If you have pine trees around your property, you probably want to know more about how to keep pine needles out of gutters effectively. Pine trees are surely beautiful, but cleaning the gutters from those pine needles can be a challenge. They are pretty pesky and annoying, and let’s not forget that the cleaning task can be quite dangerous when it involves going up the ladder or such thing alike.
Why Cleaning the Gutters?
Gutters should be cleaned out regularly so dirt won’t pile up. You can also prevent debris (and also standing water) with regular cleanup. Gutters are useful to accommodate rainwater, but if it doesn’t fully drain away, it will be responsible for water damage, which can happen to both the exterior and interior of your house. The roof usually takes the biggest hit, and the repair won’t be cheap.
Things can be more complicated and difficult if you have pine trees in the property. The pine needles are definitely a handful. Although you can always pick them by hand, the work can take forever. That’s why knowing the most effective way on how to keep pine needles out of gutters can help. It’s even possible to prevent such an issue from happening from the beginning.
Micro Mesh Cover
Also known as fine mesh cover, this one can be super helpful as it prevents the pine needles to be in your gutter from the first place. The cover is usually made from stainless steel mesh that allows water to go through, but filtering anything else, especially sediment, solids, and the pine needles. They would remain on the top area of the cover where they can be washed off easily.
In case you don’t know it, most micro mesh cover consists of 3 parts in the structure. The frame is typically made from aluminum for durability and strength. And then the brackets would secure the system. The last one would be the screen, made from stainless steel mesh having tiny micro spaces that enable water to go through. With the combination of stainless steel and aluminum, you won’t have to worry about anything. The micro mesh would be durable and solid.
The micro mesh cover should be your first attempt in how to keep pine needles out of gutters stages. So, what should you be looking for such a cover?
- Don’t go with plastic mesh as it would be fragile and flimsy
- The combination of aluminum and stainless steel is stronger to deal with UV damage. It is also resistant to corrosion and rush when compared to other metals. Moreover, it is more solid and durable when having to deal with accumulated debris, so the cover won’t sag.
- Consider buying extruded aluminum for the frame instead of the sheet aluminum because the extruded type is stronger and more durable. Moreover, it can be sealed (or anodized), which can lead to corrosion free situation
- Go with 316L grade of stainless steel for the mesh. It is very strong against corrosion. Consider buying the one with 30 rating openings for each square inch. If you go with a mesh with fewer opening, it means that it has bigger hole size; most likely small debris can pass through the mesh.
- See how each of the part is connected to one another. You want to go with a cover where the manufacturer uses rubberized adhesive to connect the frame to the mesh. It enables a certain flex for the cover, so it can contract and expand as the temperatures change. It also means that you can expect the cover to last for a long time.
- Do you still need to clean and maintain the cover? Yes, you do, but the cleaning is so easy. If you go with the micro mesh cover, debris simply accumulates on the top area (of the cover). You simply wash it away, while cleaning the outside part of the gutter pipe at the same time.
Regular Cleaning Schedules
Another effective solution on how to keep pine needles out of gutters is to perform regular cleaning. In most cases, homeowners would use a ladder to clean up the gutters. However, not everyone is good at climbing – and not everyone likes it. You can invest in a gutter cleaning wand (the one with attached hose on it) that enables you to use pressured water to spray the debris out of the gutters. If you have this one, you won’t even need a ladder.
Trim the Overhanging Branches
If you have one (or even more) pine tree overhanging the roof, it would be advisable to trim the branches. Having zero branches over the house would prevent the pine needles from filling up the gutters from the first place. Not to mention that branches can also create a certain level of damage to your house. They can scrape your home and roof. The fallen branches can create significant damage and serious risks.
It doesn’t mean that you can’t have any pine tree around the house or whatsoever. It would be best of those trees are on the yard, and not overhang your house. Cleaning pine needles on the yard is simpler than having to clean the gutters filled with them. That’s why if you have a pine tree that is close to your house, be sure to trim the branches. You won’t only prevent property damage, but you can also keep your gutters clean for quite a long time. It’s advisable to assess the trees. Whenever they seem risky or pose a threat, cut them off.
Q: Will I do fine without any gutter guards or cover?
A: Yes, but you need to have even more frequent cleaning job to prevent clogging. Pine needles typically fall all year round, meaning that you should check the gutters quarterly. Having once or twice cleaning job each year would be required.
Q: Is having the cover a must?
A: No, it’s not. As it was mentioned before, you can always clean up everything by hand. If you are happy spending hours cleaning the gutters, be my guest! These methods and solutions are presented to you to make your life easier, so you don’t really have to deal with tedious work. It’s completely up to you.
Q: Can I use the broad mesh or reverse-curve cover?
A: No, they aren’t advisable because they have big holes. With this kind of cover, the pine needles can easily get into the inside of the cover. What’s the point of installing the cover, anyway?
Q: Is the mesh cover expensive?
A: Not necessarily. You should check the stores around your area to find the good quality one.
Those are some of the solutions to deal with the pesky pine needles. Now that you know how to keep pine needles out of gutters effectively, you only need to decide which way would be the best for you.