Informational Guide

Should Gutter Guards Be Installed Under Shingles?

This guide will answer the question, should gutter guards be installed under shingles and how to go about installing them on a shingled roof.  

by Caitlin Shaffer

Gutters have a vital role to play in helping to protect your roof from water damage, and gutter guards protect your gutters and help to keep them operating efficiently in any conditions. There is a lot to consider before you fit gutter guards and one of the most important factors is the type of roof you have. 

Roof shingles are really attractive, but they can make gutter guards more complicated. This guide will answer the question, should gutter guards be installed under shingles and how to go about installing them on a shingled roof.  

Roofing shingles are tiles that overlap to create an even roof. They can be flat or curved, but they interlock in a way that gives an even surface that allows water to flow straight off. Modern homes generally aren’t made with shingle because it’s a bit more expensive and can be less effective at channeling water.

They should only be installed on a roof with a reasonably sharp incline which allows water to flow easily. A shingle roof is typically made from local materials, which are easier to source and more affordable. The most common types are:  

  • Clay roofing 
    Clay tiles are really common in urban areas, and you’ve probably seen the orange rooves on terraces. These can last for over 100 years if installed correctly.  
  • Asphalt
    Asphalt roofing shingles are the most common in the US because they’re really cheap to install. They typically last 20-30 years.  
  • Metal 
    Metal is one of the more modern options and has a lot of durability. It can be designed to look like other materials, making it more common in new homes with shingles. These are often installed vertically rather than horizontally.  
  • Slate 
    Slate is the old school choice that has a long history in the US and UK. It’s hardy stuff, and if maintained properly, it can last over 100 years.  A shingle roof looks distinctive, and if installed correctly, they’re incredibly durable. They’re popular with homeowners who want a more distinctive look, and they're often made with local materials. It can give a whole neighborhood a consistent look. The downside of shingles is that they do take more upkeep.  
What Is A Shingle Roof

Should Gutter Guards Be Installed Under Shingles? 

Shingles work because the individual tiles come together to give a solid sheet that allows the water to flow over. Any individual tile being damaged can interrupt that flow and effectively stop water draining. This can lead to your roof becoming damaged.  

When installing new gutter guards, it's important to know that not all gutter guards can be installed on shingle roofs because they require you to remove or lift up the shingles. This can impact the effectiveness of the tiles and stop water from flowing out from the roof as it should. You should really avoid all gutter guards that need to be installed underneath the shingles. 

Ideally, you need to find a gutter guard that goes on top of your shingles rather than underneath them. A small part of this may still slide under the shingles, but you shouldn’t need to lift any up to install it. This allows you to protect your gutters and won’t risk a leaky roof by moving the tiles. 

Certain manufacturers have developed specific shingle friendly gutter guards. Remember, it may be worth getting professional help if you're lifting any shingles because you don't want to risk any long-term damage to your roof.  


Types Of Gutter Guards That Can Be Used Under Shingles

1. Screen Gutter Guards 

Screen gutter guards are installed directly on top of your gutter, and you won’t really need to lift any shingles off. These will primarily sit on top of the shingles so water will be able to flow down and through it, but no leaves or debris will pass through to clog your gutters.  

2. Surface Tension Gutter Guards 

Unlike other gutter guards, surface tension gutter guards are set up at an angle to make use of the force of the water so debris flows straight off. These fit onto the end of your shingles and work well because shingle roofs are generally steeper. This helps the water to flow at a higher pace and prevents any lingering debris.  

3. Fine Mesh Gutter Guards 

Fine mesh gutter guards are very light and can tuck just under your shingles without having to lift any off. The water is able to flow through the holes in the mesh, and all leaves and other debris will be filtered out.  

Removing or lifting your shingles can impact the integrity of your roof, so it’s worthwhile considering these gutter guard options.  

Should Gutter Guards Be Installed Under Shingles

How To Properly Install Gutter Guards To A Shingled Roof  

Every type of gutter guard is slightly different, but none of them are too difficult to fit. If you have a shingle roof, you'll need the following tools 

  • Ladder 
  • Screwdriver
  • Gutter guard 
  • Drill (potentially) 

Then just follow these steps, taking into account that there might be slight differences depending on the make and model you have: 

  • 1
    Position your ladder 
    Set your ladder on a stable footing and make sure it’s secure. You’ll need to have a relatively wide working arc from the top of the ladder so try to position it in the corner of your gutter. It may be helpful to have somebody else hold it.  
  • 2
    Slide it under 
    Start at one end of your gutter and slide your gutter guard underneath the bottom layer of shingles and the underlayment. It’s really important that you don't dislodge or loosen any of the shingles, so don't push too far. If it doesn't fit, you can slide it in between the 1st and 2nd rows of shingles but keep it as flat as possible so water can still flow.  
  • 3
    Attach the other side 
    Tuck the other half of the gutter guard under the lip of the gutter. Some gutter guards need to be screwed down, so make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions.  
  • 4
    Cut to appropriate length 
    Most gutter guards will need to be trimmed at the end. Once you get to the end of the gutter, cut it to the right size and attach.  Remember that safety always comes first, and you need to be safe when you’re up working. Using gloves can help protect your hands and always remember to secure your ladder. If you don’t feel confident, get a friend to help you or ask a professional to undertake the work.  

If you would like a professional to install gutter guards to your shingle roof, fill in the form below for a free quote in your area!


Will Installing Gutter Guards Void My Shingle Roofs Warranty? 

A common misconception is that installing gutter guards underneath shingles can void your warranty on the roof. This definitely isn’t the case, so you shouldn’t let this put you off sliding the right type of gutter guard underneath your roof tiles.  

However, if you don’t install your gutter guard correctly, then it can impact your warranty. Any damage done while lifting the shingles too roughly can impact the roof and may not be covered, but this shouldn’t really happen because you can slide it underneath. You also need to be aware of any screws or connections because you don’t want these to go through your shingles into your roof; this will impact the warranty.  

You should also look out for leaves getting lodged underneath your roof shingles because this could damage your roof. If your gutter guard is installed correctly, this won’t be an issue, but it's worth regularly checking just in case because it could cost you a fortune to repair and may impact the warranty.  


People also Ask (FAQs)

How much should shingles overhang the drip edge? 

The edge of the shingles should overhang by about 1.5 inches so that water can easily flow into your gutters. If it’s any less, then water can seep into your roof and cause damage.  

Do gutters have to be removed when replacing a roof? 

In most cases, gutters don’t need to be removed when replacing a roof because it can be done independently. This will depend on your exact gutters and how they’re attached, though.  

What is the best gutter guard system on the market? 

There’s a lot of good brands out there, but in our opinion, this is the definitive list of the best gutter guards out there.   


Conclusion

Gutter guards are a great asset, and if you have a shingle roof, you shouldn’t feel like you can't have one. The right type of gutter guard can be installed safely underneath your shingles. Just make sure you select the right model and do it the right way. 

Hopefully, this article has given you all the information you need to feel more confident about installing a gutter guard on a shingle roof yourself.   

Caitlin Shaffer has been traveling & working as a content writer & SCUBA dive instructor since 2014. Having lived in Central & South America, Southeast Asia, India, & Australia, Caitlin has had many years of experience with a variety of kitchen, bathroom, plumbing systems & common household products. Other than writing about her plumbing experiences & knowledge, her main passions are yoga, ocean conservation, & sustainable development.

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