The Ultimate Fall Gutter Cleaning Checklist

Different Gutter Materials & Hail Damage to Gutters

Fall is one of the best seasons in the year; children head back to school and festive holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving are just around the corner. Our time seems to get filled with football, golf and other sports or one of our many group activities get back to its regular schedule after the summer. Around our neighborhoods, leaves change to brilliant colors and begin to drop as trees go dormant. Our yards need to be raked and our landscaping needs more attention. While the weather is crisp and comfortable it’s a great time to begin preparing our gutters and gutter guards for the final months of the year.

Fall Gutter Guards

As the days get shorter, homeowners often choose to get a jump on home repairs before the long winter months. One of the most important items on this to-do list should be proper gutter cleaning, repair and maintenance.  Then, you’re ready to install gutter guards so that in future years, you’ll be able to spend more time focusing on lots of better things than this.

The key to ensure that your home remains water damage-free during the winter is to start preparing in the fall. And one major way of tackling water related issues is to properly prepare your gutters and downspouts, the main way water is channeled and directed away from your home.

We have provided you with key issues you need to know about and address to ensure that the external water related parts of your home, especially your gutters, are in top shape in the fall.  Your gutters will be ready to take on the yearly onslaught of falling leaves and common fall weather so that the transition into winter is seamless (pun intended) and can work and transition debris free.

Chapter One: External Cleaning Checklist For Your Home & Gutters

Things start ramping up into high gear during the fall. Kids return back to school, new events and sports schedules kick into high gear leaving less time available for the must-be-done projects on your to-do list which just keeps getting longer. But there is one item that should not be procrastinated: your exterior fall clean up. This type of cleaning is not only for the spring and getting it done while timing it right during the fall months will avoid potential home exterior problems once freezing temperatures hit.

We have all the tips you need to have a quick and smooth fall cleaning to keep your home in tip top shape as the year draws to a close.

Fall Preparation: Remember to Clean your Patio and Pool

  • Cleaning Patio Furniture To get the longest life out of your patio furniture, use oxygen bleach like Stain Solver. Take a look at your cushions for grease and grimy marks caused by our summer barbecues and outdoor parties. If you are storing your furniture outside, make sure to properly cover them to avoid damage from potential storms.
  • Cleaning the Grill For homes that don’t barbecue year around, turn your grill on high for 15 minutes to burn off any residue that might be caked onto the grill from previous events. Take a look at the drip pans and change them if necessary. It’s important to de-grease the grill top, burners and side tables since the grease will remove easier the sooner it’s done. No one wants to go through the stress of de-greasing year old grease off grill knobs.

  • Cleaning Decks and Patios With family celebrations and outdoor play, spills are a given for your decks and patios. These spills and messes can leave unwanted stains on your beautiful decks/patios, so we recommend being proactive about the cleaning. Pay close attention to the area around grills and dining tables. Don’t forget to look at areas where guests tend to sit, since this is another place where messes are frequent.
  • Cleaning the Pool We all want to relive the summertime pool parties with the family, but the fall is the time to start cleaning it out to avoid damages and potential problems. Make sure to skim off floating debris and add algaecide. Drain the pool so the water level is 4-6 inches than your regular summertime water level. We suggest adding a skimmer guard and filling the skimmer line with antifreeze to prevent potential ice from forming during the colder months. Lastly, don’t forget to cover your pool to protect your pool until the following spring.

Cleaning Around Your Home

  • Check Your Gutters Fall is one of the most important times to check and clean your gutters. Spring debris and fall leaves are big issues which, if left unattended, can clog your gutters and potentially cause damages to your home’s infrastructure. We will give you detailed information on how to clean your gutters later on.
  • Check Your Windows As the months get colder, it’s important to keep the heat from inside your home from escaping through small cracks and crevices. Make sure to check the caulk around your windows to do this. Caulk is the waterproof sealant that borders your windows to ensure heat remains in your home. This small and inexpensive project can prevent higher heat costs and who doesn’t want to save on their utilities?
  • Check Your Doors Make sure to pay attention to doors, especially those that connect your home’s interior to your garage. Homeowners rarely heat their garages which means that the temperature in your garage is fairly similar to the temperature outside. Make sure the door that leads to your garage closes tightly. Some of you might find a door threshold to be a good investment. For home entrances, keep in mind that a mail slot in your door or wall can let cold air in the house as well. A storm door may act as a barrier against heat loss in this instance.
  • Cleaning the Chimney When was the last time you cleaned or checked your chimney? For many of you, it’s probably been a while since your last chimney cleaning but clean chimneys increase heat efficiency while preventing costly repairs. Chimney cleaning is an important ventilation system and proper maintenance can keep your family and home safe. Best to do it in the fall before thinking about fires in the colder weather.
  • Check the Exterior Lights Days get shorter during the fall. As a result, your exterior lights turn on earlier in the day. We recommend checking the bulbs on your exterior lights before daylight savings begins and replacing those which are burnt out with high efficiency LED bulbs.

