Given that installing and maintaining gutter guards is an additional cost to homeowners, most home proprietors question the astuteness behind mounting them. Their skepticism is welcome seeing as it is an added cost, but the benefits of getting and revamping these guards do outweigh the costs. To begin with, we have to recognize gutters as an integral part of a house. They help with proper water runoff by redirecting water away from windows, doors, and the building’s foundation preventing damage. However, gutters have one major flaw; clogging. Channels are subject to blockage by twigs, leaves, seedpods, etc., which interrupts the water flow. The result is quite unpleasant with gutters backing up and instigating leaks inside your home. Once gutters clutter up, homeowners are forced to hire handymen to take out the debris which is a cost on its own or do it themselves which is unsafe.
Other than clogging and the risk involved with cleaning your gutters, the following wide-ranging damages are likely to occur if you do not have gutter guards. First, there is siding and fascia board rot as water seeks the path of least resistance, wet basement, foundation destruction, landscape devastation, gutter sagging, and molds.
Gutter guards to the rescue. Gutter guards are a cap over the gutters which to all intents and purposes allows water through but prevents debris from getting into your channels. Gutter guards stop cluttering up of drains, backing up, and thus avoiding leaks in your home. Other benefits of gutter guards are:
- It prevents animals and insects from accessing your channels.
- Miscellaneous items and sports equipment’s for instance balls will not get wedged in the gutter system.
- Saves you a ton of money by eliminating the need for professional cleaning.
To sum up, homeowners now have no reason to the risks involved in cleaning the gutters and don’t have to engage the services of a handyman.
However, mounting gutter hoods doesn’t eliminate the need for gutter cleaning. Experts recommend cleaning your drains every two years. This is still way better than the number of times you will have to clean open gutters.You, therefore, need to look for hoods that are easy to remove and replace for effortless cleaning.
Factors Affecting Gutter Installation Cost
Supposing you now recognize the immense importance of gutter guards, let’s move on to the substance of this writing. Much like all other costs, some factors influence how much you pay for gutter guard installation.
Scope – This refers to the home size. Since contractors charge per linear foot, larger homes will be more expensive as more materials will be needed. The repairs as well will be determined by the scope. Though guards have a 20-year life and rarely suffer damage, on the occasion that they do, the extent of damage done will determine the cost of repairs/replacement.
Permits – If your local authorities necessitate pulling licenses for gutter cover installation, then you will undoubtedly incur more.
Type of material – Materials are the central determining factor of the amount you pay for gutter guard installation. The different cost of materials will lead to poles apart price for gutter guard installation. The distance from where the contractor is to get the constituents as well will affect the price.
Number of stories – Complexity and safety issues involved with working on taller structures increase the cost of gutter guard installation. Taller buildings will require more work persons, more safety equipment, and higher insurance. The charge is later transferred to the homeowners.
Conditions of your gutters – It’s more astute to install gutter helmets when putting in channels. Though they can be put in at a later date, drains might have suffered some damage owing to the clogging with the most common harm being sagging. The workpersons have to mend the gutters before the covers can be set up. Restoring the gutters will raise the price.
Labor – The last factor that influences the amount you pay is the workforce. The number of hours necessary to complete installation or repair will determine the price, the complexity as well as you will sustain more charges for complicated projects such as tall buildings, and don’t forget the local rates.
General Services of Gutter Guard Contractors
Most gutter installation contractors focus on installation of the covers. However, there are a couple that go that extra mile to ensure you get top value for your money. They will not only install the covers, but they will too clean your gutters, reinforce them, and conduct routine maintenance. Though these will just be annual check-ups on your covers since gutter guards have a long lifespan, it’s comforting to know that someone is ensuring your house is in top condition. Some companies will also give you a free estimate ensuring you make an informed decision.
Factors Affecting the Cost of Installation and Repair
Now that we have ascertained some of the assistance a gutter guard contractor offers let’s look at the categories of covers most contractors provide and their associated cost.
