We've mentioned before on our MasterShield® vs. LeafFilter™ page how LeafFilter™ was pretty good for its time relative to other options. It was really the first micromesh gutter filter system. And although its inventor, Alex Higginbotham, no longer recommends LeafFilter™ as the best available, it did have its time in the sun. Consequently, LeafFilter™ was able to build something of a business empire all across America. Despite its limitations, they have great marketing.
As a result, a whole lot of other companies threw their hats into the ring and began releasing their own gutter filter products. Since each of these companies is essentially a LeafFilter™ derivative, we'll talk about them all at once together because collectively people are rarely considering any of these. You'll likely only come to find this page because maybe someone knocked on your door to sell one of these to you or you saw them at a street fair. Our goal is not to be mean spirited or unwelcome to competition, it's just that if you knew half of what we did about these designs you'd run screaming. The purpose is to aid in your education so you can make good, well-informed choices about how to spend your hard-earned money. Many of the details discussed here birthed the questions you should be asking in an article found here.
There are local contractors that have tried several different gutter filter and gutter screen solutions over time, trying to find something that's viable. Most recently, they have been selling the new Valor brand of gutter guards:
Whereas LeafFilter™ used a micromesh filter, Valor goes in the opposite direction with a very wide mesh. The basic idea is obviously that it's okay if some small stuff goes into the gutter because that won't clog it. How small stuff will do this with a bunch of big stuff sitting on top is very puzzling.
Valor claims that other designs lack that wavy “S” pattern, which is very important since that pattern breaks up the water's surface tension better. Without that, water doesn't even go into the gutter. It skates right on down those square holes and off the edge of the roof. Nevertheless, this latest addition doesn't do enough to prevent that from happening. Valor can't add those designs, however, because MasterShield® owns those patents.
Another important point about Valor is that it's a painted steel frame with a normal quality interior grade stainless steel screen (304 is made for kitchens and hospitals, not corrosive exterior environments). You can read more about stainless steel quality here. This is cheaper than using all stainless steel, or using higher grade stainless steel. It is also lower quality, which can get into problems with galvanic corrosion and acid rain.
Perhaps the most important similarity between Valor and LeafFilter™ is how each one gets installed: too shallow a slope. Just like LeafFilter, Valor must be installed nearly flat because it has no other way to slow the water down enough. As we mentioned before, that wavy pattern just doesn't do enough to disrupt water's surface tension. And of course, whenever a filter is flat, it forms a shelf.
Here you can see their own example photo, pristine and clean:
And you can see how well that works here:
This is actually a really good example because it shows a couple important things. First, it shows on the right how the roof does a really good job of shedding debris, and how Valor does a really good job of catching that debris (to be fair, it's also keeping it out of the gutter...it's just not going anywhere). Second, it shows how this system works in a corner, which is atrocious. As we mentioned before, it's very puzzling how anyone expects small stuff and water to pass through the filter while there is a bunch of big stuff sitting on top. You can be quite sure that those wood shakes in the corner are being rotted from the underside. This is because it's trapping all the debris right at the roof edge and as it piles up, it will actually divert water back under the roof!
Technically though, the gutters are not clogged.