How Much Does a Gutter Guard Cost to Install?
Keeping leaves and debris from settling in your gutters can save money on gutter cleaning, ice dams, and replacement. Gutter guard cost ranges from $591 to $2,197, with the average homeowner paying $1,347.
- Typical Range: $591 to $2,197
- National Average: $1,347
Gutters tend to collect a wealth of debris, from leaves, sticks, and pine needles to the occasional tennis ball or badminton birdie. Common debris found in gutters includes rocks, seeds, and nuts dropped by birds and squirrels, and occasionally animal residents will surprise homeowners by nesting amid the leaves and other items they bring into the snug space. All of these fillers slowly compact with moisture and prevent water from flowing smoothly to the downspouts, eventually causing clogs in the gutters or the downspouts themselves as debris is washed down the tubes. This can lead water to seep over the edges of the gutters and under the roof or siding, causing damage, and in cold areas it can create ice dams—solid logs of ice that creep up and underneath the roof, resulting in leaks and damage that are often not covered by homeowners insurance.
The best way to protect a home is to prevent materials from accumulating in the gutters in the first place, either by cleaning regularly (which can be costly and inconvenient) or by installing a gutter guard. Is the average cost of gutter guards worth it? According to Angi and HomeAdvisor, homeowners spend $591 to $2,197 installing gutter guards, with the national average coming in at $1,347. As the total cost depends on quite a few factors, it’s helpful to understand the different components of a gutter guard and challenges involved in installation before requesting quotes.
Factors in Calculating Gutter Guard Cost
How can homeowners estimate gutter guard costs? To begin, they need to measure the size of the gutters and the linear footage they want covered. The next step is to examine the roof and its angles and consider the weather and types of foliage around the home. These are the primary factors in calculating gutter guard pricing.
Most standard-size gutters are 5 or 6 inches wide (the distance between the attachment to the house and the outer edge). However, it’s not uncommon to see gutters as wide as 7 inches in areas with heavy rainfall or as narrow as 4 inches in areas where houses are older or the climate is dry. The cost of fitting unusually sized gutters with guards will be a bit higher, but measuring incorrectly and purchasing the wrong size can be a big financial hit, so homeowners will want to measure carefully before ordering or ask a gutter pro to do it for them.
Gutter guards are made from plastic, foam, or various metals. Plastic and foam are the least expensive options but are likely to require replacement sooner than metal. Aluminum is the most affordable metal option; it’s not as durable as other metals, but it’s still effective. Stainless steel is used to make several different types of gutter guard; it’s durable and resistant to rust and corrosion, and it’s unlikely to warp. Copper is the most durable option, but it’s also the most expensive and can be difficult to find. The decision about which material to choose can be based on budget or aesthetics and may also be guided by the best material type for the geographic area.
Products from recognizable brands that specialize in a particular area will almost always cost more than those from companies that have just cropped up or those that manufacture many different products. This is not to say that there aren’t quality gutter guards available from lesser-known brands, but as with any home product, customers will want to read reviews of different options from buyers who have used them; it can be reassuring to know that the products have held up as advertised. Sometimes it’s worth paying the upcharge for a brand-name product that will be in place for a decade. Gutter professionals should be able to point out products they’ve used and liked that fall within the customer’s budget. Brand name isn’t everything, but costs increase when the name on the truck is well known.
The following are some common gutter guard brands and their average cost per linear foot.
- Leaf Relief: $1.60 to $3
- Gutterglove: $1.70 to $2.50
- EasyOn: $2 to $3
- RainDrop: $2 to $5
- K-Guard: $7 to $10
- Valor: $8 to $11
- LeafGuard: $9 to $32
- Bulldog: $10 to $14
- Gutter Helmet: $15 to $17
- LeafFilter: $15 to $35
- MasterShield: $17 to $20
Roof Configuration and Type
Complex roof lines will increase the material and labor costs for gutter guards by at least $250 to $300. Multiple bends or corners require additional time to properly cut and install the pieces, and complicated or pitched roof lines mean moving ladders and increasing safety equipment. A home with simple roof lines and one story will cost less to outfit with gutter guards, while customers with more than one story should expect to pay $1 to $1.50 more per linear foot for installation of guards for each additional story.