Hoods are grouped into screens, inserts, and reverse curves. Some few examples include micro-mesh gutter covers, filters, reverse curve or surface tension covers, foam coverings and brush gutter lids. The specific gutter hood for your building will be determined by the location as some guards are better in particular situations, but expect to pay $7.50 to $10 for every linear foot of gutter guards installed. Subsequently expect to pay $1500 to $2000, seeing as an average American home has 200 feet of gutters.
If you are looking for an inexpensive gutter guard, filters are the best option. They are easy to install as they quickly snap into place thus great for DIY. If you are looking for a longer-lasting screen guard, it will be better to get a metal frame as it can withstand water damage and will prevent debris. However, the holes that let water through will prevent only larger debris but the tinier dirt will still get through, and for that reason need more maintenance.
Excellent for sizeable wastes but we would not advise on using them if you are having problems with minuscule dirt.
These include foam and brush gutter guards. They are quite inexpensive and suitable for DIY. Inserts are designed to fit in your gutters preventing any material waste but allowing water through. Extremely good for homeowners who are on a budget.
What is arguably the best gutter curve, reverse curves are designed to use surface tension to allow water into the drains while allowing debris to fall off. They are much better than inserts and screens as they are easier to maintain. However, they have one downside which is that they are quite expensive to put in.
Having said that, here are the costs associated with different gutter covers.
1. Mesh Gutter Hoods
These are screens made of aluminum or PVC. They are DIY friendly as they sit on top of gutters filtering out large debris and allowing water to pass through the holes. Waste, such as leaves and flower petals will remain on top and later blown away or washed off. They are readily available and inexpensive and thus perfect for home proprietors on a budget. However, they have a downside as they are not 100% foolproof. You will still be required to clean your gutters every once in a while as tinier debris will get through. Debris may also collect on these hoods and prevent water from passing through into the channels and inevitably flow over the side damaging your foundation. Finally, since they only sit on top of drains, they can easily be blown off in windy or stormy conditions.
Expect to pay between $5 and $8 for a linear foot of mesh covers. This translates into $600 to $1200 for materials only. For installation, it’s better to use a pro as s/he can tackle the setting up in a short period of 6 hours. At an average wage of $45 per hour, expect to pay $270 for labor. Nevertheless, you can hire an installation company that specializes in their custom systems and charge exorbitant prices of not less than $9 per linear foot. Therefore, the least you can pay for a customary American home is $1400.
2. Micro-Mesh Hoods
The micro-mesh gutter guards have incredibly tiny holes that are barely visible, and the holes can be as small as 50 microns in diameter. These small holes allow water through but hold back even the tiniest of debris. Micro-mesh guards are made of stainless steel and thus long-lasting making them the best gutter guards. Other than their extended life, micro-mesh hoods are a permanent solution to clogging up of systems and are also backed up by a warranty which is a plus. The bottom line is that this is the ultimate cover if you are looking for a maintenance free gutter guard. However, it has its shortcomings as well. Firstly, it’s not DIY friendly, and you will have to cater for the cost of hiring a contractor. Also, as it holds back most of the dirt from getting into the drains, a sludge may form on top. Finally, high volumes of water may skate over the screens and not enter the channels.
Regarding the price, these can be a bit expensive depending on the quality and design. Nonetheless, expect a cost of $20 to $30 per linear foot. Mastershield guards are some of the better guards in this category. They are a patented stainless-steel micro-mesh screen featuring a ribbed design that protects against sagging. The ribs trap the water but let’s most of the debris glide over. These tops rarely clog and will make an excellent addition to your roof. Mastershield guards will set you back $20 per linear foot. Gutterglove similarly makes for good gutter covers. These feature an anodized aluminum frame that tucks up under the existing shingles. Anticipate a price of $9 per linear foot and close to $20 with professional installation. Though Gutterglove covers are designed for professional installation, you can DIY with a bit of skill. The last worthwhile fine-mesh cover is the leaf filter mesh. A top-rated patented system, the leaf filter cover employs a mesh filter across the top of a holed PVC body. This system will set you back $25 per linear foot.
