This MasterShield Gutter Guard review details the replacement of my old 5 inch rain gutters with new 6 inch wide gutters and the installation of MasterShield Gutter Protection.
Clogged and Poorly Installed Rain Gutters
The 5 inch wide rain gutters on my house were the original “builder grade” gutters that had several problems:
Improperly pitched (or sloped) gutters that wouldn’t drain properly and hold water.
Matts of algae grow quickly in standing water and breed mosquitoes.
Poorly placed downspouts that made the water to run the full length of the house and around a corner to reach a downspout.
The gutter would overflow at the head-end during heavy rains.
- 2nd story downspouts that drained onto the roof instead of being piped into a 1st story gutter.
- Sagging Gutters: For a gutter on the 3 story side of the house with difficult access, the lazy home builder spaced the gutter spikes over 10 feet apart causing the gutter to sag. Gutter spikes should be spaced not more than 4 feet apart and 2 foot spacing is recommended.
Gutter spikes that worked out over time due to flexing of the gutter.
Spikes (which resemble very large nails) lack the holding power of gutter screws.
Removing the old 5 inch gutters and installing new 6 inch gutters with redesigned downspouts, proper drainage pitch and hidden hangers spaced 2 feet apart remedied the above gutter problems.
Do It Yourself Gutter Covers
My home is surrounded by a variety of Oak, Hickory, Sweet Gum and Tulip Poplar trees which shed twigs, leaves, “helicopter” seeds, flower petals, catkins, nuts and vast amounts of pollen. The roof also gets wind blown pine needles from trees over 100 yards away. The oak catkins are probably the worst, forming large tangled clumps and mats in the Spring.
I’ve tried several of the Do-It-Yourself gutter guards with mixed results.
- The bullnose style gutter covers that wick rain water by surface tension while shedding debris kept out the worst part of the leaves, but seeds and smaller items still made it into the gutter, only delaying the gutter cleaning by a two or three seasons. During heavy downpours, the surface tension isn’t strong enough to wick the water into the gutter causing the water to overshoot the gutter.
- The hinged wire mesh clip-on screens do a decent job and are cheap and easy to install, but don’t fit well on corners and cause leaves to pile up on the roof along the screen until it eventually rots away (in theory). I also had many problems this winter with gray squirrels running inside the gutter and flipping open the screens as they try to find a way into the attic (the drip edge flashing now prevents that!). I’d get on the ladder with a long pole and flip the screen back over. However, once the screen is flipped open, the clip moves and the screen won’t lay flat against the roof allowing leaves to slip under. This is a particular problem with high areas where my 24 foot ladder won’t reach the gutter.
Here’s the original 5 inch gutters with the clip on wire mesh screens:
Leaves and debris tend to accumulate on the flip-up wire screens. I run the leaf blower during the Fall season on the more accessible parts of the roof, otherwise the leaves would be a lot worse here:
This three-story high section of the old 5 inch gutter is reachable only with a 40 foot ladder. As noted in the photo, a squirrel has knocked open a the inexpensive clip-on gutter screen. The workman discovered the gutter was full of water and sagging because the lazy home builder skipped 10 feet between the gutter spikes. The gutter was punctured to drain the water before removing it from the house. I had noticed rain water would overflow the gutter and now I know why.
This is what was inside that high section old 5 inch gutter once it was on the ground. The wet matted leaves in the bottom were compressed like cardboard.
Clip-on wire mesh gutter screens and bullnose gutter covers are far better than nothing; it’s a tradeoff between appearance, cost, maintenance and effectiveness.
Why I Don’t Hire Gutter Cleaners
When I first bought the house, the gutters did not have any type of gutter covers and the former homeowner’s would hire a gutter cleaning company for around $250 to do the job. A rope team would climb the steep 10/12 pitch roof to blow the leaves out of the gutters. I hired gutter cleaners for couple of seasons, until I happened to be home one day and watched the gutter cleaning company at work on a neighbor’s home. The problems were:
- The rope team would surf down the roof, damaging shingles and shedding showers of granules.
- The ropes would snag on the roof vents; the gutter cleaners didn’t seem to care as they tugged and pulled on the ropes.
I had a box vent broken this way.
- If the leaf blower didn’t do the job because a twig, kid’s toy or matted leaves were stuck in the gutter, the crew couldn’t be bothered to reach a hand into the gutter to dislodge the debris.
- At the time, I didn’t have drip edge flashing and the leaf blower would send a good deal of debris through the carpenter’s gap into the soffit.
A homeowner usually can’t inspect the high inaccessible gutters or see what’s happening on the roof, so there’s rarely any penalty if the gutter cleaner company fails to use due care or does a poor job.
Why Choose MasterShield Gutter Protection?
There are a huge variety of gutter covers on the market in almost every conceivable configuration including brushes, foam filters, bullnose style surface tension and screens. How to did I choose MasterShield Gutter Guards? I made my decision by studying numerous online reviews, manufacturer product and warranty specifications:
- Some products are just awful and while others do a good job.
