Gutter Covers & Roof Shingle Warranties: Separating Fact from Fiction
Can gutter covers and roof shingle warranties co-exist? Can gutter covers get installed underneath your roof shingles without voiding your roof shingle warranty? If you believe the hype of some gutter guard companies that don’t install under shingles, the answer is, conveniently, no. In fact, they go as far as reinterpreting roof shingle manufacturer warranties and installation instructions to lead you to believe your roof shingle warranty will be voided if you consider an application under a roof shingle.
The fact is, gutter covers have been installed under shingles for more than 100 years. Roofs themselves often have aluminum drip edges and flashing. Your plumbing is vented out your roof through vent pipes. Skylights are installed in roofs all the time and use metal flashing to avoid leaks. This flashing goes under roof shingles. So to assume nothing goes under a roof shingle and shingles weren’t designed for this all seems a bit far fetched. All of these materials install in a manner similar to a gutter guard.
With the popularity of the reverse curve style gutter guards over the last 25 years, shingle manufacturers have had the opportunity to see millions of feet of gutter guards installed with their shingles, both successfully and poorly. Based on what they’ve seen, they’ve been able to reach some conclusions.
Four Manufacturers Weigh In on their Roof Shingle Warranties
MasterShield has had its installation methodology approved by GAF, Owens-Corning, CertainTeed and IKO and we’ve attached their letters rather than take our word on it.
GAF, the largest manufacturer of roof shingles, specifically addresses gutter covers in one of the many technical reports they have online. You can link to the GAF report on gutter covers and shingles here. While they lay out parameters of what to do and what not to do when installing a gutter guard, they don’t specifically have issues with gutter covers going underneath their shingles.
In fact, MasterShield contacted GAF several years ago about our installation methodology. You can see their response to us to the right.
MasterShield’s installation was approved because the back of our product “floats” between the starter course and the first row of shingles. We do not use any fasteners on the roof, only on the front lip of the gutter. The weight of the shingles is sufficient to press down on the back of MasterShield and to keep it firmly in place.
Who else doesn’t have a problem with MasterShield and their roof shingle warranties? Shingle manufacturer Owens-Corning. Their technical team reviewed our installation instructions and methodology and gave us a letter saying it wouldn’t void their roof shingle warranties. You can see their letter to the right as well.
The key to the MasterShield installation is our Shingle-Safe™ back. Specifically, we don’t want to cause shingle lift, we want both our back fin and the shingles to maintain contact with the sub roof at all times, even as the gutter drops towards the downspouts. To note, this is not possible to do with thick and rigid gutter guards. Without our flexibility, troughs can form in the shingles or they can be lifted up from the sub roof. These situations can cause problems to your shingles you should look to avoid.
You don’t want an installation that looks like the picture below. This “strong” gutter guard has lifted the shingles, creating a trough behind the first row. Water pools here in the rain, just like it did when this picture was taken. You can also see that with this flat installation, debris is starting to collect on the filter itself. A gutter guard that traps debris is a bigger problem to a roof since the debris can wick water up the shingles where it can cause problems.
When water sits on a shingle like its doing here, it can work its way under the shingles at every seam. It can cause your roof felt and your wood sub roof to sustain water damage. Roof shingle warranties may be impacted if a gutter guard is installed in this manner. MasterShield’s thin back fin ensures this can’t happen to your home and your shingle weight will always “win” over the back of our gutter guard.
MasterShield doesn’t always go under your shingles, further protecting roof shingle warranties
If your MasterShield dealer comes up against a situation where going under your roof shingles did not make sense, then they have several other installation options. MasterShield can also be installed directly onto your fascia and can be done in such a way that it becomes an extension of your drip edge. When this installation method is used, the installation can also protect your fascia board from being exposed to water.
MasterShield can also be installed by bending the back on a special tool called a break to create a wedge with the back of the product. This allows the product to sit on your gutter. This wedge can be created to have greater pitch than other systems so that the product doesn’t create a shelf and still self cleans more efficiently from debris, a key consideration when choosing a gutter guard.
So, who’s word are you going to take about roof shingle warranties? We suggest the manufacturer since they don’t have any skin in the game.