Cleaning Up the Lawn and Landscaping

The fall is the perfect time to prepare your gardens for the winter so they are ready to bloom in the spring. Here are some tips we recommend to ensure your garden survives the colder weather.

  • Fertilize You want to take the early months of the fall as the perfect time to fertilize your garden bed. We recommend reseeding and touching up and bare spots and spreading your fertilizers during the latter half of October. Doing this will give the roots the boost that they need to flourish when spring comes.
  • Plant and Prune Plant your spring bulbs in the earlier part of the fall so roots develop well before the temperature gets colder and the soil cools. Tulips and daffodils are just some of the flowers that should be planted in fall so they are ready to blossom come the springtime. Don’t forget to trim and prune your shrubs or tree to get rid of dead branches. This will better prepare your plants to deal with the colder weather.
  • Pack Up the Tools Eventually, you’ll put the lawn equipment to bed for the winter. During the final weeks of the fall make sure to empty out gas and oil from tools like mowers, trimmers, and edgers. Remember to scrape off the dirt from previously used hand tools. We also recommend sharpening bladed tools and spraying them with oil so they are ready to use the next time you need them.

Six Tips to Cleaning Your Gutters

Many homeowners procrastinate on cleaning their gutters, while others don’t clean their gutters at all. However, this a very important task which, if left on checked, can lead to big and costly issues. Cleaning your gutters should not take too long to do, but getting it done is the key to ensure your home remains strong and your gutters maintained.

  • Clean Your Gutters Semiannually You should clean gutters twice a year, once in the fall and once in the spring. Depending on where you live or if you live near a lot of trees, you may want to consider cleaning your gutters more often.

Clean gutters prevent costly water damages, and problems to your foundation or landscaping.

Here are some tips to properly, safely, and efficiently clean your gutters:

Tip 1: Use proper ladder safety!!

Have a sturdy ladder and make sure that you’re physically capable of climbing up and cleaning your gutters. If your home is over one story high, consider hiring a professional. Use caution when setting up the ladder since leaning the ladder on a gutter can bend or damage it.

Tip 2: Work on a day where there is no risk of rain, high winds, snow or ice.

Make sure the weather conditions are suitable to be on a ladder. If your roof is wet or icy, or there are very windy conditions, consider waiting for another day to clean your gutters.  Ladders get slippery when your feet or the rungs are wet.

Tip 3: Wear long sleeve clothes and good rubber work or gardening gloves.

This is an important step since gutters can sometimes be very mess and filled with wet debris. It’s often handy to have bucket to collect the debris.

Tip 4: Use a plastic scoop to remove gunk.

These tools are rarely expensive so you should be able to find one for cheap.

Tip 5: Remove any debris on your roof as best you can

Again, use caution when doing this, but debris on your roof is only going to make it down and into the gutters you’re cleaning.

Tip 6: Work from by moving away from the downspout.

You don’t want gunk reclogging your downspout, so start here and clean your gutters by moving away from this location.

Tip 7: Remove any remaining residue by spraying the hose through the gutters and down the downspouts.

After all the gross stuff is out, make sure to clear out any remaining residue by spraying the hose through the gutters and down the downspouts. Not only will this clean out the gutters but it will help point out leaks, if there are any.

The cost to have your gutters cleaned can be anywhere between $50 (this tends to be an advertised cost but not what you’ll wind up paying) and $500. This price varies greatly based on the size of your home, the height of your gutters and the amount of work that needs to be done.

We suggest investing in gutter guards which help minimize these costs in the long run and help maintain the health and effectiveness of your gutters. Gutter guards can be attached to your existing gutters and help prevent clogs.

Why It’s Important to Clean Your Gutters

Proper gutter maintenance is key to maintain the integrity of your home’s foundation.

Here are some issues that you will avoid if you clean your gutters as instructed.

  • Avoids Water Damage Water from the roof can pour over your gutters and will fall near your home’s foundation; this can cause erosion and leaks into your basement. Backed up gutters can also cause damage to your shingles and cause water to get into your home where it may ruin your home’s interior. Keep in mind, water always follows the path of least resistance!
  • Avoids Mold Mold and mildew can grow in places where water has not evaporated fast enough. These are issues that become challenging, can affect your health and are expensive to correct. Avoid them by cleaning out your gutters.
  • Avoids Rotting Wood If water can’t properly drain away, the water can seep into the wooden parts of your home and cause the wood to rot. Too much rotting damage can cause structural damage and lead to expensive and difficult repairs.

