Q&A / 

Gutter Covers

This is the best gutter guard I've ever tested. A stainless steel micromesh prevents any pine needles from getting into the gutter. Copyright 2018 Tim Carter

"I started to test different products and discovered quickly they all did a great job of keeping leaves out of my gutters. But in the spring, or after two spring seasons, all of the gutter cover products I tested FAILED."

Gutter covers are a huge business. They really came of age back in the 1990s.

Related Links

Extensive Gutter Guard Tests By Tim Carter

Gutter Guard Truth - Be Sure Guards Are Sloped!

Free & Fast Bids

CLICK HERE to get FREE & FAST BIDS from local contractors that install gutter guards.

Gutter Covers Work - But Most Allow Debris Into Gutters - BEWARE!

I clearly remember seeing these products multiply when I'd attend the different trade shows like the National Hardware Show and the International Builders Show.

Both of these shows have a playpen area that's got smaller booths designed for start-up companies.

If you want to see really new products, that's the best place to go in both shows. All the little guys are there and some have spectacular products such as the metal pegboard I spied at one of the shows back about fifteen years ago. But I digress.

When the gutter covers, or gutter guards as many call them, came about, I was intrigued. My own home had nearly 400 feet of gutter and huge oak, maple and ginko trees surrounded my house. Cleaning gutters was a huge task and it was dangerous.

I started to test different gutter cover products and discovered quickly they all did a great job of keeping leaves out of my gutters. But in the spring, or after two spring seasons, all of the gutter cover products I tested FAILED.

There were two primary designs:

  • Slots, Grooves, Holes, and Knockouts
  • Rounded Nose or reverse curve as the industry calls them

Goal: Water In - Everything Else Out

The slots, grooves, holes and knockout-type gutter cover were designed to let water into the gutter through the openings in the gutter cover. Big leaves couldn't pass. But small twigs, pieces of bark, pine needles, tiny leaves, roof shingle granules COULD get into the grooves and slots.

When this happened, some got into the gutter and the larger pieces CLOGGED the slots and grooves causing water to then shoot over the gutter guard onto the ground. That's BAD!

The rounded nose gutter guard works based on water's surface tension. As water flows over the metal roof of the gutter guard it tends to stick to the gutter guard and flows down into the gutter. Large leaves can't get into the slot.

The issue I discovered is, once again, all the small roof debris did get sucked down into the gutter.

Gutter Cover Test FAILURE Results

After a few years, my CLEAN gutters had an inch or two of organic MUCK in them. So much for great gutter covers!

Another reason they failed is that many gutter covers lay very flat over the gutters. This creates a shelf where debris can collect. The best design is to have the gutter cover be sloped and that slope should match the slope or pitch of the roof.

gutter guards pine needles

Here's a quick cross-section showing how the gutter guard - in green - is in the same plane as the roofing material. The drawing is not to scale. I used to make drawings like this sitting at customers' kitchen tables. Copyright 2018 Tim Carter

The Best Gutter Cover - Micromesh

Finally, I discovered a new product years ago that was made from a remarkable ultra-fine stainless steel mesh. It reminded me of pantyhose fabric. The openings in the mesh were SO SMALL that you could barely get the head of a pin through it.

I thought they'd never allow water through. I KNEW they'd stop all the small debris from entering the gutter but would water flow through the mesh?

YES! They worked! You can discover MORE about the gutter covers I ended up using on my house just below. Click the link next to the STOP sign after the two videos.

Here are two videos that show you my test results.



Well, I have Amazon affiliate links throughout my site showing you great tools and products I own and use. Thousands of my newsletter subscribers BEG ME to tell them about the products I love and they have no issue with me getting a small commission as does a real estate agent, a car salesman or any other person who invests their time to help you make an INFORMED DECISION.

You could spend years and tens of thousands of dollars testing different gutter covers yourself, or you can just accept that I've invested all that time and money for you. That's fair, isn't it?


7 Responses to Gutter Covers

  1. OK, Tim. I have been reading your columns for quite a while now, and you seem to have some very good information. I have submitted a request for a quote from Mastershield as the current system I have now (with the little slots) is not working under our oak and hickory trees!
    Thanks for the tips!

