Gutters are one of the most important features of the home. Although gutters are less visible than a roof, they are no less important.
Choosing the right type of gutter will prevent damage to all parts of the house, including the roof, siding, and interior structure.
There are many types of gutters available and choosing the right one for your home may be overwhelming.
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How Much Do Gutters Cost?
On average, homeowners across the US report spending $850 – 1,165 on 100 sq.ft. on seamless gutters. This is equivalent to $10-12 per square foot installed, including professional labor and materials.
How much you spend on gutters will greatly depend on the gutter material you select. Zinc and copper are the most expensive gutter options, while vinyl gutters are the cheapest.
|Gutter Material||Average Cost per Linear Foot|
|Aluminum||$6 – $12|
|Copper||$25 – $40 +|
|Zinc||$25 – $35|
|Wood||$20 – $30|
Gutters are constructed in two main styles: seamless gutters and sectional gutters. Sectional gutters are made from multiple pieces of gutter that are joined together, whereas seamless gutters are made from a single piece of gutter that fits perfectly onto your roof.
|Gutter Type||Gutter Cost|
|Sectional Gutters||$4 – $9|
|Seamless Gutters||$6 – $14|
Sectional gutters are the more affordable gutter construction, costing between $4 and $9 per linear foot on average.
Sectional gutters are most commonly offered in five foot long, ten foot long, fifteen foot long, and twenty foot long sections. Most commonly, homeowners use ten foot long pieces of sectional gutter.
The area where sectional gutters are joined together is a weak point. While the pieces of the sectional gutter are joined together and caulked to prevent leaks, issues with leakage are still very common at the area where the sectional gutters are joined together.
Because of this, sectional gutters have a shorter lifespan than seamless gutters which do not have this weak point.
Seamless gutters are a more expensive option, costing an average of $6 to $14 per linear foot. The higher cost pays off, though, in terms of quality.
When installing seamless gutters, the gutter is cut on-site to fit perfectly into your roof. This eliminates the weak sections where multiple smaller pieces of gutter are joined together in sectional gutters.
Because of this, seamless gutters experience many fewer leaks and have less issues associated with water damage.
Gutters are primarily available in five and six inch sizes, although there are specialty sizes available.
The size of the gutter will play a role in determining how much water it can hold and its overall importance, so it is important to choose the right gutter size for your home.
Your contractor will be able to guide you through the process of picking the right gutter size, as they are familiar with the proper gutter size for your region and climate.
Five Inch Gutter
Five inch gutters are one of the standard gutter sizes. Five inch gutters are most commonly used in K-style gutters.
For homes that receive low to moderate levels of rainfall, a five inch gutter system will be sufficient to capture the rainflow from the roof without overflow.
Six Inch Gutter
Six inch gutters are the other standard gutter size. Six inch gutters are most commonly found in U-shaped gutters, also known as half-round gutters.
Six inch gutters are well-suited for regions that experience moderate to high levels of rainfall. With a wider size, the gutters can hold more rainfall and prevent damage and overflow.
Specialty Size Gutters
You may find yourself wanting a gutter size other than the standard five or six inch gutters. Reasons may include if you own a commercial building that experiences more runoff than a standard home, or if you live in a region that experiences frequent flash storms and standard gutter sizes are not sufficient.
Four inch gutters are available, as well as seven inches or more. These gutter sizes will be somewhat more difficult to purchase than standard size gutters, but it is still doable.
Non-standard size gutters will cost more than standard size gutters.
There are three most commonly found gutter shapes: K-shaped, U-shaped, and box gutters. In addition, there are several other gutter shapes which homeowners or businesses may choose.
Each gutter shape has its own advantages and disadvantages.
K-shaped gutters are the most common gutter type. K-shaped gutters have several advantages that make them the preferred gutter type for buyers.
First, K-shaped gutters are able to hold more water than other gutter types like U-shaped gutters. This is especially beneficial if you live in a region that frequently experiences heavy rainfall.
Another advantage of K-shaped gutters is that they are widely available in a variety of materials, colors, and constructions.
You can be assured that if you choose to purchase K-shaped gutters, you will be able to find it in the right style for your home.
K-shaped gutters are also aesthetically appealing. The look of K-shaped gutters mimics the appearance of a crown molding, which is an attractive home feature.
