Bushfire is one of the most serious threats to life and property in Australia – especially in the hotter months.
As such, governments and firefighters often recommend several different measures designed to improve the ability of your home to withstand the many threats posed by bushfire.
Many of these measures focus on eliminating sources of fuel for bushfires – sources such as drying leaves and debris in your gutters. They’re also often oriented towards defending homes against the most common bushfire threat: ember attack.
The threat of ember attack
Ember attack occurs when embers (burning debris such as twigs and leaves) are carried by the wind ahead of a bushfire front. These embers can travel more than 100 metres ahead of the bushfire, causing spot fires and setting homes alight.
Research suggests that over 85% of homes that burn down during a bushfire are victims of ember attack. In other words, it’s a serious threat.
Embers can set your home alight via several different avenues, but one key culprit is leaves and debris in your gutters. These can catch alight when embers land in your gutters, causing the destruction of your home. Considering that just one leaf could cost you your entire home, leaf-proofing your gutters to protect against ember attack should clearly be a key priority for any home owner.
How gutter mesh helps
When properly installed, over-the-gutter gutter mesh forms a physical barrier over your gutters in order to keep leaves and other debris out.
By keeping leaves out of your gutters, gutter mesh can better equip both your gutters and your home to withstand ember attack.
However, in order to ensure it’s effective in providing protection to your home, your gutter mesh must have an appropriate aperture (hole size) for your environment.
Why (leaf) size matters
Leaves tend to be the main form of flammable debris found in your gutters.
During a bushfire, embers that land in your gutters can set these leaves on fire, endangering your home.
Just as leaves come in different sizes, so do gutter mesh apertures. As such, if you want to better equip your gutters to withstand ember attack, you need to select gutter mesh with an appropriate aperture for the leaves around your home. In areas with smaller leaves, you’ll often require mesh with a smaller aperture to provide maximum leaf and bushfire-proofing for your gutters.
Spare a thought for embers too
Of course, for best results, you also want to keep embers out of your gutters, not just leaves.
That’s why at Blue Mountain Co Gutter Mesh, we recommend our 2mm steel gutter mesh to provide maximum protection against bushfire and ember attack. The mesh’s smaller aperture helps to keep both leaves and embers out of your gutters, while the superior heat-resistant nature of the steel helps ensure your gutter mesh will do its job when exposed to heat.
Protect your most valuable assets
For most people, your home and its contents (including your family) are your most valuable assets. So it’s worth doing everything you can to protect them.
Installing gutter mesh that’s designed to help your gutters and home withstand ember attack is one key way to protect your property and family.
Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure these guidelines are consistent with AS3959–2009. However, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of any of the information on this web page. As such, we recommend that you refer to the Australian Standard yourself, or seek tailored advice from a qualified expert.
Blanchi & Leonard, Investigation of Bushfire Attack Mechanisms Resulting in House Loss in the ACT Bushfire 2003, 2005
Standards Australia, Construction of Buildings in Bushfire-Prone Areas, 2009