Category Archives: Do It Yourself

Gutter Guard Installation Cost 2017-2018: Are Gutter Guards Worth It?

Gutter guards (aka leaf covers for gutters) are an attractive idea to homeowners whose homes are surrounded by large trees. Plenty of marketing dollars go into promoting gutter guards, but are they really worth the money?

In this guide, we cover the cost to install gutter leaf guards, their pros and cons, and alternative approaches — all in an effort to help you decide whether or not gutter guards make sense for your home.

Right off the bat: Gutter guards will not completely eliminate the need for gutter cleaning.

You should know a couple realities from the start: Gutter covers WILL reduce the frequency of gutter cleaning, but they WON’T completely eliminate it.

Depending on how many trees are in your landscape or backyard surrounding your property, expect to clean your gutters about one-third to one-half as often as you did before.

It’s impossible to keep fine tree debris out of the gutters. The debris will build up over time. Seeds might sprout, and you’ll have significant clog issues if you don’t clean the gutters.

Did you know? When your gutters eventually need to be cleaned, the job will be more difficult and time-consuming because you’ll have to clean the gutter guards and the gutters.

Depending on the type of guards you install, removing them before cleaning the gutters might be a necessary extra step in the process.

Three Gutter Guard Installation Options

You’ve got three options for gutter guard installation:

DIY installation: You buy the product at your local Wall Mart, Lowe’s, or Home Depot and install it yourself ($-$$)

Pro installation of the product you buy or select: You hire a handyman service or gutter guard company to install the product of your choice ($$-$$$)

Pro installation of a proprietary product: You hire a company to install its own brand of gutter guards ($$$-$$$$)

How Much Do Gutter Guards Cost?

The features of the gutter cover types are listed below. First, here’s what you can expect to pay based on the three options for gutter guard installation we just listed. All costs are in linear feet:

Material Costs:

  • Plastic screen gutter guard: $.20-$.40 (20-40 cents)
  • Aluminum perforated gutter covers: $.50-$1.25
  • Steel screen gutter guard: $1.50-$3.00
  • Foam gutter guard: $2.00-$3.25
  • Micro-mesh steel gutter guard: $2.25-$4.00
  • Brush gutter guard: $3.15-$4.25
  • Solid-surface gutter guard (helmets): $3.50-$6.25

Professional installation cost when you purchase the materials: $1.85-$3.75

Full-service professional installation — materials supplied and installed by a gutter guard company: $7.50-$12.00

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Vinyl Siding Cost vs. Fiber Cement & LP SmartSide 2017-2018

You have just spotted the first telltale signs of peeling paint from your house’s wood siding. It won’t be long now until the dreaded house painting becomes a must-do. Unless, 2017-2018 is the year you finally re-skin the house in vinyl siding.

Vinyl siding – actually polyvinyl chloride plastic resin that is heated and extruded into sheets – has only been around for about 50 years and was developed as a cheaper alternative to metal siding back in the 1950s. Its reputation for “cheap” was honestly earned as plasticized siding was susceptible to cracking and sagging. Colors were limited and those colors faded. Even well-cared for vinyl siding looked like… well… vinyl siding.

But in recent years, the two most important components of vinyl siding – the quality of materials and the expertise of installation — have made giant leaps forward.

Today about one-third of new American homes are built with maintenance-free (almost) vinyl installed as cladding.

Vinyl has been rated in various surveys to last anywhere from 60 to 100 years so this will likely be the last investment you make in your house’s siding.

What to Expect in Terms of Costs

So how much will it cost to cast those paint brushes aside and put new vinyl siding on your house?

vinyl siding on a cape style home Vinyl Siding on a Cape Cod style home installed by Siding & Windows Group

The short answer is anywhere from $3.50 to $7.50 per square foot installed, or around $350 to $750 per square (100 square feet) installed, on average. This can translate to a total cost of $7,000 to $15,000 for an average two-story house.

In a remodeling contractor survey done by Hanley Wood, the mid-range vinyl siding installation cost for a typical home (1,250 sq. ft. of siding installed) in the US was between $11,093 and $14,518 according to the Hanley Wood Remodeling Costs report for 2017. The survey reports an average cost-to-value return of about 76% for a new vinyl siding job.

That being said, your total cost for a new vinyl siding job will depend on a couple of factors; primarily the grade of materials (low-end, mid-range, or high-end), the quality of installation, and of course your home’s geographic location, accessibility, level of difficulty, etc. Let’s explore this further:

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Top 10 Causes of Roof Leaks – How to Find and Fix Common Roof Leaks

They are the two most dreaded words in a homeowner’s vocabulary: a leaky roof. Water is the most insidious foe, eager to penetrate your home covering’s most vulnerable defenses. And once inside, the damage and destruction may be taking place far from the point of the initial attack, making the initial source of a roof leak difficult to identify.

handywoman on the roof The best homeowner defense is vigilance and fast action. Maybe a new roof is in the near future and it seems like a folly to bother with a leak. But even a small, out-of-the-way drip in a house that seems like nothing more than an inconvenience is a major repair bill waiting to happen!

Did you know? Roof leaks can ruin insulation, become a breeding ground for black mold, damage interior ceilings and walls, and rot the wooden framing.

So let’s look at the ten of the most common culprits in causing your roof to leak and what you can – and should – do about them (other than recruiting a bucket brigade):

1. Villain: Age

an-old-asphalt-roof Source: Accent Roofing

Roofing materials, especially asphalt shingles, get old and tired. Expansion and contraction with the change in temperatures cause aging roof protection to turn brittle and eventually crack. Years of harsh rays from direct sunlight can melt the tar that holds composition shingles together. Father Time has not lost a battle yet and when roofing materials run up against their life expectancy, it will be time to budget for a new roof at the first sign of a leak.

Install Roof Shingles

$7,500
Average price
Install Metal Roof

$14,500
Average price
Install Flat Roof

$8,225
Average price

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2. Villain: Brick Chimneys

leaking-chimney Source: Roof.net

Have you ever seen house ruins from 200 years ago? The chimney is often the only thing standing. While brick chimneys may seem indestructible, the mortar that binds the bricks together is nothing more than a hard-working mixture of water, sand and cement. Exposed to the weather elements, it can erode and crumble over time. Check the mud cap on top of the chimney for deterioration and inspect the mortared joints where the chimney enters the roof. If patches are required, it is a cheap and quick fix.

3. Villain: Flashing

chimney-flashing Source: Runyon and Sons Roofing

Speaking of chimneys, compromised flashing is a common problem on a roof. Flashing are thin strips of metal installed at danger points for leaks around a roof. For a chimney, they are bent at a 90-degree angle to attach to both the roofing material and the brick chimney.

Flashing needs to be properly sealed to protect against water intrusion. It also needs to remain nailed in place and even if that is all squared away, the metal can rust or crack.

Expect the cost of replacing old flashing to run a few hundred dollars, depending on job size and desired material. Although it may be tempting to marshal the forces of caulking and roof cement in the battle against faulty flashing, this is only a temporary solution best reserved if you know the roof will soon be replaced.

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