Gutters Ultimate Buyer’s Guide

Looking to install gutters for your home? Learn everything you need to know about gutters, including materials, styles, installation, and maintenance with our guide.
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To provide you with the most accurate, up-to-date guides and cost figures, we gather information from a variety of local licensed contractors, pricing databases, and industry experts. Learn more.

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Reviewed by JC Sanjuan — General and roofing contractor with over a decade of experience in residential and commercial construction. He specializes in project management, quality workmanship, client satisfaction, and solving roofing challenges.

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If you are in the market for new gutters and want to learn more before buying, we’ve got you covered.

This guide will cover everything you need to know before replacing or buying new gutters. We’ll explain their purpose, how they help protect your homes, the available types, costs, and maintenance.

What is a gutter?

Big Brick Home with Seamless Gutters Wide Angle Perspective
Credit JamesBrey

A gutter is a narrow channel typically installed along the edges of a roof to collect and redirect rainwater away from a building’s foundation. The primary purpose of gutters is to prevent water from damaging a building’s walls, foundation, and landscaping by redirecting it to a safe drainage area. Without gutters, rainwater can cause significant damage to a building’s structure and lead to costly repairs.

water ponding near perimeter of brick wall causing erosion and structural issues
Credit: Stratum Foundation Repair

What are gutters made of?

Gutters are made from various materials, with aluminum being the most popular. Aluminum is lightweight, easy to install, and resistant to rust and corrosion. Another option is vinyl, made from PVC plastic, which is much less expensive than metal gutters but half as durable or lasting as aluminum.

027 Gauge 11 3/4" Gutter Coil – Yost Manufacturing & Supply, Inc.
.027 gauge 11 3×4″ gutter coil is used to make 5″ residential gutter. Credit: Yost Manufacturing & Supply Inc

Steel gutters are another strong, durable option, typically galvanized to prevent rust and corrosion. For those looking for a high-end option, there are copper gutters that are attractive and resistant to rust and corrosion. However, they are expensive and require professional installation. 

Finally, there are zinc gutters, which are similar to copper in terms of durability and looks but are also a pricey, high-end option.

Seamless gutters vs. sectional gutters

Seamless gutters are continuous, custom-fit pieces to the dimensions of your home. This means that there are no seams or joints along the length of the gutter, making them less likely to leak and more aesthetically appealing. 

continuous seamless gutters installed on a high pitched asphalt shingle roof
Credit ghornephoto

On the other hand, sectional gutters (the ones you find at big box stores such as Home Depot or Lowes) are made from smaller sections that are pieced together during installation. While they are typically less expensive than seamless gutters, they are more prone to leaks at the joints and can detract from the overall appearance of the home. 

Installer connecting two individual sections of gutters
Credit thefutureis

The stock colors for both types are white, brown, and gray. However, you can find many more colors available with seamless gutters.

Ultimately, the choice between seamless gutters and sectional gutters will depend on your budget, the style of your home, and your personal preferences.

Gutter Types and Costs

In Florida, the average cost to replace or install new gutters for your home can be between $1,300 and $3,100, including materials and labor, depending on the size, design, and complexity of your home exterior. Copper and zinc gutters are more expensive, with copper gutter installation costing up to $10,000.

These are the types of gutters available in the market and their average costs —assuming a typical home has roughly linear feet of gutters:

K-style gutters

K-style gutter
Credit: Gutter Supply

These gutters have a flat bottom and a decorative front that resembles crown molding. 

In addition to their efficient water collection and stylish design, K-style gutters boast a longer lifespan than other types of gutters. It’s worth noting that these gutters can be more challenging to clean because of their shape. Their decorative design may come at a higher cost compared to more basic gutter options. The average cost of to have aluminum K-style gutters installed is , or per linear foot, while copper is , or per linear foot.

Half-round gutters

Reverse Half Round Single Bead Rain Gutter,Half Round Gutters,Aluminum Gutters - Rain Gutter,Rain Gutter Supplies
Credit: Guttersupply.com

These are shaped like a half-circle and are often found in older homes. 

The main benefit of half-round gutters is their aesthetic appeal, as they provide a traditional and classic look to a home. They are also less likely to accumulate debris and are easier to clean than other gutters. However, they may not be as effective at handling heavy rainfall or preventing water damage as other gutter types. Lastly, they may be more expensive to install and maintain due to their unique shape and design. The average cost for aluminum half-found gutters is , or per linear foot, including material and labor.

