Gutter Guard FAQs

The most commonly asked questions about gutter guards and MasterShield can be found below.  You’ll also find that we cover gutter guard FAQ in our blog and our resource center.

MasterShield vs. the Competition

MasterShield puts gutter protection and performance first.  It is the next generation of microfilter gutter guards from industry inventor Alex Higginbotham, who created the critically acclaimed underlying microfiltration technology.  He was awarded the first and several subsequent patents for his revolutionary way to protect a gutter.

Through LeafFilter®, his first commercial success, he pioneered his technology’s first real-world application−millions of feet of it have been installed.  Right from the start, he took the feedback he got from installers and owners, went back to the drawing board and took his technology in a new direction. One of these changes led to an industry first: adding a surgical grade, stainless steel microfilter to a gutter guard.

MasterShield has the latest discoveries to further raise the bar on protection. Your home can be protected by everything new that’s been accomplished in the field through our exclusive partnership with Alex Higginbotham.  A MasterShield system protecting your home ensures you’re getting the latest and best he has to offer the industry.

MasterShield has taken a quantum leap forward in gutter protection by using this patented, self-cleaning filtration to keep all debris out, but let rainwater in, even when the filter is pitched with the roof. Filters are the best way to separate liquids from solids and, in finding the most effective way to apply an advanced water filtration system to gutter protection, we’ve raised the performance bar for the industry.

Unique to MasterShield, our MicroVortex non-stick micromesh stainless steel filter woven only for us and exclusive, patented HydroVortex technology that allows us to be the only micro mesh gutter guard that doesn’t have to be installed virtually flat by creating a self-cleaning water vacuum that quickly siphons rainwater into the gutter. MasterShield’s superior technology will ensure years of worry-free protection for your home.

That’s right. MasterShield limits its openings so only the tiniest particles can pass through – less than 50 microns. That’s about half the diameter of a human hair.

MasterShield’s MicroVortex micro mesh, which we call the “Impossible Cloth” and our HydroVortex action, allowing us to take water in at the pitch of your roof –even vertical– makes the difference.

Not any more. It was true until we developed our patented technology. Other manufacturers make the claim that they’re “closed” systems, but if you can see an opening in a curved system, then small debris can get through. Leaves, pine needles and oak tassels will sneak inside. This debris will remain hidden somewhere near or over your downspout and will cause a clog.

MasterShield uses a filter to separate liquids from solids. As a result, MasterShield will never let anything but water into your gutter, one of the many reasons why we back it with our no clog warranty.

MasterShield Licenses Higginbotham Patented Technology

Frustrated by traditional gutter guards that just didn’t work, MasterShield’s inventor, Alex Higginbotham, first started experimenting with filtration systems in the 1990s. Early versions let in too much debris and the gutters still had to be cleaned. Initial filter choices clogged with roof oils, dirt and fine silt. Rainwater often caused sheeting; it plugged the holes in the filter causing water to flow across its surface and onto the ground. There are products on the market that still rely on technology he tested and abandoned in these early versions.

However, Higginbotham persevered with his research. Eventually, he tried filtration on a microscopic scale, developing the technology to allow the filter to self-clean.

Higginbotham analysed and tested countless types of fabric membranes and determined that there were key features that caused certain configurations to pull water through better than others. After a few false starts in materials that couldn’t hold up to the sun’s ultraviolet rays, his research ultimately led him to produce the first gutter guard to ever feature stainless steel and which optimised the filter design to create the ideal combination of water filtration, flow and self-cleaning properties: MasterShield Gutter Protection®.

There is no other gutter cover with the technology and research that has been put into MasterShield.

There have been copies of his filtration approach, but without the multi-patented Higginbotham technology, other stainless steel filters just can’t match his performance and their filters will clog and fail. The key to MasterShield’s success has been the incredible amount of research and product testing Higginbotham has put into the system.

MasterShield with Water, Weather, Clogging, Debris and Pests

The HydroVortex™ Technology unique to MasterShield creates a siphoning force so powerful it can pull exceptional volumes of water through it whether the product is placed flat or straight up and down. It is designed it to be able to draw water into your gutter at virtually any roof pitch, even a Mansard.

