Numerous home improvement brands produce gutters that differ in material, style, and function. But inevitably one is best suited for your roof.
Knowing the advantages and disadvantages of each type will help you choose the best gutters for your home.
Why Gutters Are Important
Sure, gutters might not be the flashiest addition to your home and property. However, they’re crucial to protecting it (and your yard) from water damage.
Well, gutters line the roof’s lower edges.
As rain falls, it flows down the roof and directly into the gutters.
The rainwater then drains into the downspout, which leads it away from your home’s foundation and empties it at a safe distance.
Since no rainwater drenches your siding or foundation, you’ll avoid common water damage issues.
This means there won’t be any soil erosion around the foundation, as well as shifts and cracks in it.
Your basement won’t flood, leak, or develop mold and mildew. The same goes for your roof and siding.
And let’s not forget the wonders gutters do for your backyard.
Thanks to these handy rainwater channels, you can bid farewell to ditches throughout the yard, flooded garden beds, and pools of standing water.
Did you know? Gutters are important for most homes. But they become a critical addition to properties where the home’s architecture and exterior conditions cause water to drain toward its foundation instead of away from it. These include homes sitting at the bottom of a slope, featuring short roof overhangs, and surrounded by clay-rich soil.
How Much Do High-Quality Gutters Cost?
On average, you can expect to pay between $2,000 and $4,000 to install 200 linear feet of high-quality gutters.
This is on par with what most homeowners spend on gutter replacement, which is around $2,800 to $3,200.
Gutter Installation Cost Breakdown
There are two major factors to consider when calculating the total cost of a gutter installation – the cost of the gutters themselves and the labor needed to install them.
The first factor primarily depends on the materials used to construct the gutters.
In this regard, your gutter material costs can start at as low as $2 per linear foot and go up to $40 per linear foot.
When it comes to labor, the final cost will be determined by several factors, including the following:
- Your roof’s slope
- The gutters’ shape and style
- Your home’s size (including the number of floors)
- Your location
On average, you’ll need to budget around $3 to $9 per linear foot for labor.
Additional Gutter Installation Cost Factors
If you’re replacing your gutters instead of installing new ones, there’s another cost you should keep in mind – the removal of old gutters.
Luckily, this task won’t set you back too much, averaging around $150 in total.
For a new project, you might need to extend your downspouts to ensure they properly connect to your gutters.
This can cost you up to $20 per linear foot, depending on your chosen material.
The Pros And Cons Of Each Gutter Material
Material is one of the major considerations when choosing the best gutters for your home.
Gutters are manufactured in a wide variety of materials, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.
See how different gutter materials compare below.
|Gutter Material||Cost per Linear Foot||Labor Cost per Linear Foot||Total Cost for a 200-Linear-Foot Roof|
|Galvanized Steel Gutters||$5-$7||$3-$8||$1,600-$3,000|
Wood gutters are perfect for homeowners who consider lumber the gold standard in construction.
Though they fit historic homes the best, they can add character and charm to any home.
Their appearance is also their biggest advantage, as these gutters instantly make any exterior look more luxurious.
However, wood gutters are also challenging and expensive to maintain. If not maintained regularly, they won’t last long or do their job properly (if at all).
They’re also fairly costly, averaging $20 to $30 per linear foot.
Are you looking for a highly attractive gutter option that requires minimal input on your end?
Then zinc gutters are the ones for you.
These gutters become increasingly more attractive as the oxidation sets in, yet they don’t rust or form any cracks or scratches, and they resist all weather conditions and temperatures.
Best of all? You’ll have these attractive gutters for up to 80 years.
The only downside is that they require a professional installation and don’t mesh well with coastal homes and wooden roofs.
To install zinc gutters, you’ll have to set aside between $10 and $25 per linear foot.
Vinyl is arguably the favorite material for DIY-savvy homeowners due to how lightweight, easy to install, and inexpensive it is.
Vinyl gutters also check all of these boxes.
They come in an impressive variety of colors yet can also be painted if you can’t find an exact match.
You can install these affordable gutters for as low as $3 per square foot.
But don’t expect these gutters to last for decades.
At best, you’ll get up to 20 years out of them, provided you maintain them correctly and install them in a mild climate.
Aluminum is a fan favorite among gutter materials and for good reason.
Among other benefits, this material is affordable, lightweight, weatherproof, rust-resistant, available in numerous color options, and easy to maintain.
Did you know? Seamless aluminum gutters are the most popular choice for homeowners in the U.S.
But be mindful of its durability.
