01 Dec Is Gutter Guard worth the cost?
Is Gutter Guard worth the cost?
Previously we examined the many types of gutter guards available on the market as well as looking where they really work or not. One area we have not fully examined is whether installing a gutter guard is worth the cost; both in monetary value and time…
If you have ever had to climb a ladder and empty out the gunk that is clogging up your gutter, you will know what a nasty chore this can be – and chances are not one you want to be repeating any time soon!
That’s why installing a gutter guard is a popular option for many homeowners. Designed to filter out the crud and debris, it can drastically reduce the amount of time you have to spend emptying out the contents of your gutter… which can only be a good thing.
That’s not to say you will never have to don the gloves and get your hands dirty again – the sheer amount of debris your gutter is exposed to means that some dirt and debris will still work its way through the guard and will need to be cleaned. The amount of times you have to climb up to your roof and do it though will be far, far less.
By virtue of having to climb up the ladder less times, you’re not only saving considerable amount of time (just imagine what you could spend that Saturday afternoon doing instead) but also reduce the risk of climbing a ladder. That might seem like a small risk, but a 2015 report from the NSW Institute of Trauma and Injury Management (ITIM) revealed that in a four year period between 2010 and 2014, there were 8,496 hospital admissions and 51 deaths in New South Wales alone from people falling off a ladder. (https://www.aci.health.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/289630/Report_-_Ladder_injuires_in_NSW,_Nov_2015.pdf)
Another area typically overlooked when it comes to the benefits of installing a gutter guard is the preventative role they play when it comes to bushfires. In fact, there is now a set requirement expected from constructors’ when building a property in a bushfire prone area. The Australian Standard AS3959 building regulation now requires all homes built in such an area to have an ember guard installed. (http://www.as3959.com.au/)
These non-combustible guards are slightly different to a traditional gutter guard, with their sole purpose designed to prevent burning embers from entering the building. Embers are the prime source of property destruction in bushfires, with the 2010 County Fire Authority report showing that 85% of homes were destroyed by a blaze started by an ember attack. (From this report https://bluemountainmesh.com.au/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2018/10/EMBER-ATTACK-PROTECTION-Gutter-Mesh-Information-Guide.pdf which originally links to here but it is no longer live https://www.cfa.vic.gov.au/fm_files/attachments/plan_and_prepare/bushfire_home_retrofit.pdf)
If you are not residing in a bushfire-prone area, then a gutter guard can still work to protect your property from unnecessary damage that can be a safety risk to you and your family. Without proper protection, or adequate cleaning, a gutter will become clogged which will lead to a backlog of water. In turn, this can cause a growth of harmful mould which can cause respiratory problems; particularly in the young and elderly.
Not only that, but a significant build-up of water from a clogged gutter can also cause significant damage to your property itself. From cracks in walls to damaged foundations; these can all eventually cause the house to become uninhabitable.
Not so much a safety benefit, but if you’ve ever had a rodent, bird or some kind of vermin build a nest in your home then you know just how crazy it can drive you! A properly installed and well-fitting gutter guard can stop pests from setting up camp in your gutters. An unguarded gutter can act as a feeding trough for local vermin, which will eventually lead them to finding a way into the property to build a nest in your nice and warm attic…
One of the biggest reasons many people put off installing a gutter guard, or attempt to install the system themselves, is due to cost. Depending on which solution you choose to install a full gutter guard solution to a standard sized family home can cost anywhere between $400 and $4,000+.
Whilst this is certainly a large expense to outlay, it can save you money in the long run. Of course, if you hire a contractor or handyman to come and clean your gutters once or twice a year then that is a cost that will either completely disappear or significantly reduce. However, the biggest cost factor comes from the preventative measures gutter guards help with.
As previously mentioned, a backlog of water can cause significant structural damage which is incredibly expensive to repair. Whether it’s a flooded basement, rotting wood, damaged interiors or mould – they are not simple fixes and will require the input of a skilled (and expensive) expert. These repairs can lead into the thousands, if not tens of thousands should your foundations need repairing; making that small investment for gutter guards seem very worthwhile!
Do you have home insurance? How closely have you read the small print? Many people do not realise but most insurance companies will not cover you on damage caused by clogged gutters. That’s because home insurance companies do not want to cover you for damage that could have been prevented by simple maintenance.
So as you can see, the question as to whether a gutter guard is a worthwhile investment is not such a straightforward one. There are many factors to consider beyond the initial cost factor and in the long run, a small cost now can save a lot of time and money in the long run.