Ease of access to the gutters for installation affects the average cost for gutter guards in several ways—extended time increases labor costs, and equipment rentals and safety equipment costs may also increase. Extensive foundation plantings, steep hillsides, and water features may require additional equipment such as scaffolding or lifts to allow contractors to safely install the gutter guards. That equipment, along with the time it takes to set it up and take it down, increases the installation costs.
How much is gutter guard installation? Labor costs vary based on several factors. Costs per hour differ significantly in different markets, but the complexity of the job and the type of guards selected will also affect the total cost of installation. Some types of guards, such as brush or foam, are easy to pop into place, so most of the labor cost is based on the ease of accessing the different gutters. Other types of guards are finicky and require a great deal of precision, and precision means more time. On average, labor costs for installation are about $9 per hour, so the complexity of the job is what makes the greatest difference in this area.
Material and installation costs vary across the country, depending on the type and amount of vegetation in the area, the market costs of labor, and the time frame of seasonal changes. With some exceptions, coastal areas and cities incur higher costs for materials and installation than rural areas.
The climate determines which type of gutter guard is best for the home. Homeowners in warmer climates don’t have to worry about ice damming, but they do need to worry about plastics warping in the hot sun. Those living in colder climates need to keep gutters clear in the winter to avoid roof damage and may require guards that filter more completely, while homeowners in windy climates need guards that are firmly attached to the gutter and can’t blow away. Local professionals are able to guide homeowners toward the best products for their area.
Additional Costs and Considerations
The selection of the gutter guards themselves, the complexity of the job (including accessibility of the gutters), and the costs of installation set the base price for the project. But there are other costs that can come into play, and those costs can be significant—overlooking them can result in a budget that is significantly too low. The following considerations may affect the cost of gutter guards.
Gutter Repair or Replacement
Cost estimates assume that the existing gutters are in good condition and sufficiently attached to the house. Sometimes everything looks fine from the ground, but when the installer is face-to-face with the gutter straps in preparation to install the guards, they may discover a problem. Repairing gutters can be as simple as reangling the gutter and nailing in new straps or as complex and expensive as replacing the gutters entirely—in which case the job should be repriced, because the situation has changed. Similarly, if the homeowner discovers they need professional gutter replacement, they’ll want to ask for a separate quote to determine the cost to install new gutters. Customers who want a more precise estimate will benefit from having the gutters inspected by a professional before making any decisions about the type of guard or purchasing materials.
Customers tend to install gutter guards because their gutters fill up with debris and develop blockages. Before any guards can be installed, the gutters should be completely cleaned of all debris and any mold or mildew that has developed. Even if the gutters are reasonably clear, it’s worth paying for one of the best gutter cleaning services to come out prior to guard installation, especially if the type of guard that’s been selected isn’t easy to remove for cleaning later. Some companies may include the gutter cleaning cost in their quote for gutter guard installation, while others may charge separately.
Gutters are open to the sky, so when they aren’t fitted with guards, debris can be scooped out and dirt can be rinsed away. Downspouts, however, are closed, and are sometimes quite long. Clogs in downspouts can cause quite a lot of water damage before they’re discovered, and clearing them often requires that they be removed from the house, disassembled, and blasted clean, then reinstalled—not an inexpensive repair. Homeowners who have a lot of small debris that accumulates may want to consider adding downspout screens to the project; these screens fit between the gutter opening and the downspout and catch debris before it can slide into the downspout and pile up. The debris rinses off the screen and falls to the ground, leaving only water to flow through the open downspout. Costing about $13 for a package of 4 to 6 screens plus installation expenses, these may be well worth the investment.
When downspouts don’t extend far enough away from the foundation of the house, water can puddle and pool, especially if the soil dips down behind the downspout elbow. This can happen after a series of heavy rains and is easy to miss if shrubbery or plantings line the foundation. The puddling and pooling can wear away at the soil and make a water leak into the basement more and more likely over time. Adding downspout extensions involves fitting the downspout with an angled elbow into which a longer solid or flexible extension fits to carry water farther away from the foundation and allow it to disperse into the lawn. Extensions cost about $10 each.
