This may be a relatively controversial post. Why? Because no one in the leaf guard industry would actually think of listing out the common complaints they hear from people that purchase their products.
But we at MasterShield believe that if consumers have the best information possible, we all benefit. And we know if you could get your hands on that imaginary list, you’d find some common themes. An educated consumer can make a better decision without pressure from a salesperson who (once they’re in your home) can cleverly turn a phrase to convince you to buy what they’re selling.
Be prepared. Know the top consumer complaints in advance and you’ll have a better experience with your choice of leaf guard.
Consumer Complaints About Leaf Guards
Icicles/Ice Dams. If you live in a climate that gets cold, we’ll go on record and say somewhere on your home, your leaf guard will wind up with icicles on it. Icicles and ice dams are more a function of roof insulation and ventilation, as we’ve noted in several other blog posts. Leaf guards that sit on the gutter or don’t pitch with the roof are more likely to create a shelf for ice buildup to occur. There is no way for the homeowner to know if icicles will be small or quite large — too many variables are at play every time it snows. The most common complaint you’ll hear from consumers is that they’ve never had icicles before, but now that they’ve installed a leaf guard, the leaf guard has created a problem. Not really, it’s often after they’ve made an investment do they actually look for or acknowledge the problem.
Open gutters get icicles, too. For years, it’s been a topic you’d never see discussed on any leaf guard’s website (MasterShield does in our FAQs). We make it a point that every dealer should discuss it openly with every homeowner. If they don’t, someone will wind up with the wrong set of expectations. Yes, you can heat leaf guards, but that can be really expensive and you often wind up moving the problem elsewhere.
We share this thought with homeowners: if they’ve got a gutter problem that they want under control for most of the year, there might be several days where they have to contend with icicles and their side effects with some simple snow maintenance. Often, it’s as simple as using a snow rake and clearing a small section of your roof over entrance ways.
Valleys/Inside Corners/Water Concentration Points. Anywhere you see a roof valley on your home, you’ve got a place where water will concentrate. Leaf guards are designed to handle continuous flows of water off of straight gutter runs. In valleys, water forms streams that run faster and deeper than the rest of the roof. By the time this water travels down the valley and reaches the gutter below it, it could be over an inch deep and have picked up as much velocity as water coming out of a hose, causing it to overshoot the gutter.
Leaf guards need special accessories to handle inside corners: diverters, grates, bigger mesh for their filters, etc. But there is a fine line to walk here. You have to allow as much water as possible into the gutter. You also have to do everything possible to allow a valley to shed debris (and wind doesn’t typically get here to be of any help, so you start off at a disadvantage). We don’t want to build debris behind a dam if we can help it.
At MasterShield, dealers have several alternatives to use in these situations depending on water volume from the valley or tree type surrounding the house. We continue to work on advancing designs that could simplify inside corner installations as well.
Debris still gets in my gutters/Now it seems like I don’t have gutters. Leaf guards work pretty well, so long as it doesn’t rain. As soon as you add rain to the equation, debris gets wet. Either the soggy debris will get sucked into the gutter by the leaf guard or it will create a spongy mess that just can’t dry out and blow away over the gutter.
We pitch MasterShield with the roof and by doing this, we (1) allow water to get around debris more effectively; (2) improve the filter’s ability to self clean and (3) use the wind to do the hard work of getting debris off the system.
Don’t let yourself be fooled by smooth talk — a little research can save you from an expensive purchase that may not solve your gutter problems. You may not get the lowdown on common consumer complaints from a salesperson — but now you’ve read this post, you’ll be prepared with the questions to ask.