Gutter Guard Stainless Steel Mesh Facts

Gutter guards with stainless steel mesh that have a contact point under the filter to draw water into the gutter have been named best-in-field technology by several testing sources. This type of gutter guard was first introduced by Alex Higginbotham in 2003.  Alex Higginbotham also got his first US patent on this technology that same year.

Higginbotham initially chose a polymer filter with a unique intersecting weave only achievable in a polymer microfilter for his gutter guard.  Unfortunately, this cloth started to disintegrate in UVA/UVB light faster than the 10 years the manufacturer warrantied.  While the concept was a great one, and the weave style extremely unique, if the filter couldn’t withstand many seasons in sunlight, it couldn’t be considered a viable product.  Alex needed a way to fix the installations in the field, and fast.  Ultimately, he came up with stainless steel microfilters as and option, and the rest, as they say, is history.

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Stainless steel mesh with pine needlesBefore Higginbotham, no gutter guard ever had a stainless steel microfilter.  In the past, aluminum and copper screens of no less than 18 threads per inch were industry standards going back as far as the early 1900s.  In fact, every patent before Higginbotham’s 2003 patent said not to use more than 18 threads per inch, it would cause water to sheet over the screen if you used a tighter woven screen.

Getting a patent examiner to understand fine microfiltration wasn’t easy.  Most patent examiners said it had an obviousness to it that anyone could figure out:  make the mesh size smaller, they said, and of course it would keep out more debris!  But Alex Higginbotham wasn’t trying to teach about keeping out debris with a fine microfilter, he was trying to teach that with the right features in a microfilter, you could actually allow volumes of water to flow through what effectively looked like a solid surface of threads.  The fact that something looked solid, but took water through wasn’t obvious at all.

It wasn’t until late 2011 that an examiner had an “ah-ha” moment and Alex’s rationale clicked with the patent office.

Gutter Guard Stainless Steel Mesh Features

The stainless steel microfilter should be of the highest quality stainless steel, specifically 316 or 316L, which, in layman’s terms is surgical grade.  Anything lower will begin to corrode due to the acidity in rain or elements in the air like salt in coastal environments.

For a gutter guard stainless steel mesh should also meet the specifications of the Higginbotham Ratio.  This is the ratio of thread size to threads per inch that maximizes water flow through the porous surface of the microfilter.  Without the Higginbotham Ratio, the filter itself will experience some degree of overflow as water stays above the filter.  With the Higginbotham Ratio, water has a more effective reaction.  You’ll actually see underflow, where water gets through and flows on the underside the filter.  We believe the Higginbotham ratio is so important, we named our filter MicroVortex to ensure a homeowner knows they are getting the real thing, it’s not something you can see otherwise.

Another element of a stainless steel mesh is that it can’t work alone.  To pull water through and to efficiently self clean, the filter itself must have at least one of the several patented Higginbotham features that accomplish this: it must be touched on the underside by a leg or the filter itself must become part of the leg.  The leg must have some depth to it in order to pull water through.  If it’s too flat, water is inclined to track the filter and never drop in. New systems that crop up that are nothing more than a fine screen can’t self clean of dirt, oils and debris and microfiltration just can’t work for long periods of time without the patented Higginbotham feature.

Keep these features in mind when you’re in the market for a gutter guard featuring a stainless steel mesh.

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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