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Address Shingle Overhang When You Install a Leaf Gutter Guard

When installing a leaf gutter guard, shingle overhang is often an issue that must be addressed. Most shingle manufacturers recommend a 1/4 to 3/8 inch overhang over your eave, which is where your roof ends by your gutter. In many cases, and particularly as the home ages and settles, the roof edge at the eave edge can wave in and out by more than this amount. If a drip edge has been installed, some of this irregularity can be addressed by the rigidity in the metal, which can cover minor flaws caused by waviness.

Read on for more information about how to address shingle overhang when installing a leaf gutter, and be sure to reach out to us for any questions about your installation.

Why Is 1/4 to 3/8 Inch the Suggested Shingle Overhang?

Shingle manufacturers want roofers to stay within this range so that it will reduce the likelihood that wind could catch the shingle edge and lift it, which can damage the shingle.

We’ve seen references in some professional publications that like to extend the shingles to compensate for wavy eaves, but they do not suggest more than 1 inch over the eave. That’s not too much of a difference from the manufacturer’s specifications.

Too often, leaf gutter guard installers see conditions where roof shingles extend even further—by an inch or two. Sometimes, in the South, you’ll see shingles touch the bottom of the gutter.

The Benefits of Having a Leaf Gutter Guard

Gutters are important for preserving your roof from damage caused by water and debris buildup. In areas where there are many trees, homeowners often have difficulty keeping the gutters from becoming clogged, which is the purpose of a leaf gutter guard. Some of the benefits of installing a leaf gutter guard include:

  • Saving hours of effort or spending money to have someone professionally clean your gutters at least twice a season
  • Reducing the risk of mice and insect infestations by preventing these animals from having stagnant water in your gutters as a fertile breeding ground as well as keeping them from having easy access to your home through the fascia
  • Preventing your gutter from rusting or corroding as a result of being loaded with soggy leaves and other debris
  • Leaf gutter guards also act as a means of fire prevention as they prevent dry leaves from building up in your gutter and causing fuel for burning embers in fire-prone areas.
  • Preventing ice build-up in your gutters by keeping them flowing freely

Flat Leaf Gutter Guard Installations

When shingles extend this far, what can happen to systems that sit flat or virtually flat on your gutter? If the shingle isn’t trimmed back as part of your installation, then you can lose more than half of the water receiving area of the product, rendering it much less effective than it could be or was designed to be. You may also wind up with water overshooting the system in a heavy downpour.

In many cases, the shingle will extend over the leaf gutter guard and not come in contact with the system. This can create another set of issues. Debris, especially small debris, can get trapped under the shingle, where wind cannot blow it away. When it rains, this debris gets wet and stays wet longer than it would if it was exposed on the front of the system. Water will want to wick from this debris into the bottom of the shingle, onto your fascia board, or into anything else it’s touching. If your roof underlay is roof felt, it can cause it to deteriorate and lead to dry rot.

Leaf Gutter Guards Installed Under the Second Row of Shingles

These systems tend to be the type of leaf guard that sits on a large plastic or metal bracket. They don’t go near the shingle edge at the eave. In most cases, there is no impact. They do have other issues, however:

  • Several are installed with screws that go through the roof shingles. This is not shingle manufacturers’ preferred installation methodology.
  • They also still allow debris to get into your gutters through the gap under the curve, particularly when it rains.
  • Lastly, they can mask issues if the shingle does drop too far into the gutter. As the gutter fills with debris and possibly clogs, the mulch-like material and standing water can come in contact with the shingle. Once the shingle acts like a wick or straw, it can cause roof issues hidden under the leaf gutter guard.

The MasterShield Installation Methodology

gutter guard shouldn’t add to water issues on your home. It should eliminate them from starting.

At MasterShield, we make a point of mirroring our leaf gutter guard to the pitch of your roof. Since we extend out and down over your gutter, we can accommodate slightly longer roof shingles, but not too much or the filter will be covered. (We include instructions in our installation guide that shingles can’t extend more than 10% over our filter on straight runs and not at all where there is an inside corner.) There will be occasions where you’ll have long shingles, and our dealer will accommodate them by suggesting 6-inch gutters or discussing trimming them back to best practice specifications.

MasterShield’s Shingle-Safe Back also acts as a built-in drip edge. It helps water drop forward over the trough of the gutter, not back towards the fascia. Pitching with the roof with our system means you won’t get dramatic shingle lift off the sub-roof, even as you drop towards the downspout.

When you get an estimate for a leaf guard, you should ask the estimator to assess your roof shingles so that you know how far they extend over your eave. With this information, you’ll have a better sense of developing issues or how the product will perform. Knowing what to expect after you install a leaf gutter guard can lead you to make a better-informed choice from the start.

Frequently Asked Questions About Shingle Overhang When Installing Leaf Gutter Guards

Why is it important to address shingle overhang when installing a leaf gutter guard?

If your overhang is too long, you not only have the risk of the wind catching the shingle and lifting it, which can cause damage to the shingle, but it will also lessen the effectiveness of your gutter guard as there will be a smaller opening in which to catch water and debris. Debris will often clog this smaller opening, requiring you to clean the gutter more often.