Cleaning your gutters also allow you to:

  • See If Repairs Need to Be Made Take note of any potential damage on your gutters and get them repaired as soon as possible to prevent increased problems during storms and weather threats. Take note if there are any uneven sections, leaks, or loose brackets. Ensure that your gutters are securely attached to your roof. These repairs or the problems that stem from clogged gutters can be costly so we want to avoid them as best we can.

  • Keep Critters Away Some homeowners find rodents like mice, squirrels and small raccoons, take shelter in their gutters. The concave shape of the gutters and easy access to the ground (through the downspout), make your gutters a great nesting place for little animals. If this is an issue you face consider getting downspout screens (install them at ground level) with some humane rodent repellent nearby to keep animals from using the downspout as an elevator to the warmth of your attic.

Mosquitoes and other like pests can also become a problem if enough debris builds up to hold enough water. This can become a serious issue and, in a worst case scenario, can make your family and pets vulnerable to illnesses like West Nile or Zika and, at best, annoy your family outdoor gatherings with bug bites.

Dealing with Annoying Acorns

With over 200 species of oak trees in North America, acorns are a common problem.  How many times have you walked outside your home and seen tons of acorns scattered around your lawn? Have you noticed that some years there are even more acorns in than the year before?

We have definitely noticed this phenomenon because it makes gutter cleaning more annoying, and increases the number of times that season your gutters will need to be cleaned.

The increase in acorns is a consequence of Mother Nature’s actions in the prior seasons. As it turns out, oak trees have an irregular production years. The real reason is unclear but some speculate that oak trees release more acorns the years they want to increase new tree growth. By flooding their environment with acorns, the chance of new tree growth increases. This is because more acorns fall than there are small critters, like squirrels, to eat them. The excess acorns are left and would theoretically plant more trees. This explains why every 2-5 years you see this sudden increase in acorns.

Although this is like Christmas to the animals around your yard and home, the increase in acorns creates a huge problem for gutters.

Unprotected gutters get filled to the brim with acorns (and of course the caps separate from the acorn leading to even more stuff to pile in and subsequently clean out) and prevent your gutters from working properly. If you don’t clean your gutters regularly enough, you can face very costly problems and repairs. Proper gutter cleaning is a must when dealing with overactive oak trees and acorns.

Save yourself the time, money, and trouble and get a MasterShield gutter guard. With our patented technology, your acorn issues will be a thing in the past.

Chapter Two: Safety & Gutters

First things first, if you are going up on a ladder or getting on your roof, make sure you are physically capable of doing such a thing. Always choose the side of caution and, while we’d prefer you end the need to ever go up on a ladder again by installing a gutter guard, hiring a professional is always a better option than risking your safety.  People get seriously hurt and can die from ladder falls.  While no one thinks they’re at risk, they are, so safety always should be your first concern.

Proper Ladder Safety

  • Position Your Ladder Securely Make sure the ladder extends beyond the height you need to climb and is positioned at the correct angle. A simple way to know if your ladder is positioned at the right angle is to stand at the foot of the ladder and extend your arms. If the ladder is at an arm’s length away, meaning your fingertips can touch the rails of the ladder, then you have the correct angle.
  • Stand On Level Ground Make sure you place your ladder on even ground, if not try to even out the terrain by placing something like a 2 x 12 under the legs of the ladder to ensure its stability. There are products that attach to ladder legs to address this issue.
  • Move & Step Carefully When cleaning the gutters, you’ll have to go up and down the ladder several time to adjust the ladder to reach different areas. Make sure to climb up and down carefully, maintaining either two feet and one hand or one foot and two hands on the ladder at all times. When moving the ladder, make sure to place the ladder in a secure spot and on even terrain.

Using the Right Tools 

  • The Right Hose When cleaning out your gutters, make sure to use a garden hose with a trigger spray nozzle, this will make it easier to rinse out the gutters and downspouts. Nozzles should also be able to be hung on the ladder so that they’re easy to get to and stay out of your way. Remember, hoses under water pressure are naturally more rigid than the empty hose you pulled out from your garage.
  • Wear Gloves It’s important to protect your hands when cleaning your gutters so be sure to put on gloves. Unprotected gutters get a lot of muck and debris lodged in them. This debris can be ridden with bacteria including droppings from rodents and birds. No one wants to stick their hand in there, so we recommend using sturdy waterproof gardening gloves to avoid potential cuts and protect your hands from the bacteria.
  • Wear Goggles It’s also important to protect your eyes when cleaning gutters. Countless homeowners use water to spray down their gutters and downspouts after pulling out all the big debris. Water can shoot up and get in your eyes. And what did we just say was in that water?   It’s not something you want to get on your face, in your nasal cavities, or in your eyes.
  • Use Proper Footwear Use rubber shoes to get the best grip while climbing up and down your ladder. Make sure you can keep them dry as well. This will help you keep your stability and keep you safer.

Chapter Three: Common Gutter Problems

Gutter Problems and Solutions

Here is a list of some of the most common gutter problems that you may face. We have included possible remedies to keep your gutter working in tip top shape.

