We all know that roofs are pivotal in protecting our homes from harsh weather conditions, but did you know that the gutters and downspouts are also involved in that?
They’re not just an accessory recommended by your gutter installer that you think serves no purpose.
Gutters and downspouts play a big part in preventing leaks inside your home. All that rainwater from the roof needs to go somewhere, and these two will direct the flow of the water to a better location, such as directly to a drainage system.
On this page:
- The Purpose of Functioning Gutters
- Factors Affecting the Cost of Gutter Installation
- Best Gutter Materials
- How Long Do Gutters Last?
- Gutter Installation Cost Per Linear Foot
- The Cost of Downspouts
- Should You Install Them Yourself?
- Getting Quotes from Gutter Installers Near You
Gutters and downspouts, whether seamless or not, are standard to most homes, and definitely beneficial. Even commercial structures get them installed, because they know the benefits of having them.
It’s not just their presence that is important; you should also make sure that they are in excellent condition. If not, say hello to a leaky home – something you are avoiding that’s why you got gutters installed in the first place.
If you are experiencing leaks or see that your gutters and downspouts are in poor condition, or worse, both, you may be due for a replacement – it is time for you to head out to your nearest Lowe’s or Home Depot.
But first, you need to be aware of the average prices of gutter materials and accessories, like the roof flashing, drip edge, and gutter guard, if you should go for cheap ones or renowned brands like Amerimax, and how much the entire installation costs, including removal of the old gutter system.
Read on and you’ll learn about all these and more.
The Purpose of Functioning Gutters
From above, you know that the gutters of your home help prevent leaks from appearing in your home. But, how exactly do they work?
As rain falls on your roof, its slope allows the water to go down. Gutters, particularly those in good condition and completely functional, will catch all that water and prevent it from directly flowing down. If not, it can result in these:
- Too much water exposure on the foundations of your home will weaken them, affecting the durability of your home
- If water ends up near the basement, it can flow inside an opening and cause flooding
- Soil erosion can happen because the water directly flows on top of the soil, dislodging and loosening it up.
- Your landscaping will also be ruined because water can pool around and kill off your plants.
The gutter redirects the water so that it ends up where you would want it to end up. That is, away from your home and onto a better spot where it can hardly do any damage, such as a drainage pit, a rain barrel or rainwater collection system for later use, or directly to a drain.
It’s not just that – a gutter system will also help preserve the appearance of your home, and even your entire property. It’s not just a ruined landscaping that you need to be wary of; water flowing freely from the roof can also cause all sorts of ugly marks, stains, and discolorations on the outside of your home.
If you don’t want to spend for costly roof repairs, or prematurely replace your roof with an entirely new one, functioning gutters are also a must. Water that does not flow freely on your gutter system will end up back on your roof. Once it does, it can find an entry point and reach your roof’s deck or your attic, causing damage.
While it is important to have gutters and downspouts in place, whether seamless or not, it is not enough that they are there. You also need to make sure that they are in peak condition and completely functional, or else you will wind up with bigger problems in your hands compared to having no gutters at all.
Factors Affecting the Cost of Gutter Installation
When it comes to gutter installations, whether for the first time or getting a replacement for your existing gutter system, it is not just labor rates and prices of materials that you should be aware of. Here are some factors that can increase or decrease the total cost of a new gutter system:
This often takes up a huge chunk of your budget, but it will still depend on your chosen gutter material. Cheap ones, like vinyl, may not put much dent on your budget, while the more expensive copper gutters may require you to spend as much as the price for a decent used car.
The cost of materials may also vary between stores. That is, something you found in Home Depot may be acquired at discounted prices over at Lowe’s or any other stores. It is always a good idea to compare prices.
Removal of Old Gutter System
Getting your old gutters removed will also add up to the total cost of labor. Not only that, you also have to pay for its disposal.
If you live in a city near the beach, or having gutters installed on your beachfront property, the labor rates are higher than if you get the work done in a rural neighborhood. In fact, the discrepancy between the rural and city labor rates can be as much as 30%.
Width of the Gutter
The wider the gutter is, the more expensive it will be. Although the average width used is 5 inches, gutter sizes vary and can range from 3 to 7 inches in width. The recommended size will depend on the amount of annual storms and rainfall you get on average.
Although most gutters can be painted on, some manufacturers also produce gutters of different colors, and prices will vary depending on the color. In general, gutters that have light colors are cheaper than those with darker and richer colors.
Height of Installation
It is easier to install gutters that are closer to the ground, not to mention much safer to do so. That is why the higher the location of your gutter installation, the higher the rates of installers.
Before installing your gutters, the fascia should be in good condition. Your roofer or gutter installer needs to check it out first and make the necessary repairs before installing your gutter system. Their rate for doing so may be different from their rate for gutter installation.