Gutter guard Ratings in the September 2010 issue Consumer Reports magazine.
Note: MasterShield was not tested in the 2010 Consumer Reports review.
- The manufacturer websites.
- YouTube videos.
- Online forums.
- Customer references.
- Competitive comparisons for different opinions.
Ultimately, I choose MasterShield Gutter Guards because:
- I believe the MasterShield stainless steel micro-mesh design is better than the bullnose surface-tension style products.
- The MasterShield interlocking design.
- The MasterShield Warranty.
- Alex Higginbotham previously invented the top performing gutter guard in the 2010 Consumer Reports magazine review before going on to create MasterShield.
- MasterShield is installed with the roof slope so debris will wash over the gutter guard.
The MasterShield Gutter Guard is composed of interlocking sections about 47 inches in length and is available in a variety of colors to match your home:
MasterShield is about 9-1/4 inches wide. The left side slides under the shingles and over the roofing felt. The stainless steel micro-mesh allows rain water through while keeping out debris and shingle granules. The break on the far right is a drip edge to keep water from streaking/staining the gutter.
Bottom view of the MasterShield Gutter Guard showing the support ribs for the steel micro-mesh:
Mastershield Atlanta – KTL Home Improvement
MasterShield Gutter Protection is professionally installed by authorized dealers. A great product won’t make up for a poor quality installation. After contacting MasterShield for a quote, I received great service and quality workmanship from MasterShield Atlanta – KTL Home Improvement, the MasterShield authored dealer for the Atlanta, GA area.
Kevin Bowers, Owner & General Manager for Mastershield Atlanta – KTL Home Improvement, was very helpful in a review of my home’s existing gutter system and recommending design changes to fix the home builder’s gutter problems as noted at the beginning of the article. He explained that the old 5 inch gutters would need to be lowered to match the steep roof slope for optimal MasterShield Gutter Guard performance. The clincher was the quote for installing new 6 inch gutters was only about 10% more than just the MasterShield alone. He explained it’s almost easier to start fresh and install new gutters compared to lowering and adjusting the old gutters. It was a deal I couldn’t refuse knowing the problems with the old gutters.
Kevin and his crew arrived on time and completed the job at the quoted price, which included the replacement of a rotted section of fascia board with rot-proof PVC fascia board at a reasonable extra cost. I spoke with Kevin’s crew and watched as they worked. It was clear they had a well-practiced system and were meticulous in their work.
MasterShield Gutter Guard Protection Cost
The MasterShield installation on my home required 2 days and consisted of:
- Remove the old 5 inch gutters.
- Caulk the old gutter spike holes in the fascia board with Geocel sealant.
- Replace a 12 foot section of 1 inch by 8 inch rotted fascia board with PVC fascia (at my request).
- 256 feet of new 6 inch gutters with hidden hangers spaced 2 feet apart.
- 24 feet of new downspouts tied into the lower gutters.
- 256 feet of MasterShield Gutter Guards.
- Big Mouth Valley Blocks at the inside corner roof valleys for high flow areas.
- 1/4 inch wire mesh screen on all open elbows to keep out the critters.
I also received a MasterShield Limited Lifetime Product Warranty and 25 year KTL Home Improvement dealer workmanship warranty.
The cost for the MasterShield Gutter Guard was comparable to the other high-end professionally installed gutter guards. Your cost will depend on the total feet of material, complexity of your roof (my roof is high/steep with many ridges, valleys and cornice returns), new gutters and/or downspouts and any trim repairs.
MasterShield Gutter Protection Installation Process
A section of the old 5 inch gutter and flip-up gutter screens:
The new 6 inch gutters are now installed with hidden gutter hangers. Sections of MasterShield Gutter Guards are slipped under the shingles, interlocked and fastened with screws:
Completed MasterShield Gutter Guard installation:
The old 5 inch gutters and flip-up screens:
The same view with the new 6 inch gutters and MasterShield Gutter Guards:
The MasterShield Gutter Guards are covered with aluminum end plates to prevent birds, squirrels and other rodents from getting inside the gutters. Plastic coated 1/4 inch heavy gauge wire screens are installed in the exposed downspouts to block access from these areas. Nice attention to detail!
Update: Will MasterShield Keep the Gutters Clean?
Fast forward over 2 years since I wrote this review and I’m having a gable roof and screened porch built over the wood deck. The gutter is removed and the eave cut back for the new home addition:
The construction crew stacked the gutter and MasterShield gutter guards at the far end of the deck. There’s a thin film of yellow tree pollen and dirt inside the gutter but no leaves, seeds or twigs:
The next photo is a closeup looking inside the gutter. Very admirable performance after 2 years and 3 months of service! The minor amount of shingle gravel and debris in the gutter is due to disassembly and lying open a couple of days. The narrow rubber self-stick gasket on the right edge of the gutter prevents rain water from wicking under the MasterShield gutter guards and streaking the gutter face:
This product review is continued in MasterShield Gutter Guard Review – Part 2.
Thanks for reading,