Below are the methods that we use for testing gutter protection products. Our ranking is done by each category and each category is weighed differently, to see how we determine the ranking of each category and what the categories are: click on one of the tests to see a brief description of the testing methods.


 

Setup of the NCR Test Stand


  • Simulated Roof

    The simulated roof measures 47 inches across, containing 4 isolated (sealed from each other with silicone) test bays measuring 8 inches across. Roof pitch can be made to vary from 4/12 (18.43 deg) to 12/12 (45 deg).

    The roof was covered in Owens Corning Oakridge Desert Tan AR Laminate Shingles Constructed from Asphalt & Fiberglass. The gutters were Amerimax 5-in White Metal K Gutters, two level guides were attached to each end of the gutter to ensure that they were consistently level. At the end of each end of the gutters are “run-off” bays – the bays were not used for testing purposes, the purpose was to catch “unregulated” water as explained in the next section.

  • Rain Simulator Channels
    The Rain Simulator Channels establish a consistent water-flow across all four testing bays. This was determined by the even filling (<5 oz differential) from each of the four bays to the bay specific 5 gallon buckets to the 4 gallon marked point within each bucket –This test was repeated three times each with the roof at 4/12 and at a 12/12 pitch.

    To create an even type of flow across the four bays, a controllable In-Line Ball Valve at each “bay-channel” provided the most consistent results – each valve was adjusted to ensure that the flow was even to all four bays; when the ideal position at each bay channel was verified with the fill tests in the above-mentioned method the position of each valve was permanently marked.

  • Simulated Accelerated Rainwater
    As typical rain water is not the same as what would come out of your sink, and is rather variable across the nation and environmental conditions such as acid rain, higher salt climates as well as contaminates from roof shingle and foliage debris leaching, we decided to create the “worst of the worst” rain water to run across the gutter cover products.

    We used unfiltered and untreated well water and added 100ml of sulfuric acid (to simulate acid rain), 100ml of molasses (for simulated foliage debris leaching), 50ml of 2 cycle motor oil (to simulate shingle leaching) as well as 1 tablespoon of sea salt (to simulate higher salt climates).

    We measured pH, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium levels before and after adding the above-mentioned ingredients. The contents were mixed for 5 minutes with a power drill and allowed to settle for 48 hours, then we ran the water thought the channels for 1 hour before measurements. The ambient conditions were ~ 90deg F daytime and ~ 70deg F night – the simulated rain mixture was sealed while not in use.

 

Effective Protection Coefficient


  • Shingle Grit & Fine Particle Testing
    Overview: This test is performed by adding one (1oz) full shot-glass (about 61 grams) of shingle grit material to a marked point on the roof (white line) while the water is flowing. Following complete drying of the gutter and protection product – a 31cc 2-Cycle Gas Blower is engaged on maximum power from a set distance and angle- it is blown on the product for a set time frame. Then the amount of Shingle debris that remains on top of the gutter cover as well as beneath (within the gutter) is measured with a digital scale.

    Shingle Grit: We have obtained the shingle grit by rubbing two pieces of shingle tiles against each other, after some time the material is collected into the bucket by means of a scoop – the bucket is not shaken as to preserve as much as possible the random consistency of particle size. The shingle grit material is scooped and measured to 61 grams +/- 2 grams.

    Determination of performance: Performance will be determined by two aspects; #1 the amount of shingle grit that has penetrated the gutter guard and #2 the amount that remain atop – following the simulated wind. Measurements of the shingle grit will be taken by measuring the weight difference in the gutter cover insert filter and the brushing then weighing the amount of shingle grit atop of the gutter. The amount of shingle grit within the gutter will have a higher contributing factor to the overall Effective Protection Coefficient Rating as that is the factor that determines the protective function of a gutter cover.

    Purpose of Test: Overall the goal of this test is to determine the performance characteristics of gutter guard products when introduced to a non-uniform sized random sample material that is likely to be present while within the real world environment as particles that are expunged from a shingle roof, furthermore this test determines the ability of gutter protection products to handle particles of varied sizes.
    The test is broken down as to the first portion with the water-flow – tests the ability of a gutter cover product to handle shingle grit debris while in rain conditions – The wet tests determines the protection of the gutter product while the product is performing it’s function of protecting gutters during varying levels of precipitation. The second portion of this test simulates the cleaning ability of the product to, for lack of a better phrase, “clean itself” – thus presumably the cleaning method would be that of wind and is such represented with an air stream as generated by a 31cc 2-Cycle Gas Blower.

  • Leaf, Pine Needle Penetration and Clog Test
    Overview: This test is performed by adding one cup of both dry and green leaves, as well as one cup of pine needles – to a marked point on the roof (white line) while the water is flowing. When the gutter and gutter protection are completely dry, a 31cc 2-Cycle Gas Blower is engaged on maximum power from a set distance and angle- it is blown on the product for a set time frame. The amount of leaves and pine needles that remain on top of the gutter cover as well as beneath (within the gutter) is measured with a digital scale.

    Determination of performance:Performance will be determined by two aspects; #1 the amount of leaves and pine needles that has penetrated the gutter guard and #2 the amount that remain atop – following the simulated wind. Measurements of the leaves and pine needles will be taken by measuring the weight difference in the gutter cover insert filter and the brushing then weighing the amount of leaves and pine needles atop of the gutter. The amount of leaves and pine needles within the gutter will have a higher contributing factor to the overall Effective Protection Coefficient Rating as that is the factor that determines the protective function of a gutter cover.