Presence of Corners
The corners of your home will complicate the installation of your new gutter, especially if you decide to go for a seamless one. Professionals may charge extra for every corner of your home, or they will completely increase their rate per linear foot because of it.
Extra Installations and Accessories
If you decide to go for optional gutter components, such as the flashing, drip edge, or gutter guard, you will also have to shell out extra for it. The same is true for the installation of rainwater collection systems as well, and installers may have different rates for it.
Take all these into consideration if you want to save as much as you can to get your new gutters installed.
Gutter Sizes and Types
While it is a good idea to consult with a professional on what kind of gutter is fitting for your home, you also need to be aware of the different options you have, especially if aesthetics is also your concern.
We cannot deny that some contractors will take advantage of clueless homeowners, that is why it is best to arm yourself with information about your possible gutter options.
You don’t want to get copper gutters that were recommended by your installer, only to find out that it is too heavy for your home when it suddenly comes crashing down.
To start with, you need to be familiar with the different sizes and types, as these will give you an idea on what can work for your home.
You already know that gutters have varying sizes, ranging from 3 to 7 inches. For residential ones, 5-inch or 6-inch gutters would work best. 5 inches are recommended for most homes, while those found in places that get a lot of rain can opt for 6-inch ones to be able to hold all that water.
Commercial gutters, on the other hand, normally measure 6 inches wide or more.
Aside from custom-shaped gutters, they normally come in standard styles, namely:
- U or Half-round – as the name implies, this style looks like a circle that got cut into half. This style is popular for traditional-looking homes, that is why you can see them mostly on older homes, including historic ones.
This style is more convenient to maintain, since its shape makes cleaning easier. Since clogging is minimized, water flows much faster even if the amount it can actually hold is generally less than K-style ones. However, half-round gutters have higher prices.
- European – nearly similar in appearance to half-round gutters, but what makes it different is that European gutters have a small gutter bead on the edge that curves outwards.
- K-style or Ogee – has a plain back and curved fronts and comes in different styles, but K-style gutters have a general look reminiscent of crown moldings. They are named as such because its side profile is reminiscent of the letter ‘k.’
K-style gutters are more common to contemporary homes, and is best for those after a more decorative look. Its shape is not just for aesthetics; it makes the gutter hold more water and also increases its durability.
- Fascia Gutters – more often custom-made, this style consists of a smooth, 90-degree back that acts as a fascia, that is why it can be installed even without an actual fascia on the rafter. It holds the most amount of water due to its large size, making it suitable for homes that experience frequent rains and extreme weather conditions.
However, fascia gutters are costly to install and maintain. Unless it has a gutter guard, it can also be prone to blockages. This is often used by homes in the Western areas.
Whatever size and type you choose, you can choose either seamless or sectional gutters. But, note that not all gutter materials offer this option.
Sectional gutters are installed by joining different sections together using connectors to hold the seams. It is much easier to install and a lot cheaper, although its major drawback is that it is not entirely leakproof.
On the other hand, seamless gutters avoid the leaking problem, as no seams are present for water to pass through. Because they are customized to your home, not to mention much harder to install, installation costs are way higher.
Best Gutter Materials
The hunt for the perfect gutter system does not stop at choosing the size and style to use, as well as going for either sectional or seamless gutters. You still have to choose what gutter material to use, and this is, quite frankly, the hardest decision to make.
If you are looking for a replacement for your existing gutters, this can make deciding easier – you can opt to use the same material, and you may also have a clue on what materials can be considered upgrades or downgrades from your old one.
But if it is your first time to have gutters installed, you may be overwhelmed the different materials available for you to choose from. After all, they have the same function.
Here’s a guide that can help you choose:
A favorite of many, aluminum is known for its durability without hurting your budget too much. It is also the most commonly-used nowadays. In fact, if you go to Home Depot, Lowe’s, or any other store and ask for gutter materials without specifying which one, they will likely point you to aluminum ones.
- Can be customized and painted over with different colors to suite your home
- Resistant to rust and corrosion
- Can withstand different weather conditions
- Being lightweight, it can be easily installed not only by pros but even DIYers
- Available in both sectional and seamless options
- Dents can easily appear and are quite common
- Regular maintenance is needed to prevent clogging
- Temperature changes can cause it to contract and expand. Over time, splits or cracks will form because of it
- Not recommended if you have shingles that are algae resistant, or use flashing made up of copper
If durability is your concern and you can spend a bit more, galvanized steel gutters are a good choice. This material is stronger and resistant to dents, owing to the fact that it has a unique zinc coating that doubles as a protective layer.
