When it comes to looking after your outdoor space, gutter guards are about as glamorous as a pair of dirty garden boots.
But gutter guards and gutter guard systems are a must! Not only do they cut your home maintenance—goodbye blocked gutters—they also deter pests, help your gutters live longer, prevent costly water damage, and reduce your bushfire risk.
Choosing the best gutter guards for your home or property can be pretty confusing. Do you go strip or roll gutter guards? Bristle or brush gutter guards? Foam gutter guards? Plastic or metal gutter guards? Or a full gutter guard system? Your options are endless!
To help you get it right, we’re here to talk you through the different gutter guards you can buy and their pros and cons.
We’ll also give you some tips and advice on prep and installation. Because why get professional gutter guard installers on the job when you can save money and do it yourself?
Gutter guard consideration checklist
Before we dig into the gutter guard specifics, there are a few important things you need to think about before you buy:
- Your local climate – Do you live in an area prone to extremes of weather, such as heavy rainfall, snow or bushfires?
- Gutter debris DNA – What are the most common types of debris that clog your gutters? Is it leaves, twigs, pine needles, gum pods or something else?
- Maintenance willingness – How much time do you want to invest in cleaning your gutter guard system?
- Gutter guard design – What shape and size are your gutters? Are they K-style, half-round, box or quad? Do you have downpipes or roof overhang?
- DIY savviness – How handy are you on the tools? Do you need something that slips in, or can you manage cuts and clips?
Asking yourself these questions will help you work out which material, mesh size, and style of gutter guard will be best for you. For example, choose a tight-knit micro mesh if you’re prone to small pieces of gutter debris, such as pine needles.
Bushfire risk requirements
Bushfires can wreak havoc on our homes and put our families and pets in danger. And full gutters can up your risk.
If you don’t install the right gutter guard, any combustible garden debris collected can go up in flames. So gutter guards can literally be lifesavers!
The government requires that if you live in a bushfire zone area, you must, under AS3959, install gutter guards made from a non-combustible material, such as steel, bronze or aluminium.
The standard applies to all sites where Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) meets one of six pre-determined levels: BAL-LOW, BAL-12.5, BAL-19, BAL-29, BAL-40 and BAL-FZ.
The crazy thing is that gutter guards aren’t actually mandatory, even in bushfire-prone areas. They just need to be non-combustible if you use them. But if you want our advice, it’s better to be safe than sorry!
Getting to know your gutter guards
Now, let’s take a closer look at the types of DIY gutter guards you can get. There’s a heap out there, but they’re typically split into two categories: strip gutter guards or gutter covers and roll systems.
Strip gutter guards
Strip gutter guards are long pieces of hardware that sit neatly in your gutter. They let water flow over the top while blocking leaves and debris from getting in. They’re usually made of metal (aluminium or stainless steel) or durable plastic.
- Super-fast and easy to install
- Minimal maintenance
- Great for large debris such as leaves and branches
- Because they’re rigid, they may not fit irregular gutters
- More difficult to customise, e.g. corners and curves
- Can obstruct water flow if not properly fitted
Our JACK product picks
- Stay Mesh Ultra Strip – Pre-formed 1m gutter strips, UV-stabilised for long life, fits most gutters, install in seconds, slots into place
- Stay Mesh Ultra Aluminium Strip (Pack of 5) – Pre-formed 1m gutter strips, made from long-life aluminium, complies with Standard AS3959 for use in bushfire-prone areas, fits most gutters, super easy to install, slots into place
- Gutter Bristles or brush gutter guard – Come in 1m length and 110mm width, as singles or in packs of 6, great for narrow gutters, can be bent and snipped, long-lasting, easy to install—simply drop them into your gutter! With a flammability index of 0, they’re great for bushfire season.
- Foam Gutter Guard Strip – 110mm width and 900mm length, triangle-shaped (position with the flat side up), fire retardant and UV stabilised, can be cut to size, suits standard gutters, easy to install, simply drop them into your gutter!
Roll gutter protection
Roll gutter guards come in a continuous length of gutter mesh all rolled up—hence the name! They’re also made from metal or plastic. Rolls are installed inside your gutter and are typically cut and clipped into place.
- Very versatile – they can be cut and bent to fit most gutters
- Good for small debris such as seeds and small leaves
- Budget-friendly option
- May need more maintenance
- Additional DIY-savviness required
- Can be less aesthetically appealing
Our JACK product picks
- Super Gutter Guard – Comes in lengths of 8 or 15m, heavy duty, made from recycled plastic and UV stabilised for longer life, small holes but good water flow, fits standard gutters, easy to install
- Fire Guard Gutter Guard – Comes in 10m length and choice of 300mm or 190mm width, made from robust galvanised steel, conforms to Australian Standards for use in bushfire-prone areas, small holes but good water flow
- EmberMesh Stainless Steel Guard (ember guard) – 4m length and 190mm width, corrosion-resistant, stainless steel with a powder-coated finish, complies with Standard AS3959 – 2009/2011 for use in bushfire-prone areas StayMesh®
- Gutter Kit – This entire gutter system includes a 6m roll of 160mm StayMesh and 15 StayMesh clips, suits gutters up to 15cm, UV-stabilised for long life, everything you need in one pack, easy to install
Pre-gutter guard install advice
Before you head off and grab your gutter guards, inspect your gutters for existing damage and missing plugs. If you spot any holes or issues, sort these out first, including replacing sections of gutter if needed.
Next, measure them. Include the length, width and depth. Also, take note of your gutter type, for example, half-round, box or k-style.
Plus, give your gutters a good clean to remove any gutter clogs, existing debris, leaves and dirt. Gutter cleaning makes installation easier and ensures your gutters flow freely. Ladder, gloves, hose and safety goggles required!
In addition, make sure you have a plan of attack for your gutter guard installation. Most gutter guards come with instructions, but make sure you work out where you’re going to start and figure out the pattern or layout.
Once you get started, keep those gloves and goggles on hand. Edges can be sharp, and cut pieces can go flying. And if you’re using a roll, beware of recoil!
Go forth and gutter guard with confidence!
Good job for getting to the end! We hope you’ve found our tips and advice useful and can now go out and choose the best gutter guard with confidence.
With summer and bushfire season fast approaching for a lot of our continent, getting those gutter guards free of winter’s mess and covered to prevent clogs and damage and minimise risk should be high on your garden to-do list.
Goodbye, weekend scoping; hello, clean gutters and a protected home!
Ready to get your gutter guard on? Head to your nearest local supplier to pick up your tools, materials and Jack products.
Got your gutter guards installed and looking great? Why not share your images on socials, tagging @meetdiyjack? We love seeing how handy you are!