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Gutter screens (C) Daniel Friedman A Detailed Guide to Gutter Screens

  • GUTTER SCREENS - CONTENTS: Gutter Screens for Reducing Gutter Clogging & Overflowing: How to Install & Use - What are gutter screens & what types of gutter screens are available?
  • POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs about choosing, installing, & repairing gutter screens to keep out leaves & debris
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Gutter screens guide:

Here we explain the choices, selection, and use of gutter screens to reduce gutter clogging and to reduce the frequency of gutter cleaning chores.

We address the question of whether or not installing gutter screens actually save work.



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Gutter Screens for Reducing Gutter Clogging & Overflowing: How to Install & Use

Gutter screens can reduce but not eliminate gutter maintenance (C) Daniel Friedman

Article Contents

Unlike gutter caps (that we find often don't work as well as expected in many installations), gutter screens can permit roof runoff water to enter the gutters while keeping out large debris and thus slowing the rate that gutters clog and overflow.

Indeed, properly installed, gutter screens can reduce (but not eliminate) the need for frequent gutter inspection and cleaning.

Gutter Screens (C) D Friedman S Shockley

Watch out: just because you have installed gutter screens, don't think you never have to inspect or clean the gutters. You will need to perform those tasks, though less often than without the screens.

Some common gutter screen problems are discussed and illustrated just below.

Gutter Screens (C) D Friedman S Shockley<

Good Spots for Gutter Screens: high, hard to access roofs with nearby trees

Stainless steel roof screen (C) D Friedman

Our photo (above left) illustrates a recent gutter screen installation we requested for the edge of a high standing-seam metal roof on a New York home. (Photo courtesy Galow Homes). At above right are the pine needles and debris that had leaked through the gutter screen to clog the gutter downspout end drop four years later. At SNOW GUARD FAILURES we further illustrate what else happend to this gutter.

Clogged gutter beneath a gutter screren (C) Dainiel Friedman

Here are some reasons why we decided to screen the gutter at this roof edge:

The workmanship was neat and a high quality gutter screen of perforated stainless steel was installed. Two concerns remained after this installation of gutter screens:

Common Gutter Screen Problems

Gutter screens (C) Daniel Friedman

Solid "hat type" gutter covers or "screens" - how well do they work?

Our photos below show a solid gutter cover that promises "you will never have to clean your gutters again".

Gutter Screens (C) D Friedman S Shockley

We see this neat gutter cover on display at home shows and in shopping malls with water running continuously over the gutter cover and neatly into the gutter through a space between the cover's outer edge and the outer lip of the gutter itself.

Do these gutter covers work? Sure. Leaves blow nicely off of the roof edge. But some limitations and concerns with solid gutter covers are listed just under our photographs.

Gutter Screens (C) D Friedman S Shockley

Limitations of Solid Gutter Covers and Screens

In our OPINION we describe several concerns with the solid gutter covering installed and shown above:

Gutter ScreenTroubleshooting: Question: What Else is Wrong with my Gutter Screens?

I’ve been looking for information on the proper installation of the aluminum gutter screens you see in the attached photo. The one that is closest in the picture is the one I’m primarily concerned with because all of it was installed laying on top of the shingles at the top edge (photo, below-left). That piece you see furthest in the picture was just a piece that looks like it was added because they ran out. In the second picture (below right), the top edge is pushing the last row of shingles up. - S.S.

Gutter Screens (C) D Friedman S Shockley

Reply:

We're not certain from just the photo, but the gutter screen at the right side of your photo (above-right) looks like a model that is intended to make it easier to inspect and clean the gutter when needed. These screens incorporate a hinge that clips to the outer edge of the gutter. The screen can be flipped up for gutter inspection or cleaning.

The gutter screen at the left of the photo depends on having been spring-fit between the shingle edges and the inner edge of the aluminum gutter. It too can be removed and replaced, though not as easily, and its spring-fit design sometimes leaves a high bulge (not in your case) that traps leaves and debris up-roof of the screen. We prefer the hinged gutter screen design, as we discussed above in this article.

Gutter Screens (C) D Friedman S Shockley

Your second photo shows buckled roof shingles at the lower course just above the gutter screens. Buckling asphalt roof shingles lead to earlier wear and failure of those shingles than others on the roof, as we find both granule loss and cracks occurring at the apex of the buckled section. If your roof shingles are still flexible enough to lift without breaking, you might want to try carefully placing the upper edge of the gutter screen under rather than against the edges of the shingles.

Readers should also see GUTTER CAPS where we describe this different approach to trying to avoid having to clean roof gutters.

Also see TREES & SHRUBS, TRIM OFF BUILDING for advice on avoiding leaf and pine needle clogging of roof gutters. This article series discusses how to choose, install, diagnose & maintain roof gutters & downspouts, & roof drainage systems to prevent building leaks and water entry.

Roof Gutter or Eaves Trough Inspection & Repair Articles

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Continue reading at GUTTER CAPS or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.

Or see OVERFLOWING GUTTERS?

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