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DIY Gutter Guard: Plastic Mesh Pros & Cons

A gutter mesh is simply a sheet or roll of mesh covering the gutter, creating a barrier against leaves and debris that cause blockages in your gutters and downpipes. The small aperture (hole) sizes filter debris and encourages optimal water flow. However, they do have a range of other uses.  

When choosing a gutter guard, it is essential to start with understanding your needs for gutter protection. Leaf guard? Bird and vermin proofing? Ember Bushfire protection?  Once you understand the need for a gutter protection system, you can look at the different gutter guard types and the factors. 

Continue reading to find out how you can choose the best gutter mesh for your Australian property.

How Does Gutter Mesh Work?

Plastic mesh gutter guards have small holes that filter maximum water flow, preventing leaves and debris from entering the gutter. The gutter mesh is typically made from polyethylene or PVC, which is durable, UV stabilised, and resistant to other elements. By covering the gutters with this gutter mesh, homeowners can enjoy a more efficient gutter system that requires less frequent cleaning and maintenance.

Not all properties need a gutter guard; however, homes with gutters regularly clogged, overflowing or experiencing issues with birds and pests nesting benefit from a gutter guard. Clogged gutters can cause water to overflow, leading to foundation damage, flooding, and other problems. A well-functioning gutter system with effective protection can significantly reduce these risks.

Installing a DIY gutter guard is a cost-effective way for homeowners to protect their gutters from clogging. Most homeowners can install them with basic tools, ladders, tinsnips and electric drills without professional assistance, saving on labour costs.

corrugated gutter guard gutter mesh
Plastic Mesh Pros Plastic Mesh Cons
Durability and strength
Susceptibility to Sagging
UV Stabilised
More Challenging to Install
UV Degradation Over Time
Coastal Applications
Suitability for Certain Climates
Galvanised Applications
Unsuitable for potable water use
Unsuitable as Ember Mesh

Table: Advantages and Disadvantages of Plastic Gutter Guard Mesh

Plastic Gutter Mesh Advanatges

Durability & Strength

Compared to other poly plastic gutter guard products, plastic guard mesh is made from high-quality polyethylene materials, offering exceptional durability and strength for long life. This allows the guards to withstand harsh weather conditions, heavy rain, and the weight of accumulated debris without breaking or tearing. Other DIY gutter guard products, like foam inserts and brush gutter guards, are more flimsy and can even increase the likelihood of blockages.

gutter guard on tiled roof

UV Stabilised

Poly mesh is designed to resist the harmful effects of the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation. The gutter mesh’s UV stabilised feature maintains its structural integrity and colour over time, making it a long-lasting solution for gutter protection. Other DIY plastic gutter guard options include UV-stabilised recycled plastic material too.


Poly mesh is designed to resist the harmful effects of the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation. The gutter mesh’s UV stabilised feature maintains its structural integrity and colour over time, making it a long-lasting solution for gutter protection. Other DIY plastic gutter guard options include UV-stabilised recycled plastic material too.

clogged gutters dirty gutters in coastal area

Coastal Applications

Plastic mesh gutter guards are an excellent choice for homes in coastal areas. The materials used in their construction resist corrosion caused by high salt and moisture concentration. It is highly recommended for roofing and guttering in these environments. The aluminium gutter mesh may also be suitable with high-quality powder coating.

Galvanised Applications

Poly mesh gutter guards are also suitable for galvanised gutters where steel and aluminium products are unsuitable. Plastic gutter guard is compatible with galvanised roofing materials ensuring that they won’t cause any adverse reactions, such as corrosion or rust, that could compromise the gutter system’s integrity. Most gutters and roofing is made from Colorbond steel or aluminium, but galvanised materials are not uncommon.

Plastic Gutter Mesh Limitations

Susceptibility to Sagging

Despite their durability, poly mesh gutter guard is susceptible to sagging or collapse, especially when spanning wide gaps such as box gutters. If not addressed promptly, this can result in the mesh becoming ineffective at protecting the gutters and causing clogging.

More Challenging to Install

Plastic gutter guard mesh is often more challenging to fix to gutters compared to aluminium gutter guard mesh. It is installed on most gutters but is less malleable and flexible, causing a cumbersome installation process.