You’ll find YouTube videos that show his earlier technology tilted at an angle-and almost all the water overshoots the gutter guard. It was the creation of HydroVortex technology years later that ended the need to keep the filter installed virtually flat.

MasterShield’s micro-mesh gutter filter is designed with patented self-cleaning properties. Under almost all circumstances, MasterShield’s filter will self clean, and will easily shed all tree debris. It’s always possible that certain unusual conditions may exist that would impact any gutter guard (excessive asphalt leaching caused by a severely deteriorating roof, unmanaged moss/mold or a significant source for silt to build up) that could cause a water to run over the system, but even in these cases the issue tends to be infrequent, localized on a small portion of a gutter run and can be addressed by general maintenance. Your authorised, independent MasterShield dealer will often be able to identify these conditions and bring them to your attention if they are applicable to your home.

Dealers are independently owned and operated and may choose to charge a service fee for warrantied and non-warrantied service calls.

MasterShield attaches to the front lip of the gutter. Ordinarily, rain that hits this section of an unprotected gutter runs down its front causing what is known as “tiger striping”—dirty lines that become quite noticeable as gutters age. MasterShield has a one inch lip, or drip edge, in the front that sits over and extends from the lip of the gutter. Any rain landing on the product in front of the filter will flow into the built-in weep holes or drip from the drip edge, minimising the impact of tiger striping. This dripping is normal, will fluctuate in frequency depending on how hard it is raining, and is not caused by water from your roof. Most importantly, this feature will help keep your gutters looking their best for years to come.

Water likes the path of least resistance, so occasionally water can run across the top of a leaf, or some other piece of debris, and onto the ground. This is a natural occurrence and in no way implies that the system isn’t working. Leaves can cover the opening of a reverse curve gutter guard, causing the water to run across it and onto the ground. And, unlike MasterShield, reverse curve gutter guards pull wet leaves, pine needles and other debris right into your gutter. MasterShield keeps all the debris out rain or shine.

MasterShield acts as an extension of you roof; if debris collects on your roof, it will also sit on the system. Debris can also take time to work its way down your roof and, in turn, down over the gutter guard.  In most cases, light dry debris like leaves are lifted away with a breeze.  Wet, heavy debris, like wet oak tassels that have knit together, take much longer to shed.  In the rain, water will again follow the path of least resistance and some may flow over the system.

For roofs that have debris sitting on them for an extended period of time (such as in sheltered areas like roof valleys or on shallow pitched roofs—your local independently owned dealer will likely identify these places with you), we recommend that you occasionally clear areas where debris naturally accumulates to keep the system working efficiently. Generally, however, water is much heavier than the debris it is mixed with, and gravity will pull most of it below the debris. In addition, MasterShield’s patented LeafRelease™ non-stick surface causes debris to quickly dry and blow away.  If you do have to occasionally brush off a section of your system, you’ll find it will continue to perform as well as sections where you don’t have debris build up.

Dealers are independently owned and operated and may choose to charge a service fee for warrantied and non-warrantied service calls.

How snow and ice will react on your home depends on the way your house/roof is positioned on your property (e.g., sunny southern exposure or shady northern exposure) and how well your roof is ventilated and insulated. Gutters are not designed to work in the winter with snow and ice. They can freeze solid and may collapse or pull away from the house from the weight of the ice that collects in them.

While conditions vary across the country, our experience has been that in areas where the temperature fluctuates throughout the winter, the gutter under the MasterShield system may freeze solid due to the freezing and thawing that occurs throughout the season. In areas where the temperature gets cold and stays that way, the gutter below tends to remain clear. In both cases, the product performs as intended (as a product that keeps tree debris from entering a gutter) once the weather becomes temperate. Depending on weather conditions, you should expect to see icicles occasionally form on the drip edge and at the end caps of the gutters.  Please note, if you have a metal or slate roof, you must install snow guards on your roof to protect the product (and anything on the ground below it); snow can slide off these roofs in a dangerous way which can damage the product as well as your car, landscaping or anything else below.

No gutter protection product can prevent ice dams. However, to promote the release of snow and ice, MasterShield creates an extension of the roof that mirrors its existing pitch. We attempt to maintain the roofline so as not to create a separate plane where ice can form and get trapped. The first thing that tends to melt when the sun hits the product is the bond between the ice and the membrane, so any water that reaches the roof edge under the ice will soak through into the gutter. In certain climates, thawing conditions will likely result in the snow on the system becoming oversaturated and slush-like, causing a greater amount of dripping when compared to normal rainfall.

