Gutters are very important to a house, aside from improving its aesthetics. Except for well-informed homeowners, most don’t realize the layers of protection that gutters give to a house. Technically, gutters are not part of the roof, but if homeowners neglect to maintain the gutters, it can lead to serious issues, including compromised foundations and moldy walls.
Replacing gutters and downspouts costs a lot, depending on your material. An average 2400 sq ft house with a 150 linear foot gutter and 4 downspouts will cost roughly $3000 (materials and labor costs) if the installers use aluminum for the materials (Forbes). Here is the average cost of gutters and downspouts according to materials using the same dimensions of the sample house above.
|Material Only||Lowest Estimate (linear foot)||Median Estimate (linear foot)||Highest Estimate (linear foot)|
|Aluminum (sectional)||$2.50-$2.80||$2.80- $3.10||$3-$3.30|
Labor costs for installing a gutter range from $1-$7 per linear foot. Factors affecting labor costs are:
- Height of the house
- Number of corners
- Type of gutter
- Extra reinforcements
- Steepness of the roof
- Subcontracting labor
- Location of the house
For example, gutter installation on two-story houses with a very steep roof costs more than on a single-story house with a slightly sloping roof. Installing gutters in cities is also pricier compared to the suburbs and rural areas.
There are 6 commonly used materials for rain gutters; each has its pros and cons.
Aluminum gutters are the most commonly used because they don’t rust, are lightweight, and are very affordable. They can last up to 20 years if installed properly. Seamless gutters are more resistant to mid-run leaks. However, they are also more expensive. Sectional gutters are prone to leaks but are easy for DIY installations.
Vinyl is the least expensive but also the least durable of gutter materials. However, vinyl gutters are also heavier and can cause an added strain on your roof. They are also prone to sagging, especially when heavy with debris and water. This gutter material is best for small, one-story houses.
Copper gutter material and installation are very expensive. When copper oxidizes, it develops a green patina that protects the gutter. This material is best for older houses. However, they don’t last as long as aluminum gutters.
Galvanized steel gutters are superior to aluminum in terms of strength and sturdiness. They can withstand extreme weather conditions and are best installed in hurricane-prone and heavily snowed areas. The downside of these gutters is the price, but they can last up to 30 years.
Galvalume uses steel coated with aluminum and zinc to improve its strength and resistance to rust. They cost roughly the same as aluminum gutters but are heavier and sturdier. Galvalume gutters are the most durable of gutter materials.
Zinc gutters use zinc alloy mixed with titanium and copper. They are more expensive than aluminum gutters and last up to 40 years if properly installed. Zinc gutters are best used on older houses because they don’t need a painting job. Instead, it develops a slightly green patina because of the copper in its structure.
Homeowners install gutters because it improves the overall look of the house. However, there are more important reasons why gutters are necessary for any house. Maintaining gutters is a must to keep a house in good shape.
Gutters protect the house’s foundation by directing water away from the house through the downspouts. When water pools around the house, it can cause leaks to the foundation, thus compromising the house’s structural integrity.
Pooling water may also leak into the basement, potentially damaging your HVAC and electrical installations and leading to electrocution. Watermarks in the basement may mean leaks on the foundation.
Excessive moisture in the house promotes mold and mildew growth, which is a health threat, especially if you have babies or an asthmatic person.
Damaged gutters may affect the insurance cost of a house and in some situations, insurance claims get denied because of sagging or mangled gutters.
Gutter replacement costs $2-$3 per linear foot, costlier than the original installation because replacement entails the removal of damaged gutters and disposal of waste. However, replacing damaged fascia boards will cost you an additional $6-$20 per linear foot, depending on the extent of damage and height of the gutter placement. The downspout is also part of the gutter system, so homeowners should not neglect their upkeep.
Before Installing the Gutters
Another helpful tip from Spout Gutters, a trustworthy company specializing in gutter installation, focuses more on functionality rather than form when considering rain gutters installation. Ask the contractor what works best for the house design so that the gutter won’t clash with the roof. Also, it is best to hire a single contractor for the installation of the roof and gutters rather than hiring them separately.