  2. Hi Tim, I installed the MasterShield gutter guard back a couple years ago when you first recommended them. This was when you could purchase and install it yourself. To start off with I live in east Tennessee with lots of pine and cedar trees. With that being said, the gutter guard works great except the fine screen will plug up with pollen in the spring. This was a problem where I the valleys on the roof converged into the gutter, The pollen would be so thick at this location that the water would flow over the screen out onto the ground. The first year I took a dry paint brush and brush the pollen away every week. Well that was not the purpose of installing the gutter guards. So this spring I cut/removed the fine mesh where the valleys drain into the gutter and so far, this working great. I have a metal roof for whatever that adds to the equation. I am not complaining, just adjusting to the situation and sharing what I learned. "None of us is as smart as all of us", is what I live by. Thanks for all you share with us.

  3. Tim
    Long story made very short. I read your reviews and watched the video's and invested in MasterShield. After all how could a fellow Cincinnatian be wrong!

    I cannot tell you how very disappointed I am in the product. I spent $1,200 to put the product on a portion of a single portion of my roof. The debris does not wash off, it gets stuck and after every rain ( I do mean every rain) I have to pull out my ladder get the hose and spray off the top so that the water will not overrun the gutter. I won't even go into what happens during the winter months!

    I had the person who installed the MasterShield out many times and he brought an expert with him to confirm that they were installed correctly. Both of them vehemently responded that it was installed correctly. Since they say they are installed properly, I am left with only the fact that the product does not do what you, the installer, and MasterShield claim.

    I will say the gutter never gets clogged. However, it was not my goal to have to get a ladder out after every rain and clean off the top of the gutter guard.

    This is a bogus product!

    I am sorry to post such a negative review but the cost was so high, the product's performance so poor, and I have had to live with this decision for several years now, I could not help but post a response.

    Ask the Builder NOTE: I responded to this person's comment, but he never responded to my questions. This leads me to believe that this comment is really from someone with a dog in the fight. Typically comments like this are from dealers of other products trying to trash their competition.

    • Skip,

      I'm sorry you're having issues. That's very odd. In all the years I've used the product, I've never had a buildup of debris on the gutter guards.

      I wonder if you have the impostor product. There was a company in Ohio that operated under the name MasterShield, but they installed an INFERIOR product.

      The real MasterShield company - the one that makes the amazing product I used - has been fighting this stigma for years.

      Let's do an autopsy.

      1. When you called the president of Mastershield, sent her photos of your situation, including the buildup of debris, what did she say?

      2. What is the pitch of your roof?

      3. Tell me the name of the company you used to install it, the name of the owner and the second expert that came out so I can call them.

      I await your response.

      P.S. Please send me photos too of the buildup of debris you're experiencing. My email is simple. It's just tim with the at symbol followed by the name of this website.

    • No Tim I am busy and I have to get out to measure the pitch and respond to the other questions you have asked.

      BTW - The only way I knew that there was a response to my post was as a result of re-clicking the link in your email that advertised the review sent on 5/7/2015, as I have not received a single message from you in my email box. Had I not been curious enough to check back, I would never have known that there was a response and your final comment about my post being from a competitor would have gone unnoticed by me but would have mislead other potential buyers.

      Sorry to disappoint I am not a dealer that would have been too easy.

  4. Hey Tim, I like you am pretty handy when it comes to doing things around the house so you can imagine my disappointment when I called the company and they would not sell me the gutter guard product unless they installed it. What??!!! Sorry Tim but I am very skeptical when a company tells me that they have to do the installation. As if they have some magical skill that the rest of us can't possibly acquire. Really Tim! I've built/designed machinery far more complex than a simple gutter guard.
    I might accept a no warranty if that's what it takes but what an insult to say that I am incapable of installing it. Buy our product and we will screw you with the installation charge, that's my take. Thanks but no thanks, I will find an alternative. Besides if its as good as you say it is how long do you think before similar designs are on the market.
    I wonder what your other readers will say when they discover this. After all they probably follow your publications because they too are the do-it-yourself breed.

  5. Tim:

    I'm thinking of getting MasterSheild installed on my house. Just wondering if you are still recommending this product. The product is not cheap and some of the comments I'm reading in this thread are a bit concerning.


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