When specifying gutter guards or ember guards for your project, it is important to make sure your vision is translated by your building contractor into the final product. A broad specification, for instance, can result in corners being cut and the cheapest material chosen, which can compromise desired project outcomes.

In this short guide, Screen Tech Industries lists out the 4 basic considerations for specifying gutter guards and ember guards in your project.

Gutter guard

1. Material

Gutter guards typically come in a choice of 3 materials – aluminium, steel and poly, each with their unique advantages and disadvantages.

  • Aluminium is the most common material used in gutter guards as it is corrosion resistant, strong and malleable enough to conform to the roof. However, aluminium cannot be used in buildings with a BAL-40 and a BAL-FZ rating.
  • Steel is the material of choice for BAL-40 and BAL-FZ homes. However, it is a brittle material and the aesthetic is often less pleasing as it has a thinner wire strand. 
  • Poly is an excellent material for coastal areas where saltwater corrosion might be an issue. It is also ideal for galvanised roofs where other metals could chemically react.

2. Mesh thickness

Aluminium, steel and poly mesh are available in different thicknesses.

  • Aluminium mesh comes in a standard thickness of approximately 0.4mm whereas a premium mesh is 0.7mm thick. A thicker mesh will provide increased strength and rigidity, especially across wider box gutters, and can be more aesthetically pleasing. However, aluminium mesh is priced higher. But these numbers are not always a great way of judging a gutter guard. The best way to begin your search is to request samples before making a decision – most companies are more than happy to provide some free material samples to architects.
  • Steel mesh similarly has standard and premium lines, which are offered by many suppliers. Steel mesh varies immensely in quality and strength depending on the steel type used and just as importantly, the powdercoating on the mesh. If you are building in a BAL-40 or FZ area, please have the product tested first to ensure it performs as intended.
  • Poly mesh also comes in a range of thicknesses. Standard thickness poly mesh normally comes with a 10-year warranty, which is much shorter than many other mesh options. Choose the premium option. Also, since a number of mesh products on the market are of inferior quality, get samples first.

3. Colour

Gutter guards come in a huge range of colours to match almost every roof colour. Match the colour of your mesh and roof fittings to your roof colour and the gutter trim colour to the gutters themselves. Small details such as colour matched screws can make a huge difference to the final look, so make sure that matching fittings are included in your specifications.

Guttermesh Terracota

4. Ember guard or gutter guard?

Ember guards and gutter guards vary in terms of the size of the hole aperture and material makeup. On an ember guard, the hole must be less than 2mm. Additionally, all ember guards must be made from metal. Ember guard is also used outside bushfire areas for trees that shed lots of fine debris. When installing ember guards, it’s critical to ensure that the water does not sheet off the roof. This means the ember guard needs to be pre-shaped to capture water or be installed by an experienced installer who can shape the mesh during installation to ensure maximum capture.