Types of Gutters
Gutters come in a wide variety of materials and types, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. When choosing the right rain gutters for your house, consider your budget, your house's style, and how much maintenance you're willing to do. The most common types of materials for rain gutters are copper, vinyl, aluminum, and steel.
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Copper gutters are incredibly durable and offer an unmatched elegance and beauty. However, at an average of $20 per linear foot, copper gutters are also one of the most expensive types of gutters available. Copper gutters do not rust (1) and they can develop a stunning patina over time.
Steel gutters are more durable and stronger than aluminum gutters, however they also cost more and can be more difficult to install due to their weight. There are two common types of steel gutters: galvanized steel ($4-$10 per linear foot) and stainless steel ($18-$22 per linear foot). Both are long-lasting, though stainless steel is considered to be rust-free and can keep its high sheen for many years.
Aluminum gutters are perhaps the most popular type of gutter because they're easy to install, almost as affordable as vinyl, and they're very lightweight (2). The average cost for aluminum gutters is $4-$9 per linear foot. Aluminum gutters are also fairly easy to maintain, however they do expand and contract more than other metals due to temperature changes.
Vinyl gutters are the most budget-friendly option for rain gutters available at only $3-$5 per linear foot. Vinyl gutters are not as durable as other materials as they are prone to dents and cracks, especially in extreme hot or cold, and can become brittle over time. However, they are available in a wide variety of colors, so they can easily match any home's exterior.
Wood gutters are mainly used on historic homes and in restoration projects and, like copper gutters, are chosen because of their elegant and beautiful aesthetic. While wood gutters are cheaper than their copper counterparts, they still cost more than vinyl or aluminum. The average cost for wood gutters is $12-$20 per linear foot. Wood gutters also require quite a bit of regular maintenance since wood and water don't mix well.
Seamless gutters are usually made out of aluminum, though they can be made from copper, and, as the name suggests, they do not have seams (3) like traditional sectional gutters do. They cost an average of $5-$8 per linear foot for aluminum seamless gutters and $15-$25 for copper seamless gutters. While sectional gutters can leak at the seams, seamless gutters eliminate leaks and are considered much easier to clean than sectional gutters.
While some types of gutters require less regular maintenance than others, all gutters need to be cleaned out regularly. Gutter cleaning cleans out the leaves and debris from the gutters, letting them move water away from your home through an unrestricted path. Without regular cleaning, your gutters and roof can start to leak (4). While gutter cleaning can be a DIY job, it is usually best left to a professional, especially if you have a house that's two stories or taller. Gutter cleaning can range anywhere from $70-$200 for 120 linear feet of gutters on a single-story home and anywhere from $100-$250 for 200 linear feet on a two-story home.
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Gutter Guard Installation & Leaf Guards
Getting gutter guards installed on your gutters can certainly save you time, frustration, and money on gutter cleaning, however it's imperative that you realize that even with gutter guards, your gutters will still require maintenance from time to time.
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- Riha, John. "Types of Gutters and Costs". Houselogic. Retrieved 18 May 2017.
- Hardy, Benjamin. "Gutters 101". Bob Vila. Retrieved 18 May 2017.
- Vandervort, John. "Rain Gutters Buying Guide". HomeTips.com. Retrieved 18 May 2017.
- Randall, Jana. "What Happens When You Don't Clean Your Gutters". SheKnows. Retrieved 18 May 2017.