Gutter Protection Systems – Cost-Benefit Analysis

Gutter Downspout Strainers

Strainers are the least expensive, usually made of plastic, aluminum or steel. With regular cleaning service, you can expect 5-7 years of service from a set of strainers. To outfit your home is usually less than $100 and enables the gutters to be still be serviced at a standard gutter cleaning price. While strainers do not provide a cover per say to keep debris out of the gutters they do provide debris from traveling down the downspout which can eventually clog the downspout drainage system.

Gutter Cover – Netting

If you are in the market for gutter covers and looking for a cheaper alternative you might consider netting. It is relatively easy to install, low cost, usually less than $300-$500 to install and available at most home improvement stores. Gutter covers such as netting can provide your gutters with some protection but there are some downfalls to using this type of product.

After a couple years the netting will be affected by the sun and become brittle. Debris will pile behind the netting on the roof side. Roofing debris such as needles, leaves, and moss will weigh down the material and it will sag into the gutter. When it is time to clean the gutters the netting can become hard and sharp which can cut your fingers as well as the staples that were used to put the netting into place. Life expectancy is 3-5 years at best. You can also expect your cleaning price to rise if you have this material installed on your home.

Gutter Cover – Plastic or Metal

If you are in the market for a bit more durable product you might be looking at plastic or metal covers which on average are 3ft long about eight inches wide and are meant to slip under the roofing material on the first row and snap onto the top lip of the home gutter system. The cost of installing a gutter protection system like this ranges between $500-$1200 and will give your home protection for 7-10 years on average. You can expect your cleaning price to rise by a third when this type of system is installed in your home. Gutter cleaning should be performed every 2 to 3 years as the debris will break down and fall into the gutters.

These systems are not without problems as the weather can cause the gutter covers to become brittle over time. Also, these covers are affected by the amount of debris that sits the surface. Gutter covers can be overwhelmed by the weight of the debris and fall into the gutter drainage system. Over time these covers become distorted and will no longer be used as they were intended.

Gutter Foam Inserts

Gutter foam is unique as it fills the entire space inside the gutter letting the rainwater flow through but leaving the roofing debris to sit on the top. Cost of this system is $1000-$2500 or more and claims a 20-year warranty. While this product may be the answer to your gutter cleaning dilemma there are some considerations that you should be aware of. As the roofing debris breaks down it fills the gutter foam material. In the Pacific Northwest region, moss will soon start to grow soon after. In our experience, this is next to impossible to clean out. While this product might work in other regions with great success areas with heavy rain and moss should consider other options.

A similar product is a “foam-like” material that can be folded into the gutter but leaves an open channel on the backside. We have had reports from customers requesting advice that the roof debris pushes the material into the gutter causing the gutter protection system to collapse into the open space of the gutter. This material must be kept debris free for the material to remain structurally sound. If you are unsure, always seek the help of experts like