Though more durable than vinyl, aluminum is among the less durable gutter materials overall, averaging a 30-year lifespan.
If this lifespan is perfectly suitable for your needs, you can install aluminum gutters for $6 to $10 per linear foot.
Galvanized Steel Gutters
Thanks to a thin outer layer of zinc, galvanized steel gutters are rust-resistant.
They’re highly durable and perform well in wet climates and extreme weather conditions.
Plus, if you’re adamant about getting steel gutters, going the galvanized route is your most affordable option.
Keep in mind that these gutters are quite heavy and require welding during installation, so they aren’t exactly DIY-friendly.
You also won’t have many customization options in terms of appearance.
Installing galvanized steel gutters costs around $8 to $15 per linear foot.
Copper gutters are undoubtedly a premium choice, boasting mesmerizing aesthetics, impressive durability (up to 100 years!), and excellent weather resistance.
It shouldn’t be surprising that their price also reflects these qualities, so be ready to pay between $20 and $40 per linear foot for these gutters.
Their high cost is also their most significant disadvantage, followed by high maintenance and the need for professional installation.
The Pros And Cons Of Each Gutter Style
Besides different materials, gutters are also available in four primary styles.
Each of these styles can be installed with or without seams.
Learn more about the pros and cons of different gutter styles below.
|Gutter Style||Cost per Linear Foot||Labor Cost per Linear Foot||Total Cost for a 200-Linear-Foot Roof|
Seamed or sectional gutters are considered the “regular” type of gutters.
As their name suggests, they come in sections that are connected on-site, creating seams between each section.
They’re more affordable and easier to install, repair, and maintain. Many of these gutters are available at Home Depot
Unfortunately, they’re also easier to clog, as the seams can catch dirt and debris in no time. This results in poorer performance over time.
Installing seamed gutters usually costs between $5 and $10 per linear foot, depending on their material and shape.
Seamless gutters are precisely what they sound like – gutters that feature no seams.
To achieve this cohesive structure, these gutters are transported in one piece and cut to your roof’s exact specifications.
Since they have no seams, these gutters are much more efficient at protecting your home from water damage, as they’re 100% resistant to leaks.
But keep in mind that you’ll be severely limited in your choice of materials if you opt for seamless gutters.
Namely, they are typically only available in aluminum.
Plus, you’ll pay more for them than their seamed counterparts, around $9 to $25, to be exact.
K-style gutters are currently the most popular gutter style, dethroning their half-round counterparts.
They owe their popularity to a DIY-friendly installation, an aesthetically pleasing look (they resemble crown molding), and high-volume water capacity.
Their only downside is that they collect more debris, making them prone to clogs and more challenging to clean.
Of course, you can mitigate this issue by installing a gutter guard.
K-style gutters can cost from $3 to $35 per linear foot, depending on their material.
Half-round gutters have a more traditional look, making them most suitable for historic and brick homes.
They work well with zinc and copper gutter systems.
Did you know? Some older neighborhoods require all homes to install half-round gutters to preserve their historic appearance.
Due to their classic appearance, you’re quite limited in design options.
Also, these gutters are somewhat more challenging to install due to their unique shape and mounting requirements.
If you still decide to go through with it, expect to pay between $5 and $35 per square foot.
Because of their size and weight, box-style gutters are usually installed on commercial and industrial buildings.
Still, you can have them installed on your home if you need gutters that can handle large amounts of rainwater.
Just make sure you hire a professional for this task and your home is just being built.
Well, due to their unique installation method, box-style gutters can’t be installed without removing the roof altogether.
These gutters will cost you between $15 and $30 per linear foot, depending on the material.
Are you looking for a seamless, contemporary look for your home?
If so, fascia gutters are the way to go.
These custom-built gutters are typically made using aluminum and range from $20 to $30 per square foot.
Their only downside is that they might be more challenging to clean due to how narrow they are.
Which Type Of Gutter Is Best?
Although copper gutters might be the highest quality, aluminum gutters are usually considered the best choice among homeowners and contractors alike.
They owe this flattering title to a perfect combination of style, performance, durability, and price.
Who Makes The Best Gutters?
LeafFilter is widely believed to make the best gutters.
This brand offers a two-in-one solution: gutters and gutter guards made of micro-mesh.
This system has proven as the most efficient, as gutters never clog, allowing them to do their job properly.
How To Choose The Best Gutters For Your Needs
When choosing the best gutters for you, you should consider several factors:
- Performance – Can these gutters handle the weather conditions in my area?
