Gutters, like every part of homeownership, are more complicated than they appear at first glance. As part of an effective home drainage system, gutters can make the difference between a safe, dry indoor space and moisture issues that can lead to mildew or, worse, mold.
Yet gutters, like homes, come in all shapes and sizes. Gutters can also wear out over time and become less effective. This is where gutter guards like gutter valor come in. Guards can extend the useful life of your gutters and drainage system.
But are these guards worth the cost? For that matter, are they worth the hassle and effort to install? Let’s find out!
What Do Gutters Do?
At the most fundamental level, gutters are your home’s first line of defense against moisture. But gutters guard against more than just water damage. They also prevent damage to garden beds and your lawn by routing storm runoff towards certain safe present areas for dispersal.
If your home has a basement, gutters are also vital for preventing water from seeping into your foundation and then into your basement space.
Gutters do the same for the exterior of your home, preventing moisture from creating stains that over time degrade both the look and the composition of brick, wood and siding.
However, even the best gutter system isn’t equipped to handle accumulated dirt, debris, dead leaves or nesting animals. For this, you need guards on your gutters.
What Do Gutter Guards Do?
Guards, as the name implies, are designed to fit over the top of your network of gutters. Their job is to keep falling debris and nesting animals out of the gutters.
This serves two essential purposes: it keeps your gutters clean and clear to do their job of routing runoff effectively and it also reduces the amount of maintenance work you have to do each year.
Homeowners tend to especially appreciate guards in the fall season when the leaves begin to fall, but they are important year-round – especially in the spring nesting season and in winter when shivering critters are seeking a shelter from the cold.
Gutters: Maintenance With and Without Guards
Depending on your near landscaping and the life stage of your gutters, you may need to do maintenance up to four times annually. Older gutters that are shorter and narrower will accumulate debris more rapidly than newer, roomier systems.
As well, if your home is surrounded by large, lovely, stately trees that deliver piles of falling leaves, you may need to climb the ladder and shovel out debris more frequently during certain seasons of the year.
If you don’t have time or inclination or simply cannot clean your gutters personally, the other option is to hire a professional cleaning service at an average estimated cost of $125 to $175. If you need to do this four times per year, your average annual cost will range from $800 to $1000 per year.
If you are like most homeowners, you do not love doing these chores. You probably dread them and even put them off, which can cause your gutters to get clogged and then storm runoff splashes over and can enter your home through micro-fissures and small cracks.
This is one of the main reasons people choose to install guards over their gutters.
Well-designed, sturdy guards like gutter valor can cut your annual maintenance chores by up to 90 percent and also guard against moss and algae buildup while extending the useful life of your drainage system.
What Do Guards Cost?
According to one survey, guards can cost anywhere from $7.50 to $10 per foot. If you have 200 feet of gutters to cover, your estimated cost can range from $1,500 to $2,000.
At first glance, this can seem quite pricey! But now let’s look at the other costs you avoid by installing guards.
The first cost you can potentially avoid for the foreseeable near future is replacing your gutters. At a cost of anywhere from $4 to $30 per foot, 200 feet of gutters will run you anywhere from $800 to $6,000.
How is gutters replacement linked to a lack of guards, you might be wondering? One of the main reasons gutters need to be replaced prematurely is because they are poorly maintained. When gutters are routinely clogged with debris, leaves, rodent poop, birds nests, algae and moss, this extra weight can cause them to sag and, over time, even pull away from the house.
Clogged gutters can also damage your downspouts, your foundation, your roof fascia and exterior siding – the costs just keep adding up from there.
Now, let’s say you decide you will hire a company to clean your gutters as needed, which on average is two to four times per year. The typical estimated cost per project for 200 feet of gutters ranges from $125 to $175 per cleaning. So you are now paying $300 to $750 per year just to clean out your gutters, which just keep filling up with debris seasonally.
So let’s take another look at the cost of installing gutter valor guards, which ranges from $1,500 to $2,000. This is a one-time cost. The guards are permanent.
Right away, you can do away with the professional cleaning services, shaving $300 to $750 off your annual home maintenance budget. This means your guards installation will potentially pay for itself in five years, tops. Even if you have become accustomed to cleaning out your gutters yourself, your own time has a dollar value that you can then reinvest into other home projects or more time with your family and friends.
You also extend the useful life of your entire home drainage system, including gutters and downspouts, which means you add another potential $800 to $6,000 back into your pocket.
And you alleviate worries about mold, mildew, soil shifting and leaks in your home walls, roof, foundation and (as applicable) basement and the expensive and stressful repairs those issues can create.
Another factor that many homeowners fail to consider is how adding guards can increase the resale value of your home when you are ready to sell. Busy home buyers today who are looking for turnkey homes that require as little maintenance as possible (both the sweat equity kind and the cash kind) will appreciate maintenance-free gutters.
The Choice Is Yours to Make
With climate change provoking ever more severe weather patterns, including heavier rains that last longer and occur more frequently, more homeowners are making the choice to install protective guards on existing gutters.
In other words, you can’t change what the climate does to any great degree, but you can have a great deal of influence on how well your home investment weathers these storms and stays dry, sturdy and mold and mildew-free.
The good news here is, installing guards over your gutters is a long-lasting fix to a chronic problem and it takes relatively little time to complete – less than a day in most cases.
The best approach is to evaluate the condition of your home’s existing drainage system, the surrounding tree coverage and landscaping, any known moisture issues, local weather patterns and your home maintenance budget.
Finally, be sure to look for highly-rated guards that come with lots of happy customer testimonials and an iron-clad warranty you have read all the way through and feel comfortable with. This is the best way to ensure your smart investment in guards is money well spent!