micro mesh gutter guards

Micro Mesh Gutter Guards Need Cleaning

One of the newer forms of rain gutter clog protection are Micro Mesh gutter guards. The micro mesh gutter guard is similar to a gutter screen, however the screen openings are micro sized or incredibly small. Essentially, it is a fine mesh gutter guard

Micro Mesh Gutter Guards, Gutter Mesh Cleaning may be Often

Essentially,  Micro mesh gutter guards aka mesh gutter guards or gutter mesh, are a fine mesh gutter leaf filter. The concept is an attempt to keep small debris items and pine needles from entering the seamless gutter while hopefully still allowing the rain water to somehow also filter through into the gutter.

I spent many years in the roofing industry. Experts in the construction industry understand a few basic important exterior building concepts that are applicable.
  • Gutters and drainage systems out in the debris field need maintenance to flow properly
  • Gutter guards cause other collateral alternative negative issues.

The concept and need for gutter mesh or micro mesh gutter guards, can be illustrated by considering pine trees, pine needles, and the difficulty they cause when trying to keep a building’s rain gutter from clogging and overflowing. Obviously, pine needles and pine straw are very skinny items, hence the name “needle”.  Although they are small and skinny, high volumes of pine needles during heavy rain downpours, will clump together to form a larger plug that flows and wedges into the gutter outlet tube forming a gutter clog which obstructs the gutter from flowing properly; which is why they created a gutter guard designed to keep such small leaves, debris and and even pine needles and pine straw out of the gutter entirely. Gutter covers, gutter screens and reverse curve gutter guards don't keep the small debris items out either. Gutter mesh created with teeny tiny apertures or openings which make a very fine gutter mesh or tight screen, in an attempt to try to keep very small debris from entering the gutter. Unfortunately, those of us who have worked a lifetime outdoors learned first hand by responding to customer distress calls while gutters are overflowing, that if you try to keep the tiny debris out of your gutter, you will end up also keeping most of the roof water out of the gutter too; especially the fast moving rain water during heavy downpours.  Outdoor workers well versed in the physicality of the environment know that the only way to get all of the rain water to enter the gutter, is to also allow some of the debris to enter. Like they say, “You can't have your cake and eat it too”.

Micro Mesh Gutter Guards and a Gutter Guard Brush 

Micro mesh gutter guards are the newest gimmick in an attempt to get more people to buy leaf guards. Some of them claim to fit like a glove on the gutter, while others are a leaf filter. These new gimmicks are an attempt to convince people that small differences in new technological gutter guard products can save more time and money by eliminating maintenance. The problem here is that you can not eliminate all gutter maintenance and if you over-reach in your attempt to do so, you will likely cause yourself more gutter trouble than it is worth. The story becomes more obvious when you consider one major gutter guard company’s offer.

Gutter Guard Brush, Free Gutter Guard Brush, Tells The Story

For quite some time, one of the major makers of micro screen gutter guards, has offered a free gutter guard brush, when you purchase their micro mesh gutter guard. ( a.k.a. micro screen gutter guard). This gutter guard brush is offered so that the homeowner or building owner can sweep or brush the leaves and tree debris droppings off of the top of the micro mesh gutter guard. Can you believe it! These leaf guard companies are often boasting to be the best gutter guard company and that you will never have to clean your gutters again, however they are also simultaneously providing you with a gutter guard cleaning device which is useful towards cleaning off the top of the gutter micro screen: really? The fact that the manufacturer is willing to provide you with a free gutter guard cleaning brush, tells me that the homeowner will surely need to use the brush. The last time I checked, corporate America is not in the habit of giving away items for no reason. If I were to buy micro mesh gutter guards, and they came with a free gutter guard cleaning brush, I would be concerned and would wonder why?

Question: Why would micro-mesh gutter guards come with a free gutter guard cleaning brush?
Answer: To keep the gutter flowing properly, you would need to brush off the top of the micro mesh gutter guards.

Micro mesh gutter guards act as a gutter filter keeping all small items out of the gutter. Like any filter, it is designed to be permeable so that the desired item, namely rain water, passes through the gutter filter into the gutter, while the micro mesh collects and denies entry to the undesirable items such as leaves, tree detritus, shingle granules, dust, dirt and pollen. Like any effective filter, the more that the water passes through the filter, the greater the amount of undesirable items that accumulate and build up on the gutter guard filters surface; eventually any filter will clog. All filters require maintenance. With air conditioners, if you do not replace the filter, the amount of air becomes restricted. With all filters, the filter requires changing or maintenance, or else it becomes blamed as the actual reason that the system stops working properly. In the case of the microscreen or micro mesh gutter guards, as the rain water passes through the micro mesh, the debris and dirt can become deposited in large sticky volumes on the top of the gutter mesh. Hence, the manufacturer would provide a brush so that

  • The building owner is aware of the looming future gutter guard cleaning.
  • The building owner can perform the gutter guard cleaning 
In an area with lots of trees, it is difficult to say how often one would need to clean off the micro mesh gutter guards, in order to keep the gutter flowing, however in some cases it could be  very often, frequent and too soon when one considers the impact of the often high installed gutter guard cost. Every home is different. Installing the micromesh leaf guard so that it slopes towards the outer edge of the gutter, can help to decrease the frequency of gutter guard cleanings necessary to keep the gutter from overflowing, however due to the necessary positioning of the gutter and the fact that the gutter itself also requires slope, combined with the fact that the roof drip edge is already positioned and the fascia size is limited; in some areas your micro screen leaf guard may not be capable of being installed with any significant outward slope at all.  In addition, while adding outward slope might create some natural cleansing, it also increases the propensity for the fast rain water to skip off the gutter mesh like a ramp.