Even with gutter guards preventing clogs that can result in ice buildup, those who live in areas with very cold winters could benefit from using gutter heat tape. If it’s very cold for a period of time and snow or ice falls and doesn’t melt, ice blockages can form on the gutter guards, especially those that are solid. Heat tape can be added to the guard to melt any ice that forms before it creates a roof-damaging dam. At a cost of $0.73 per linear foot, this is a worthy investment—the damage caused by ice dams is far more costly to repair.
Those who have gardens to water during warmer months may wish to consider adding a rain barrel to their gutter system. While some rain barrels are intended to be freestanding and collect rainwater through a screen on the top of the barrel, others can be placed directly in line with a downspout so the gutter drains into the barrel. The downspout is cut and a special diverter piece is installed that the homeowner can either open to direct the water into the barrel or close to send the water to the bottom of the downspout when the barrel is full. Rain barrels have a spigot at the bottom that can connect to a hose or dispense water into a watering can. The cost varies based on the barrel selected; some are quite decorative and are integrated into attractive planters, while others are simple and economical. Some municipalities even offer recycled containers to residents for free in the spring to encourage the conservation of tap water.
In the event that the gutters have been filling up too quickly due to overhanging tree branches that drop their leaves directly onto the roof, it may be appropriate to consider having the trees trimmed back. This will reduce the amount of debris that slips through the gutter guards after they’re installed and extend the life of the roof as well. Costs will vary based on the size of the trees, the equipment needed to reach the branches, and the level of trimming that needs to be done.
Types of Gutter Guards
Early gutter guards were basically a length of window screen tucked over the gutters and pinned in place. Over time, manufacturers have developed more efficient types of guards that are easier to install and more secure. The guards are made from a range of materials, each with its benefits and drawbacks. The best gutter guards for each homeowner can vary depending on their budget and the primary type of debris that their gutters collect.
Steel screen guards are similar to the original wraparound window screen-style guards, but they have evolved considerably and are now snap-in grids of large-gauge steel screen mounted on plastic frames. The larger holes in the screening do allow small debris to slip through, but the frames are easily removable for occasional cleaning. One issue to keep in mind is that a steel screen can rust if it’s not powder coated, so it makes sense to pay a bit extra for the coating. Another issue is that to attach to the roof, some types of steel screen guard tuck under the first layer of shingles, which can damage the roof and invalidate the roof’s warranty. While steel is a great option, homeowners will want to choose carefully. Steel screen guards cost between $1.50 and $3.50 per linear foot.
Metal mesh guards can be constructed from stainless steel or aluminum fashioned into a wire mesh pattern. They’re very good at keeping leaves and larger debris out of the gutters, but smaller pieces may fall through; this style will occasionally need to be removed so that homeowners can blow or rinse the gutters clean. Metal mesh guards cost between $1 and $4 per linear foot, including installation.
Combining the benefits of metal mesh and screen-style guards, micro-mesh gutter guards are expensive, but they’re also one of the most effective means of protecting the gutter. The base of the micro-mesh is a fine screen, which is then overlaid with a wire mesh. The mesh deflects larger debris, while the fine mesh catches smaller bits and protects against just about everything except fine pollen. They’re expensive, averaging $9 per linear foot to install, though the price can vary. There are some plastic versions of this type of guard that cost less, but plastic guards don’t last as long as the average 12-year lifespan of metal micro-mesh.
Most people might not think of foam when they consider gutter guards, but it’s an effective and affordable option. Costing between $2 and $3.25 per linear foot, these polyurethane foam pieces fit snugly inside the gutter, filling the space and preventing debris from settling in while allowing water to flow through the foam cells. The primary drawback is deterioration: While foam inserts can last as long as 10 years, the polyurethane will deteriorate more quickly in sunny or very wet conditions and can develop fungus or mold. In addition, there’s an environmental cost: Microplastics from the breakdown of the polyurethane can leach into the water flowing through the foam and enter the groundwater stream over time.
Made from PVC, plastic screen gutter guards are the least expensive option at $0.40 to $1 per linear foot. These guards arrive on a roll that is similar to the gutter width and can be cut to length and tucked into place, so they’re an easy DIY project. They filter large leaves and pine needles, but anything smaller will easily make its way through. In addition, the lightweight nature of the plastic and the absence of clips or attachments mean the screen can easily detach and blow away. They’ll last between 3 and 6 years, but for homeowners who need a basic gutter guard quickly and at a low cost, they can be a great option.