- Will not be easily dented
- Compatible with all kinds of shingles
- Also has seamless and sectional options
- Able to withstand harsh weathers and extreme temperatures
- Leaks are less likely to occur
- While maintenance is still a must, it is not often needed
- Weighs a lot more than aluminum, which adds difficulty to its installation
- Not completely rust-resistant
- Higher price
- Customization is limited
- Not as easily available
- Will still expand and contract in hot temperatures
Similar to galvanized steel, galvalume is a gutter material with a special coating. In particular, it has a coating that consists of 45% zinc and 55% aluminum. They are also known to last longer than galvanized steel, but without much difference in terms of their prices.
- The aluminum component prevents rust, although it can still appear but only on its edges
- Durable and weatherproof
- Can be flexed or bent without being damaged
- Lasts a lot longer than most gutters
- Has a metallic gray finish that, although neutral, may not appeal to everyone. However, it can be painted on
- Can easily get scratches
The most budget-friendly option, vinyl gutters are also widely used. They are a favorite of DIYers because they are a lot easier to install than other gutter materials.
- Its light weight makes it easy to install even by non-professionals
- Very cheap price
- Only comes in sections; seamless gutters are not an option
- Very brittle and can get damaged easily by weather changes, especially cold temperatures
- Can sag if poorly installed
- Prone to leaking
- Has limited color options, and painting them with a different color can be challenging. Colors will also fade due to sun exposure
- Not durable nor long-lasting
A status symbol in itself, copper gutters are best known as the most expensive gutter material around. Its price, not to mention its appearance makes some homeowners hesitant to use it. This is why despite its longevity, not a lot of homeowners use it.
- Not only weatherproof, but it can also survive hits from debris with minimal damage
- Its unique lining, known as patina, prevents rust and corrosion
- Over time, the patina will change its color to a greenish shade that adds to its appeal
- Can last for over a century
- Regular maintenance is hardly needed, as copper is known to prevent the growth of blockage-causing fungi and algae
- Can be easily repaired
- Does not experience contractions nor expansions brought about by temperature changes
- Seamless installation is possible
- The most expensive gutter material
- Complicated to install, even for some installers. Only seasoned professionals who can solder or weld can install it properly
- Its appearance cannot be modified, which can be limiting for some, aesthetics-wise
- Heaviest among gutter materials
Often compared to copper gutters, zinc gutters are also known for their durability, but without having the price tag of copper.
- Lasts longer than most gutter materials, even with minimal maintenance
- Also known to resist weathering, rust, and corrosion because of the patina it develops over time
- Appealing on its own, without the need to paint it a different color
- Although not as expensive as copper gutters, it is still pricier than most gutter materials
- Susceptible to an acidic environment or condition
- Not suitable for installation in homes near coasts
- Requires professional help, as it is also complicated to install
Whatever your chosen material is, consider not just the current prices but also the upkeep and its longevity. Renowned brands like Amerimax are known for their quality, so also consider researching the different manufacturers available.
Remember, gutters are also an investment.
How Long Do Gutters Last?
We already know that some gutter materials last longer than others, and that their prices will clue you in on their longevity. Of course, this will still be affected by several factors, such as regular maintenance and frequency of exposure to extreme weather conditions.
Despite all that, the different gutter materials have a generally standard lifespan. You should take note of this if you want to know when you are probably due for a gutter replacement in the future.
To help you out, we came up with the list of the average lifespan of gutters, in longest to shortest order:
- Copper – 100 years and beyond
- Galvalume – 70 to 150 years
- Zinc – between 30 to 50 years
- Aluminum – 20 to 40 years
- Vinyl – 20 years
- Galvanized steel – 20 years, but it can start showing signs of rust within 5 years
Although these are their average lifespans, you should also keep in mind that these figures are not absolute. These expected lifespans are achievable if proper maintenance of your gutters is observed, as well as minimal exposure to extreme conditions.
Gutter Installation Cost Per Linear Foot
By now, you probably have a vague idea of what kind of gutter will break your bank account, and what will allow you to have fancy new gutters and still allow you to go out for movie nights without ruining this month’s budget.
Again, the pricier gutter materials also require more detailed and precise installations, and this will affect their installation costs. To be precise, the more expensive the material is, the more expensive the labor charge.
To give you a clearer picture of installation costs, here are the averages for every linear foot of gutter, depending on the materials:
- Copper – $11 to $25, inclusive of labor
- Zinc – $10 to 25, inclusive of labor
- Steel (both galvalume and galvanized steel) – $2 to $9 for materials only, and between $8 to $20 if including labor
- Aluminum – $1.50 to $8 for sectional aluminum gutter materials only, between $4 to $9 for materials and installation of aluminum in sections, and between $5 to $11 for seamless gutter materials and labor
- Vinyl – $1 to $6 for materials, and between $3 to $6 if including labor
Keep in mind that the rates above apply to gutter materials with a straight measurement. Sections of gutters that will be installed in corners usually have different rates for both materials and labor.