    Purpose of Test: Overall the goal of this test is to determine the performance characteristics of gutter guard products when introduced to a both dry and green leaves as well as pine needle material that is likely to be present while within the real world environment while within the fall season, furthermore this test determines the ability of gutter protection products to handle various leaf and needle matter as it is added to the roof. The test is broken down as to the first portion with the water-flow – tests the ability of a gutter cover product to handle both dry and green leaves as well as pine needles debris while in rain conditions – The wet tests determine the protection of the gutter product while the product is performing its function of protecting gutters during varying levels of precipitation. The second portion of this test simulates the cleaning ability of the product to in essence clean itself – thus presumably the cleaning method would be that of wind and is such represented with an air stream as generated by a 31cc 2-Cycle Gas Blower.

  • Shredded Leaf / Twig Penetration and Clog Test
    Overview: This test is performed by adding one cup shredded mixture of green and dry leaves, pine needles and twigs of various sizes (or simply the “mixture”) to a marked point on the roof (white line) while the water is flowing. Following complete drying of the gutter and protection product – a 31cc 2-Cycle Gas Blower is engaged on maximum power from a set distance and angle- it is blown on the product for a set time frame. Then the amount of mixture that remains on top of the gutter cover as well as beneath (within the gutter) is measured with a digital scale.

    Determination of performance: Performance will be determined by two aspects; #1 the amount of mixture that has penetrated the gutter guard and #2 the amount that remain atop – following the simulated wind. Measurements of the mixture will be taken by measuring the weight difference in the gutter cover insert filter and the brushing then weighing the amount of mixture atop of the gutter. The amount of mixture within the gutter will have a higher contributing factor to the overall Effective Protection Coefficient Rating as that is the factor that determines the protective function of a gutter cover.

    Purpose of test: Overall the goal of this test is to determine the performance characteristics of gutter guard products when introduced to a shredded mixture of green and dry leaves, pine needles and twigs of various sizes (that is likely to be present while within the real world environment while within the fall season or heavy storm). The test is broken down as to the first portion with the water-flow – tests the ability of a gutter cover product to handle shredded mixture of green and dry leaves, pine needles and twigs of various sizes while in rain conditions – The wet tests determine the protection of the gutter product while the product is performing its function of protecting gutters during varying levels of precipitation. The second portion of this test simulates the cleaning ability of the product to “clean itself” – thus presumably the cleaning method would be that of wind and is such represented with an air stream as generated by a 31cc 2-Cycle Gas Blower.

 

Strength


  • Impact Testing
    Overview: This test is performed by dropping a 2, 3 and 5 pound weights onto of the gutter cover. Following each weight drop the gutter is going to be tested to see if it still is #1 intact and able to process water and #2 is still within the gutter.

    Weights: the weights are padded with a rubber coating; to simulate a tree branch. The weights will be dropped from a set distance above the gutter cover as marked with a pink string overtop of the gutter covers.

    Determination of performance: Performance will be determined by the ability of the gutter cover to take the hit from the increasing weights – starting at 2lb, 3lb and 5lb and stay within the gutter and be able to conduct water with a previously standardized water flow. Physical damage to the gutter cover will be noted and gauged to be the strength factor of maintaining its original form and function.

    Purpose of Test: This test is preformed to test the ability of the gutter cover to withstand tree branch as well as hail impact and within reason still preform.

 

Water Throughput


  • UV died Water Flow Testing

    Overview: This test is performed by adding a UV dye to the water and flowing the water over the simulated roof. Next we put up a high powered UV light and our cameras are outfitted with a special lens. Then we film and photograph the water flowing into (and sometimes over) the gutter cover. We adjust the roof pitch at 4/12 and 12/12.

    Determination of performance: Performance will be determined by two aspects; #1 how well the water is absorbed within the gutter cover and #2 the amount of water that overflows the gutter cover.

    Purpose of test: Overall the goal of this test is to determine the water performance characteristics of gutter guard products and how they function within the regards of water absorption and flow.

  • Over-flow

    Overview: This test is performed in conjunction with the Leaf, Pine Needle, Shredded Leaf and twig penetration testing. We placed a marked container at below the lip of each bay of covers and following 10 minutes of the conclusion of the clog testing the measurement of the amount of water that is within the marked container at that specific bay.

    Determination of performance: Performance will be determined by how much or little water is remaining within the marked container. The relative liquid to the marked intervals within the container would be considered to me the determination of performance.

    Purpose of test: Overall the goal of this test is to determine the overflow of water on various gutter covers.

 

Durability


  • UV Laser Weathering

    Overview: This test is performed by inserting the gutter covers into a CNC laser machine and running a uniform elliptical preterm on all of the gutter covers with about 65W of power.

    Determination of performance: Performance is determined by subjecting the gutter covers to the above tests.

    Purpose of test: Overall the goal of this test is to simulate the UV rays that would occur naturally when the gutter covers are installed atop a roof. A laser is used to accelerate the natural weathering.

  • Product Sustained Integrity
    Product sustainability and integrity is determined by the how well the products stand up to all of the testing over 24 months. This evaluation is a major factor in determining the rating for the durability of the product.
  • Accelerated Weathering

    For the duration of about two years, we kept the gutter guard covers within a cooler that contained: the base of the fluid that was the simulated rainwater – and to that we added and additional 300ml of sulfuric acid, 330ml of molasses, 200ml of 2 cycle motor oil as well as 5 tablespoons of sea salt. The cooler was placed outside as to further accelerate the testing with heat variation.