Conductor heads or leaders as used in rain gutter systems are sometimes also called hopper heads, rainheads, scupper box, leader box or rain collector box. Conductor heads or leader heads provide both a functional and decorative feature to downspouts used in rain gutter systems and also when positioned below flat roof scuppers to collect their rain water run off. You will commonly find leader – conductor heads available in aluminum and copper material.
Because they do add to the cost of a gutter system, leader heads might not be installed with cheap gutter systems or specified by some builders when cutting costs and sometimes corners can affect decisions. Functionally, conductor heads collect rain water flowing from gutter and feed it out to the downspout or downpipe below. The leader head helps alleviate any vacuum back pressure or congestion in the downspout, becoming increasingly important with each story of height a building has.
Cosmetically a conductor head – leader head will enhance downspouts and gutter systems and become a visually heightened architectural feature. Proper selection of leader heads, downspouts and gutters assuredly enhance, beautify and add real value to commercial and residential property. To provide the most impact and lasting value, a leader head’s style or form should be richly pleasing, they should exude or project quality and exhibit fine craftsmanship.
Copper Conductor Heads – Leader Heads with TIG welded construction
Some times conductor heads (leader heads) will be made more cheaply by using thinner walls and overlapping or tabbed construction employing solder and/or rivets on the seams. While cheaper, using overlapping material on the seams along with rivets, just does not offer a nicely finished, elegant appearance. Use of tabbed construction, butting material up the seams and then closing seams using solder will look better crafted than the overlapped – riveted approach, especially if the joints are tight and solder is tinted to color match the raw material.
Several additional problems may eventually present themselves with any of these approaches. If seams are merely overlapped and riveted, leaks may develop as parts of the seam open up in time. Soldered seams may also crack with age, flexing and pressures. Northern climates where ice could expand inside a leader head will split the leaderhead open when a tabbed or soldered seam gives way. The same thing can happen to crimped downspouts when the seams can bulge open from ice pressure.
Mill finish aluminum conductor head – leader head with welded construction
A more elegant, durable approach is using thicker material and TIG welding to close up any seams and then polishing the seams. This provides not only a virtually flawless appearance and obvious fine craftsmanship, but also gives leader heads lasting strength and durability, to avoid the problems mentioned above.
Yes, premium TIG welded aluminum and copper leader heads with thicker walls will cost a little more than their cheaper competition but they warrant that with their more pleasing appearance, requiring typically no repairs and little to no lifetime maintenance, with markedly increased durability and longevity. Quality TIG welded leader heads genuinely provide both real and perceived value and they truly do become one of the more striking architectural features of any commercial or residential building.
Weathered Copper Leader Conductor Heads with Round Downspouts