  • Blockage This is one of the most common problems that people must deal with. Clogs and blockage occur when natural debris builds up, preventing water from flowing through the gutter and down the downspout. Don’t be fooled, clogs don’t only happen in the horizontal parts of your gutters, they can happen in your downspouts too.

Solution:  A simple gutter cleaning will do the trick to remedy this issue, but we recommend investing in gutter guards.  Clogged downspouts are harder to clean because you can’t just scoop out the gunk.  Removing the downspout or using a snake to loosen the debris are ways to address clogs here.  And most importantly, don’t let this gunk get into underground drains because that’s a cleaning project that’s really best left to the professionals.

MasterShield gutter protection guarantees your gutters will be clog free.

  • Overgrown Gutters Gardens make your house look great when they are given sufficient water and sunlight, but your gutters are not the right places for your green plants. Shrub growth in gutters is a more common issue than you think. Not only is this a visually unattractive issue, plant growth in your gutters can lead to numerous issues including pest infestation.

Solution: Clean out your gutters as soon as possible after trees drop seeds in the spring. Scoop out any plants, twigs or other tree blossoms in your gutters and toss them in your compost bin or where ever you’re allowed to leave yard debris.

  • Leaks Are your gutters clog free but still experiencing drippage and improper water flow, you have leaky gutters. Many times, this problem is caused by erosion or a crack in your gutters.

Solution: patch the leak with a non-silicone caulking and reseal the whole seam. Silicone breaks down in sunlight, so look at the label of your caulk to be sure it’s not affected by UV light.  Be aware that this could become a recurring issue in the future and further repair may be necessary.  Caulking over existing caulk doesn’t normally solve the problem. The best solution is scraping out all of the old caulk and working from a clean surface.

  • Sagging Gutters Take a look at your gutters. Can you see daylight behind them? If so, they pulling away from your house. If they dip in a section that you can see and that section is not headed towards a downspout, that’s an issue. It’s a place that water can become trapped and natural place for a clog to start. Normally, these conditions show themselves after the winter or when rotted fascia behind the gutter can’t hold up the gutter itself.  If you find these conditions, we recommend acting fast and getting a gutter service to your home since this issue can lead to the collapse of your gutters and water in your home.  New fascia work isn’t particularly costly, but will require new gutters get installed.

Solution: Call a professional and get this problem fixed to avoid costly damages in the future. Shore up sagging gutters with interior gutter hangers, not old fashioned spikes and ferrules.

Other times excess amounts of debris are weighing your gutters down. If this is happening, we can’t stress this enough, clean out your gutters.

  • Loose or Damaged Gutters If your gutters are smashed by a tree limb or loose, water will not be properly drained and can cause damage to your roof, foundation, and more.

Solution: Calling a professional is the best thing to do in this situation. Your gutter installer or local roofer will be able to fix this problem for you.

  • Poor Pitch Pitch refers to the slight slope on your gutters which allows water to flow down into your downspouts. Poor pitch from an improper gutter installation will cause water to pool in your gutters. This can sometimes be a challenging issue to see from the ground, but if this issue can allow clogs to form, pests to settle in and gutter corrosion. Gutter corrosion is normally in the form of tiny pin-sized holes that occur from the debris in your gutter breaking down into compost.   Improper pitch can also cause the pooling water to seep into the house and cause water damage to your siding and or roof.

Solution: Call a gutter company to remedy this problem since improper pitch can lead to a host of problems.

Chapter Four: Why Install a Gutter Guard?

What Are Gutter Guards?

Gutter guards are designed to keep debris out of a gutter. Gutter guards work best when they are exposed to rain and overall temperatures don’t regularly drop below freezing with the exception of the winter months.

Because gutter guards are on the exterior parts of your house, you will face the same problem that the rest of your roof must deal with, leaves and other tree debris.

Gutter guards stop debris from getting into your gutters but you will have to give them some kind of maintenance every once in a while. This includes going up on a ladder, occasionally, and brushing off any leaves or debris covering the gutter guard.

Why Install Gutter Guards?

No one wants to deal with the stress of cleaning gutters. It’s a messy job which can cause many problems if left undone. Here’s why you should install a gutter guard.

