One of the most picturesque aspects of the Arlington areas are the beautiful pine tress and spruces that dot the landscape. And while they certainly are beautiful, when it comes to the gutter system of your home’s roof, they can be a real headache. The pine needles are one of the most common reasons why homeowners install a gutter guard. But which gutter guard is the best option for making sure your gutters don’t get clogged with these sticky, pine smelling needles? If you’re consider getting gutter guards for your home, and pine needles are part of the equation, here are a few things to consider.
Screen Guards or Foam May Not be the Best Option
Unlike normal twigs or leaves, which can be easily stopped by mesh or screen guards, pine needles pose a different set of challenges because of their overall shape and weight. Their thin, needle like shape can easily pass right through the holes on a screen or mesh, which can lead to significant clogging over time. In addition, the pine sap that sometimes adheres to the needles themselves can cause them to clump together, adding a significant amount of weight and obstruction to the gutter itself. This can lead to water spinning over the side of the gutters, and running down your wall and into your foundation. As you can expect this can lead to some truly costly repairs.
Another option that many people consider is using strips of foam that sit in the gutters themselves. In theory, the foam will block the pine needles and other debris from entering the gutter themselves, but the water passes through the porous foam in a harmless fashion. Sounds like a great and affordable choice, right?
Well, unfortunately this is where theory and practice don’t always work the same. While this method does technically keep the needles out of the gutter, the pine needles do stick to the top of the foam. And since leaves and twigs can easily adhere to the sticky needles, debris can quickly form a type of barrier to the water, which renders the gutters useless.
Surface Tension Gutter Guards May be a Viable Option
Surface tension gutter guards are a popular option, and with a very good reason. Unlike screen guards that can allow the pine needles to pass straight though, the actual physical nature of these tension guards will prevent that from happening. There are simply no holes for the pine needles to pas through.
But one possible “sticking “point, if you’ll pardon the pun, is the fact that the pine needles can easily adhere to the top of the gutter guard, and form a bit of blockade for other debris. So if you go with this option, regular inspection and cleaning is vital.
A Modified Fine Mesh
In our experience, dealing with pine needles around a gutter system requires a bit of creativity. We’ve found that combining a fine mesh with a series of channels separated by channels is a great choice. The system combines the best of both worlds, in a way. The fine steel mesh allows water to easily pass through, and the weight and structure of the channels supplies support to the mesh. That way any debris that sits on top of the mesh can easily be washed away by a heavy downpour or a simple spray of the hose. And if you’re worried about frost or ice forming in the gutters, you can easily install a heat strip.
Regular Maintenance and Inspection is Key
Just like any other gutter guard system, you need to do more than just simple installation. Take the time to inspect your entire gutter system, including the gutter guards on a regular basis for signs of damage, debris, or signs of water pooling up in one area or another. We usually advise the homeowners to take a quick look on your roofs after every storm, and once a week during normal weather. You’ll be surprised how easily you can catch and fix small problems before they become bigger ones.