Vinyl screens fall into the same cost category as plastic, with the caveat that vinyl may last a bit longer. Sold in lengths of 3 to 4 feet, vinyl screens install with no fasteners (which means they’re not actually attached) and keep out only larger items such as leaves and sticks. They also last between 3 and 6 years. Vinyl gutter guards cost between $1 and $4 per linear foot, including installation.
This type of guard is lightweight but sturdy perforated aluminum sheeting. It can be attached with clips or bent to fit inside the gutter and prevents most debris from getting in. It’s easy to install and will not rust, and it has a lifespan of 10 to 20 years. One drawback is that the sheeting is tricky to remove, which may be a problem when small seeds slip through the perforations and build up. Costing only $0.50 to $1.50 per linear foot to install, though, it’s an economical option.
Using a concept similar to foam inserts, brush gutter guards block large debris by filling the gutter space with a bristly round brush held together at the center by a metal wire. Water easily permeates, but leaves and debris either blow off or are caught in the bristles and blow away once dry. Brush gutter guards are easy for homeowners to install and won’t mold or disintegrate. Smaller items may make it through the bristles to the bottom of the gutter, but the brushes are easily removed for a quick cleanout from time to time. Brush guards cost between $3 and $4.25 per linear foot.
Surface Tension Gutter Helmets
These guards count on the surface tension of a sheet of metal curved over the open gutter to direct water into the gutter and slide debris over a small opening at the edge. These are made of smooth, solid metal sheeting, so the water glazes the surface and runs through the gap between the edge of the metal and the gutter, while debris glides past. They need to be cleared of small debris occasionally and may not work on some roof types. In addition, during a heavy rain the tension may be disrupted and water may skate right off the edge of the roof, bypassing the gutter entirely. Surface tension helmets cost between $3.50 and $6.50 per linear foot.
Benefits of Gutter Guards
Why does a house need gutter guards? After all, some homeowners may think it’s not that difficult or expensive to clean out the gutters a few times a year. In some cases, that may be true: A single-story home in an area where there aren’t a lot of trees may have gutters that are simple to maintain, so the expense of installing gutter guards may not be worthwhile. It’s good to remember, though, that every time a homeowner who isn’t experienced climbs up a ladder—especially to a high second-story roof—there’s a significant fall hazard. In addition to reducing the need to climb, there are other benefits that make the cost for gutter guards worth it.
Animal and Insect Prevention
The thin layer of sludge that gathers in the bottom of even reasonably clean gutters—composed of dirt, tiny bits of decomposing leaves, seeds, and other fine debris—is a haven for insects, wildlife, and bacteria. Insects burrow through, looking for food and nesting areas, and may then move from the gutter to the siding and into the walls of the home. Because homeowners can’t see into the gutters from the ground, it can be difficult to detect the infestation until there are signs indoors, and by then it’s much too late. The debris in gutters also provides cozy nesting spots for birds, chipmunks, squirrels, and other small animals, who are also attracted by the insects and seeds in the sludge. Adding guards reduces the collection of debris, making the gutters far less attractive to visitors and reducing the number of unwanted entry points into the home.
Reduced Fire Risk
When debris collects in a gutter and dries, it essentially becomes tinder. If there’s a wildfire, house fire, or even a backyard fire pit nearby, a floating ember can ignite the dried vegetation in the gutter, potentially causing the house and roof to catch fire. There’s a good chance that many people have more dried material in their gutters than they may think. The cost of installing gutter guards is small compared to the cost of repairing fire damage.
Improved Water Flow
Leaves, pine needles, branches, and other windblown debris can catch on the edge of gutters, often in the crease where the gutter attaches to the house. Water running down the roof has to travel around these obstacles, sometimes then missing the gutter entirely and spattering off the roof. The debris eventually gives way and lands in the gutter, where it creates a small dam; the water then pools in the gutter until it’s high enough to run over the top of the debris pile. After the rain has stopped, the pooled water can become a breeding ground for mosquitoes and other insects and develop mildew. Pooled water that freezes can lead to ice dams and may cause metal or vinyl gutters to burst, forcing the homeowner to replace them. Clear gutters let the water flow smoothly down the slight incline of a properly installed gutter, down the downspout, and away from the home.
