Damn Ice Dams: Gutter Guard Snow and Ice Tests Continue

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  • Unsatisfied Customer

    I purchased and had professionally installed a LeafFilter system on my gutters. Worst decision I ever made. They do not work at all, water constantly rolls over them causing a mess on the house and debris does not blow off as advertised. Also, there is not a money back guarantee – read the fine print. DO NOT buy this product, it’s garbage!

  • Can you expand on why they are not working the way you expected? Why and where is water overflowing? What type of roof do you have (metal, shingle, etc.)? Have you tried to remedy any issues with the installer, and what was their response?

  • Aaron


    Do you have any long-term experience with Leaf Relief beyond these snow trials? We are currently looking for gutter covers and quotes for them to be installed on our current gutters (with some minor repair work on one small part) come in way below the prices of other products where they want to replace all of our gutters and install a whole new system. How do they compare to the microscreen kind? I contacted the Gutterglove folks in our area but was turned off after they were very rude, in one case, and have heard bad things about the other licensed dealer (granted this was second hand).

    Also, do you have any experience with Thompson Creek gutters? They’re a local MD company but install in the DC region (we’re in MD). They are a complete (i.e., include new gutters, downspouts, etc) tension system but have small holes just where the water runs off the shingles onto the top of the hood to supposedly slow the water down so that more of it will catch on the end and be fed into the gutter. One of our issues is that part of our roof is at a 48 or so degree angle and thus the water that runs down it can go quickly and we’re worried some of it might not catch and flow off. This won’t be a big deal in most places, but part of it would be right over our front stoop and we don’t want to soak people (or the stoop and have leaks into the foundation) more than the rain already coming down.

    Any help would be very much appreciated! There are too many products out there and every company claims theirs is the best thing since sliced bread.

  • We have had experience with Leaf Relief. It’s part of a family of perforated metal gutter guards that is manufactured from roll-formed aluminum. Holes are punched into the surface to allow water to flow through to the gutters. There are several similar products on the market, including GutterRx.

    The biggest knock against these systems is that they are designed to be installed flat on top of your gutters. This creates a shelf onto which leaves and debris can accumulate. According to Leaf Relief’s literature, during dry conditions, 6 MPH winds will blow off leaves and debris and 23 MPH winds will do it during rainy conditions.

    Leaf Relief and GutterRx offer warranties against clogging. Leaf Relief offers a 10-year money back, no clog warranty. In the first 5 years, you will get 100% of your money back, and the next five years is prorated. In the case of GutterRx, the manufacturer will pay to have someone clean your gutters at anytime during the 20 year warranty period. The nice thing about these warranties is that it is between the homeowner and the manufacturer (if you receive and hold onto your warranty cards), so if the company who installed them is out of business, you have recourse with the manufacturer.

    Leaf Relief and perforated gutter guards are best suited for situations in which you do not have trees overhanging or too close to your home. Additionally, if you have pine needles that accumulate in your gutters, I would recommend that you steer clear of the perforated metal screens simply because the holes are large enough to allow the needles to pass through into the gutters.

    Leaf Relief is very popular with gutter installers and roofers who are not necessarily up to speed regarding the latest gutter guard offerings on the market. They like Leaf Relief because it is inexpensive and easy to install, and it is a step up from the products you’ll find at your local home improvement store. However, it is NOT a one-size-fits-all solution.

    While the perforated gutter protection systems may work well in certain situations, they do not compare to micro mesh gutter guards in terms of shedding debris and handling large volumes of water. Micro mesh systems were designed to overcome many of the shortcomings of both perforated and hooded style gutter guards.

    You will pay more for micro mesh gutter guards than for perforated gutter guards, but micro mesh screens should be priced in line with most name brand hooded/reverse curve gutter guard systems that you will find from LeafGuard, GutterHelmet, and similar manufacturers. In addition to checking out Gutterglove, other top manufacturers of micro mesh gutter guards are MasterShield, Leaf Solution, Rhino, and LeafFilter. Like all hooded systems work using the physics principle known as Surface Tension, all micro mesh screens are based on the physics principle, Capillary Action. The primary differences are the designs, costs, and installation processes, so it’s worth checking them out to see which might be best suited for you.

    And, you’re right, while they all claim to be the best, it really comes down to the manufacturers’ warranties and the dealers who are responsible for installing and maintaining the systems. Ask to see the warranties before you buy so you can educate yourself on the fine print before signing a contract to purchase.

  • Aaron

    Thanks for such a thoughtful and detailed response; it’s very helpful. Do you happen to have any experience with Thompson Creek gutters?

  • Aaron:

    I don’t have any experience with Thompson Creek Gutters, although a quick Google search shows that they are a reseller for Gutter Shutter, which looks like the product you described. You can learn more about the product at http://www.GutterShutter.com, and research it online to see what homeowners have to say about it.


  • One of the pictures shows a black diamond shaped “Expanded metal gutter guard is ice free”. Who makes this generic material? Where would I buy some? How was it fastened to the gutters? Thank you.

  • Russell:

    I’m not sure who makes this particular brand of expanded metal guard. You could likely find something similar at a building supply wholesaler such as ABC Supply, Lansing, Senox, etc.

    If you are looking at it because it performed reasonably well in the snow and ice tests, it’s not a great solution for leaves and debris, as the debris may penetrate the system and eventually clog your gutter. Here are photos of what the product and gutters looked like prior to removing it from a home: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/fbx/?set=a.115374828533316.16486.115364118534387