How to Prevent
Gutter Shields Can Mitigate the Clogging of
By Mark J. Donovan
The installation of gutters around
your home’s roof edge can be extremely helpful in
protecting your home from water problems, particularly
if it has a basement. Gutters also help to protect your
home from erosion around its foundation by directing
rainwater from the roof to safe run-off locations.
Gutters, however, can also be a major pain in the neck
if not regularly maintained. They are perfect traps for
fallen leaves, pine needles and small tree branches. As
a result, they can often clog up if the home is located
near trees. Also clogged cutters can cause the fascia
boards that they are attached to, to rot and decay.
Even worse, gutters can also freeze
up during the winter months, particularly if there is
clogging debris in them, and can literally rip off the
side of the house causing damage to the roof edge and
fascia boards. To prevent these types of situations,
regular gutter cleaning and maintenance is required. For
most homes gutters should be cleaned twice a year.
However, if the home is located near trees then every
couple of months they should probably be cleaned.
One alternative solution from having to regularly clean
gutters is to install gutter shields, or gutter caps,
over the gutters. Gutter shields prevent leaf and branch
debris from falling into the gutters, while still
allowing the shedding roof rainwater to flow into them.
Gutter shield technology is based upon two natural
properties of water; water tension and capillary action.
So as water runs down the roof and over the surface of
the gutter shield, the water tension and capillary
action cause the water to adhere to the gutter shield
and slide along its surface and around its leading edge
bend, where it then drops into the gutter. Leaf debris,
however, lacks these two critical properties and thus
literally slides over and off the surface of the gutter
shields and onto the ground below. Heated wires can also
be installed in the gutters to eliminate the threat of
In terms of installation, gutter shields need to be
installed by a professional as they are cut to size at
the jobsite. However, installation is reasonably priced
and they are well worth the money. This said, contrary
to gutter shield manufacturers claims, they are not
perfect. Pine needles in particular have the tendency to
flow with the roof rain water over the shields and into
the gutters. As a result, the gutters will still need to
be occasionally cleaned out to prevent clogs, which is
more difficult to do with the gutter caps installed over
them. Overall, however, gutter shields are fairly
effective and will mitigate the need for you having to
climb a ladder and unclog gutters as frequently.
Find a Pre-Screened Building Contractor in Your Area