  • Keep Debris Out Fall leaves look great when they’re on a tree but can be a nightmare to clean out of your gutters. Leaves can wreak havoc on your gutters and cause annoying clogs.
  • Reduce Rust On Your Gutters Because gutter guards help clean water flow from your roof to the ground, you can avoid rust build-up in steel gutters since your gutters aren’t retaining moisture. Aluminum doesn’t rust, but debris decaying causes aluminum to pit and tiny holes can form.
  • Keep Your Gutters Strong, Gutter guards protect your gutters from damage caused by piled up debris. Wet debris becomes heavy which can cause your gutters to pull away from your roof and take the siding and trim with it.
  • Protects Your Foundation Gutter guards help water flow properly through your gutters, down the downspout and away from your foundation. Since micro mesh gutter guards, like MasterShield, offer clog-free guarantees, gutter guards ensure that your gutters function properly and your foundation remains secure.
  • Prevents Critters Guards stop rodents and pests from nestling in and making a home out of your gutters.
  • Gutter Cleanings Becomes Less Frequent Installing gutter guards makes gutter cleaning less frequent and requires much less maintenance than unprotected gutters.
  • Money Saver In the long run, gutter guards can save you money and stress since they require less maintenance than gutters without guards.

How Much Do Gutter Guards Cost?

Although gutter guards seem like a more expensive, the following information will show you that installing guards can actually save you money, in the long run. Gutter guards offer peace of mind and prevent costly home repairs costs by malfunctioning gutters.

  • Gutter Guards Are Affordable A gutter guard installation is one of the cheapest home improvement projects in the industry. Installing gutter guards cost less than your average paint jobs, roofing projects, landscaping or other projects. We recommend the micro-mesh gutter guard technology by Alex Higginbotham which will give you the biggest bang for your buck. The MasterShield Gutter Guard won’t clog, has a lifetime warranty, and will keep your gutter functioning correctly with minimal maintenance.
  • The Difference between Gutter Guards and Gutter Cleaning It’s not practical to compare the cost of gutter guards to the cost of gutter cleaning. Gutter guards are an investment which require several years to pay for while cleanings are recurring costs. Gutter guards become part of your house and work with your roof. With standard gutter cleanings, you are likely to begin collecting debris virtually immediately after you have your gutters cleaned. You might find yourself dealing with a clogged gutter merely two weeks after getting it cleaned, making you question whether a gutter cleaning was even effective. With a gutter guard, you know that your gutters will remain working normally with little upkeep.
  • Avoiding Expensive Water Damage No one wants to deal with the headache of costly water damages. Unkempt gutters can lead to flooded basements, landscaping issues, or even wood rot and termite infestation. What’s the best way to avoid these costly repairs, install gutter guards?

It’s important to know that gutters with gutter guards still need to be cleaned, but this is less frequent then unprotected gutters. Gutter guard protected gutters should be cleaned at least once every two years, and more frequently if there is heavy tree coverage near your home.

Gutter Guard Maintenance

Gutter guards is an investment which greatly decreases the frequency of gutter cleaning while preserving and enhancing the performance of your gutter system. However, there is no gutter guard on the planet that is completely maintenance free. Like any other external part of your home, some minor cleaning or upkeep is necessary to keep the product performing as it should.

Every home is different. Some homeowners might only need to gutter guard maintenance once every 10 years while other homeowners might need to do maintenance once every 2 years. All this is based on the environment where you reside. Do you have a lot of tree in your areas? Do you get a lot of wind on all parts of your home?

No matter the frequency or the frequency or environment surrounding your home, we have the tips you need to keep your gutter guards working like new, this fall.

  • Brush off Trouble Areas like inside Corners Many roofs have areas that collect a lot of debris because the wind can’t get it. Things will collect and stick in areas that are sheltered from the wind.

Take a few minutes to brush off debris from the gutter guards in those troubled areas. If parts of your roof have some type of fall debris, your gutter guard might have some too.

  • Brush Off Shingle Grit You may be dealing with shingle grit on your gutter guard. Good news: they aren’t getting into your gutter. However, those small particles can collect on top of your gutter guards. Dealing with shingle grit is very simple, simply brush off the grit from your gutter guard and it will be functioning like new.
  • Dealing with Asphalt Oil and Tar Like asphalt roads, asphalt shingles release a tar like oil. This leaves stains on your roof and can cause issues to you gutter guard.

Don’t worry, we got the information you need to deal with this issue during the fall.

We recommend using a small amount of carburetor cleaner to help get this off your gutter guard. Once you do that, your gutter guard should be working like new.

  • Dealing With Moss Let’s face it, if moss can grow on rocks, they can grow on your gutter guards. Not to worry, simply stop at your local hardware store and buy products like Wet & Forget or other moss killers and once again your gutter guard will resume its job of protecting your gutters.

And there you have it, everything you need to know about keeping your gutter guards maintained during the fall. Gutter guards make your life much simpler and lessen the hassle of gutter maintenance. But like other home exterior products, they too need a little TLC once in a while.

Why Gutter Cleaning is Not a Better Option?

Often time’s homeowners are fooled into thinking that the cost to cleaning their gutters will be quick and cheap. However, good gutter cleanings typically cost a lot more money than they are advertised. The cost of cleaning gutters varies greatly since many factors are at play.

  • False Advertisements Homeowners are regularly enticed to opt for gutter cleaning instead of investing in gutter guards. Although gutter cleanings seem cheaper, they actually end up costing significantly more in the long run.