And if you are getting replacement gutters installed, you must get the old one removed first. On average, gutter removal and proper disposal done by a professional will set you back by $100, or between $0.50 to $1 per linear foot. While you can attempt to remove them yourself, most states will still require a payment of around $40 for its disposal.
Your gutter system would be inefficient if you also do not consider a proper drainage system for water to flow out of it. If you are getting professional help to design one and get it installed, it can cost you as much as $160 for the task.
To lessen the frequency of doing regular maintenance on your gutter, consider getting a gutter guard. This accessory helps prevent debris, such as leaves and branches, from settling on your gutters and causing blockage. The installation cost, including both materials and labor, ranges from $7 to $12.
The Cost of Downspouts
Gutter systems will not be complete without downspouts. Without them, all that water collected by the gutter will just flow out of the edges, making having gutters useless. The water has to go down, and downspouts will direct the flow of water to a more suitable location.
Many DIYers make the mistake of placing the downspouts at random places, often tucked away in the corners, not knowing that there is a certain distance required for efficiency. Whether you are attempting to install your own gutters or having someone do it, you should know that each downspout must ideally be installed in every 30 to 40 feet of gutter.
Downspouts should also match your chosen gutter material, and they consist of not just the outlet tube but also the elbows and other connections. And when it comes to the installation costs, you can either be billed by linear foot, which has roughly the same rates as that of the gutter materials, or for every piece or component of the downspout.
If it is the latter, expect to pay:
- $40 to $100 for copper
- $10 to $55 for zinc
- $11 to 33 for steel, both galvanized and galvalume
- $6 to $11 for aluminum
- $4 to $8 for vinyl
Save for copper, these rates do not include the rate of installers. Since downspouts are easier to install than gutters, expect the installer’s fees to be lower.
Should You Install Them Yourself?
While some gutters and downspouts are relatively easy to install, especially aluminum and vinyl, you might wonder if it is a more practical option for you to do so.
In some ways, yes. After all, you don’t have to pay anyone for every hour of work done. That is of course if you want to pay yourself with your own money. Don’t forget to thank yourself afterwards.
But with that, how sure are you that you got to do a failproof installation of your gutters and downspouts? Can you sleep soundly at night without worrying that your gutters may separate from your house at any time?
Even if DIY is possible in most cases, we still highly recommend getting help from a qualified gutter installer. Gutter installation is easier said than done.
A common problem with DIY work on gutters is improper installation. You might think that you just need to stick them up on your roof and fit the pieces like a puzzle and you’re done, but it really is not. You still have to make sure that it has the right pitch, the seams are properly sealed, the flashing is installed or still in good condition, the fascia is not rotting, and so on.
You might think since the materials are cheap, you will just go back to Home Depot to get new ones or order online through Lowe’s and have them delivered to you. But, this will also cause delays; what a professional will take just a day to work on may take you almost a week to finish. In that amount of time, you could have been more productive doing something else.
Not to mention, you end up wasting materials you can no longer reuse and contributing to the growing trash problem. Trial and error for gutter work is wasteful.
It’s not just the possibly wasted time and resources that you can face; you also have to deal with the fact that your safety is also at risk. Gutter replacement can also be considered as a roofing task, and it is widely known that these are the riskiest home renovation tasks around.
While it is fine if you work on your gutters if you have a single-story home, but what about if you have not just a two-story house but a multi-level one? As a rule, any work done in your home that involves climbing up high ladders, or worse, scaffoldings, must only be done by professionals.
You don’t want to risk your life to save a few hundred dollars.
And, here’s a little secret: gutter installers can get discounted prices of materials from retailers, and hiring them can actually save you money!
Getting Quotes from Gutter Installers Near You
If you are already set with what kind of gutter you want to get installed, the next thing on your to-do list is to find a reliable gutter installer.
You might be scratching your head right now and wondering how and where you can start looking for one.
But, what if we tell you that you can save yourself from all the legwork needed to get in touch with prospective gutter installers?
What if instead of going to them, they will be the ones to contact you with their quotes?
And, best of all, what if you can do this for free?
Are you interested in this shortcut?
If so, fill out our form now. And once you do, wait until installers reply with their offers and quotes. Since they are also aware of their competition, expect to get highly competitive quotes from them.
If you are wary about receiving offers from bogus ones, don’t worry – only those contractors that passed our screening will contact you.
But if none of their offers are to your liking, feel free to turn them down. It’s perfectly fine and we won’t bill you for using our service but choosing not to hire anyone who sent in their offers.
Up to four free quotes from gutter installers, with no commitment required – what could be better than that?
Go fill out our form now and get a new gutter system for your home asap!