to rest just inside the gutters themselves. Others are installed using surface tension units that are fitted right over the top of the gutters. Both methods can be beneficial, though prices can vary.
Each method has their own steps for installation, but most are designed to be rather easy to place. Once you choose the style you want, you’ll need to follow the manufacturer recommendations for placing them. There are a few things you need to know before getting into that process.
There is always a risk of injury when using a ladder, we put together a ladder safety guide for homeowners to prevent injuries.
Prepare the area first
Before you install gutter guards, you need to be sure that the gutters are in fact clean. Be sure all debris is removed from them and water (such as from a hose) can easily flow through the gutters. Be sure to check all areas including all downspouts. You don’t want to find yourself having to remove part of the gutter guard because the downspout in the back of the house is clogged.
It is also necessary to check for any leaks in your gutters. Now is the perfect time to have those leaks repaired or to replace any areas that are broken.
Next, measure for your gutter guards. It’s easy to find yourself buying too much or not enough. Be sure to have a bit extra on hand in case they break. You can use a tape measure to do this. If you order those that are too long, you will need to cut them. Depending on the material itself, that can sometimes be hard to do. Still, it is important to ensure they are the right size for your home.
Before you begin the installation process, the next step is to get all of the tools you need in place to do this. That means you’ll need to do a bit of research into how the gutter guards you’ve selected attach. You may need to use a power drill or a screwdriver to insert them. It’s important that they are positioned properly and held in place tightly to reduce the risk of the gutter guard falling.
Installation Tips and Guidelines
There are a lot of brands of gutter guards out there. It is critical that you install them the way the manufacturer recommends. That means there are going to be directions to follow through this process. While we can offer some tips to you here to help you get started and strategies that work for most products, you will need to refer to your directions from the manufacturer. You do not want to void a warranty.
Whenever possible, allow a professional to handle the installation of gutter guards. Not only does that ensure they are placed properly, but if there is a problem with them later, the professional can handle the repairs for you.
If you decide to do the work yourself, try to choose those that snap-on. These are easy to install and they have a one-size-fits-all style to them. These will typically fit into the space between the top portion of the gutters. Some will snap onto the outside edge of the gutters.
Another option that may work well for some is the use of a gutter guard that sits within the gutters. They sit towards the top on the ledge within it. These are easy to install as well because they are cut to fit. You do not need to install these with any type of power tools. They rest in place and remain there reliably.
For those that want a fitted option, you will need to be comfortable climbing on the roof (and following all safety methods to do so). You will then need to place the gutter guard in place, with one edge under the roof shingles and the other across the top of the gutter to the front portion. Then, you will need to drill into these areas to fasten them into place. This method is more complex because you are creating holes into the surface, which means you should caulk the area.
Make It Easier on Yourself
Hiring a Minneapolis roofing company may be a far easier method of getting gutter guards in place. A reputable roofing company will do a free roof and gutter inspection to let you know if any roof or gutter damage needs to be repaired before gutter guards can be installed. Any St. Paul roofing company will typically offer them. It may be best to choose a product that is the highest quality your budget can offer if you are having them installed properly, such as those that are made of steel mesh. That way, you will not need to replace them until you have to add new gutters to your home, which could be years from now. You’ll also get insight into minimizing damage to your roof’s shingles while installing them.