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.
Choose the gutter guard solution
People purchase gutter guard systems to fit several different purposes. Gutter mesh is great as a solution for:
- Leaf guard to prevent blockages in your gutters and downpipes
- Reduces maintenance, gutter cleaning and increases safety (excellent for rental properties and older homeowners)
- Ember guard for people in bushfire-prone areas
- Bird and vermin proof your gutters and roof cavities
- Filtering rainwater for water tank collection and harvesting
- Strengthening and protecting the guttering
Many homeowners will find select gutter mesh for specific DIY gutter guard solutions, only to find extra benefits. For example, you may need a gutter guard initially to filter contaminates for your water tank, but you also live in a BAL29-rated area and could benefit from Ember protection. Consider all ways to get the most out of your gutter mesh.
Choosing the Best Gutter Mesh
Choosing the best quality gutter mesh for a gutter guard solution can be broadly broken down into four factors:
- The material; Aluminium mesh, steel mesh or poly mesh
- The hole size
- The material thickness
- The powder-coating
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Which material to choose?
The first choice you will need to make for gutter mesh is the material.
The most popular mesh material choice in Australia is aluminium mesh. Aluminium gutter mesh is the most robust mesh on the market. It is highly corrosion-resistant, non-combustible, strong and flexible, making for easy installation. It is also the most widely used for several solutions. The material’s strength makes it an excellent choice for bird and pest protection. Like possums, birds, and vermin, most pests will try to return to their nest in your roofing or gutters – those pests will never remove the aluminium mesh. It is also the material of choice for water harvesting with an AS4020 standard. It is also suitable up to a BAL-29 rating. It is so diverse that 90% of DIY installations are in an aluminium mesh, and most professional installers prefer it.
Steel mesh is an excellent choice for homeowners needing to comply with the very high BAL-40 or BAL-FZ rating; it is the only choice. The downsides to steel mesh are that it can be harder to work with; pricing is more expensive and can be more brittle depending on the type of stainless steel used.
A polyethylene mesh, also known as poly mesh, is usually made of food-grade polyethylene. It is generally much harder to install as DIY or professionally. The poly-mesh is not as durable in bird and pest proofing because it can be gnawed or even removed over time. It is excellent for leaf proofing and reducing gutter cleaning and maintenance. However, it is not suitable for rainwater collection for consumption nor as an ember guard in bushfire prone areas. The mesh is also harder to install, particularly on tile roofs. It usually is only used in areas of very high salt concentration, for example, within 50-100m of the beach, as a metal mesh may react with seawater.
Lastly, there are also galvanised gutter mesh, but they are more uncommon because they react with most roof types, such as aluminium or stainless steel corrugated roofs. We only recommend a galvanised mesh for a galvanised roof and gutter. Most people with galvanised roofing are looking for a particular effect.
Why does hole size matter?
Gutter mesh vs Ember guard
Most gutter mesh guards have an aperture (hole) size around 3-4mm. Any more than this, and the mesh will not adequately filter smaller debris such as leaves and small twigs. Ember guard has less than 2mm hole size to comply with Australian bushfire regulations.
For most homeowners, a typical gutter mesh is the right choice and is less expensive than an ember mesh. However, for those homeowners who live in bushfire-prone areas, the smaller hole aperture of under 2mm prevents even the smallest of embers from getting under the gutter guard and igniting. This is known as the ember attack, which accounts for over 70% of homes lost to bushfires. Therefore, the mesh must be designed with a smaller hole size. Secondly, It is also crucial to check the ember guard is CSIRO rated for your particular area.
The smaller hole size is also significant to homeowners who want to leaf guard against finer litter, such as wattle flowers, jacaranda flowers and pine needle debris. People who live under a tree that drops such finer debris may also want a smaller mesh to stop that finer debris from entering their water system.
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30m Ember Mesh 1000mm wide
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30m Ember Mesh 250mm wide
10m Ember Mesh 1000mm wide
10m Ember Mesh 500mm wide
10m Ember Mesh 250mm wide
What Mesh Thickness Do I Need?
Does powder-coating matter?
A key sign of a good quality gutter mesh is the coating. Aluminium gutter guards mesh and Steel mesh should always be powder-coated. Powder coating increases the durability of the mesh against UV exposure and corrosive trace elements in rainfall.
The coating is applied to the mesh in an array of Colorbond colours preventing fading, and can be colour-matched to your tile or metal roof. Other popular colours are a natural zinc colour, obtained by using a translucent powder-coating and a terracotta colour to match terracotta tiled roofs. If you are unsure of your roof colour, most DIY suppliers should be able to provide a quote with a photo.
Good quality gutter mesh suppliers are transparent with mesh powder coating. There are several different coatings and qualities used in the gutter guard industry, distinguishable by grades. The higher the grade of powder coating, the better the quality. For example, the powder coating 1010 is better than 660.
There are some exceptions to gutter mesh powder coating – poly mesh and galvanised mesh have no coatings. This does not mean that poly mesh should never be considered a gutter mesh solution – recommended for coastal area application. However, it is generally considered less durable than metal guards. For polyethylene mesh, it is essential to check that UV stabilised so it will last longer under the harsh Australian UV. Also, galvanised mesh for galvanised metal roofs is not powder-coated, as neither is the roofing material.
Check the Mesh Material Warranty
All meshes should come with a warranty. Be suspicious of any excessive material warranty, such as 30- year warranty or above, or less than 5- year warranty. Also, be aware that the year’s warranty varies from gutter mesh product to product, especially given the material.
Check the Fittings
Gutter guard mesh is only as good as the fittings required to fix it to your roof. When installing a gutter guard system, make sure you check:
- the screws provided are colour-matched for a sleek finish
- the screws should be self-drilling unless you want to drill pilot holes for every screw
- the fittings (trims and saddles) are powder coated in the same powder-coating as the mesh (you want to avoid the fittings fading while the mesh stays bright)
- the fittings ribbed so they will push the mesh to conform to a metal roof.
Don’t forget when looking for the best gutter mesh, start with understanding your needs for gutter protection. Once you understand the need for a gutter protection system, you can look at the different gutter guard types and the factors. Don’t forget to check out Aussie DIY Solution’s gutter mesh ranges: Universal mesh, High Performance mesh and Ember mesh. Also, check out or Solar mesh range for bird proofing solar panels.