Aluminum Gutter Guards – The Best and Worst Types

You’re in the market for aluminum gutter guards. That’s great, because with one low cost home improvement project (we’re not talking anything even near $10K), you’ll be staying safely on the ground, gaining back entire half-days of your precious weekends and eliminating expensive damage (that’s $10K+) from ever getting the chance to gain a foothold.

The choices may seem endless and you may feel there’s a lot of work to figure out your options and get an understanding of the myriad features. But the task doesn’t have to be time consuming, especially if you know in advance what will make the choices of aluminum gutter guards much, much easier.

Here are some helpful tips about most common types of aluminum gutter guards. From it, you’ll be able to narrow down the options that best suit your needs.

Aluminum Gutter Guards With Stainless Steel Filtration

Aluminum Gutter Guards

MasterShield manufactures aluminum gutter guards with stainless steel mesh so fine, the tip of this pine needle can’t get through

Of all the types of aluminum gutter guards reviewed lately, this technology comes out best of the pack in all tests. An aluminum body with upward or downward elements touches the underside of a filtering element, made from stainless steel. This acts like your finger touching the roof of a tent in the rain; the rain water follows the path of the finger-like elements and gets pulled into the gutter below.

The key features of the best microfiltration gutter guards are: installing in line with the roof of your home so the system doesn’t sit flat, being strong yet flexible, being able to self-clean of debris and roof oils, and the ability to stop the forward flow of water and redirect it down into the gutter. Be on the look out for poor quality stainless steel, it’ll start to rust quite quickly, clogging the filter. Insist on a product with 316 stainless, which is the same as surgical grade or marine grade, terms you may be more familiar with.

Not all aluminum gutter guard designs are created equal in this arena. Insist on the patented technology of Edward Higginbotham for this investment. He has 9 US patents, and several international patents on the key features that make the technology work. You’ll find his best, most advance work in MasterShield.
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Aluminum Gutter Guards With Curves

First patented back in 1908, this aluminum gutter guard design is probably the most common one you’ll find marketed. There are many well known brands with lots of big marketing promises. Sadly, promises and performance don’t match.

Solid covers with curves still let in debris and their curves become caked with oil and dirt. Two things happen here: when debris becomes wet, it becomes flexible and will cling to any surface. That includes going around the curve and into the gutter when it rains. That’s also the time you want your aluminum gutter guard to be working, protecting your home.

Curve Aluminum Gutter Guards

Rain can’t hit this part of the curve to stop oil and dirt from building up.

Roof oils and dirt also start to coat the curve. While it’s not as big a problem for the top of the curve because rain can help pound it clean, rain can’t pound on the bottom of the curve where the water enters the gutter. So what happens? Water can’t maintain contact with the curve and it flows off and onto the ground, missing the gutter completely.

Buy one of these systems and plan on two things: polishing the dirt off of the curve on a regular basis and opening up the system just as often to clean it of excess debris.

Aluminum Gutter Guards with Punched Holes, Perforations or Slits

The simplest of the aluminum gutter guard designs, they consists of a piece of metal with holes punched all the way through or partly through the aluminum. Many of these systems sit virtually flat on the gutter. The shape of the hole makes a difference in how well it pulls in water – and debris. Many of these systems do not have enough openings in them to take water in fast, so they remain a mostly solid aluminum surface. Several sit in the gutter so that if water doesn’t flow into the gutter instantaneously, it can slowly drain into the gutter. But add debris into the equation and you can wind up reducing the gutter trough to a half inch deep solid surface because the holes cover with debris and that can cause water to overflow.

Expanded Metal Aluminum Gutter Guards

Expanded metal gutter guards have been around for more than 100 years. There are a few styles, but most hoop over the gutter and are installed with simple clips. Some expanded metal products are powder coated, but that has little impact on the performance of this type of system. Virtually any gutter installer will carry this simple system and can clip it in in little time. It’s also available as a DIY product, if you’d prefer to install it yourself.

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These systems are great for water flow; the holes are so big that water is mostly going through open air. They can keep out big debris like leaves (although leaves can back up behind the hoop on the roof) but anything smaller will work its way into the gutter. They are very poor performers with spring debris and any type of pine or fir needle. With these systems, you should plan on regular gutter cleanings, no different than what you’d do without them.

In Summary

Aluminum gutter guards have to be able to take in high volumes of water so they don’t overflow and keep out all debris, all the time. Any product will need some level of maintenance, but the goal is to limit the frequency and difficulty of the chore.

Questions about any of the above mentioned aluminum gutter guards? Don’t hesitate to leave your thoughts below!

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MasterShield manufactures gutter guards and gutter heaters for your exterior home improvement needs.
Our innovative microfiltration technology saves homeowners time, effort and money from cleaning out, repairing and replacing unprotected gutters.
83 2nd Ave
Paterson, NJ 07514