Professional installed systems are typically more of an investment than homeowner installed options. However, the professional systems all offer better clog protection, extended longevity and are backed by varying warranties. Homeowners looking for permanent or long-term gutter protection are best served by a professionally installed system. Understanding the pros and cons of each system is paramount to a homeowner selecting the system that is best suited for their needs.
Professionally Installed Product Types
Slit/Hole Gutter Guards:
The professionally installed gutter slit/hole systems are similar to the homeowner installed systems. In many instances it is the same product with the only difference being who performs the installation.
As with the homeowner installed category, many of the same problems exist. There are holes and openings that will allow debris to enter your gutters. Larger items such as pine cones and leaves will most likely be kept out of your gutters, but smaller items — shingle grit, pine needles, seeds, small leaves, etc. — will find their way into your gutters.
A professionally installed system may come with a guarantee. These are typically not a “no clog” guarantee but an offer to clean clogged gutters. Homeowners should be weary of a guarantee that offers to “clean gutters” or “remove clogs.” This type of guarantee is an acknowledgment that the system will eventually fail, clog and require maintenance.
Whether it is homeowner installed or professionally installed, a slit/hole gutter guard will require maintenance and will clog over time.
Reverse Curve Gutter Guards:
For several decades, Reverse Curve, or Reverse Flow, gutter protection systems were the industry leader in professionally
installed gutter guards.
The first reverse curve patent was issued in the early 1900s. Prior to 2005 this type of system was typically viewed as the best gutter protection system available.
With a reverse curve system the top of the gutters are completely sealed. Water flows to the front of the gutters where a curve leads to an opening that runs along the entire front edge of the gutter guard. The intent is that water will follow the path of the curve into your gutters while leaves and debris are pushed off the front edge.
Reverse curve systems are prone to attracting bees and other insects. The opening that runs along the entire front of the gutter guard will allow pest to enter your gutters. Hives are routinely discovered within reverse curve systems. Getting rid of these pests may require removal of that section of the gutter guard.
Pine needles, shingle grit, seeds, spinners and other debris will also flow with rainwater into your gutters. While a reverse curve system will divert larger debris, there will be items that find their way into your gutters and form clogs. As with pest removal, taking care of cleaning and clogs will require removal of the gutter guard in order to gain access to your gutters.
Most reverse curve systems install under the first row(s) of a roof’s shingles. Disturbing or impacting your existing roofing material will limit coverage by every major roof warranty. Reverse curve systems that install your roofing material should be avoided if a homeowner wishes to preserve and protect their roof warranty.
Micro Mesh Gutter Guards:
The last category of professionally Installed gutter protection that we will cover is micro mesh (also called micro screen or micro filter). Micro mesh gutter protection first appeared in 2005 (LeafFilter™ was the first patented micro mesh product).
Micro mesh gutter protection consists of two parts:
- An ultra-thin (typically surgical steel) mesh
- A frame that pulls water through the mesh and into the gutters.
Micro mesh systems create a completely sealed system. The openings in the micro mesh are thin enough to keep out items as small as a grain of sand. As water flows off of your roof it is pulled into the micro mesh screen. Shingle grit, dirt, leaves…every type of possible debris either falls off edge of the gutter or accumulates until a wind comes blowing.
The use of surgical grade steel (recommended) ensures that no organic material will grow on, or adhere to the surface.
What to consider when looking at micro mesh gutter protection:
- At what slope is the product installed? If the slope is similar to that of your roof there is the potential for heavy rain and water flow to run off of your gutters. Installing at a lesser slope than your roof will create a type of ledge that will slow the water flow and allow the Micromesh to functional properly
- Does it install under my roof or disturb my roof in any way? Installing any item that disturbs your shingles and roof may void your roof warranty.
Micro mesh gutter protection systems are widely recognized as the best solutions for keeping gutters clog free. Homeowners who are interested in a micro mesh system should compare the major points of differentiation: 1) pricing; 2) warranty coverage; 3) impact on your roof and roof warranty.