Box gutters

Commercial Box Gutters System – SMACNA Box Gutter
Credit: DMI Metals

Box gutters are designed to be concealed within the roofline and are often used on commercial and industrial buildings. 

They can handle large volumes of water and are less likely to clog than other gutter types. However, box gutters can be more expensive to install and maintain than other gutter types. If improperly installed and maintained, they can be prone to leaks and water damage. The average costs for this will depend on the material but approximately , or per linear foot, including material and labor.

Fascia gutters

Steel Fascia Gutter End Piece with Square Drop
Credit Gibraltar Building Products

These are attached directly to the fascia board that runs along the roofline. 

The main benefits of fascia gutters are that they are easy to install, maintain, and repair. They are also very sturdy and can handle heavy rainfall and snow loads. Additionally, they are aesthetically pleasing as they blend in with the roofline and do not protrude from the roof.

However, there are some potential problems with fascia gutters as well. If not installed correctly, they can lead to water damage and rotting of the fascia board. Since they are attached directly to the fascia board, any damage to the board can quickly damage the gutters. Since fascia gutters do not extend past the roofline, they may not be as effective at preventing water from entering the home as other gutters. Fascia gutters can cost , or per linear foot, including material and labor.

Gutter Installation

To install seamless gutters, installers first take measurements of the perimeter and height of your home’s fascia board to ensure they fit perfectly. 

Once all the measurements are recorded, the gutters are manufactured on-site using metal rolled forming equipment. This special machine creates the shape or profile of specific gutters and will cut them precisely to their measurements. 

After they are ready, the gutters are installed by driving pins into the fascia board or attaching hangers driven with screws from the inside of the gutter where they are hidden. Finally, downspouts are added, where needed, to direct water away from the foundation.

How to Clean Gutters: Maintenance Tips

Seamless gutters are low-maintenance, but regular cleaning is necessary to prevent clogs from leaves and debris. We recommend checking for dents and erosion, and perform occasional checks before and after the rainy season.

Regular cleaning

Regular cleaning is crucial to prevent clogs from leaves, debris, and other materials that could accumulate in the gutters. It is recommended to clean the gutters at least twice a year, preferably during spring and fall.

Check for damage

As mentioned earlier, inspect the gutters for dents, cracks, or erosion. If you notice any issues, get them repaired immediately to avoid further damage.

Trim overhanging trees

Trees close to your roof can shed their leaves and debris into your gutters. Make sure to trim any overhanging branches to reduce the amount of debris that falls into your gutters.

Check for proper slope

Make sure that your gutters are sloped properly. If they are not, water may not drain properly and could lead to water damage to your home.

Consider professional cleaning

If you don’t feel comfortable cleaning the gutters yourself, consider hiring a professional to do the job for you. They have the proper tools and experience to do the job safely and efficiently.

Install gutter guards

Gutter guards are designed to prevent debris from entering and clogging your gutters. They can be a great investment if you have a lot of trees around your home.

There are several types of gutter guards available in the market, each with its own set of benefits. Some of the popular options include:

  • Foam gutter guards – These guards fit inside your gutter and prevent debris from entering while allowing water to flow freely.What is gutter foam? | LeafGuard
  • Mesh gutter guards – Made of a metal or plastic mesh that fits over your gutter and blocks debris while allowing water to flow through.Innovative Gutter Guards | Gutter Guards Direct
  • Reverse curve gutter guards – These have a curved surface that directs debris away from your gutter while allowing water to flow freely.What Is a Reverse Curve Gutter Guard and How Does It Work?
  • Surface tension gutter guards – Use the principle of surface tension to direct water into the gutter while keeping debris out.Gutter Guard — Witte Home Solutions
  • Bottle brush gutter guards – These guards use a series of bristles to keep debris out of your gutters while allowing water to flow through.Are Gutter Guards Worth It? Pros and Cons Unveiled

Note: Make sure to choose a gutter guard that is compatible with your specific gutter system and the type of debris you typically encounter. It’s also a good idea to consult a professional to determine the best option for your home.