Rust and Corrosion Prevention
Pooling water in gutters can cause other problems, too. Metal gutters (even those not prone to water damage) can develop rust, especially at the seams and other connections where the coating on the metal may not be intact. This can lead to unsightly staining and weaken the gutter, ultimately shortening its lifespan. Additionally, acids in rainwater can cause corrosion on the exterior of gutters when they overfill due to blockage and water drips down the front. Keeping gutters free of blockages will prevent pooling and reduce the likelihood of rust and corrosion, extending the time before the gutters need to be replaced.
Easier Gutter Maintenance
Cleaning out the gutters may be something many homeowners can do, but they may prefer to avoid it if there’s another option. And while it’s easy and pretty inexpensive to hire someone else to do the work, the guards will pay for themselves after just a year or two of skipping that expense. For those with complicated roof lines or tough-to-access gutters, the onetime cost of installing guards may actually remove a significant cost from the annual budget, as paying for maintenance on those gutters isn’t cheap. While most gutter guards do need an occasional cleanout or rinse, maintaining them is far easier than maintaining open gutters.
Gutter Guard Installation: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional
There are some types of gutter guards that are DIY-friendly: Many of the plastic and vinyl styles are easy to pop in, and foam and brush styles don’t require much effort other than making sure the size is correct. Those are true when the homeowner can reach the gutter to install the guard from the ground or on a short, sturdy ladder. As soon as a taller ladder or an extension ladder is needed to reach the installation location, though, it’s time to call in help from a professional. Why? The homeowner may be perfectly capable of climbing the ladder and comfortable doing so, but installing a gutter guard means climbing that ladder with only one hand, or with materials tucked under the chin or arm, or with some kind of bag weighing on an arm or back. Once at the top of the ladder, the homeowner will have to maneuver unwieldy materials and tools at odd angles while maintaining balance. It’s simply too dangerous. Professional installers are generally more comfortable on the ladder: They have knowledge and experience in handling the materials, and they know exactly where to place the ladder and how to secure it. They also know when the gutter is too high or far for a ladder to reach and can choose a lift or scaffolding instead. Finally, they can hook up safety harnesses with security lines that kick in if they make a wrong move, saving them from a life-threatening injury.
Some types of guards, such as micro-mesh, surface tension, and some metal screen options, are not DIY-friendly, because the installation requires experience and specialized skills or tools. Even guards that can be self-installed require tools that most homeowners don’t already own. There may be a pair of tin snips in the shed, but for some types of guard, a grinder and saw with metal-cutting blades are necessary. For gutters above the first story, an extension ladder or lift rental may be required (along with time necessary to read the instructions), and the purchase or rental of safety equipment is also essential. All of these expenses may offset the $9 per linear foot homeowners will save in doing the job themselves rather than hiring a professional.
Finally, it is worth noting that installing gutter guards improperly may void the warranty on existing gutters and the roof. That’s an expensive risk to take, especially with a newer roof. Professionals should be insured against any errors they make during installation or damage that is caused, which takes the pressure off the homeowner.
How to Save Money on Gutter Guard Cost
Installing gutter guards can actually save homeowners money in the long run by extending the life of the gutters and the roof and reducing costly maintenance. The cost of installation is significant enough, though, that careful consideration in selecting the right style is advised. Fortunately, there are several ways to reduce the cost and save a little extra money.
- Consult with an expert on which types of gutter guard are appropriate for the home and budget.
- Consider the lifespan of the guards and balance it against the cost: In some cases, spending a little more now for a longer-lasting material may pay off down the road.
- Request quotes from at least four contractors. Because contractors may use different installation methods and equipment, estimates on the same project can vary widely.
- Consider the season in which the gutter guards are installed. Depending on the geographical location, there will be times of the year when installers are less busy and more likely to reduce their charges. Scheduling at a time other than at the height of the busy season may garner a discount.
