One of the eventualities in owning a home is the natural depreciation of your gutters. At some point, you will need to replace the ones that you have.
The process may seem scary, but a home that lacks properly functioning gutters is much more frightening. A constant flow of rainwater not only irritates you as a dweller, but also erodes the foundation of your home. Basement leaks, roof rot, and moldy attics are all likely byproducts of failing gutters. If you think you need new gutters, you probably do. Here is a guide to everything you need to know about installing or replacing them.
Gutter Installation – Materials & Labor Costs
Gutter Prices & Materials
The cost of gutter materials depends a great deal on the type of gutter you select. There are four major choices.
- Vinyl gutters are the least expensive, costing as little as $4 per piece. Even the nicest vinyl gutters are rarely more than $8.
- Aluminum is a bit more expensive, starting at $6 per piece with the most expensive gutters in the $12 range.
- Steel gutters are much better in quality, and their price reflects this. They start at $11 and oftentimes cost $33 per piece or more.
- Copper is the highest quality of all. It costs at least $40 per piece and usually costs well in excess of $100.
When you purchase new gutters, you’ll also want to buy downspout extensions. Expect to pay between $6 and $15 for vinyl and aluminum versions, while steel at least doubles that total and copper will cost $90 or more. You might also have to pay for additional materials like:
- Splash blocks/drains: splash blocks and drains help to direct water away from the foundation and prevent damage. They cost between $5 and $10.
- Flashing: Flashing protects your roof underlayment and siding from potential moisture damage and costs around $10 to purchase and install as a DIY project.
- Hangers: Gutter hangers give it extra strength and help hold it up, especially when there might be a lot of wind or water draining during a storm. Their prices start at $2 and go up.
Having a gutter contractor handle the installation of your new gutters is advisable in that paying for such a service removes a lot of hassle from the process. You want the job done right and with minimal aggravation. A professional gutter installer should finish this process in an average of seven hours, which means it’s only a day’s work in most instances. Even larger scale projects will probably take no more than three days to complete.
The downside is the added cost. Paying someone for their services will add to the bottom line. The estimate for a contractor to replace a gutter and downspout section that measures 50 feet is about $509 for an experienced contractor. Note that this estimate does include materials in addition to labor, so it’s the sum total for the 50-foot section. So, you should expect to pay roughly $5.18 per square foot. Note that the price is location dependent.
You may get more or less for your money, depending on the cost of living in your area. Also note that your roof pitch impacts the estimate. You will pay more for a steeper incline.
Gutter Enhancements & Accessories
Keeping your gutters clean is an important step in protecting your investment. You should consider purchasing a special tool to add to your pressure washer. A gutter cleaner attachment costs as little as $25 on Amazon, and it provides you peace of mind about the state of your gutters. These devices are long enough that they require no ladder to perform the work of cleaning your gutters. You can also hire a professional to clean your gutters for approximately $100 to $200 (learn more about gutter cleaning costs).
This plastic mesh guard prevents leaves and other clutter from creating blockage in your gutters. The better products don’t rust or erode over time, making them ideal one-time purchases. A middle-tier gutter guard with dimensions of 6″ x 20′ costs approximately $6. Since the average professional gutter cleaning is $75, think of this as money well spent. There are some types of gutter guards that are built in to gutters already. LeafGuard, one of many brands, designs the gutter and guard mix so that water flows straight into the downspout while block leaves and debris.
Wire Mesh Screens
Nature’s pests represent one of the largest dangers to the integrity of your gutters. A swarm of pests can undo all your hard work on your gutters. Wire mesh screens present an elegant, cheap solution to the problem. They fit on top of your gutters and provide protection against anything that tries to enter your gutters. These screens are the cheapest gutter guard solution at a modest cost of as little as $1 per square foot.
Winter weather is one of your biggest enemies in protecting your gutters. Freezing temperatures can wreak havoc. Once the ice thaws, overflow will spill down to the ground, creating dangerous walking and driving conditions on the surface below. If you live in an area that experiences a lot of cold weather, heat tape will protect your gutters from icing. The cabling runs through your gutters. During inclement climate conditions, you simply activate the cables in your gutters and downspout. The water will drain away naturally as intended. You can purchase heat tape for as little as $77 for 100 feet, so it’s a solid investment for people in colder regions.
Clogging is a natural concern for all gutters. Downspout screens address this issue by redirecting potential clogging debris away from the downspout opening. The clever design accommodates the natural motion of water to elevate leaves and other objects above the slope of the gutters where the wind will eventually blow them away. These devices are economical at a cost of roughly $8 each.