UV Degradation Over Time

Although DIY plastic mesh gutter guard is designed to resist UV radiation, they can still experience some degradation over time compared to aluminium mesh. Extended exposure to sunlight can cause the mesh to become brittle and prone to cracking or tearing, which may compromise its effectiveness.

Unsuitable for Potable Water Use

DIY plastic mesh gutter guards are unsuitable for water tanks with potable water use due to the potential leaching of chemicals over time, making them unsafe for consumption. As a result, DIY plastic mesh gutter guards do not meet the requirements of the Australian Standard AS4020, which sets the criteria for products in contact with drinking water to ensure water quality and safety.

Unsuitable for Ember Mesh

DIY plastic mesh is not suitable as ember mesh because it lacks the necessary heat resistance to withstand high temperatures associated with bushfires. Plastic mesh can melt or burn when exposed to extreme heat, rendering it ineffective at protecting against ember entry. Only aluminium, steel, or bronze comply with ember mesh specifications.

gutter mesh

Durability & Lifespan

Aluminium gutter mesh is more durable and long-lasting than DIY plastic mesh gutter guards. Aluminium power-coated mesh is robust, resists corrosion, and can withstand harsh weather conditions and UV exposure without degradation over time.

DIY Installation

Aluminium gutter guard mesh is highly recommended for DIYers due to its remarkable flexibility, strength, and malleability properties, making it an easy installation process. Unlike plastic gutter guard mesh, the aluminium mesh can easily be bent, cut and moulded to fit any shape or size of the gutter.

Material Compatibility

While DIY plastic mesh gutter guards are compatible with galvanised applications, an aluminium gutter mesh suits a wider range of gutter materials. Aluminium mesh is compatible with various gutter materials, including copper, steel, and zinc, making it a versatile choice for different gutter systems, including box gutters, parapets and roof-to-roof.

Cost Considerations

Aluminium gutter mesh is more expensive than DIY plastic gutter guards. However, given its increased durability, lifespan, and compatibility with various gutter materials, homeowners may find the extra cost justified in the long run.

Colorbond® Colour-Matching

Aluminium gutter guard mesh offers better colour-matching capabilities with Colorbond roof colours and tile roof colours than plastic gutter guards. Aluminium mesh is coated to match the existing roof colour, ensuring a seamless and aesthetically pleasing appearance that blends in with the roof’s overall look and does not fade over time.

Homeowners can find various plastic gutter guard options, including; 

  • Brush gutter guard
  • Vynl gutter guard
  • Foam gutter guard

Plastic gutter mesh is the most durable, long-lasting, complex gutter guard product. DIY plastic mesh gutter guards are designed with small holes that allow maximum water flow while preventing leaves and debris from entering the gutter. Typically, a gutter mesh is made from polyethylene or PVC, durable, UV stabilised, and resistant to other elements. 

gutter guard on metal roof

Is DIY Plastic Gutter Guard Mesh Worth It?

Before deciding on DIY plastic mesh gutter guards, homeowners should assess their home’s specific needs and requirements. Factors to consider include:

  • The local climate.
  • The types of debris that commonly accumulate in the gutters.
  • The materials used in the existing gutter system.

Whether DIY plastic gutter mesh is the right choice for your home depends on your needs, budget, and preferences. Most homeowners will benefit from aluminium mesh’s durability and long-lasting nature.

Homeowners should carefully consider the limitations of this option and compare it to alternatives like aluminium gutter mesh before making a decision. By weighing the pros and cons and assessing your home’s needs, you can make the best choice for your gutter protection system.

Aussie DIY Solutions provides aluminium gutter guard kits for DIY installations. We recommend aluminium gutter mesh for most DIY installations; however, if you need assistance deciding between plastic and aluminium gutter guards, please get in touch with our team, and we can help. 

At Aussie DIY Solutions, we offer a wide range of gutter guards to suit every possible DIY budget. We provide gutter guard kits & ember guard kits for corrugated, tiled, trimdek® and Klip-Lok® roofs and kits for box gutters and roof valleys. We also provide solar panel mesh for solar panel protection from birds. 

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