Gutter guards are a valuable addition to any home, but the installation can be handled as either DIY or Pro. Each year, thousands of homeowners have to ask themselves, “Can I do this job myself or should I pay for installation?” The answer depends largely on your own skills and comfort level with working on the edge of the roof. Any time you’re up and off the ground while working, the difficulty level and risk go up dramatically. Here’s how to make the call between hiring pro installers or trying to tackle installation as a DIY project.
First, consider your own physical strength. You’ll need to carry materials up a ladder, potentially cut them to fit, and install them while holding a power drill at roof height. Do you already have a ladder? Installing DIY gutter guards will require acquiring and climbing a ladder at least two feet taller than your roof’s edge.
Can you use a drill? Do you already own one, or would you need to purchase or rent one just for the installation? This project requires the use of a drill while atop a ladder, a skill that can be tricky to balance all at once.
Do you have sharp tin snips capable of cutting metal? When the precut length of the gutter guard material is too long for your particular gutters, you may have to use tin snips to cut off a couple of inches of metal. Additionally, the installation process requires the use of tin snips and precise cutting of the metal rails for end caps. All the measurements must be taken accurately while on the ladder to ensure a good fit. But don’t worry, all the metal cutting can be done on the ground.
Homeowners that can DIY other projects may still want to pass on this particular installation. If you have a home that’s more than one story tall or don’t like heights, you may want to call in assistance. Did you install the gutters originally? In that case, you may have the skills. But if you usually hire contractors for exterior home projects instead, it’s probably a safer bet to choose the professionals. Consumers’ biggest issue with gutter guards in general is installing the product incorrectly and not seeing the results as promised. By going with a pro that has experience in proper installation and knows when something’s wrong at a glance, you’ll find your new guards working correctly from the start. Some gutter guard products are also only available to the pros due to their installation requirements.
Look at your roof with a critical eye as well. If it’s a second-story home or more, you’re unlikely to want to climb to the height you’ll need to reach the gutters. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to avoid climbing or walking on a roof that is particularly steep or slippery. Not all roofs are easily accessible.
Finally, don’t try to get comfortable using power tools like drills when also balancing on a tall ladder. Speaking of ladders, you’ll need more than a basic A-frame fiberglass model. In order to safely access the roof without risking damage to the gutters, shingles, or fascia boards, you’ll need a standoff ladder.
This ladder is framed to hold the equipment off of the roof’s edge without causing damage. Unless you have this kind of ladder and already feel comfortable using it, you’re likely best leaving the installation to the professionals.