U-shaped gutters, also known as half-round gutters, are another popular gutter choice, although less widespread than K-shaped gutters.
Half-round gutters have a more traditional appearance and are a preferred choice for older homes that want to maintain an old-style charm.
Half-round gutters are the preferred style for copper gutters because their appearance fits well with the aesthetic of copper gutters.
If you decide to purchase U-shaped gutters, you will need to choose between several styles, including double bead, single bead, and reverse bead.
Box gutters are the preferred gutter style for commercial use. This type of gutter is large and utilitarian, allowing it to hold much more rainwater than other gutter types.
This is critical for large commercial buildings as the roof has a larger surface area from which water will run.
Because box gutters need to hold large quantities of water, this style is generally found in the more hearty gutter materials such as steel or galvalume.
Box gutters are more widely available in larger sizes than other gutter types, such as seven inches or more.
Old Gothic Gutters
Old gothic gutters, also known as Victorian ogee gutters, are commonly installed on older homes seeking a decorative gutter profile. Old gothic homes are styled after the cast-iron gutters popular in the nineteenth century, and can give your home an old-time charm.
Old gothic gutters are shallow, making them ill-suited for regions that experience heavy rainfall or for larger buildings.
You cannot purchase old gothic gutters off the shelf, so you will need to find a supplier or get them made to order.
Fascia gutters are installed in homes that do not have an existing fascia board, and they act as both a gutter system and the fascia board.
The fascia gutters will hide the edges of the rafter rails along the side of your home and prevent water or animals from entering.
Gutter Materials Options
One of the primary decisions you will need to make when purchasing a gutter system is what type of material to choose.
Gutters are available in a wide variety of materials, each with their own benefits and drawbacks.
Choosing the right one for your needs will ensure high performance and a long lifespan for your gutter.
Vinyl is the most affordable gutter material on the market, costing only $3 per linear foot and about $900 on average for the total gutter project.
Although vinyl gutters are inexpensive, they are generally considered low performance and should be avoided unless they are the only option possible financially.
Vinyl gutters have a very short lifespan, only lasting around ten or fifteen years. In comparison, aluminum gutters last about twice that long and copper gutters can last a century.
Vinyl gutters have such a short lifespan because they are very susceptible to water damage. Vinyl gutters have weak seams, so they tend to leak along those points.
Also, vinyl is structurally weak and cannot hold much water volume without sagging or other issues. Vinyl frequently warps in heat and becomes brittle in cold temperatures, making it not suitable for extreme climates.
In addition to affordability, there are some other features that make vinyl the right choice for some people.
Vinyl is very lightweight, which makes vinyl gutters very easy to install DIY. If you are looking to install gutters as a DIY project, you may want to consider installing vinyl gutters.
Another positive of vinyl is that it is low maintenance. It is not susceptible to rust like other options, and does not require painting or sealing.
Aluminum gutters are one of the most popular gutter types, and for good reason. Aluminum gutters have many advantages that make it an appealing choice for homeowners.
First, aluminum gutters are relatively affordable, costing only between $6 and $12 per linear foot.
In comparison, other gutter materials can cost as much as $40 per linear foot. Another benefit of aluminum is that it is rust resistant.
Unlike other metals which may rust when in contact with water, aluminum will not rust, making it well-suited for gutters.
In comparison to steel, aluminum is incredibly lightweight, and does not require any reinforcements to your roof. The light weight of aluminum prevents issues with sagging down the line.
One factor to keep in mind if you purchase aluminum gutters is that it may corrode with contact from other metals, so be sure to isolate the aluminum gutters from potentially corrosive materials.
Aluminum is somewhat less durable than other metal options such as copper or steel, which means it will likely need repairs or replacement earlier than some other gutter material choices.
Aluminum gutters have a lifespan of about twenty years.
Copper is the most durable and long lasting gutter material option, with a lifespan that can reach one hundred years if properly maintained.
In addition to its remarkable durability, copper is favored for its ease, as copper does not require painting or sealing and will not develop mold or rust.
Copper’s aesthetic charm makes it an appealing choice for buyers, especially those in older homes. Over time, copper develops a unique green patina which many homeowners find appealing.
One disadvantage of copper gutters is that like aluminum, copper is a very lightweight material and can be easily damaged by falling tree limbs or other debris.