MasterShield recently introduced Ice Shield Heated Gutter Guard for homeowners looking for a permanent solution to keeping all or part of their gutters icicle free. Consideration for the related energy costs and what happens to the melt when and where it refreezes should be taken under advisement when considering heating a gutter guard. Snow rakes, which are used to pull snow off of the roof above the gutter system, are often used effectively over entranceways where you would like to minimize dripping off the system. MasterShield also makes available heated mats and step pads if you just want to manage to keep an entrance safe and ice-free.

No they cannot. In fact MasterShield dealers offer the first bird and bee’s nest guarantee in the industry. Since a gutter protected by MasterShield is completely enclosed, there is no way for birds or bees to get into the gutter or underneath the system to nest. Other gutter covers can be dry, safe and attractive places for birds and bees to nest. However, since most of MasterShield’s surface lets water through, it doesn’t create an attractive nesting environment.

The Center for Disease Control recommends eliminating stagnant pools of water in your yard to avoid breeding grounds for mosquitoes, particularly those that can carry Zika, the West Nile Virus and other diseases. One of the most commonly overlooked places for stagnant water is a gutter with debris in it. While MasterShield’s openings are virtually microscopic, most gutter covers being marketed today have openings that mosquitoes can easily get through. Combined with the fact that they let debris in, allowing stagnant pools of water to form, these systems can be fertile breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Check your downspouts for a slow trickle of water that still occurs hours after a rainstorm and you likely have gutters that will attract breeding mosquitoes.

MasterShield and Roofs

Gutter protection must work within the limitations of your gutter system, which itself is constrained by the design of your roof. Roof design will have a major impact on the flow of water on and from your roof.

MasterShield has been engineered to handle exceptional volumes of water. However, long or steep valleys or roof designs that cause a concentrated flow of water may result in overshooting over any gutter protection product. Similar challenge areas exist where valleys flow onto outside corners or a straight gutter run. An inadequate number of downspouts or failure to properly tie all downspouts into the gutter system, roofs that have not been installed to the roofing manufacturer’s specifications, and certain roofing materials, may also cause runoff.

The use of higher flow product and cantilevered corners may alleviate, but not completely eliminate, such runoff, and may themselves lead to debris accumulation, requiring periodic maintenance by the homeowner. Your independently-owned MasterShield dealer has experience in managing these situations, and will advise you on the best overall approach to your particular system.

MasterShield will work on most types of roof and installs on most gutters, including K-style, ogee, half rounds, internal and Yankee gutters. The product should not be installed on roofs with rubber membranes, or on metal roofs that lack adequate snow guards. MasterShield can be installed below wood shingles as long as the shingles are not subsequently treated in any way with a waterproof coating or sealant, as this would obviously waterproof and permanently damage the system’s filter.

MasterShield is not fastened to your roof, but to the front edge of your gutter. It slides under the first course of shingles and is then attached to the gutter’s front edge with stainless steel screws for longevity. Our method of installation has been reviewed and approved by the GAF, Certainteed, Owens Corning and IKO, the largest roof shingle manufacturers as not voiding their roof warranty (ask your estimator to see a copy their letters to us and our article on gutter covers and shingles.)

MasterShield Warranty

Check around and you’ll quickly learn that MasterShield’s warranty is unmatched in the industry. We guarantee that a gutter protected by MasterShield will not clog. If it does, we’ll replace it or refund you the product cost of the MasterShield installed on your house*. But we don’t stop there: should the clog cause damage claimable against your homeowner policy, we’ll refund your insurance deductible, up to $1,500.

Unlike some other systems, we don’t just promise to clean your gutter in the event of product failure, we promise a gutter that won’t clog. Our warranty comes direct from the manufacturer and is transferable if you should sell your home.

All of our dealers are independently-owned and operated. Many match our product guarantee with a warranty on their installation costs to give you, the homeowner, further peace of mind and truly, the first 100% money-back warranty in the industry. Many of our dealers also provide the first Birds & Bees Nest Guarantee in the industry. Check with your local dealer for details.

