Gutters are essential to any roofing system, as they help direct water away from your home, preventing costly water damage. However, choosing the right gutter for your home can be overwhelming, with many available types and materials. In this post, we will discuss the basic types of gutters, the materials they are made of, and their costs to help you make an informed decision.
Basic Types of Gutters
There are two basic types of gutters: K-style and half-round. Both of them come in 5- and 6-inch widths. The shape of their cross-section distinguishes them from one another.
Many styles are available. K-style gutters have flat bottoms and backs. The front part of the gutter usually has an adorning shape, such as a curve or ogee, that mimics crown molding.
Half-round gutters are half-round tubes. They are often found in older, historic homes.
Generally, K-style gutters have twice the capacity of half-round cousins of similar width and cost up to 50% more per linear foot.
Residential gutters are produced from various metals, including:
Aluminum: It is the most widely used material and is lightweight and easy to install for DIYers. It won't rust, and the recommended thickness is 0.032- or 0.027-gauge for long-lasting duty in regions with snow. Aluminum gutters come in various colors and can be painted.
The cost of materials if you DIY is up to $3 per linear foot (6-inch K-style), which includes downspouts. A professional installation (materials and labor) costs $4 to $9 per linear foot.
Copper: It is exceptionally beautiful, won't rust, and doesn't need painting; it will develop a patina over time. However, it requires professional installation, and seams and joints must be welded. Copper is used primarily on high-end residences and historic restorations, making it quite pricey.
A professional installation (materials and labor) costs $12 to $25 per linear foot (6-inch K-style).
Seamless Aluminum: These gutters are produced at the job site. A truck with a spool of flat aluminum pulls up to your home, and the fabricator utilizes a gutter-forming machine to custom-make the needed gutter length. Seamless gutters eliminate a lot of seams and decrease the chances of leaks, but they cost a little more than regular aluminum gutters.
The cost of professional installation (fabrication and materials) is $5 to $11 per linear foot (6-inch K-style).
Steel: It is strong and comes in many color options, making it an attractive choice for many homeowners. Steel is heavy and not recommended for DIY, making it more expensive. Galvanized steel withstands rust, but longevity is an issue, and it may begin to rust after 5 to 10 years.
DIY materials, including downspouts, cost $4 to $6 per linear foot (6-inch K-style). A professional installation (materials and labor) costs $8 to $10 per linear foot.
Vinyl: It is lightweight and inexpensive, making it an excellent choice for DIYers. However, there are few colors to choose from, and the color is susceptible to fading from the UV sunlight. Vinyl may crack in severe cold and won't support ladders placed against them.
DIY materials, including downspouts, cost $1 to $2 per linear foot (6-inch K-style). A professional installation (materials and labor) costs $3 to $5 per linear foot.
Zinc is a durable and long-lasting material that doesn't need painting and will develop a patina over time. However, it requires professional installation, and seams and joints must be welded. Zinc is used primarily on high-end residences and historic restorations, making it expensive.
A professional installation (materials and labor) costs $10 to $24 per linear foot for a 6-inch half-round (K-style not available in zinc).
Downspouts come in round or square shapes, with widths from 3 to 6 inches. The most common sizes are rectangular, with dimensions of 2 inches by 3 inches or 3 inches by 4 inches. Decorative varieties, such as spiral shapes, are also available.
The number and size of downspouts you'll need rely on the capacity of your system. A rule of thumb is that you will require one downspout for every 30 to 40 linear feet of gutter. To improve the capacity of your gutter system, you can add more downspouts.
Do You Need Lots of Gutters?
Calculating the size and capacity of gutters is a complex equation that involves the size and slope of your roof and the average maximum rainfall your area can predict. We suggest leaving the calculations to your gutter installation professional.
For the most part, a 5-inch, K-style gutter is suitable for most homes. "A 5-inch gutter is pretty common and will tolerate rainfall just about anywhere in the country," says the owner of Lake Cook Exteriors in Palatine, Ill, Bill Sheetz. He utilizes them on "almost all our installations."
Sheetz suggests oversized (3-inch-by-4-inch) downspouts to guarantee suitable drainage. Sheetz says a 6-inch gutter has almost twice the capacity of a 5-inch but warns that larger gutters risk getting weighted down with ice that could damage the gutter system in cold climates. Moving to a 6-inch gutter will increase the costs by about 25%.
In conclusion, gutters are a crucial part of your roofing system, and choosing the right one for your home is important. By understanding the basic types of gutters, their materials, and their costs, you can make an informed decision and ensure your home is well-protected from water damage. You should consult a professional to determine your home's appropriate gutter size and capacity.
No matter how big or small the project is, Asheville Seamless Gutters and Home Solutions Gutter Professionals aims to satisfy customers. Click here to book an appointment.