If your overhang is too short, however, this can also cause problems, including allowing water to seep into rake or fascia boards.

Why do I need a drip edge?

Drip edges are a metal flashing that directs water away from the edge of the roof in order to prevent it from seeping behind the soffit edge of the siding. In addition to directing water away from fascias, where they can ultimately reach the fastenings and foundations of the eaves, which accelerates rotting, drip edges also prevent water flow on deckings and can seal off small crevices and cracks that are commonly found in the bottom of the roof in order to prevent those areas from being penetrated by water.

Do shingles have to overhang the drip edge?

The shingles should be installed a minimum of 3/8 inch over the drip edge at both the eave edge and the rake edge. However, they should never extend more than 3/4 inch over the drip edge as they are no longer properly supported at this length and can crack or break off.

Why is installing a leaf gutter guard under the shingles with screws not recommended?

Anytime you screw something through your shingles into your roof, you break the roof’s water barrier, making it easier for water and debris to seep into the holes, void your roof’s warranty, and create potentially costly problems for you down the road. The MasterShield Gutter Guard, however, is installed under the shingles with our Shingle-Safe Guarantee.

MasterShield’s technology has been approved by GAF, the largest manufacturer of roof shingles because the back of the gutter guard “floats” between the starter course and the first row of shingles. No fasteners are used on the roof itself, but rather only on the front lip of the gutter, with the weight of the shingles being enough to keep the product in place. Because of this technology, roof manufacturer Owens-Corning, CertainTeed, and IKO have also all stated in writing that they would not void the warranty on the roof shingles for homes where a MasterShield Gutter Guard has been installed.

It also should be noted that MasterShield Gutter Guards do not always have to be installed under the roof shingles, as there are often several installation options. For example, it can also be installed to your fascia in such a way that it becomes an extension of your drip edge, further protecting the fascia from becoming damaged by water.

Why should the leaf gutter guard be installed to match the pitch of your roof?

By aligning the leaf gutter guard to the pitch of your roof, you allow debris to blow off the gutter unhindered, improving its ability to self-clean and minimizing the time you have to spend scooping debris out of your gutter—a task that generally takes two hours or more.

What is an ice dam, and how can a leaf gutter prevent it from occurring?

If you live in a climate with heavy winters, you are likely to notice ice building up in your gutters. Ice dams occur when the ice builds up at the edge of your roof over the gutter and prevents snow and water from draining off the roof. If water gets trapped behind the dam, it can begin running into places such as cracks and crevices in your fascia, resulting in extensive damage inside your walls.

A properly installed leaf gutter guard will still see the formation of ice from time to time. However, removing ice from the gutter guard is a lot simpler of a problem to handle than having an ice dam form in your gutter.

So, what is the proper placement for the gutter and drip edge?

Ideally, your gutter should be installed between 2-3 inches from the roof’s edge. Any more than 3 inches will cause rain to simply run off the roof instead of draining properly which can result in the soil shifting around the house, damage to the house’s siding or foundation, and a risk of animal infestation. The gutter should extend far enough past the roof so that it can catch and drain the water without splashing it on the siding. About half to three-quarters of the gutter should extend past the roof.

The back of the gutter should rest against the drip edge in order to prevent water from intruding on the fascia behind the gutter. If there is no drip edge, then the shingles should extend 3-4 inches over the backside of the gutter.

Does the size of my gutter matter?

Yes, the size of your gutter matters, and the gutter guard you choose will need to be sized to fit your gutter. Many people do not realize that gutters come in different sizes. If your gutter is too small for the amount of roof space you have, it will be inefficient at draining the water properly.

If you’re installing new gutters and are trying to determine the size you need, important considerations include the size and pitch of your roof and any areas that tend to overflow when it rains. These overflow areas are often caused by valleys in your roof that can cause the water to collect and stream, building up velocity as it goes. The MasterShield HiFlow Panel helps to move the water as quickly as possible through your system, shedding debris from your roof instead of depositing it in your dumpster.

Can I install a MasterShield leaf gutter guard myself?

Because MasterShield is backed with a warranty, the product must be installed by an authorized dealer. The product requires installation to occur on a pitched roof, which often can require adjustments to be made to the placement of the gutter, and care must be taken not to void the roofing manufacturer’s warranty. Our independently owned and operated dealers are trained in gutter protection and can even provide a free inspection to explore your options with you.

What other issues pertaining to installing a gutter guard can void the warranty on my shingled roof?

GAF, the largest manufacturer of shingles, recommends avoiding the following conditions in order to protect your roof’s warranty:

  • Penetrating the shingle to hold a gutter cover in place
  • Removing or replacing shingles in order to install your gutter guard
  • Removing drip edges
  • Installing the guard under the underlayment, which is the synthetic or felt material between the shingles and the roof sheathing
  • Significant bending of the shingles during installation

Let our experienced dealer help ensure that your gutter guard is properly installed with the recommended shingle overhang. Contact us to begin exploring solutions to meet your specific needs.

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