(*) Product cost represents the original cost of the product to the installing dealer, and does not include the dealer’s installation or other costs, which may be covered under a separate warranty from the independently-owned dealer. Dealers are solely responsible for correct installation of the system. See manufacturer’s warranty for full details.

Dealers are independently owned and operated and may choose to charge a service fee for warrantied and non-warrantied service calls.

This type of warranty tends not to be a written one, or at least not one put in writing by the manufacturer. It comes from your local installer because the installer maintains responsibility for dealing with clogged systems. Further, you should keep in mind that most of these warranties are for specific periods of time, or are prorated based on how long the system is on your home. And when you do have a problem, keep in mind most of these companies have a crew or two just to deal with clogged systems, so your name will join the ranks on their list for service calls.

Our No-Clog Warranty is the MasterShield difference. Don’t hesitate to ask your estimator for a copy of our warranty so you can review it side by side against other systems.

Because MasterShield Gutter Protection® offers performance and protection that really works.

MasterShield Construction

MasterShield consists of an aluminium housing coated with a baked-on enamel finish that’s guaranteed not to crack, chip or blister. The .019 gauge aluminium housing (increasing to .0264 over the gutter with the addition of the stainless steel filter) is manufactured from 95% recycled aluminium. It is one of the most common coil gauges used in the industry and makes the system adaptable to the imperfect conditions often found at the roofline and fascia. A gutter guard must be as flexible as the gutter in order to adjust to the pitch necessary to direct water towards the downspout and away from your home.

There are two methods of achieving strength in aluminium gutter guard bodies. The simple method is to increase the thickness of the metal used, which unfortunately presents a number of problems in practice (such as lifting shingles, potentially voiding shingle manufacturer warranties). A second, preferred method is to use slightly thinner metal, but to incorporate a number of bends in it, which add strength and rigidity while allowing the product to remain flexible and adaptable. The profile of MasterShield actually contains more strengthening “bends” than any other guard on the market today.

The surface is fitted with a surgical grade, 316 stainless steel filter (ours meets ASTM International standards) and is specially woven in a way that creates our unique non-stick surface. It provides excellent resistance to corrosion, even in sea coast environments. Using 316 stainless may seem a little over-engineered, but it was the natural choice for our gutter guards since it offers superior strength compared to the low-carbon version (316L) used by other products.

The filter is permanently crimped and hot sealed into the panels at almost 400° Fahrenheit in our manufacturing center. This thermally applied bedding and glazing product was designed to meet the most stringent requirements including those set by the Miami Dade specifications (this hurricane prone area has lead to stricter building code requirements). Its 100% solid content contains no volatile or contaminating ingredients with a high resistance to UV and to all known cleaning products for extended life and durability.

MasterShield and Sustainability

At MasterShield, we are committed to supporting environmentally friendly practices. Proudly manufactured in the USA, our products have 95% recycled content in the aluminium and greater than 30% recycled content in the stainless steel.

We are members of the USGBC (US Green Build Counsel) and ARCSA (American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association). MasterShield can be specified in building projects aimed at achieving LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification.

Our gutter guards also help with rainwater reclamation; our filtration standards surpass municipal drinking water tolerances (rainwater is not potable unless properly treated). By routeing the flow of water from the rain gutter downspout to rain barrels, your landscaping or into a cistern, MasterShield customers can reuse a precious, natural resource, putting less strain on their municipal water supply. Rainwater reclamation helps reduce your exposure to many municipalities’ endless annual double-digit rate increases to your water and sewage bills. Rainwater is most easily used for gardening, lawn care, or filling swimming pools and, with various degrees of treatment, can be brought into the home to fulfill all your water needs. Want to learn more? You’ll find more information here.

MasterShield’s Appearance on Your Home

Adding gutter protection to your home doesn’t have to change the appearance of the traditional gutter system that you’re accustomed to. MasterShield is installed directly onto the front lip of the gutter and blends into the roofline, so much so that most people don’t even realize it’s there. Since it’s installed under the first course of shingles, it’s generally very hard to see and the filter quickly dulls when exposed to the elements. If you have MasterShield installed on 6-inch gutters, you may notice some of the metal above the filter, but this can easily be addressed by choosing a color that closely matches the color of your roof.