- Durability – Will these gutters last long enough to make the investment worth it?
- Maintenance – Am I willing to put in the amount of work these gutters require?
- Installation – Can I install these gutters myself, or do I need professional help?
- Price – Do these gutters fit my budget without compromising their quality?
- Aesthetics – Do these gutters match the overall look of my home?
Ask these questions about any appealing gutters you’re considering, and you’ll quickly narrow down your choices to find the best style, shape, and material for your needs.
The Best Gutters for Metal Roofs
Half-round and K-style gutters made using aluminum, copper, steel, or zinc are the best for metal roofs.
The Best Gutters for Tile Roofs
Seamless gutters made using non-corroding materials, like aluminum and copper, are the best for tile roofs.
What Are The Longest-Lasting Rain Gutters?
Copper gutters are the longest-lasting rain gutters.
With proper maintenance and a favorable climate, these gutters can last up to 100 years.
Did you know? The average lifespan for aluminum gutters, the most popular choice among homeowners, is 20 to 25 years.
What Are The Best Gutters For Heavy Rain?
K-style gutters made with aluminum are the best gutters for heavy rain.
Their design allows them to hold significantly more water, while the material guarantees they can withstand intense rainfall, no matter how long it lasts.
Which Is Better: Seamless Or Regular Gutters?
One choice lies at the basis of your gutter installation project – seamless or regular gutters.
The former arrives in one piece and is cut on-site to match your home’s exact specifications.
The latter, also referred to as sectional gutters, come in pre-cut sections (around 10 feet) that get connected during the installation.
The choice between these types of gutters boils down to your priorities.
Regular gutters are more affordable, accessible, DIY-friendly, and easier to replace.
But it’s not all positive.
Sectional gutters also require more maintenance, as they tend to clog, leak, or sag along the seams.
Seamless gutters, on the other hand, last longer, require less maintenance and generally perform better.
But they also require professional installation and come with a higher price tag.
What’s The Best Sealant For Gutters?
Suppose your area is hit by a severe storm. In this case, it’s not uncommon for your gutters to get damaged and start leaking.
It goes without saying that you need to act promptly in this scenario.
Enter a roof sealant.
You might get tempted to use whatever sealant you have lying around from a previous job, but avoid doing this.
Instead, invest in a product specifically designed for this purpose and you won’t stress about your gutters starting to leak again.
With this in mind, the best sealant for gutters is the Waterproof Sealant from Liquid Rubber.
This product checks all the boxes for an effective gutter sealant – it’s easy to apply, sticks well, and resists UV rays.
What Is The Best Paint For Aluminum Gutters?
Acrylic exterior paint is the best for aluminum gutters.
It’s easy to apply, adheres well to aluminum surfaces, and resists various weather conditions.
Pro Tip: When painting your gutters, use a small canister or a hands-free bucket to hold your paint. Keeping a full paint can on the roof can be impractical and risky, with a single nudge causing potential spills all over your roof and siding.
Can I Install The Gutters Myself, Or Is It Better To Hire A Professional?
Labor costs make up to 60% of the total cost for an average gutter installation project.
This fact is what prompts many homeowners to wonder, “Should I install the gutters myself?”
You can absolutely do this independently, as long as you’re comfortable working on top of your roof or a ladder.
Besides your level of DIY skills, some external factors should also impact your decision.
These include the complexity of your roof and the accessibility of its eaves, as well as your chosen gutter materials.
While vinyl and aluminum are lightweight and easy to manipulate, heavier materials, like copper and steel, are not. As such, they should be left to professionals.
Why Gutters Need To Be Cleaned
Regular maintenance is crucial to keeping your gutters in good condition.
Fail to do so, and the pathway leading the water away from your home will get blocked.
With nowhere to go, water will spill over your roof, leading to landscape damage, gutter and roof corrosion, and mold and mildew.
Pro Tip: For optimal results, clean your gutters once every six months. This frequency can also help you identify any damage signs early on, allowing you to address them before they cause a major issue.
Should I Install Gutter Guards?
In a word – yes!
Gutter guards prevent leaves, dirt, and debris from entering and blocking your gutters, preventing clogs.
This protects your home from water damage, prolongs the gutters’ lifespan, and makes maintenance a breeze.
Your Ideal Gutters Are Within Reach
As you can see, each gutter type has its fair share of advantages and disadvantages.
Though seamless aluminum gutters are the best option for most homeowners, they might not match your preferences.
So, make a list of your priorities, cross-reference them with our guide, and you’ll have your ideal gutters in no time.