The stainless steel gutter screen has become the best rated gutter guard design in the industry. While MasterShield has upped the ante by being the first in the industry to introduce weaving pure copper threads you can see into the stainless steel gutter screen to promote killing organisms like moss, lichen and algae, that’s not the only thing needed to keep it working for years. For a stainless steel gutter screen to perform, it needs a certain feature to promote two very important elements of how it should work.
A Stainless Steel Gutter Screen Needs Touch Points
A stainless steel gutter screen has to do three things to work. First, it has to be able to pull water through the filter. Secondly, it has to continuously self-clean of dirt, roof oils, pollen and other debris. Lastly, you don’t want it clogging from oils or organisms that naturally exist in the environment where you install gutters.
This is where touchpoints in a stainless steel gutter screen come into play. Without touchpoints and lots of them, water has no way of being compelled to flow down and into the gutter.
A stainless steel gutter screen naturally wants to keep water flowing down the roofline unless you introduce touchpoints. The stainless steel screen doesn’t have any features in and of itself (unless you introduce copper threads) to get water to do anything (although MasterShield does have a very specific reason for custom weaving it’s filter). Put a rock on the screen, for example, and you’d force water to go around it. Put touchpoints under and within the filter, and water is forced to react to them.
Thus, the filter alone acts as a solid surface unless there is something that forces a change in direction.
MasterShield does this in multiple ways. First, we have distinct bends in the gutter filter to start the process of redirecting water. Since quantity matters, we’ve added lots of them. Then, because water comes off the roof in a sheet, we make sure they go along the entire length of the product. Shorten them to a non-linear shape that appears intermittently under or in the gutter screen and you’re missing an opportunity to pull water though the surface.
First, you lose effectiveness if the touchpoints don’t extend the full length of the gutter guard panel. Think about it and you’ll understand the problem it creates. A pencil tip will not do as much “touching” in comparison to one that extended across the entire product panel like a yardstick stood on its side. The touch point doesn’t need to be wide, but length, the longer the better, plays a role in its effectiveness.
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For a filter to work best, it needs lots of touch points. Unlike MasterShield, other systems have chosen to limit the number of touch point in their product, presumably to save money. You can identify this in products in two ways. They have to use a more open gutter screen and they have to make their product sit flat or on just a little angle over the gutter.
The more long touch points you put under a stainless steel gutter screen, the more effective it will be. Four or five touch points, which has come very common is not nearly as effective as products with a higher number, like MasterShield’s eight full panel length touch points.
Each additional row adds an incremental benefit to the product’s ability to effectively change the forward flow of water.
Self Cleaning Properties
In every place where you touch stainless steel gutter screens with a touch point, you also potentially create a place for the filter to self clean. That’s because changing the direction of water creates energy that can be used to clean the filter. Think of this touch point like the point at which Niagara Falls drops. The river seems to run lazily up to this point, it’s mass is spread over the whole river. At the fall’s edge – WHOOSH – it all changes and energy is created.
In fact, the edge of Niagara Falls hasn’t stayed constant over time, its energy has sufficient power to slowly carve back the granite under the falls a little every year. Now, we don’t take water through on such a scale (yeah, we know you’d like to see THAT), but you get the gist that at all those places where you limit water’s ability to change direction, you also limit its ability to self-clean.
Self cleaning properties are only enhanced with the addition of pure copper to the stainless steel gutter screen found in MasterShield. Copper helps with oils and organisms. With oils that leach from roof shingles, copper becomes a natural oil thinner. With organisms, like moss, lichen and algae, it kills the spores of these organisms before they can start to grow on and clog the gutter screen.
Pitch With the Roof
In order for self cleaning properties to work best in a stainless steel gutter screen, the gutter guard installation needs to be pitched like the roof line and remain in contact with the shingle leading into the stainless steel gutter screen.
This is where flowing the water onto a pitched product has lots of value. Water is forced down over many locations on the stainless steel gutter screen promoting consistent cleansing through lots of touch points. We don’t believe in limiting the clean properties in any way.
When a product sits flat, the water flowing off the roof tends to drop off the shingles like a small water fall and only hit one part of the screen. You’re not relying on touch points when this happens. In fact, if the filter does clean, it only happens at this one spot. Flat filters are more likely to trap debris, keeping the gutter guard damp and a natural place for moss, lichen or algae to grow as well. There’s no element of stainless steel to inhibit their growth. Pitching like the roof line means that it’s less likely that debris will back up and sit in piles on the filter. Pitched products also use airflow more effectively to blow dry debris off your home.
Do Your Homework!
Be sure to take a serious look at the stainless steel gutter screens your local gutter guy says he can sell you. Is it a Higginbotham product? Be sure to ask this first, if you’re not sure. Then, depending on what he says, take a look at it. Will you see the features we’ve brought to your attention like our copper stripes or is he saying what you want to hear just to appease you?
Anyone may promise their product will work like MasterShield, but now that you know why we do what we do to get the performance we get, you’re likely to make a more informed decision.
Don’t settle for any product that doesn’t have the technology built into it that MasterShield has. Without it, it just won’t perform the way a stainless steel gutter mesh screen should.
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