Installation Guidelines for Homeowners
We believe that MasterShield is the best gutter guard on the market today. But like the best window, door or water heater, it will only perform to its potential if installed correctly. We manufacture MasterShield and sell it to independent dealers who then sell the product to homeowners and perform the installation. Most of the time they do a great job. But every now and then we see an installation that just doesn’t meet our standards. Since we warrant the performance of the product once it is correctly installed, not the installer or his installation, we want to make sure that you, as the consumer, are as informed as possible about the steps required to ensure a proper MasterShield installation.
Here are a few major considerations when having a system installed. Discuss any issues you think may arise with your dealer before installation begins. Some of these guidelines are unique to MasterShield, but most apply to any gutter guard installation.
Pitch with the Roof. MasterShield is most effective when pitched at least as steeply as the roof (the optimum angle for MasterShield is between 22.5 and 75.0 degrees). This may necessitate the dealer re-hanging your gutters so the angle of MasterShield closely mirrors the angle of the roof. It will add some cost to the job, but is strongly recommended to promote the shedding of debris. Installing MasterShield at an angle that is noticably less steep than the roof (“installing flat”), which is the way most other gutter guards are installed, can cause debris to accumulate, hindering the ability of a gutter guard to perform and potentially causing damage to your sub roof. Installing gutters right under the shingles is also bad for your roof, but gutter companies do it because it is easier for them. Situations where roof lines of different pitches come together may prove challenging, since the gutter run below will have to favor one pitch or the other – discuss the best options with your dealer.
Don’t Cover the Filter. It’s not uncommon for roofers to let shingles extend quite a way into the gutter when they are installing a new roof. Most shingle manufacturers recommend shingles overhang the drip edge by 1/2 to 3/4 inch, but dealers often find substantially more. Despite their efforts to ensure best practices, shingle manufacturers know that many roofers choose to ignore their installation methodology. If shingles extend too far into the gutter, they will start to cover the MasterShield filter. This can also lead to what we call the “diving-board effect,” a problem that can affect any gutter guard, where the shingle extends straight up and over the gutter guard rather than making contact with it. When water flows directly from the shingle onto the gutter guard, it is less likely to shoot over. Covering the gutter guard with roof shingles and the “diving board effect” may lead to water overshoot. In the case of a micro mesh like MasterShield, ideally 100% of the filter should be exposed, but in no event should more than 20% of the filter be covered. Re-hanging or choosing a larger gutter can alleviate this problem. Cutting back the shingles is another option (but less desirable in our opinion). Discuss the options with your dealer.
Properly Interlock the Panels. MasterShield is the first interlocking micro mesh gutter guard. Each 4 foot panel should be overlapped seamlessly with the ones beside it, with no gap between them. The panels should be screwed together. The installation should look level and even, and securely fastened to the lip of the gutter. Four to five screws should be used for each panel (three along the panel itself into the front lip of the gutter and one or two in the filter). Screws should be backed off so that they do not cause the panels to look dimpled. Endcaps should enclose the system completely.
Avoid Dripping. Many gutter guards experience dripping all along the gutter run as water follows the path of least resistance, particularly over small twigs and at the seams. While we don’t have a solution for the occasional twig, MasterShield has a built in drip edge and we have provided our dealers with a solution to the issue of dripping at the seams, which helps avoid a single tiger stripe at these locations. Ask them for details prior to installation.
Don’t Filter the Water Twice. Downspouts from upper level runs of gutter that are protected by MasterShield must be tied into the gutters and downspouts run below (i.e. the downspout must terminate through the MasterShield into the gutter). Because the downspout concentrates all of the water collected from the upper gutter run, if the downspout is not tied in, it expels its water onto your roof and then onto a small section of MasterShield. Like an inside corner, that volume of water may not fully enter the system.
Concentrated water can also cause excess shingle grit and tar to be washed off your shingles and onto MasterShield. While shingle grit does not pose a problem, tar will have to be cleaned from the filter. Your dealer carries a product which can remove it.
Note that shingle manufacturer GAF states you can void your roof warranty if you do not tie in your downspouts, specifically due to the excess wear the roof incurs at these locations; our methodology mirrors their best practices.
Clean the Filter. Natural oils used during the filter weave stage of manufacturing may lead to minor system runoff at first. This is normal and will disappear after the first couple of rainfalls following installation. Ideally, the filter should be washed with soapy water before installation.
Note: MasterShield is not warranted to perform when installed on gutters under rubberized roofs or wood shake shingle roofs where the shingles have been or will be sealed, or on metal roofs that lack adequate snow guards. It also cannot be installed with box gutters. See the MasterShield Transferable Limited Product Warranty for full details.
Occasionally your dealer may be faced with situations that make a perfect installation impractical – discuss it with him and have him note it in your contract. In addition to providing you with MasterShield’s Transferable Limited Product Warranty, your local dealer will typically provide you with a warranty on the installation itself. This warranty is separate and distinct from the Product Warranty; since your local dealer is responsible for providing any service that may be necessary on your system, you should read and understand both of them.
It’s also worthwhile to highlight some other major issues when having MasterShield (or any other type of gutter protection system) installed:
Roof Drainage and Inside Corners. Gutter protection must work within the limitations of your gutter system, which itself is constrained by the design of your roof. Roof design will have a major impact on the flow of water on and from your roof. MasterShield has been engineered to handle exceptional volumes of water. However, long or steep valleys or roof designs that cause a concentrated flow of water may result in overshooting over any gutter protection product. Similar challenge areas exist where valleys flow onto outside corners or straight sections. An inadequate number of downspouts or failure to properly tie all downspouts into the gutter system, roofs that have not been installed to the manufacturer’s specifications, and certain roofing materials, may also cause runoff. The use of diverters may alleviate, but not completely eliminate, such runoff, and may lead to debris accumulation, requiring periodic maintenance by the homeowner.
Snow and Ice. The installation of a gutter guard may result in some changes in how snow and ice form on and under your gutters. Gutter guards are designed to keep your gutters clear of debris, but will not prevent, and in some cases may exacerbate, the formation of ice and icicles. Since MasterShield maintains the pitch of your roof, it allows ice and snow to slide off more easily than many other systems. It will not prevent the formation of icicles, however, which are a law of nature in the winter months and are a function of a number of factors, including the gutter’s exposure to the sun. Therefore, care should be taken around stoops and entranceways. MasterShield will also not prevent ice damming, which is caused by poor roof ventilation and/or insulation.
To alleviate icicles, MasterShield recommends Ice Shield, our heated gutter guard.
Moss and Algae/Roof Tar. If excessive amounts of moss, algae, lichen, tree sap or pine resin tend to build up on your roof, the exposed surface of the system may require periodic maintenance to prevent organic build-up and minor runoff. Copper strips installed above the gutter can kill moss, algae and lichen spores which might otherwise find their way onto the product. New or very old roofs, or roof shingles that have been cut or torn, may cause roof tar to leak onto the system. In such cases the exposed surface of the system may require simple spot cleaning to eliminate any tar residue.
Your dealer carries products that can clean the system of tar or moss, algae and lichen should any of these conditions develop.