Gutter Protection vs. Gutter Cleaning – Cost Analysis
"The salesmen often employ high-pressure sales tactics using all sorts of "this-deep-discount-is-ONLY-available-today" offers. BEWARE these Jedi mind tricks and all the scare tactics about how your home's foundation will be ruined."
Originally Published: October 1999 - Revised August 2018
Important Author’s Note Update: Since this column was written, I 've discovered at least two other gutter guards that sport the micro-mesh filtration screen. Testing of these micro-mesh guards began early Spring of 2008. The results of the test are in! After 10-years of testing various types, a winner has been declared! Click for the gutter guard I installed on my house - Gutter Guard Test Results.
Gutter Cleaning or Gutter Guards? Which is a Better Choice?
How Often Do You Need to Clean Gutters?
At a bare minimum, you need to clean gutters twice a year. Once in the spring and once in the fall.
Have you priced the cost of gutter covers on your house? They're very expensive, especially if you pay to have them installed. It's not uncommon to see prices about $20, or more, per linear foot. That can add up to thousands of dollars FAST.
Is it Cheaper to Just Clean Gutters?
As crazy as this sounds, it may be cheaper in the long run to just pay someone to clean out your gutters each year.
Let's say you get an estimate for $1,500 (75 feet at +/- $20 per foot) to have the gutter guards installed. Based upon my experimentation we already know that we will have to clean out the gutters at least twice every year. This is important for the sake of our calculations.
FREE Gutter-Cleaning Bids
What Does Gutter Cleaning Cost?
I would think that - on average - a roofer could clean 200 feet in about an hour or so. My guess is that you could get this done for $125 or less. There's a very good chance a handyman can clean do gutter cleaning on ranch-style homes for this price.
Odds are you will have this done two times a year. This means that the annual cost to clean gutters without gutter guards is $200 plus or minus.
Let's see what happens if you don't buy gutter guards.
Should I Invest My Money Instead?
You may think the stock market is risky, but it's not if you invest in a somewhat conservative group of stocks. You should be able to average about five or seven percent per year.
Some years the market goes way up as it did just after the 2016 Presidential election. If you were invested before November 1, 2016, you saw at least a 50 percent rise in your investment by the time 2018 rolled around. That means you'd have $2,250 in money instead of your original $1,500.
Realize if you invest aggressively, it could be far more, but I don't recommend that.
For sake of our discussion, we'll forget about taxes and inflation.
You can see that you can afford to pay to have your gutters cleaned by others and still have your original money in your possession AND it's growing each year!
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What is the Best Gutter Guard?
The best gutter guard is one made with stainless steel micro mesh. That's what I have on my own home.
Here's a photo of my own gutter guard:
Consider purchasing a micromesh product from Amazon.com and having your local handyman install them for you. CLICK the photo below for just one of the micromesh products I discovered on Amazon:
How Expensive are Micro Mesh Gutter Guards?
Dealer-installed micro mesh gutter guards are very expensive. It's not uncommon to get prices of $25 per linear foot.
The salesmen often employ high-pressure sales tactics using all sorts of "this-deep-discount-is-ONLY-available-today" offers. BEWARE these Jedi mind tricks and all the scare tactics about how your home's foundation will be ruined.
A simple ranch house with 140 feet of total gutter could cost you $3,500.00!!!
Are Some Gutter Guards Bad?
Yes, some gutter guards don't work well at all. They clog up with debris or allow small debris to enter your gutters creating layers of muck that is nearly impossible to remove.
It's important to realize if you get the WRONG ones, you'll have to pay a company to clean them out each year or every other year.
Now you're really in trouble if this happens.
Does Gutter Cleaning Make More Sense?
Gutter cleaning may make better sense but there are many factors to consider.
How long do you plan to live in your home? How brave are you when investing the money you'll not be giving the gutter guard company?
If you don't buy gutter covers and have a roofer come to clean your gutters twice a year, the worst that will happen is that at the end of five years you will still have spent $1,000.00. But, you've been making money with your invested $1,500.00.
How much? I can't tell you because I can't foresee the future, but all past history shows you'll MAKE MONEY each year in the long term by investing in the stock market.
How Can I get Free Bids?
I think you should get gutter cleaning AND GUTTER GUARD estimates. CLICK the following two links. The first one is for FREE gutter-cleaning bids. The second one allows you to calculate the cost of the gutter guards. The third link allows you to get an estimate from a local contractor who will install the gutter guards you purchased online:
Run the numbers and see if it doesn't make better sense to hold onto your money.