Questions to Ask About Gutter Guard Installation
There are important questions for homeowners to make of any contractor before hiring them: Licensing, insurance, and references are all key points to ask about. Because gutter guard installation usually involves tall ladders and heights, it’s particularly important to ask about insurance; it’s critical for homeowners to see proof that every worker on the property is covered by the company’s insurance policy so that any injuries that happen to occur on their property do not leave the homeowner open to a liability lawsuit. Some other questions to consider:
- What type of gutter guard is most appropriate for my home? Why?
- Are my gutters in good shape? Will they need to be replaced before the gutter guards?
- How much maintenance does that type of guard require, and how much will that cost?
- What level of experience do your employees have installing this particular type of guard?
- Will the installation require equipment rental?
- How will you work around the landscaping when you do the installation?
- Do you offer guarantees or warranties on the products you install?
There are many aspects for homeowners to consider when investigating whether gutter guards are a good option for their home and which style to choose. The process can be a little overwhelming, but learning about the various options can prevent surprises or regrets. To start, the following are some of the most commonly asked questions about gutter guard installation and their answers.
Q. What are the disadvantages of gutter guards?
There are several. If the existing gutters aren’t strong, adding the weight of guards can cause the gutters to sag. Also, while the guards aren’t generally visible, they can dent or bend, which can be unsightly. The greatest disadvantage is that while the guards reduce maintenance overall, they still need to be cleaned periodically—small debris will find a way in and will need to be cleared out—which, depending on the style of the guards, may require them to be removed and then replaced after cleaning is complete.
Q. How long do gutter guards last?
The answer to this question depends on the type of guard and the local weather. A foam guard in a hot, sunny location can last as briefly as 2 years or as many as 10 in a more temperate area. Plastic guards last between 3 and 6 years, and metal mesh and micro-mesh guards range from 4 to 11 years. Aluminum perforated guards and surface tension helmets are the longest-lasting options, with a lifespan of 10 to 20 years with appropriate maintenance.
Q. Do gutter guards increase home value?
Existing gutter guards doesn’t necessarily add dollar value to the home, although for buyers who have spent years cleaning their own gutters, they could. If the home has complex roof lines, homeowners might benefit from including the gutter guards in the listing as a feature that reduces maintenance costs—the cost of gutters with leaf guards would be a big expenditure for a new homeowner, so knowing they’re already installed may be appealing to a potential buyer. The real value is that the guards may preserve the structure of the home; because they protect against insect infestation, ice dams, and water damage, the home will be in better condition when it comes time to sell it than it might be otherwise—there will be less need to disclose adverse events that would otherwise have occurred as a result of clogged gutters or standing water.
Q. Should I remove gutter guards in winter?
This isn’t generally recommended or necessary. While there are some horror stories about ice dams forming on gutter guards, it’s usually indicative of a poor installation, poor maintenance, or a problem with attic ventilation and means the ice dam would have formed regardless of whether or not the guard was installed. In general, gutter guards continue to protect the roof and siding during the winter; ice and snow will fall, but then they will melt and run through the guards into beautifully clean gutters to drain to the ground. In some areas with very heavy winters, heated tape can be installed on the guards to reduce the chance of any problems. The most important pre-winter check is to make sure the guards are installed correctly and tightly (especially with unattached guards that may be damaged by wind if not secured) and that any necessary cleanout has occurred.
Q. What is the difference between LeafGuard and gutter guard?
“Gutter guard” is a generic term that refers to any product installed on a gutter to prevent debris from entering the water flow and creating clogs. The term includes a wide range of types, styles, and materials, from very simple and inexpensive options to custom products that require special installation.
LeafGuard is a brand name. The company specializes in one type of gutter guard—surface tension helmets—and, because of this singular focus, manufactures a very high-quality product. LeafGuards are seamless and made of heavier material than some other products, and the company prides itself on its quality guards and expert installation.
Q. Does LeafGuard work in heavy rain?
Yes. Sometimes surface tension gutter helmets can struggle with heavy downpours; the rush of water flowing down the roof can break up the surface tension that’s needed to allow the water to curl over the edge of the guard and enter the gutter. LeafGuard has worked intensely to solve this problem with its branded product and has succeeded: LeafGuard gutter guards have been tested to function correctly in deluges up to 32 inches per hour—which is three times more rain than has ever fallen in an hour in the United States.