Gutter Protection

Gutters are a no-brainer for most homes—which is why we've been doing a lot of research on the outdoor pipes here at Better Farm. We're pretty excited about galvalume gutters, but the price tag for replacing existing systems vs. enhancing what you have is enough to give pause to anyone intent on keeping the water out of his or her basement (and maybe into his or her rain catchment system?).

This is mostly a money-crunching issue. The cost effectiveness of cleaning your gutters out as opposed to buying a system promising to remove the need for gutter maintenance varies from home to home. Here's a great calculator designed to help you decide what's most appropriate for your needs.

Gutter protection is a big consideration when choosing a system for your house. For one thing, without protection you're looking at hefty bi-yearly bills for gutter cleaning, replacement, and general upkeep. Mold, mildew, fungus, fires, ice, standing water, mosquitoes, clogs, and leaves all count as your enemy when working with gutters—careful planning is in order. What's cheapest up-front isn't always the best long-term decision; and things like location and climate can make all the difference in the world.

Whether you're replacing an old system, adding fresh to a gutterless house (as we are), or tacking a gutter protection system to what you've already got, it's important to do your research.

While you're shopping around and searching for price comparisons and product reviews, there are a few things to look out for:
  • Gutters and gutter protection that are fire-resistant and flame-retardant
  • Systems that are mold-, mildew-, and fungus-free
  • Filter and guards that encourage fast-flowing water to reduce ice and its inherent damage (and mosquitoes!)
  • Systems that won't steal the show from your home—gutters should blend!
  • Easy or low-cost installation
  • Warranties—some of the best systems and gutter protectors we found have up to 10-year warranties
  • Systems that will work with rain catchment systems (water your lawn with a clear conscience next summer!)
  • Rust- and corrosion-free systems
We'd love to hear your thoughts on the issue as we stew over what system to get on Better Farm next year!

Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.