Seamless gutters can be a smart option for replacing the old gutters that have become an eyesore and are leaking and failing at the seams.
This guide covers costs, options, and pros and cons of seamless gutters. We also explain the importance of having a properly-functioning rainwater drainage system for protecting your home from costly damage.
Right off the bat: 80% of all seamless gutters installed are made of aluminum. That said, painted aluminum seamless gutters will cost between $10.00 and $15.50 per linear foot installed, depending on the project specifics such as the number of stories or your home’s height, ease of accessibility (3-story multi-family home’s roof edges might be more difficult to access than roof edges on a single-story home), overall project size, and your home’s location.
A typical project to install between 170 ft. to 225 ft. of seamless aluminum gutters and 6 downspouts on a single-story house will cost between $2,000 and $3,500.
Project pricing breakdown by material type:
|Material Type:||Average Cost||Low Cost||High Cost||Average home*|
|Aluminum||$12.00||$10.00||$15.50||$2,000 to $3,000|
|Coated steel||$10.00||$9.00||$12.50||$1,900 to $2,500|
|Copper||$24.00||$18.00||$40.00||$4,320 to $5,580|
|*Average home is 2,000 s.f. with garage: 170-225 feet of gutters and 6 downspouts|
The above costs include gutters, downspouts, hanging brackets, end caps and other accessories, plus the cost of professional installation and warranty.
Note: two story homes will normally cost $1.00 more per linear foot of seamless gutters installed than single story homes.
Did you know? The material you choose for your gutters is the biggest factor in their cost.
Thanks to their lightweight, flexibility, corrosion resistance and longevity, aluminum seamless gutters are known for providing great value and are by far the most popular choice for residential applications.
Galvanized or coated steel seamless gutters cost about $10.00 per linear foot installed but have the lowest durability.
Copper gutters are costly, averaging about $24.00 per linear foot installed, but they are unsurpassed in beauty and durability.
What are Seamless Gutters Anyways?
Seamless gutters are custom-fit gutters made once the crew arrives at your home. Coiled metal and a gutter machine are used to form them.
Aluminum, galvanized steel and copper are the three materials available. Each gutter is extruded to the exact length needed for the run.
The only seams are at the corners, and they are screwed together and sealed with silicone when using aluminum or steel. Copper seams are soldered and/or riveted. End caps are attached, and downspouts are connected.
Aluminum may be coated or have a baked-on powder-coat finish. Galvanized steel gutters typically have a vinyl coat, though Galvalume is used too.
Dozens of colors are available for aluminum and steel coatings. Copper develops a patina with time if not polished.
Whether old gutters are removed: Removing and disposing of old gutters can cost 50 cents to $1.50 per linear foot.
What material you use: 80% of seamless gutters are aluminum. Steel is a cheaper alternative. Copper is the costliest material suited to upscale homes.
Size: Gutters can be made in widths from 3 inches to 7 inches, though most are 5 inches. The larger, the costlier. The size needed is based on the size of your roof and the amount of rainfall common to your climate during its heaviest storms.
Upper-story installation: Installing gutters above the first level is more difficult, so the cost is typically $1.00 to $2.00 more per linear foot.
Number of corners: Installing corners is the most time-consuming aspect of the work, so homes with more than 6 corners push cost toward the upper end of the spectrum.
Premium colors: Deep, rich colors cost more than lighter colors from some gutter companies.
Where you live: Cities on or near the Coasts have the highest cost of living. They’re followed by major metropolitan areas like Chicago and Dallas/Ft. Worth. Rural areas of the Midwest, West and South have lower pricing. Cost of living can affect gutter costs by up to 30%.
Fascia repair: Rotted fascia must be replaced before new gutters are installed at a cost of $8.00 to $12.00 per linear foot. That cost is not included in the table above.
Extras: The costs here do not cover extras, but some homeowners add gutter guards, splash blocks, downspout extenders, rain chains or rain barrels.
Pros and Cons:
Here’s what we like about seamless gutters:
- The one-piece gutters are less prone to leaking than their sectional gutter counterparts, although leaks are still possible around downspouts, corners and end caps when not fitted properly or with age.