In terms of costs, copper gutters are the most expensive option on the market. Expect to pay between $25 and $40 per linear foot for copper gutters.
Zinc is an appealing material for gutters because of its durability. Zinc gutters last about twice as long as aluminum gutters, making them a worthwhile investment for homes you intend to live in for years to come.
Zinc gutters cost around twice as much as aluminum gutters. Per linear foot, the cost of Zinc gutters ranges between $25 and $35+.
Like copper gutters, zinc gutters develop an appealing patina over time which elevates the aesthetic qualities of your home and can increase curb value.
Although some older homes still have wooden gutters, wood is not recommended by contractors for use on modern homes. Wood gutters are very high maintenance, requiring extensive regular care.
Wood is also very susceptible to water damage such as mold and mildew, making it an ill-suited material for gutters.
Another disadvantage of wooden gutters is that they are costly, ranging in price between $20 and $30 per linear foot.
Galvanized Steel Gutters
Galvanized steel is an affordable option, costing only $5 per linear foot. However, it is a heavy material, so roofs may need extra reinforcement to hold the weight of galvanized steel gutters.
Galvanized steel is popular, especially in commercial projects, because of its durability. The material is strong enough to withstand extensive water flow without incurring damage.
Like galvanized steel, galvalume is a heavy, durable metal gutter option. Galvalume is made by dipping steel into liquid zinc and aluminum, making it a strong material as well as rust resistant.
Because of its superior strength, galvalume gutters can last as much as twice as long as galvanized steel gutters.
Galvalume is a specialty type gutter material that may be difficult to find on the general market.
You may picture gutters as exclusively beige or white, but that is not always the case. Gutters can be found in a variety of colors, and be made to match your exact trim or siding color.
Neutral Gutter Colors
Gutters are generally available in three or four neutral colors: white, beige, grey, or black. Choosing these gutters will allow your gutter system to blend into the home and be unnoticeable from a distance. Neutral gutters are a good choice for those seeking a standard home appearance.
Neutral gutter colors are more readily available and also cheaper than other unique shades.
Unique Gutter Colors
Although neutral colored gutters are most common, it is possible to purchase gutters in almost any color you imagine.
Many homeowners who seek a more eye-catching look for their home choose to match their gutters with their trim colors, or the color of their doors. This choice turns gutters into something stylish rather than simply utilitarian.
One important aspect of gutters is how they are attached to your home. There are seven main types of gutter hangers that you can choose between.
Hidden Gutter Hangers
Hidden hangers are one of the most preferred methods of hanging gutters as the hanging mechanism cannot be seen. Hanging gutters are attached at the center of the gutter trough, making them entirely invisible from the ground.
Gutter Hangers Attached to Fascia Board
The most common method of hanging gutters is by attaching them to the fascia board of your home. This hanger type is suitable for both K-shaped and U-shaped gutters.
Gutter Hangers Attached to Sub-roof
Instead of hanging your gutters on the fascia board, you can also attach your gutters to the sub-roof itself.
The gutters are generally hung beneath the roofing, making it difficult to see. This method of hanging gutters is somewhat more complex than other hanging gutter mechanisms and should only be done by a professional with experience hanging gutters from the sub-roof.
Exposed Brackets and Straps
In this hanging method, a u-shaped strap runs beneath the gutter and attaches to the fascia board. This method does not penetrate the gutter and reduces the risk of corrosion.
It is important that this type of gutter hanger is properly installed as improper installation can lead to the gutter falling down during periods of heavy rain.
Spikes and Ferrules
In this method, ferrules are put through both sides of the gutter trough and then the gutter is secured to the fascia board with spikes.
This method is relatively straightforward, but it does increase the risk of gutter leaks and corrosion because it creates two holes in the gutter.
Wrap around hangers are almost exactly the same as exposed brackets and straps, except instead of using a u-shaped strap, wrap-around hangers use a t-strap.
T-Bar or T-Strap Hangers
T-bar gutters are hung from the center of the trough with a suspension system that eliminates the need for creating holes in the gutter trough.
Also, this method is fastened to the roof deck, so you do not need to make holes in the fascia board either.
How Long Do Gutters Last On A House?
You can expect seamless metal gutters (steel or aluminum) to last at least 20-30 years with proper maintenance. Vinyl gutters will most likely last half that time. Copper and zinc gutters can easily last 50+ years.