Gutter Protection vs. Gutter Cleaning – Cost Analysis
OUTDOOR | ROOFING
Important Author’s Note Update: Since this column was written, I have 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.
Cost Analysis for Gutter Protection
Have you priced the cost of gutter covers on your house? They are very expensive, especially if you pay to have them installed. I have priced gutter screens in my area. They seem to run anywhere from $6 to $7.50 per lineal foot installed. An average house may have 200 feet of gutter. Some houses have even more. Let's do a series of calculations to see if gutter guards make economic sense for you.
Gutter Guards, CD's or Stock.......
Let's say it is going to cost $1,500 (200 feet at +/- $7 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 once every 2 years. This is important for the sake of our calculations.
What do you think a roofer will charge to clean your gutters? 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 $75. Odds are you will have this done two times a year. This means that the annual cost to clean gutters without gutter guards is $150.
If you have gutter covers that can be easily removed, you will probably spend $100 to have your gutter rinsed every 2 years. This represents an annual cost of $50.
What happens if you don't get gutter screens and invest your $1,500 in a Certificate of Deposit or in the stock market? Right now you can easily get 5 percent on your money. At the end of the first year, you will have earned $75 in interest. If you invest in a decent stock mutual fund, you might easily get a 10 percent return. This means you would be ahead $150 at the end of a year. For sake of our discussion we will forget about taxes and inflation.
The Numbers Don't Lie
If you purchase gutter protection, you have to spend $1,500 plus another $500 over ten years ($50 x 10). This means at the end of ten years you are out of pocket $2,000.
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 10 years you will still have $750! This assumes that you just kept your original $1,500 in the 5% CD. Each year, you got $75. You had to then fund the other gutter cleaning with $75 each year. This means you spent $750 over ten years. Deduct this $750 from the $1,500 in the bank to get the balance I mentioned.
If you are lucky in the stock market, you will either break even or possibly be ahead! Our stock mutual fund was supposed to spin off $150 per year. This would pay for the gutter cleaning cost per year. If you make more than 10% on your investment you will actually make money.
This principle is what makes leasing a car a better investment as well. Why not leave your cash in an investment? The interest spinning from your investment will help to make the lease payments.
I think you should call and get gutter cleaning estimates before you buy gutter protection. Run the numbers and see if it doesn't make better sense to hold onto your money....