Top Gutter Guard Brands

There are many gutter guard brands available in the market, but some of the top brands include LeafFilter, Gutter Helmet, LeafGuard, FlexxPoint, and A-M aluminum Gutter Guard. These brands offer a variety of gutter protection products that can help prevent debris buildup and clogging in your gutters, reducing the need for frequent cleaning and maintenance.

LeafFilter

  • Pros: LeafFilter has a micro-mesh filter that’s super fine, blocking even the smallest debris. It’s made of stainless steel, so it’s durable and won’t rust. They also offer a lifetime warranty, which is a big plus.
  • Cons: It can be on the pricier side compared to some other options. Installation requires professionals, so it’s not a DIY job.

Gutter Helmet

  • Pros: Gutter Helmet has a unique nose-forward design that uses surface tension to guide rainwater in while keeping debris out. It’s sturdy, and you can install it over your existing gutters.
  • Cons: The cost can be high, and like LeafFilter, it requires professional installation. The design may not handle extremely heavy rainfalls as well as other systems.

LeafGuard

  • Pros: LeafGuard offers a one-piece design that combines the gutter and guard into a single unit. It’s built to handle heavy rainfall and is backed by a clog-free guarantee.
  • Cons: Because it’s a complete gutter system replacement, LeafGuard can be more expensive and involves a more invasive installation process.

FlexxPoint

  • Pros: FlexxPoint gutter guards are a more budget-friendly option that homeowners can install themselves. They offer good water flow and come in several colors to match your home.
  • Cons: They might not block all the smallest debris, and the aluminum construction, while durable, isn’t as robust as stainless steel options.

A-M Aluminum Gutter Guard

  • Pros: This guard is easy to install for those who like DIY projects, and it’s made from aluminum, so it won’t rust. The design allows for excellent water flow.
  • Cons: It may not fit all gutter types perfectly, and smaller debris like pine needles can sometimes get through.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are gutters necessary?

Yes, gutters are necessary for your home. They help to channel water away from the roof and foundation, preventing water damage and erosion. Without gutters, rainwater can pool around the foundation of your home, causing damage to the structure and potentially leading to flooding in your basement or crawlspace. Additionally, gutters can help to prevent soil erosion around your home, which can be especially important if you live on a slope.

How much does it cost to clean gutters?

The cost of cleaning gutters can vary depending on factors such as the size of the home, the number of stories, and the degree of clogging in the gutters. On average, you can expect to pay between $75 to $250 for gutter cleaning services. However, it’s always best to get a quote from a professional gutter cleaning service to know the exact cost based on your specific needs.

How long do gutters last?

The lifespan of gutters largely depends on the material they are made of, the climate of the area, and the level of maintenance they receive. Generally, aluminum and galvanized steel gutters can last up to 20 years, while copper gutters can last for over 50 years. However, if gutters are not cleaned and maintained properly, they may not last as long as their expected lifespan. It’s always a good idea to inspect your gutters regularly and address any issues as soon as possible to ensure their longevity.

What size gutters do I need?

The size of gutters you will need depends on a few factors, such as the square footage of your roof and the amount of rainfall your area receives. Typically, a residential home with a standard pitched roof will require gutters that are 5 to 6 inches in diameter. However, it’s always best to consult with a professional gutter installer who can assess your specific needs and recommend the appropriate size gutters for your home.

Can you paint aluminum gutters?

Yes, you can paint aluminum gutters. In fact, painting aluminum gutters is a great way to improve their appearance and protect them from the elements. Before painting, it’s important to clean the gutters thoroughly and remove any dirt, debris, or oxidation using a suitable cleaner. Once the gutters are clean and dry, you can apply a high-quality paint designed for use on aluminum surfaces. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and allow the paint to dry completely before exposing the gutters to any moisture.

How long does it take to install or replace new gutters?

The time it takes to install or replace gutters can vary depending on a few factors such as the size of your home, the type of gutters you choose, and the experience of the installer. However, on average, the installation process usually takes between one to two days.

What are downspouts?

Downspouts are vertical pipes that are connected to the gutters of a building and carry rainwater down from the roof to the ground or a drainage system. They are an important part of a building’s drainage system, as they help to prevent water damage to the walls, foundation, and landscaping around the building by directing water away from these areas. Downspouts can be made of various materials such as aluminum, copper, or PVC, and can come in different shapes and sizes depending on the building’s needs.

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