This is because gutter cleaning prices vary tremendously. That flat rate fee ends up increasing significantly when the salesperson sees the height of your gutters, size of your house, and level of debris accumulated. And you don’t only pay this price once; you pay this a couple times a year to maintain the integrity of your gutters.

This cost quickly adds up, but this can be avoided by investing in gutter guards which end up paying for itself in not time.

  • Are They Doing A Good Job? Here are important questions to ask yourself about your gutter cleaners. How well are they cleaning your gutters? Will they clean up everything that lands on the ground? Are they just blowing off debris from your roof or are they sticking their hand and taking out all the muck in your gutters. Do they use a hose to wash your gutters clean? Did they clean out the downspouts? Often times, gutter cleaners forget to wash out the debris from the downspouts and have to be called back to fix a mistake they left.
  • Will They Rope You Into a Contract? Many homes need about 2-3 gutter cleanings a year, more if the home has heavy tree coverage, so a contract isn’t necessarily a bad option. However, a gutter guard will avoid these contracts, since you have them installed once and not have to worry about it. Gutter guards require minimal maintenance while preserving the integrity of your gutters.

Chapter Five: Gutter Options, Materials & Styles

You have more options than you think when it comes to your gutters. Gutters come in various options to fit all types of home and styles. We have described some of the most common gutter types and materials in North America to make sure you get the gutters that suit your home best.

Different Gutter Materials

Here is a list of the common gutter materials available to you. Each material has its own benefits, so be sure to pick the one that works best for your home and local climate.

  • Aluminum Two of the biggest selling points for aluminum gutters are that they won’t rust and are relatively low cost. Aluminum is the most common material used for gutters in the United States. This lightweight materials is durable and reliable.

Usually the aluminum comes in a metal coil stock which is run through a special machine that shapes the coil and makes it to whatever length is need for the house. This creates a seamless gutter so leaky seams no longer a problem.

These gutters come in different thicknesses or gauges, typically 0.32, 0.27 and 0.24; the higher the number the thicker the gauge.  Generally, the heavier gauge is most often installed in climates more prone to harsher weather.

Aluminum gutters tend to come in lots of colors to complement the color scheme of your home.

Like aluminum, MasterShield gutter guard also comes in a variety of colors to fit your home’s aesthetic and color scheme. Your gutter guard can easily pair with your existing gutter system, so installation is smooth and easy.

  • Vinyl This material is DIY friendly if you’re looking to install gutters yourself. Vinyl gutters are made up of shorter sections which simply snap together; no sealants required. This material is easy to clean and it doesn’t need to be painted.

Vinyl is better for parts of the country that don’t get frequent snow storms since these gutters are not as strong as metal ones. Although vinyl gutters don’t rust or rot, they can become brittle over the years from UV rays from the sun and are prone to cracking in cold weather.

MasterShield gutter guards can be installed on vinyl gutters. The beautifully designed product is easily installed by one of our dealers and starts to protect your gutters immediately.

  • Copper Copper is a beautifully rich looking metal that can be used for gutters because it’s a rust resistant material with a very long lifespan. A copper gutter can last over 100 years if properly maintained and installed correctly under normal weather conditions. However, copper is one of the most expensive gutter materials available. With time, copper gutters get a patina effect (fading to a brown and then to a pale green) which some homeowners like.

Copper gutters are a beautiful addition to a many homes. Some homeowners fear adding a gutter guard will ruin the look of their copper gutter system. But you won’t have that issue with MasterShield, because our gutter guard also comes in copper. Copper MasterShield will seamlessly fit in with your gutters and protect your gutter system while preserving the aesthetic of your home.

  • Steel Steel is the strongest material for residential gutters. Steel gutters are expensive and mostly used for fascia guttering or commercial gutters. These gutters are better at resisting damages due to hail or snow storms compared to aluminum and vinyl gutters. But steel is not corrosion resistant and will rust when exposed to water.  These gutters are always painted.  Common in California and Oregon, you generally will not see a fascia board installed behind steel gutters, but just exposed rafter tails from the roof’s framing.

MasterShield gutter guard is made with stainless steel micro mesh filter which pairs well with steel gutters.

  • Galvalume It’s sleek curbside appearance and longevity makes it a great choice for some homeowners. Galvalume is made of a steel substrate with an aluminum and zinc coating. Unlike cooper gutter, galvalume don’t change color with time and it gives a neutral appeal to your home without disturbing your home’s aesthetic. Galvalume gives your home a modern look; however, it does come at a higher cost than gutters made out of aluminum, and vinyl.

Gutter guards can go on galvalume gutters; however, you will need a gasket to create a barrier between the two pieces of metal. This attachment avoids dripping and makes both products work in unison.

Different Gutter Shapes

Not only do gutters come in different materials, but they come in different shapes as well. Here’s a short list of popular styles.