MasterShield currently comes in 14 colors to complement either your gutter or roof shingles. Our copper gutter guard can also be special ordered.  Dealers are not required to stock every color in our portfolio.

MasterShield’s Installation

MasterShield is specially designed to have vertical (top-to-bottom) flexibility and horizontal (side-to-side) rigidity. This design has four important benefits: (1) Vertical flexibility allows a dealer to install the product in a manner that makes it adaptable to different roofing conditions; (2) It minimizes shingle lift, which could tear or damage shingles; (3) It has the necessary flexibility to adjust the product down the gutter run to deal with each roof’s unique conditions (wavy fascia boards, gutter pitch, and so on) so that the system looks practically as seamless as the gutter it sits upon; (4) The aluminum in the back of the product that sits under the shingle easily relaxes to the weight of the shingles above, so that they don’t lift away from the roof (roofing company GAF has reviewed and approved our installation methodology; we are the only microfiltration product with verification from them stating that we won’t void their warranty).

Once MasterShield is installed, a bridge that mirrors the pitch of the roof is created over the gutter trough from the front lip to the roofline. Just like reinforcement on a real bridge, the filter is strengthened by the two I-Beam extensions that drop towards the gutter below. This allows MasterShield to maintain its profile under heavy snow loads or even if a branch were to fall on it.

MasterShield can be installed on existing gutters, although we do suggest that you have your gutters checked by your local dealer at the time of your estimate to ensure proper performance conditions can be maintained. If the gutters installed on the home are incapable of servicing the square footage roof area above it, then the system will be impacted by the same limitations. MasterShield is most effective when pitched with the roof, which may necessitate movement of the gutters for optimum performance.

MasterShield can be installed on gutters hung with straps, but these systems cannot be completely enclosed. Since MasterShield relies on the system being completely enclosed in order to remain debris-free, we cannot warranty installations done in this manner.

Yes. Our dealer will make every effort to mirror the pitch of the roof to optimise the installation where they can. If they can’t, the system may require a little more maintenance, as it will tend to sit flatter than is optimal.

MasterShield must be pitched with the roof, often requiring gutter adjustment, and installations must meet certain criteria so as not to void roof manufacturer’s warranties. Therefore, we require that it be installed by a dealer or licensed contractor. All dealers are independently owned and operated and are solely responsible for the correct installation of the system.

Maintaining MasterShield

While it’s not often seen, if excessive amounts of moss, lichen, tree sap or pine resin tend to build up on your roof, the exposed surface of the system may require periodic maintenance to prevent organic build-up and minor runoff. Your dealer will often note this if they see conditions like this present at your home. Copper or zinc strips installed above the gutter can kill moss, mold and mildew spores which might otherwise find their way onto the product. New or very old roofs, or roof shingles that have been cut or torn, may cause roof tar to leak onto the system. In such cases, the exposed surface of the system may require a simple spot cleaning with a recommended cleaning product to eliminate any tar residue.

As we noted above, you may occasionally have to brush off sections of MasterShield if you have a part of your roof that naturally collects debris as this can cause excessive debris to sit on the system and impact performance.

Dealers are independently owned and operated and may choose to charge a service fee for warrantied and non-warrantied service calls.

MasterShield features a unique patented filtration membrane. Do not allow paint or waterproofing chemicals to contact the system, as they may damage the membrane and void your warranty. If you are uncertain about any products you plan to use around MasterShield, please contact your dealer for assistance.

If your roof or gutters must be repaired or replaced, contact your MasterShield dealer for system removal and reinstallation. Never permit unauthorised contractors (painters, roofers, etc.) to adjust or tamper with your system. If a ladder must be placed up against your home, do not lean the ladder up against the gutters. This can damage the system and may void your warranty.

Purchasing MasterShield

MasterShield is priced comparably to other rain gutter cover systems. Fill out our Free Inspection request form or call 1-877-532-3627 to have an authorised MasterShield representative provide you with a quote for your home.

Because we back MasterShield with our written warranty, we require that it be installed to our specifications by an authorised dealer. MasterShield must be pitched with the roof, often requiring gutter adjustment, and installations must meet certain criteria so as not to void roof manufacturer’s warranties. Our dealers’ installers are trained on rain carrying systems and gutter protection and must meet our standards to make sure they give you the best possible service. All our dealers are independently owned and operated.