How Much Do Gutter Guards Cost?
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Gutter guards provide added home protection and reduce the extra work for fall and spring cleaning. A gutter guard prevents debris from clogging downspouts and gutter channels. It also removes the risk of ice dams in the winter caused by the freezing of clogged water. Continue reading to see all the costs and advantages of gutter guards.
Minimum Costs: $3 per 3-foot section
Maximum Costs: $22 per foot
Basic material is available from roughly $3 to $5 per 3-foot section with additional labor costs. Most of these materials are available in home improvement stores and geared toward the DIY market. The higher end of the minimal costs may be associated with addition of extra clip pieces to extend longer gutter runs. Advanced guard systems that are proprietary may cost between $15 to $22 per foot for more complex gutter styles plus labor costs. The proprietary systems are determined in cost by the run of the gutter in addition to the added components that work with the natural environment of the property and pitch of the roof.
A large number of gutter guard systems contain a metal or fine-mesh screen to filter out the majority of debris that may fall into the downspout. They are relatively simple to install and come in a variety of fine to ultra-fine mesh varieties. Some mesh varieties include a micro-filter to prevent oils and dirt from the shingles of a roof from entering the gutter. These are usually a closed system that requires little maintenance. There is a downside to a closed system. If the system were to clog, it would be difficult to quickly remove debris. There is an extensive diversity of styles in these products. The types of debris left by trees and shrubs in the yard will determine the amount of mesh needed to filter before entering the gutter. A super-fine mesh will be more suitable for yards that have pine and cypress trees versus a more open mesh for trees that don't shed as much.
Curved gutter guards direct the flow of water into the gutter while directing debris away from the interior of the gutter. The curve has a pitch connected to the roof of a home to allow water to glide into the gutter. As with a rain chain, the surface tension guides water off the roof and into the gutter. The patent for these materials have been around for over 100 years. A reverse curve guard will need to be assessed to make sure that it is a good fit for a yard that experiences a large amount of debris that can break down and possibly clog the system.
A brush or bristle gutter guard is very similar to the foam guard systems available. The brush resembles a large, metal-tipped brush used in cleaning chimneys or dryer vents. It is inserted into the gutter channel and blocks debris and leaves from entering. The one disadvantage of this material is the ability for stray seeds to become lodged in the bristles, combine with debris and start to root into the gutter. This may require extra maintenance to remove debris and prevent the growth of seeds germinating in the material.
In addition to micro-mesh type gutter guards, a tape-on solution uses heavy-duty adhesive tape for quick installation. There are no screws involved, and the guard makes use of a fine-screen filter similar to other metal mesh filter systems. Taped guard is another popular DIY technique for installing gutter guards. These types of materials may need initial testing in small batches to determine if the adhesive is suitable to the environment in the home.
Foam gutter systems are placed directly in the gutter channel. Technically this is not a "closed" system and can be removed briefly to clean. This whole gutter filtration system is made of a mix of materials such as nylon and plastic to reduce breakdown of the filter. They are also low profile to the home and are very easy to install. One disadvantage is the added maintenance with cleaning right before winter to prevent an ice dam and debris buildup on top of the foam filter. If it's small enough, some debris may get caught in the filter and gutter channel. There is often a replacement date with this type of filter that will need to be checked.
In colder climates the risk of ice and snow can create considerable strain on gutters. Heat tape is one material that can be installed along the gutter channel to reduce the chance of water freezing and creating an ice dam. The time needed to recover from snow and ice can take a long time in climates that experience a longer winter. Most cables are available for a standard, 120-volt outlet connection. Some tape types may increase the electric bill, requiring a timer to cycle on and off during the dead of winter.
Advantages of Gutter Guards
The strain of leaves and debris on a gutter can cause serious damage to the gutter itself and the integrity of the home. Water can pool on the underside of the siding soffit in the roof and infiltrate the foundation and underside of the sheathing. In a basement this can result in the foundation cracking and leaks over time. With no gutter guards, ice dams can form in the winter. After the ice dam melts in the spring, the increased amount of water in the foundation can collapse a gutter railing.
Disadvantages of Gutter Guards
Gutter guards may not be a catch-all for reducing damage to the gutter system. Some gutter systems may exacerbate the problem if they are not properly tested. A backyard with pine trees or vegetation that releases small debris may benefit from systems that screen finer materials. Unfortunately, this may prove to be a trial-and-error experience and increase costs. This is why it is important for homeowners to contact a licensed professional who can determine the type of gutter system based on the amount of debris in a yard. Gutter guards are not always maintenance-free, but they do provide less work during fall and spring cleanup time.
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Last updated on Jul 15, 2014