3. Reverse Curve Gutter Covers
Also known as a surface tension cover, reverse curve covers direct water into the channels while directing dirt away from the interior of the channels. Water adheres to the surface of the guard through surface tension and gets into the gutter around the curve. Though quite promising, this system has more shortcomings compared to its benefits.
First, the curve accumulates dirt rather quickly which is detrimental. Dirty and oily water wraps around the bend and covers the front and underside, in junk reducing surface tension. This is unlike the top which is always clean thanks to pounding rainfall. Once water flows over the top of the cover, it hits the residue and drops off the system leading to a landscaping nightmare. Moreover, the guards let in debris; the paraphernalia you are trying to stop. As long as trash is wet, it will adhere to the cover owing to the surface tension of water. You can test this by wetting a $1 bill. Also, the wrapping has no way of slowing down water. There is, therefore, a high likelihood of water overshooting the gutter especially if the cover is pitched in line with the roof. Moreover, reverse curve guards lack curb appeal and are infamous for welcoming animals. Finally, they form icicles during winter which can be problematic if they are installed over entrances.
Taking into account the above issues, maintaining reverse curve gutters will be an added cost as they will need constant cleaning. Expect to incur $300 for cleaning as you will have to hire a handyman. For installation, anticipate a cost of $189.65 to $461.85. This price incorporates planning, material acquisition, area preparation, and protection. For job supplies, i.e., fasteners, underlayment, necessary flashing, and drip edges, you will incur between $32 and $36.
4. Foam Gutter Covers
Foam covers are an inexpensive, easy solution to debris, and easy to DIY. The general idea is to block the channels before unwanted junk blocks them. Made from 4” 4’ long strips of highly porous material, these guards allow water to pass through them, but junk remains at the top. The trash is later on blown away or removed which is much simpler than cleaning the entire channel. Foam covers will set you back $7 to $10 per linear foot for 4” half round gutters.
Then again, there are several limitations too. The foam guards have to be removed and cleaned every so often, and this is a tedious process. Also, foam doesn’t dispose of the dirt only that it’s on a higher level; it’s also a suitable growth medium for plants which might damage your gutters. Last, foam hazards are fire hazards.
5. Brush Gutter Hoods
The basic idea again is to fill up the gutter guards before leaves block them. Brush guards resemble large pipe cleaners and are installed in water channels with bristles in an upright position. The bristles ensure that leaves and other large debris stay at the top where it can be blown away or washed off. These guards are easy to install, and quite inexpensive making them ideal for the homeowner on a budget.
The flaw in these guards is that they don’t block all types of junk. Tinier junk will always find its way through the bristles and clog the channels. Cleaning involves removing all the guards which is time-consuming and mind-numbing. As for the costs involved, brush guards are the cheapest as they are between $3 and $5 per square foot.
|Gutter Guards Cost||Quantity||Low||High||Average
|Brush Gutter Guards||I ft||$3||$5||
|Foam Gutter Guards||1Ft.||$7||$10||
|Reverse Curve Covers||1 Ft.||$7.5||$10||
|Reverse Curve Cover Job Supplies||200 Ft.||$32||$36||
|Leaf Filter||1 Ft.||$25
|Mesh Gutter Hoods||1 Ft.||$5||$8||
Factors to Consider and Tips
Heat Tape – This is an ideal addition to put in where ice is a problem along with your gutter guards. Several brands are impervious to water and will prevent ice from forming on top or in your gutters. It will do well with the reverse curve covers which are prone to icicles forming during winter.
Downspout Screens – As a homeowner, you can consider downspout screens in conjunction with your gutter covers. Downspout screens redirect floating junk away from the downspout and are quite useful in preventing blockage of the downspout.
