Gutter Protection Devices
Recent years have seen the development of numerous gutter protection devices to help keep rain gutters free from tree leaves, pine needles, etc. Many property owners inquire about the use of such systems with metal roofing.
Many of the gutter protection systems available can be adapted for use with metal roofing. To ensure a successful system, it is important that inquiries be made both with the gutter protection manufacturer and the roofing manufacturer to ensure the compatibility of any two particular systems. Most gutter protection systems involve aluminum or vinyl covers with slotted holes into which the water flows. As stated by the manufacturers of these systems, they perform better after they have aged a bit and developed a rougher surface that permits “surface tension” to occur with the flowing water so that it flows into the slotted holes and does not shoot out and run over the front edge of the cover.
Intentionally roughing up the surface of these covers when they are installed can help matters but may shorten the long-term life and performance of the cover. With higher profile metal roofs (such as shake, shingle, and tile designs), it must be understood that they raise the level of the roof plane and can cause water to hit the gutter cover closer to its outside edge, not allowing it adequate time to develop the required surface tension and flow properly into the slotted holes (see Technical Bulletin #51). Additionally, the use of a gutter cover makes it even more important that the back edge of the gutter be installed up and under the roof drip edge as well as any overhanging underlayment so that, if any condensation from the back side of the roof ever travels down the underlayment, it ends up in the gutter rather than behind it.