- They’re a perfect fit when properly measured.
- You’ve got 12 to 24 colors to chooses from, so it’s easy to find one that complements your home.
- Powder-coated gutters can be painted.
- Aluminum, steel and copper are long-lasting choices compared to sectional vinyl gutters that warp and become brittle with age and weather.
Here are a few potential downsides:
- The cost of material is higher than vinyl sectional gutters.
- They are not DIY friendly since they require coils of material and a $10,000 extruding gutter machine.
- If the gutter is damaged, the entire run must be replaced, not just the bad section.
Aluminum vs. Steel vs. Copper
Aluminum: the reason why over 80% of all seamless gutters are made of aluminum is because aluminum resists corrosion, is lightweight, durable, and available in many finish colors. It can also be easily painted.
Aluminum gutters typically last 20+ years in harsh, snowy climates, and 30 years in most other places. The downside is that aluminum can dent and ding more easily than steel. And while aluminum is good looking, it doesn’t have the wow-factor of copper.
Steel: The two things steel has going for it is that it costs less than aluminum, and it doesn’t dent as easily.
Steel negatives include being heavier than aluminum, so there’s greater risk of gutters pulling off the house, especially when filled with wet leaves or ice.
When the coating is scratched deeply (normally G-90 steel is self-healing thanks to the layer of zinc) and bare steel is exposed, your steel gutters will begin to rust quickly. Coated steel gutters are a 12 to 20-year solution.
Copper: This material is a visually impressive upgrade and is typically reserved for homes with brick, stone or genuine wood siding.
Copper lasts 50-100 years, so its lifetime cost compared with aluminum and steel is competitive. Upfront cost is the biggest negative.
Also, keeping a shine on copper requires a semi-annual investment of time to polish it or money to hire someone to do it.
If not cleaned and polished, copper will develop patina that many homeowners find quite appealing.
Sectional Gutters — Old School Alternative to Seamless Gutters
Strictly for comparison purposes, below is a pricing breakdown for sectional gutters:
|Sectional Gutters:||Average Cost||Low Cost||High Cost||Average home*|
|Vinyl||$8.00||$7.50||$10.50||$1,500 to $1,900|
|Zinc||$18.00||$13.00||$24.00||$3,200 to $4,500|
|Stainless steel||$18.00||$14.00||$21.00||$3,250 to $4,250|
|*Average home is 2,000 s.f. with garage: 170-225 feet of gutters and 6 downspouts|
ROI: Why Bother with Gutters and Drainage?
Faulty gutters can cause serious damage to your home’s walls, foundation, and basement. New seamless gutters can enhance your home’s beauty and protect it from costly damage.
Gutters do more than keep dripping water off you on the way in or out of your home. They’re an essential part of keeping your home and property in tip-top shape. Here’s how:
Protecting Walls and Exterior
Gutter systems are designed to carry water away from your home. When water spills over or leaks from gutters instead, it wets the fascia and siding. Results include rotten wood, water stains, peeling paint and the growth of algae and mold on the siding.
Protecting Home’s Foundation and Keeping Water Out of the Basement
Leaking, blocked or missing gutters allow rainwater to fall next to your home’s foundation where it will get through the smallest of cracks.
The negative effects range from flooding and significant property damage to creating an environment for the growth of mold and mildew.
Water constantly falling on delicate plants will damage them. Additionally, when the roots of flowers and shrubs are constantly wet, they rot.
Winter Protection: Reducing Impact of Ice Dams
Ice dams are common in cold-climate homes with insufficient attic insulation and inadequate venting. The heat melts snow, which runs down the roof and freezes at the eaves and in blocked gutters.
Eventually, the ice dam doesn’t allow the melted water to drain, forcing it to rise up underneath the asphalt shingles. From there, water seepage can damage the roof deck and leak into your home.
This is one of many reasons why gutters should be kept in good condition and clear of leaves and debris. Adding insulation to your attic is a good idea, too.
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