Difference Between Ember Guard and Gutter Guard

Bushfires devastate the country and hurt millions of homeowners with thousands of Aussie businesses and homes destroyed. 70% of residents living in bushfire risk zones are unaware of the importance of ember guard against flammable debris. Educate your customers on the significance of ember guards vs gutter guards.

So, what is the difference between gutter guards & ember guards? The primary difference is the aperture size in the gutter mesh. An ember guard compliant mesh must have a hole size of 2mm or less, while there is no size requirement for gutter guards.

A gutter guard stops leaves and debris from blocking gutters, while an ember guard prevents ember attacks in bushfire-prone areas. Ember attacks occur when windborne embers ignite unprotected gutters and gaps in homes and buildings.

There are minor differences between the two gutter mesh types, including non-combustible material requirements and BAL ratings for bushfire prone areas. Continue reading to understand better the difference between your gutter guard products: ember guard mesh & gutter guard mesh.

Gutter Guard Vs Ember Guard

The table below details the differences between ScreenTech’s gutter guards and ember guards. Some variations will exist between other gutter protection systems on the market.

Gutter Guard

Ember guard

Base Material

aluminium & polyethylene

aluminium, steel or bronze

Aperture size requirement

maximum 2mm

No size minimum

Application Type

ember guard or gutter guard

ember guard or gutter guard

Coating/Colouring 

powder coating D1010 or Colorbond® steel, no coating 

powder coating D1010

Manufacturing Technique(s) 

expanded or extruded 

expanded, expanded single direction or machine-woven or extruded

Best Fit Solutions 

leaf guard, rainwater harvesting, bird & pest proofing, reduce maintenance & safety 

ember proofing, leaf guard against fine debris, bird, pest & possum proofing, reduce maintenance & safety 

Warranty

10-25-years

15-years

Bushfire Tested

AS3959-2018 compliant 

 AS 3959-2018 compliant

Gutter Guard Bushfire attack level (BAL) suitability

BAL-12.5, BAL-19, BAL-29

BAL-12.5, BAL-19, BAL-29, BAL-40, BAL-FZ

Ember Guard Bushfire attack level (BAL) suitability

N/A

BAL-12.5, BAL-19, BAL-29, BAL-40, BAL-FZ

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What is Ember Guard Protection?

According to Australian Standard AS3959-2009, ember guards must cover any opening or roof cavity to protect from burning embers. In bushfire prone areas, 85% of homes burn down through windborne embers and not via direct contact with the bushfire.

Ember guards protect from burning embers meeting Australian Standards, and corrosion-resistant ember guards are non-combustible gutter mesh covers for roof ventilation openings, fascia, valleys, ridges, and hips. You can also intrinsically ember proof roof ventilators, vent pipes, vented roof lights, roof light glazing and eaves ventilation openings.

 

Ensuring that houses are adequately protected from a bushfire is the best solution to such fire hazards. Installing ember guards to meet Australian standards is the best protective solution to the problem.

Ember Guards & Bushfire Attack Levels

Like gutter guards protect homes for a range of solutions, different ember guards meet different bushfire ember attack levels from BAL 12.5 to FZ BAL rated. These BAL standards are specified for new homes as a bushfire proofing measure. 

 

bush fire

The Australian Standard AS3959-2009 mandates a different gutter guard product for a different BAL rating. For example, gutter guards in BAL 12.5 rated areas must have seal gaps that are more than 3 mm, such as that in roof sheeting, but BAL-Flame Zone ember guard mesh must be 2mm, steel or copper and cover all roof and gutter cavities.

Choose the right ember guard for your BAL rating:

  • BAL-LOW indicates low risk from burning embers, radiant heat, or flames, and your gutter guard choice should suit your gutter protection needs and not be restricted by ember guard requirements.
  • BAL-12.5 indicates some risk of ember attack, burning debris or radiant heat up to 12.5KW/m2, and aluminium ember guards comply with BAL 12.5.
  • BAL-19 suggests a risk of ember attack, burning debris or radiant heat up to 19KW/m2 with aluminium or steel ember guard complies with BAL 29.
  • BAL-29 means a high risk of ember attack, burning debris or radiant heat up to 29KW/m2 and aluminium or steel ember guards comply with BAL 29.
  • BAL-40 signifies extreme risk of ember attack, burning embers or radiant heat up to 29KW/m2 and only complies with steel or bronze ember guard mesh.
  • BAL-FZ means a severe risk of ember attack, burning embers and radiant heat over 40 kW/m2 and only comply with steel or bronze ember guard mesh.

 

Other ember guard application

tuffmesh-emberguard

The smaller hole size is also useful for other gutter guard solutions. Aluminium ember guards protect against fine-leaf trees like pines, jacarandas, and she-oaks. The smaller mesh hole size encourages other leaves and debris to filter through only a minimal rainwater runoff. 

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Ember proof with steel mesh

steel mesh gutter guard ember guard

The mesh must be bronze or steel to be BAL-40 And BAL-FZ ember guard compliant mesh. If your customer’s home is located in a BAL-40 or BAL-FZ rated bushfire prone area, you must install steel or bronze, ember guards.

Steel mesh vs aluminium ember guard

The table below details the differences between ScreenTech’s SteelMesh and TuffMesh Ember guards. Some variations will exist between other gutter protection systems on the market.

SteelMesh Emberguard

TuffMesh® Emberguard

Base Material

Colorbond® steel

aluminium

Aperture 

1.9 mm

1.6 mm

Application Type

ember guard or gutter guard

ember guard or gutter guard

Coating/Colouring 

N/A

powder coating D1010

Manufacturing Technique 

expanded

expanded single direction

Strand width 

1.4 mm

1.5 mm

Strand thickness

0.55 mm

0.7 mm

Mesh Weight

2500 gsm

1000 gsm

Warranty

15-years

25-years

Max size

600 x 1200 mm sheets

103 cm x 2200 mm Sheets

Standard Widths in mm

250, 500, 1000

custom width in 25mm increments

Bushfire Tested

AS3959-2018 compliant 

 AS 3959-2018 compliant

Gutter Guard Bushfire attack level (BAL) suitability

BAL-12.5, BAL-19, BAL-29, BAL-40, BAL-FZ

BAL-12.5, BAL-19, BAL-29

Ember Guard Bushfire attack level (BAL) suitability

BAL-12.5, BAL-19, BAL-29, BAL-40, BAL-FZ

BAL-12.5, BAL-19, BAL-29

Should you choose an ember guard or gutter guard?

At ScreenTech, choosing a gutter or ember guard comes down to the solution you require. 

Ask yourself this: 

  • What type of gutter guard solution do you need? 
  • Do you know the BAL ratings for your customer’s area? 
  • Are you in a BAL-40 or BAK-FZ rated area? 
  • Do trees with fine debris surround the property? 

If you are not sure whether you need an ember guard or gutter guard, contact ScreenTech for free advice. 

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