Budget an extra 7 to 15% – The different style homes in the USA, i.e., colonial, cape-cod style, contemporary, ranch, etc. can lead to complexities such as configurations, bump-outs, and patterns. These complications will increase your price which the extra 15% should easily cover. Otherwise, you are going to have a problem on your hands. The additional 7 to 15% also checks against unexpected outcomes.
Check if you need a new roof before installing your covers. Gutter covers should always be installed after your new roof to avoid bumping into them which might damage them.
Try and get discounts – To save on helmet installation, visit every supplier that sells a particular make of rain gutters and attempt to bargain for a better price. Surprisingly, you can save up to 20%. You will likewise get better prices during contractor’s down season; this is during late fall and early winter when there is little to no demand for gutter guard installation. Try and put in your covers during this period to benefit from aggressive discounting.
Finally, expect prices fluctuate between companies as each organization has different overheads and expenses.
How to Find a Good Gutter Guard Contractor
A large number of homeowners state the hardest part of any home improvement or construction is finding a credible contractor. Gutter guard installation is no different. First, there are numerous fly by night contractors who are out to defraud you of your money. However, the gutter cover installation industry is a legit industry just that unscrupulous servicers mar it. Nevertheless, there are several precautions you can take to ensure you get a proficient company.
The general idea here is to build a list of credible gutter contractors near you. Before hiring any outworker, always look into their history. A trustworthy contractor should have a near-perfect past of work, but a few negative reviews are welcome as long as the positive reviews outweigh them. Due diligence will help avoid fraudsters who deface the industry giving it a bad name.
There are a few ways to carry out your research, and we advise picking two or more approaches. First, you can review the rating and reviews of a company. Assessment by previous clients will give you incredible insight into the person/company you are dealing with. The negative reviews, i.e., below three stars offer some rather exciting acumen about the organization; pay particular attention to them. Nonetheless, unless the reports are too fault-finding, you should still consider the company.
In addition to ratings by previous clients, several organizations have set out to make sure you hire only the best. The first such company is Angie’s List that offers verified reviews and ratings. You can check a company’s rating on their site and look to see if there are any complaints lodged against the organization. Look to see, how the company responded and whether the client was satisfied. Remember though that an institution topping a search page is not proof of its expertise.
2. Address and Professionals
It is an accepted convention only to employ the services of businesses with a valid address to avoid ‘fly by night’ contractors who more often than have no confirmable address. You can also pop up at the said company’s address just to be satisfied. In addition to the address, any professional company should have a professional answering their calls; you can ring them up to find out. Keep the businesses which have a professional answering your calls and do away with those which only have an answering machine.
The general thought here is to find a contractor who will work within your budget. As exemplified earlier, companies and handymen will often have different prices. Different groups as well usually have separate charges for services rendered.
From our list, we have checked off several businesses through research and fact-finding, estimates will warrant that you are only dealing with organizations that can meet your requisites, within your budget and timeline. Typically, always have at least three views. The more, the merrier. Warrant that the companies are bidding on the same job, and insist on an in-person estimate over a telephone estimate. We ask for an in-person evaluation as some jobs will be more demanding. Some gutters might require reinforcing the channels which is an added cost, which requires an in-person estimation.
Finally, ask which part of the job they will be sub-contracting to avoid blowing over your budget. Some water channels might require repairs which will be outsourced to gutter contractors. Moreover, some gutter covers have to be installed under the roof shingles which means your roof has to be in top-notch conditions. You will, therefore, have to incur some higher costs if your roof has got to be repaired before gutter covers.