  • K-Style Gutter This is the most popular shaped gutter in the US. It is sometimes referred to as an Ogee gutter. It typically comes in two sizes, 5 inch and 6 inch (referring to the width of the top of the trough’s opening.

The shape of the gutter allows the mounting hardware to be hidden inside the gutter.  In the last 20 years hangers have predominantly moved to hidden ones, before this gutters were hung with spikes and ferrules. The crown molding-like shape gives the gutter a stylish look that many homeowners appreciate.

MasterShield is designed to go on K-style gutters, so there should be no problem getting our gutter guard on your home. The design of MasterShield gutter guard can fit both 5 in and 6 in K-style gutters. MasterShield gutter guard should be pitched with the slope of your roof.

  • Half Round This gutter style has been around for over a hundred years. It is most commonly used in Europe and in historical homes.  It consists of a semicircular trough with a curled front lip and traditionally comes in two sizes, 5 inch and 6 inch. Think of a pipe cut in half. Hangers for half round gutters typically go under the gutter and end over the curved front lip.  There are hidden hangers for these gutters as well, but the exterior ones can be quite decorative.

The troughs of half round gutters are shallower than K-Style gutters and do not carry as much water as their common counterparts.  Larger half rounds are used more frequently as a result.  You often see half rounds in copper or zinc coated copper.

MasterShield can be installed on half round gutters without a problem. This fall, call one of our dealers to add MasterShield gutter guards to your half round gutter; help deal with annoying leaves and other fall debris.

  • Box Gutters This shaped gutter is also known as square gutters; they have wide troughs. This style of gutters is not as common for residential applications but they are more commonly found on commercial buildings.

Gutter guard installation is not common for box gutters. The size of the gutter tends to require twice the traditional amount of product to fit across the gutter. We don’t usually recommend installing gutter guards on box gutters.

  • Fascia Gutters Fascia Gutters are usually custom-made to combine your homes’ fascia board with its gutter system. Homes not build with a traditional fascia board are best fit for this type of gutter system. This style gutters can be installed on steel and tiled roofs, though they are most common in residential situations.
  • Yankee/Internal Gutters This style gutter was mostly used back in the 18th century. The simplicity of the design made it a great choice back then, but this style gutter is not commonly used with modern house designs. This style gutter is built inconspicuously so it can’t be seen along the house’s roofline. When they were popular, these gutters were made with a V- or U- shaped trough lined with metal, such as steel. This type of gutter system requires more maintenance and repairs than other contemporary styles.

MasterShield gutter guards can be installed on Yankee gutters, but they will require slight product modification. Simply call your local installer and they should have no problem modifying the product to fit the need of your home.

  • Gutters Hung with Straps Today, most gutters are hung with hidden hangers inside the gutters. However, some gutter installers use straps to hang their gutter when the roof has open rafter tails, like the ones shown in the image. These type of gutters don’t hold well in winter climates.

Installing a gutter guard is difficult when your gutters are hung with straps. Holes can be poked on a gutter guard to run the straps through the gutter guard. However, we recommend investing on a fascia board before installing a gutter guard. This addition will give greater support to your gutter system, as a whole, and makes installing gutter guards much simpler.

  • Gutters Hung With Wedges Some homes have slanted fascia boards. The fascia board is the piece of wood which a gutter screws into. Gutters need to be straight to work properly so gutter installers add a wedge between the gutter and the slanted fascia board. This is usually a decorative feature based on the design of the roofline.

As long as the gutters are hung straight, gutter guards are easily installed on gutter hung with wedges.

There you have it, all the different gutter types used on the typical American home. Keep reading to learn about different roofs often found in the United States.

Chapter Six: Different Types of Roofs

Different Roof Materials

  • Asphalt Shingles Believe it or not but 70% of all single-family homes use asphalt shingles. These shingles are created from a fiberglass mesh which is later covered in asphalt and then covered with colored granules.

Traditionally, asphalt shingles were made with 3 tab shingles, but in today’s market, the composite shingle has become the more common shingle of choice when reroofing. The average roofer should be able to repair loose, missing or damaged shingles pretty easily.

There are several benefits to having asphalt shingles.

  1. Provides strong fire protection
  2. Compliments most home designs
  3. Doesn’t require a lot of maintenance. Necessary repairs are easy and cost-effective
  4. They tend to last about 30 years but may require individual shingles to be repaired.

Our MasterShield gutter guard slides right under your shingles, making it a simple addition to your roof. Our micro mesh gutter guard is pitched with your roof so it has self-cleaning capabilities, similar to your roof.

This fall, install a MasterShield gutter guard to your home’s gutter system.

  • Wood Shingles and Shakes Homes with wood shingles have a beautiful design but requires more maintenance than other types of roofing material like asphalt. This material also costs more.

