Have you ever wondered what types of gutters are best for your home?
In this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about gutter systems, such as how much you need for your home, what types of gutters are available, and how it helps protect your home from harsh weather.
The Benefits of Gutters
Gutters do a lot for your home. They are the first line of defense against the weather and help keep the bones of your home in good condition for the rest of its lifespan. A good, well-maintained gutter prevents rainwater from directly settling along the foundation of the home once it rolls off the roof. Instead, it rolls into the downspouts and is redirected from the home.
While rainwater may still hit the ground around your home, this type of rainfall is normal. It is when additional rainwater rolls off the roof that it can flood the foundation, especially during heavy rains.
Gutters can also prevent leaves from collecting at the base of the home, allowing the perimeter of the home to dry between storms.
Clean, well maintained do more than just keep the foundation healthy; it can also help extend the lifespan of your roof, as debris collects in the gutter sections and is removed at regular intervals. (1)
While it might not sound like it does much for the roof, it prevents debris from sitting on the shingles and rotting.
Of course, there are ways that you can extend the life of your existing roof – such as keeping your gutters clean
Gutters also help protect the sides of your home from unsightly water staining and prevent erosion along the perimeter of the home. These simple-looking systems also help protect the inside of your home from the harsh environment outside, stopping mold and mildew growth as the moisture is re-routed away from the home.
If you have a basement, this re-routing of water can mitigate or prevent basement flooding, keeping your floors dry year-round, even during storm season.
There are many benefits to gutter systems and depending on the type of weather your home experiences, different types of gutter materials or types may benefit the home (and budget) more than others.
Basic Types of Gutters
There are three main types of gutter shapes that homeowners install in today’s installations. These shapes carry water differently and each has a unique curb appeal.
In addition to these main types, some homeowners choose to get custom-built gutters which are easily the most expensive addition to the home based on the shape.
While they can be designed for the home’s unique needs, it is the ideal option for curb appeal as they can be stylized to resemble the edge of the roof rather than an attached gutter.
As the most common type of gutter seen on modern homes, this square-shaped gutter has a curvature to the outside that adds to the overall durability of the system. The flat back allows it to install flush against the fascia, preventing water from running down the inside of the gutter.
Overall, while this style is more prone to corrosion and will need more maintenance as it clogs easier than other types, it is the cheapest type available, more durable than other options, and handles heavy rains well.
This type of gutter isn’t as effective at routing heavy rains, but it is more resistant to clogging and provides a nicer, less clunky look. These gutters are also easier to clean, but they are more difficult to install, which means they will usually cost more up-front.
Box gutters are typically seen in industrial and commercial buildings, as these buildings have larger roofs. The larger the roof, the more water the gutter will need to carry, so these gutters are often larger and able to withstand a stronger current.
These gutters need to be installed during the construction of the building or during roof remodels, as these gutters do not hang onto the side of the building but are installed instead underneath the roof’s outermost shingles.
Comparing Common Rain Gutter Materials
Different materials will change how much maintenance each gutter system needs, as some materials are more durable, while others corrode more easily.
Overall, it’s about choosing the material that best suits your home’s aesthetic while balancing the protection it affords your home with the estimated costs for repairs and maintenance throughout the year.
Galvanized Steel: Coated in a rust-resistant material, this material is strong and can withstand snow and leaves, but it needs to be professionally soldered during installation and will eventually rust.
Copper: Long-lasting, rust-proof material, but has mid-range durability and will oxidize in the first few months to a matte brown, then to a blue-green color in a few decades.
Aluminum: By far the most popular choice after vinyl, aluminum has mid-to-low durability but will not rust and can come in an arrow of colors and styles.
Vinyl: These sections are the cheapest on the market making it the most popular choice. While it won’t rot, it becomes brittle over time and will need to be replaced faster.
How Much Gutter Do You Need?
There is a simple equation that you can use as a rule of thumb for estimating the amount of gutter you’ll need for your home. Simply take the square footage of your home and divide that by 10.
While you’ll also want a little extra to ensure that you have enough for different shapes and potential mistakes along the way, this is a great rule of thumb that can help you estimate on the fly, without the need to measure the whole length of the home.
For example, if you have a 1,500 square foot home, you can estimate that you’ll need 150 linear feet of gutter length.
In addition to this, you’ll also need enough brackets to hold the gutters up at intervals, and a long enough downspout to run the height of the home so that water can safely drain into the ground without splashing. A permeable surface below the downspout that helps disperse the water will be beneficial in keeping the area directly below from eroding.