4. Trust, Professionalism, and Experience
When installing gutter guards, you are looking for a hassle-free life. A life where you don’t have to worry about water leaks in your house and where you are as well not bothered about cleaning your gutter covers semi-annually. However, this is further from the truth and is where you can gauge the trust of a contractor. A competent guard installer will not over-promise by assuring you of never having to clean your gutters. Chances are, you will be forced to hire a cleaner or clean your gutters once every two years. A servicer who is willing to point out these shortcomings is one to be trusted. Avoid those who offer too good a deal as it’s most probably too good to be true.
Additionally, only work with an organization that can guarantee their work. An institution that is willing to stand behind their work is one to be trusted. It shows they understand their capable of and know what they will deliver.
Concerning professionalism and experience of gutter guard companies, you can assess this by having face to face meeting and afterward evaluating your interaction. Proficient contractors carry themselves with lots of professionalism even in informal meetings. They will rarely generalize subjects and will tackle the problem head-on. Also, they will inform you of any change in plans, say delays, way in advance so as not to inconvenience you. Avoid any servicer who doesn’t meet the above conditions. Also, work with established companies as these have streamlined their services and understand the ins and outs of the industry.
5. Busy Schedule
The last way to ascertain whether a guard outworker is competent is his/her schedule. An excellent contractor will always have work on his hands. However, this is not to say a proficient company will never be available to start away just that it’s more the exception rather than the rule.
DIY Gutter Guards Installation and Repair vs. Hiring a Pro
DIY gutter guard installation is a pretty exciting concept given that its low cost. However, there are some instances where installing your gutter guards will work against you.
Pros of DIY
Freedom, Fun, and Privacy – A key benefit of installing and repairing/maintaining your roof is the freedom it offers. You aren’t answerable to any individual, and you can work on it in your own free time. DIY-ing is also quite fun, as it tests once ability and teaches as well. Finally, there is the privacy it offers seeing as no alien individuals will be trespassing on your property.
Saves you a ton of money – DIY gutter cover installation will save you loads of money since there is no labor engagement which factors a lot in the price. You can involve your family and friends to offer a helping hand. Also, you can hunt for suppliers and bargains saving your hard earned cash. There are some guards you can set up on your own. Foam and brush gutter guards are easy to install and the best for DIY.
Cons of DIY
Safety – Gutter cover installation is a somewhat risky affair as it involves working while perched on a ladder or the edge of a roof. This poses a threat to individuals who aren’t comfortable working from high places. That and considering that every year about 90,000 people visit the ER for treatment following falls from ladders should be reason enough for you to stay off the ladder.
Expertise – Chances are you don’t have the requisite skills to install gutter guards. You, therefore, stand to lose excellent insight from an expert handyman by DIY.
There are some guards you shouldn’t install or repair. Micro-mesh guards call for experts for proper installation. Therefore never be prompted to put in these covers by yourself.
Benefits of Hiring Professionals
Expertise – Probably, the top and the only reason to engage experts during installation. However, it dwarfs all its cons as you gain more than what you lose. Hiring a professional handyman ensures you only top service for your money. They have insights, about where to expect problems and you can further benefit from their knowledge. Some hoods as well necessitate professional installation. These include mesh guards, micro-mesh covers, and reverse curve guards.
Cons of Hiring a Professional
Price – The only downside of hiring is the price involved. Expert handymen will set you back a considerable amount of money.
How to Avoid Getting Scammed
As exemplified earlier, the gutter guards installation and repair industry is legit only that it’s marred with malpractices. We have that one friend who has been conned, and we are wondering how to avoid that happening to us. Well, you are in luck. We have pointed out some fundamental ways to prevent fraudulent contractors. First, we have to realize that fraudsters use different tactics and various techniques but the end goal is to rip you off your money for little or no work.
To avoid this, never have your gutter guards repaired or installed on the spot. This will only lead to chaos have not certified the contractor’s credentials. You have no idea of his record nor his details.
Never make payment in cash or to an individual. Most professional contractors will request for payments to be made to an institution and rarely to an individual. It’s best you avoid contractors who ask for payments to be made to an individual. Furthermore, never make cash payments as they have no records to support them. A check or a direct bank transfer is much better since there is a paper trail to support your claim of payment.