One of the best parts about wood shingles is that they tend to last 5-10 years longer than asphalt shingles.

The wood usually comes from Western Red Cedar, Alaskan Yellow Cedar, and Eastern White Cedar

Keep in mind; however, they require more maintenance and greater protection to avoid water damages.

Homes with wood shingles would still benefit from the stainless steel gutter protection which MasterShield provides. It’s sleek design and selection of colors allows the gutter guard to seamlessly fit in to your home’s aesthetic.

  • Metal Roofs Most common metals used are aluminum, lightweight steel and zinc. Metal roofs have a very long life and can last 50-100 years.

The metal helps keep your house cooler since it reflects solar radiant heat. The material is also lightweight, but doesn’t offer a lot of resistance to impacts.

Homes with metal roofs can install gutter guards; however, the type of gutter guard that can be installed varies on the type of metal roof. MasterShield only requires a small space to slide the product right in. Other times, the product must be modified a bit to better fit the type of metal roof you have on your home. A gutter guard professional will know the way to properly install the product, so this fall, feel free to give them a call.

  • Slate Roofs This type of roof involves thin sheets of actual slate overlayed on itself. We wouldn’t recommend installing or repairing these roofs as a DIY project and would suggest hiring a trained professional if you would like the elegant style roof on your home.

MasterShield gutter protection can easily go on slate roof tops. For many slate roofs, our gutter guard can be slid under the tiles and install as designed. On other slate roofs, the back section of the gutter guard might have to be bent into a wedge shape to better fit with the roof. This is a simple task that your installer will be able to do.

Different Roof Designs

Gutter guards can be installed on most roof designs. Unlike most gutter guards, the steeper the roof, the better MasterShield preforms. Some roof designs have tricky areas which can strain areas of your gutters and gutter guards. Areas like valleys and dormers accumulate a lot of water. The best thing to do is to work with increase in water accumulation. MasterShield also comes with a high flow mesh which can support water flowing at a higher speed. Many homeowners opt to get gutter diverters to help the gutter system handle the higher volume of water.

The goal is to not overwhelm the gutter system. We do this by slowing the water down or redirecting it to more capable areas. Often times, issues occur because the actual gutter can’t handle the higher velocity and greater quantity of water coming from the trouble areas. This causes water to overshoot. A good trick is to expand the water receiving areas with a cantilever-shaped pan.

This fall, speak to your gutter guard installer to figure out what is the best way to install your gutter guard to handle all parts of your roof and gutter system.

  • Open Gable Roof This style roof involves two sloping sides which meet and form a ridge. This style roof is best for areas with cold weather conditions.

This stable design handles well in the rain and snow because the slope of the roof allows water and snow to roll of the roof easily.

This classic silhouette is the most popular roof style in the United States. This style can easily have MasterShield gutter guards.

  • Hip Roof This style roof is great for areas with heavy snowfall and high winds. These roofs have a gentle slope and all sides slope downwards. The shape of the roof allows water to easily flow down to your gutters. Eventually the water will flow down the downspout and away from your home. All sides of a hip roof usually have gutters.

It is important to note, that homes with this style roof has more gutters on your home than most. This means all four sides of your home will need gutter guards; however, installation should not be an issue.

  • Hip and Valley Roof This style roof has four sloping surfaces: two join at the ridge and two at the end of the center ridge. The center ridge is known as a valley.

Imagine gutters tracing along the border of this style roof. If you take a look at the valley of the roof, you’ll notice that a small amount of gutter will have to take a large amount of water from your roof. This is like merging ten lanes of traffic into one lane. This is why proper gutter maintenance is crucial to maintaining the health of your roof and home in general.

As previously mentioned, valleys can overwhelm your gutter and gutter guard systems when rain is heavier than usual. Don’t worry, there are ways to help the gutter system deal with the heavier rainfall. Make your gutter guard installer makes the necessary modifications or additions to your gutter system to make sure your home is in the best shape to handle the rainfall.

fall gutter guards

  • Skillion and Lean to Roof In this type of structure, one wall is raised higher than the other allowing one roof to be pitched at a steeper angle to allow runoff during heavy rain. This modern design should face minimal challenges when installing a gutter guard. Rainwater should easily flow down the roof and through your gutter guards.

  • Gambrel Roof This is a very common for farmhouses and barns. It has two different slopes; the shorter sides have less of a slope while the longer sides have a steeper slope. Inexpensive to build and maintain. However, this design is not intended for homes that experience heavy snowfall. If you are interested in adding a gutter guard on a gambrel style roof, you shouldn’t have too many issues.


And there you have it!

Everything you need to know to make sure your gutters are able to prepare your gutters for the fall.


Be sure to look at our other guides to make sure your gutters are functioning in the winterspring and summer as well.

These are great resources if you want to learn more about how to make sure your gutters are functioning properly year round.