Metal roofs may cost two to three times as much as asphalt shingle roofs, but they also last longer. Metal roofs have many advantages over other types of roofing material. Metal roofs are relatively lightweight -- about half the weight of asphalt roofs -- and can stand up to extreme weather as well as wildfires. You can install gutter guards on metal roofs to keep out leaves and other debris, but there are some things you should consider beforehand.
Rain & Snow
A key characteristic of metal roofs is the great amount of water they shed. This is an attractive feature if you’re interested in rainwater harvesting to supplement your water supply. According to the New Mexico Office of the State Engineer, a pitched sheet metal roof is the most efficient type for rainwater collection. Metal roofs also shed snow easily, which is not so helpful for water collection. In fact, you’ll need to protect your gutter guards from sliding ice and heavy snow.
If you live in snow country, make sure you have snow guards in place, to prevent ice and snow from building up on your rain gutters and guards, and consequently putting pedestrians below at risk. Snow guards hold back what might otherwise be an avalanche of sliding snow, allowing it to slowly melt or break into smaller and less dangerous sections before plummeting to earth. Some snow guards are clear and virtually invisible, so they won’t detract from the aesthetics of your roof.
Suitable Gutter Guards
Make sure your gutter guards won’t slow the flow of runoff, which in a good storm can pour off metal roofs. In general, screen-style guards may be the better bet for metal roofs, because they keep out major debris without impeding runoff. If you prefer a gutter cover -- which is at least partly solid -- keep in mind that most cover styles will slow water flow, which may cause your gutters to back up and overflow. Choose a guard that will look good with your roof in terms of material, color and style, and that require little maintenance.
Alternative Leaf Guards
One way to keep debris out of your rain gutters – for maximum runoff – is to try an alternative. Products such as GutterBrush and LeafBlox effectively block leaves and other roof debris without impeding rainwater collection. Brush-type devices go in the rain gutter, rather than attach to it, so they don’t affect warranties. Gutter brushes are inexpensive and easy to install, and they are effective.
- Eguards: Gutter Guards and Gutter Screens
- New Mexico Office of the State Engineer: Roof-Reliant Landscaping -- Chapter 7: Water Collection
- Metal Roof Snow Guards: Snow Guards for Metal Roofs
- Trinity Exteriors: How to Choose the Best Gutter Guard System
- Metal Roofing Alliance: Frequently Asked Questions
- GutterBrush: Simple Gutter Guard
- Photo Credit Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images