The biggest problem with gutter guards, is the fact that they do not allow the gutter to accept the rain water; especially the fast roof water from the heavy rain storms. Tree debris and leaves lay on top of linear shaped leaf guards making a sticky wet debris mat that causes the rain water to overshoot the gutter. Most gutter guards are linear, forming a straight line from the back of the gutter to the front edge of the gutter, so even when they are clean and brand new, they can become a water chute causing the roof water to bypass the gutter entirely. If I were the gutter guard company, I would have made the micro mesh gutter guard screen openings or apertures larger, rather than smaller. By making the gutter screen openings larger, they would solve the biggest problem, namely the “Achilles heel” which is the importance of getting the water to actually go into the gutter in the first place.

With traditional older style gutter screens, the leaf guard screen’s openings were very large so the small tree debris and seeds actually entered and were capable of causing a gutter and downspout clog. These wide open gutter  guard screens did a fairly good job of accepting rain water into the gutter, but they also accepted gutter clogging debris. When the gutter eventually clogged, the maintenance required to keep the gutter flowing properly would include;
  • Removal of the gutter guard screen to clean the inside of the gutter
  • Picking the debris and tree seeds out of thousands of screen openings.
  • Cleaning the gutter, inside
  • Re-installation of the gutter screen back to the original shape which was impossible.

“You can’t have everything”. In an attempt to keep small  tree droppings and falling debris out of the gutter, the tiny-aperture micro screen gutter guards were devised; however they only cause the trading one gutter problem for another. The collateral issue that the micros screen gutter guards cause, is the fact that you must clean off the screen itself; often frequently. As the water passes through the micro mesh, it brings with it and it leaves behind stubborn sticky wet items that clog the micro screen openings so the water can no longer pass through. In a very short amount of time and rainfall, it can soon become time to either clean the screen or “change the filter”. Sometimes, when a company creates a device in an attempt to be “too perfect”, they become too complicated. “You can't have everything”. They took a step forward in keeping small debris out of the gutter but they took two steps backwards in creating the collateral issue that the water may not enter the gutter and the gutter clog protection device requires gutter guard cleaning; potentially frequently.

Micro Mesh Gutter Guards Reviews

Just read the micro mesh gutter guards reviews, and you will find that homeowners become very upset and angry when they spend thousands of dollars on a micro screen leaf guard or gutter mesh, only to learn that they have to break out the ladder and clean the  top of the gutter screen off; sooner and more frequently than they had ever imagined. Depending on the season, the trees, the wind patterns and other factors, that required maintenance can be necessary in the first month or two after gutter guard installation, which would be upsetting for anyone still feeling the sting of the contractor installed gutter guard cost. The other thing you might want to pay attention to, is the fact that metal gutter guards are the first to freeze in the winter, so if you are in a colder climate and you need winter gutter protection, metal gutter mesh leaf guards can ice over easily and exacerbate ice problems and ice back-ups.

The sheer fact that a gutter guard company offers a tool to clean off the top of the gutter guard device, teaches me to expect gutter flow problems that will require leaf guard cleaning in order to restore the gutter’s flow performance.

Those of us who worked out on roofs for decades, understand that everything out in the debris field needs maintenance; ESPECIALLY DRAINAGE AND GUTTERS. All gutter filters require cleaning or changing, therefore when I choose a leaf guard to keep my gutters from clogging, I will choose one that is not fastened and is fast and easy to maintain like GutterBrush. Homeowners can avoid complications and avoid spending too much money, by accepting the fact that when it comes to a thin channel of water drainage (gutters), you can't have everything. If you try to be “too cute” in your attempt to eliminate all gutter maintenance, you might just set yourself back three steps by spending too much money on a gutter guard that doesn't allow the rain water into the gutter unless you perform the required maintenance. Avoid complications by accepting the fact that nothing can replace maintenance. Visit www.gutterbrush.com to find clog protection in its simplest most logical form, that requires no fastening and is easy to install AND  is also easy to maintain. It's not a gutter cleaning tool or a gutter cleaning brush, it's a simple contractor or DIY gutter guard system that is engineered with water acceptance and reality in mind. Their goal is to provide affordable clog protection in real world applications, that is, eventually, also, easy and fast to maintain, renew and reuse.

Alex O'Hanley
25 Year Roofer

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