There are several reasons why homes and properties in Australia need gutter guards. Pest control is the most obvious reason, especially when it comes to newly built homes and estates located on greenfield sites as birds are often displaced from their natural nesting locations and need a new home quickly.

However, older homes are not immune from bird nesting problems. Houses provide excellent nesting places with birds preferring roofs, gutters, verandas, valleys and even downpipes for the warmth and protection offered by these areas.

Vermin including possums, rats and mice commonly nest in gutters too and are noisy, especially at night, and attract other kinds of pests and disease. A strong gutter guard will deter them and force them to seek shelter elsewhere.

A gutter guard also significantly reduces the amount of gutter cleaning for homeowners. This is especially true for trees that overhang the structure. It is essential to select a gutter guard mesh with an adequate hole size to match the surrounding vegetation – for instance, pine needle trees need a mesh with a small aperture size.

A gutter guard not only saves homeowners and property owners money, but it also keeps people safe by eliminating the risk of climbing ladders to clean clogged gutters.

Blocked gutters also overflow during heavy rainfall; over a period of time, this can cause problems in the foundation. The gutter will also start to sag with the additional weight from the debris producing lulls where water stagnates; stagnant water also attracts pests such as mosquitoes.

Gutter guards are also an effective tool in bushfire protection by preventing the build-up of debris in gutters, which can become an ignition source for embers in a bushfire. An ember guard also keeps the embers off the roof and gutter as these entry points are the most vulnerable in a bushfire.

Different types of gutter guard products

Gutter guards can be broadly defined into two categories:

1. Gutter guards that lie inside the gutters (e.g., brush gutter guard or foam gutter guard)

2. Gutter guard protective mesh attaching to the top of the gutter, either flat to the gutter or integrated with the roof’s pitch and slope.

Key features of gutter mesh:

When selecting a gutter mesh for your integrated gutter guard system, you need to consider the features and benefits of each type, its purpose and the home’s design aesthetics. The default choice for most situations is an aluminium mesh solution. This provides a malleable metal, which is easily shaped to the roof while also providing bushfire resistance.

All integrated mesh systems can be fitted to tiled roofs, corrugated roofs, and other metal roof types.

Aluminium gutter guards can be found in a range of hole sizes and strengths. At ScreenTech, we supply four types of aluminium gutter guards:

Tuffmesh Aluminium

A commercial grade thick gutter guard mesh with a medium hole size, this is installed on a majority of new homes as its added strength is great for box gutters and parapets. It’s also favoured by architects as the thicker mesh strands make the mesh appear solid and part of the roof from the ground.

Tuffmesh Emberguard

A commercial grade ember guard product with a 1.6mm hole size and custom made to each roof, this is the strongest ember guard available in Australia and is designed by ScreenTech to deal with the most demanding Australian situations.

Guttermesh Aluminium

A standard product with great affordability, it is used widely to prevent clogged gutters.

Guttermesh Emberguard

Featuring a small 1.9mm hole size, this product is used where building requirements demand an ember guard solution. It is also suitable for pine tree areas as the small aperture helps ensure pine needles and other debris stay out of the gutters.

For some applications, aluminium is not suitable as it reacts with another metal. This may be a galvanised roof or application in coastal environments where corrosion is more likely. For these situations, ScreenTech offers a range of polyethylene mesh products:

Tuffmesh Poly

A strong thick poly mesh similar to Tuffmesh Aluminium, it has a medium-sized aperture that keeps gutters clean even in tropical or torrential downpour areas; however, it isn't fire resistant.

Guttermesh Poly

A slightly thinner gutter guard product, this mesh is used in less demanding applications to prevent blocked gutters.

Steel mesh gutter guard

In extreme bushfire areas, where the BAL rating is FZ, ScreenTech recommends their steel mesh gutter guard product to withstand ember attacks. In these high fire risk areas, it’s vital to have an ember guard that can cover all other potential ember ingress points such as vents and holes including those for utilities.

Installing gutter guards

Installing gutter guards can be very simple or complex depending on access to the roof. When executed during the build while the scaffolding is still up, any gutter guard solution can be installed quickly and safely in a few hours. Some roof types are more complex than others with tiled roofs taking a little longer and metal roofs generally being easier.

On metal roofs, the mesh is attached to the far gutter edge and then mechanically fixed to the roof preferably with the aid of a metal saddle where possible to ensure the load is spread across the mesh and the risk of tearing is reduced. For a tiled roof, the mesh is tucked under the second row of tiles and silicone is often used to provide a seal.

Retrofit projects can be more complicated since putting up a full house scaffold is cost-prohibitive. Often specially trained gutter guard installers working from the roof or from mobile lifts will be required. In Melbourne, ScreenTech recently supplied materials to one of our installation partners, Aussie Gutter Protection. Getting gutter guards installed can be done by most reputable roofing contractors or specialised gutter guard companies.

What is the best gutter guard for your home?

The best solutions depend on your situation, your budget and your building code. Hopefully this guide has helped point you in the right direction but if you would like to talk to an expert at ScreenTech, we are always happy to discuss a project and make sure you get the right gutter guard specified to achieve the desired outcomes.

We can work with you on custom gutter guard solutions if needed. We regularly custom fabricate gutter guard mesh for roof gutters on custom homes and also have the ability to manufacture copper and galvanised fittings for homes with those requirements.