If you are working with a gutter professional who will be installing everything for you, you don’t need to estimate how much gutter you need, but you may need to know the square footage and height of your home from the roof to ground level. These measurements will help the gutter specialist estimate the length of different sections before they come out to assess the property.
Depending on where your home is located and how it is situated on the property, it may be necessary to include multiple downspouts.
How Much Do Gutters Cost?
Different types of gutters can fulfill different needs. On average in the United States, installing new gutters costs around $3,500 for a modest-sized home under 2,000 square feet.
While that cost will vary depending on the region, this does not consider the type of gutters you choose.
Depending on the type of gutter you choose, the cost can vary widely. (2) Seamless gutters are considered the better option for both vanity and durability, but the additional benefits come with an up-front cost for installation.
To weigh budget-friendliness, most homeowners choose a sectional gutter system with an ideal material type for their area, with additional gutter guards.
Although seamless versions are more expensive, they are less prone to leaks and clogs. To further minimize the risk of clogging, a variety of gutter guards are available.
The material also matters, as some gutters will be louder and less convenient, while others will be more prone to rust or breakage. Selecting the best of both worlds can be a challenge, especially when the material cost can change the price tag so dramatically.
Depending on the material, gutters typically run anywhere from $3-$11 per linear foot of material.
No matter the type of gutters you get, it’s important to consider the typical rainfall of your area and the type of weather that these gutters will have to withstand.
Since they are the first line of defense for your home’s foundation and siding, it’s important to keep the gutter system in the best shape possible for the lowest cost burden; and that includes ongoing costs like maintenance and repairs.
Often, cheaper gutter systems that are not ideal for the type of weather your home can expect to receive will cost you more in repairs and maintenance than choosing a slightly more expensive gutter system up-front that can withstand these challenges.
What Type of Gutters Are Cheapest?
No one wants to spend money on home repairs. You could be spending that on so many other great things, but the fact of the matter is, keeping your home maintained is an important part of homeownership that can leave you with a stronger, more valuable home down the line.
This is why it’s important to consider the benefits that different types of gutters provide for your home, not just now, but in the future as well. The cheapest gutters might not be the best option for your home depending on the amount of rain you receive every year.
A cheap gutter system that goes unmaintained might be more expensive in the long run, costing you more in repairs and foundation problems.
Consider choosing a gutter system that balances budget-friendly and durability to minimize your potential repairs later. Gutters are an investment not just in your quality of life, but the resale value of your home.
Who to Call for Gutter Repair?
If you’ve forgotten to clean your gutters, chances are, you’ll need to call a professional for gutter repair.
At Same Day Pros, we help you maintain your home and keep it safe throughout the year by providing you with a fast, easy-to-access list of local professionals that can help you clean, repair, and maintain your gutters.
Having a gutter repair specialist on hand is also a great way to prepare for strong spring rains or after hurricane season.
Not only can they help fix damages to your gutters after the storms pass, but they can help lengthen the lifespan of the gutter system overall to have regular maintenance performed, such as gutter cleaning or tightening of loose bolts and brackets.
With a little help from Same Day Pros, you can get a local gutter specialist out to your home in no time to assess the damages to your gutters and start making repairs, so your home is protected from the elements even between storms.
How Much Maintenance Do Gutters Need?
Gutters are your home’s first line of defense against heavy rain, protecting the foundation from water damage and keeping the home in good condition.
In most areas, gutters should have maintenance done at least twice a year to keep them in tip-top shape. This includes a gutter cleaning and inspection to ensure there are no damages to any part of the gutter.
The idea is that, by cleaning the gutters in spring and fall, they will be protected from the elements throughout the seasons between strong storms and heavy rains.
Gutter maintenance helps remove any clogs or standing water from the gutter, prevents dirt from forming in the gutters, and deters animals from nesting in the gutter sections or downspouts.
Depending on the amount of tree cover you have, as well as the type of trees, you may need to have gutter maintenance done at least once every three months to prevent severe clogs from forming over the season.
Pine trees are especially prolific in dropping needles throughout the summer and fall months, which can easily be blown into your gutters or drift off the roof into the downspouts.
Proactive maintenance can also help, with installations like net-like clog guards that prevent leaves from entering the downspouts in the first place.
- Huffpost.com, Why roofing needs to be a part of your home improvement project, https://www.huffpost.com/entry/why-roofing-needs-to-be-part-of-your-home-improvement_b_59f36fe9e4b06acda25f498a
- Forbes.com, Here are the types of gutters and gutter guards for your home, https://www.forbes.com/advisor/home-improvement/gutters-and-gutter-guards/