Never allow work to be done in your home without a written agreement. This is not only to protect the contractor but you the client as well. A written agreement is binding to both parties and protects both you and the contractor. The contract should stipulate what is you require the contractor to have done before the end of the job as well as the payment schedule for every milestone achieved.
Don’t fall for any “today only” deals. The general idea here is to rush you into signing a contract without adequately looking it over. Once done, you are bound to the contractual terms which only works against you. If you are looking for discounts, just settle for those that offer long-term benefits. Say an offer is running for several months. This way, you are confident of what you are getting into and have enough time to go through the paperwork.
Always ask for references. Most fraudulent contractors have no verifiable address, and asking for one is a way to ensure you are only dealing with reliable work persons. However, an address alone isn’t enough to ascertain the credibility of a developer or repair person. Endeavor to visit the contractor to make sure the information he/she gave you was correct.
Finally, always ask to see the finished work before agreeing to release the payment. This should be stipulated in the contract but in the event it wasn’t, asking will save you a ton of money. If you don’t have any know-how on the requirements for gutter guard installation or repair, employ the services of a skilled friend or neighbor to make sure that the job is done to the required standards. Only then should you release the payments.
10 Questions to Ask a Gutter Contractor before Hiring
These ten questions should be the foundation of your relationship with your contractor.
1. Do you have the proper licenses and required insurance?
The general idea here is to warrant that the gutter guard contractor is in good standings with all relevant authorities. As for coverage, a gutter cover installer should have all requisite covers to safeguard you from financial exposure should one of the servicers get injured on your property. However, he should have professional protection as well to make sure check against any damage caused by professional acts. General liability insurance seldom covers these. Finally, don’t take his word for it and ask to see a copy of the documents.
2. How long have you been operational and under what names?
After certifying that the gutter guard installer has all the necessary documents, the very second question should be to establish his history. After verifying all their previous names, check their work record and how they performed in the past.
3. How can I identify your workers?
The work site is your home, your property. Therefore, make sure your contractor’s employees are uniformed for easy identification.
4. What’s the warranty on your gutter guards?
Gutter covers should have at the very least a 20-year warranty if not a lifetime assurance. Make certain of this.
5. Do you have any references?
This question is geared towards establishing the gutter cover installers work record. Again, don’t take her/his word for it but ask for the references contacts and call them. Ask if they can engage the contractors again, his strong suits, and his weaknesses. These question will give you a better feel of who you are working with.
6. Does your company have a job expeditor?
A job expeditor works for the installation company. His work is to evaluate the job before work officially begins. He even rechecks the sales estimator to ascertain that no unforeseen complications occur after the task starts. Having one eliminates the myriad of issues that can crop up while putting in gutter covers.
7. Will I have to clean out my gutters again?
Though gutter guards reduce the number of times you have to clean out your gutters, they don’t eliminate the need for cleaning. Therefore let no company fool you that you will not have to clean them out.
8. What can you guarantee?
Though this sounds a bit over the top, you should make it a habit to ask all developers and not only gutter cover contractors as it will go a long way in making sure you just get the best. This is geared towards finding out if the contractor is willing to stand behind his work. A contractor ready to give guarantees is one you should work with. On the other hand, avoid contractors who can’t assure you of what to expect at the end of the contract.
9. Will my roofing warranty be affected?
Some gutter covers, e.g., reverse curve guards are installed under the roof shingles which means the roofline is modified. This will in-turn void your roof warranty. Learn about the requirements earlier and how they will affect your roof warranty.
10. Has your company ever had any legal action taken against it?
This is easy to confirm as all you have to do is call up BBB and provide the company’s telephone number. A group which is willing to come clean about their legal history is one to trust.
Hope you found this guide useful; tell us what you think by leaving a comment below.