Many checklists suggest replacing vinyl gutters with metal gutters. Debris in any gutter will be readily ignited by embers. Once debris in a vinyl gutter has ignited, the gutter will ultimately detach at the roof edge and fall to the ground (see IBHS Ember Storm Test video). The debris and gutter will burn on the ground, potentially igniting surrounding vegetation and combustible mulch, and adjacent combustible siding or other components in the wall assembly. A metal gutter will remain attached to the edge of the roof and the ignited debris will continue to burn there, exposing the edge of the roof, including sheathing and fascia, to flames. The best solution is to minimize the accumulation of debris in the gutter.
- Remove tree branches that overhang your roof and remove any dead vegetation, including branches, within your defensible space.
- Clean gutters and roof areas where debris collects and make it a part of your annual summer fire season preparedness measures.
- Inspect the roof edge to determine if a metal drip edge is installed or included as part of your gutter. Some metal gutters have an integral flashing piece that serves the function of a stand-alone drip edge. If a drip edge is not present, install one. This feature will minimize the entry of embers into a soffit-eave construction by blocking the small gap that can exist between the edge of the roof sheathing and the top of the facia.