Gutter guard projects can be completed by do-it-yourselfers for under $200. They can also be completed by professional installers for over $4,000. That’s a wide spread. To narrow that range and come up with a rough idea of the cost of your particular installation, you should consider four factors.
The Type of Gutter Guard
Gutter guards come in at least five different varieties. There’s substantial variation among these five types, as well as within each type. In rough order, from the cheapest to the most expensive, these are screen gutter guards, foam gutter guards, brush gutter guards, reverse curve surface tension gutter guards, and micro mesh gutter guards. Having an idea of what type of gutter guards you want will help you get a handle on the cost of the project.
The Size of the Roof
The size of the roof will significantly affect the cost of a gutter guard project. Or to be more precise, the total length of the edges of your roof. Or to be still more precise, the total length of your eaves troughs. Or to be super precise, the total length and configuration of your eaves troughs.
Gutter guards are sold by the linear foot. The price per linear foot can vary between $0.25 for inexpensive, do-it-yourself guards and more than $10.00 for professionally installed, high-quality guards. If you’re doing the installation yourself, remember to add some extra length to cover waste. An average sized American home has about 200 feet of gutters.
The decision about whether to install your gutter guards yourself or have a professional do it will have a major effect on the total cost of the project. And beyond cost considerations, that decision will also have a significant impact on several important warranties that protect your house.
There’s no doubt that hiring someone to install your gutter guards (or purchasing them from a company that includes installation in the purchase price) adds significantly to the cost of the project. How “significantly” depends on a host of factors, such as the labor market in your area, the difficulty of the job, discovery of unforeseen installation problems, the type of gutter guard you choose, the layout of your property, the configuration of your gutters, and other unknowns.
The simplest and least expensive gutter guards are pieces of plastic mesh that you cut to size and place over the top of your eaves troughs. These can be bought for as little as $0.10 per linear foot. They are best used with gutter girders, which are plastic arches that support the gutter guards and give them the necessary curvature. These sell for as little as $0.15 per linear gutter foot. The total cost of a do-it-yourself project with these materials for an average 200-foot American roofline would run about $50.
However, the old adage that you get what you pay for definitely applies here. Cheap plastic mesh doesn’t stand up to winds, snow and ice very well. You may start finding pieces of those gutter guards in your flower bed after a good thunderstorm or a moderate snowfall.
More durable gutter guards are more expensive. But one risk of this type of guard is that if they are installed in ways that require nailing into your shingles, they may void your roof warranty, your homeowners warranty, or your gutter warranty. Further, most manufacturers of more robust gutters will not give or honor their performance warranty unless their products are professionally installed.
This presents the handy consumer with a dilemma: save money and do the job yourself but void your roof warranty in the process, or spend a lot more to have a professional install the guards in order to preserve a warranty you may never need?
Professional gutter guard installation usually comes packaged with the gutter guards themselves. Package deals of this sort can cost $10 per linear foot or even more, depending on the abovementioned variables. This puts the total price at $2,000 for an average 200-foot gutter system. It’s important to understand, though, that while professional installation will ensure that the manufacturer’s performance warranty will be offered on the gutter guard system, it will not necessarily solve the problem of voiding your roof or whole-house warranty. The smart consumer here will carefully review his or her warranty documents and ask pointed questions of the installer to ensure that valuable roof and whole-house warranties are not inadvertently voided.
Gutter guards are not maintenance-free solutions to eaves trough clogs. You will still need to perform annual gutter- and gutter guard-cleaning in order to keep them flowing smoothly.
The first step is to clean the guards themselves. Guards that fit over the top of gutters, such as micro mesh guards, screen guards, and reverse curve guards, should be cleaned with a blower or a brush to so that their tops are free of debris. This same cleaning process should be extended to the roof itself, since leaves and other debris left on the roof will decay and the resulting crud will be washed into your gutters. Guards that fit into the gutters, such as foam and brush types, should be removed completely and blown or hosed off to remove materials that have become lodged inside them.
The second, more difficult step is to clean the gutters themselves. Again, even gutters with good gutter guards still can fill up with particulates, blowing dust and sand, small seeds, bits of decomposing matter from your roof, insects, and other obstructions. Remove the larger leaves and pieces of debris by hand. Then, using a garden hose, run water through the gutter and into the downspouts. Some people recommend plugging the downspouts, filling the gutters with water, and them removing the plugs to get a more vigorous rinse, but be careful: pouring gallons of water into your gutters without allowing them to drain adds a lot of weight to your gutters and might cause them to pull away from your house.
The good news is that with gutter guards, cleaning out your eaves troughs will be a lot easier (if you do it yourself) and cheaper (if you hire someone to do it for you).