While gutter systems are available in many different varieties, from plastic to copper, there are only two types that are most common: seamless and sectional. In this post we will explain the difference between materials and types of gutters commonly used today.
Vinyl gutters are a great choice for high-up homes with steep roofs where snow loads and heavy rains pose major threats to gutter integrity. Here are a few factors to consider regarding vinyl gutters.
You can buy vinyl gutters fairly cheap in small sections at Lowes or Home Depot. All the necessary parts and tools are available in stores and everything can all be hauled in a small truck or van. Vinyl gutters are easy to assemble and a lot of people choose them for that reason.
The only type of seals offered for vinyl gutter seams are made out of rubber. Vinyl gutters expand and contract an extreme amount depending on the weather. It is almost impossible to account for this because you have to cut the gutters in a way that compromises functionality. As the gutter expands and contracts, debris will start to make its way into the rubber seals. This will eventually lead to break down that results in leaking at the seams. Vinyl gutters usually last about a year before this occurs.
At this point, most people will try to use an adhesive to seal the seams of the gutters. This does not work because there is too much expansion and contraction. This results in the adhesive breaking and becoming one more piece of debris in the gutter.
Lack of Durability
If there are not enough hangers or brackets, vinyl gutters are bad to sag or bow. This is also partly due to expansion and contraction during the summer and winter months. Vinyl does well at withstanding items falling from trees in the summer. In the winter time, vinyl can break or shatter from items falling on it.
Vinyl gutters are slightly cheaper up front than aluminum gutters. If you consider the longevity of the product however, vinyl is much more expensive. Vinyl gutters may be about 25% cheaper than aluminum but they last about 10% as long. They become even more expensive when you consider the value of your home. Vinyl does not look professional. It looks cheap and temporary and devalues your home.
Aluminum Seamless Gutters
Aluminum gutters require some additional tools that aren’t as accessible. A machine that extrudes metal will need to be used for this project. These machines are not available for rent everywhere and can be hard to find. Aluminum gutters are usually bought on a coil and then cut into sections at the length needed. You can buy them in sections like vinyl but the parts aren’t as readily accessible as easy to assemble.
Aluminum gutters last a while and they have a rigid look and feel. They still function if struck by hail or items falling from trees, but it is much more likely to dent. Although aluminum gutters expand and contract, it is not nearly as much as vinyl.
Alternatively, you can use an adhesive with aluminum gutters because they don’t move nearly as much as the seams. You may see large expansions and contractions if you have sections over 100 ft long. However, most people don’t get close to that length with aluminum gutters.
Within 10-15 years the finish on aluminum gutters can oxidize and start to not look as good. This can be solved by painting them which is not bad considering how long they usually last before this is needed.
Is There Anything Cheaper Than Vinyl or Aluminum?
One old school approach to gutter installation is using wood. In the long run, this is not a good option. Wood gutters do not last very long. Vinyl gutters are the cheapest option for someone who doesn’t want to invest much money. Out of the three options, aluminum is the best value.
5 in Seamless Rain Gutters vs 6 in Seamless Rain Gutters
The 6 in gutters have almost double the capacity of a 5 in gutter. With 6 in gutters, you are looking at two things. Heavy rainfall coming off of a large roof, or a large area of roof that condenses down into a short piece of gutter.
If the formation of the roof causes water to run down into a small section of gutter, you need a larger capacity. This will keep the water from overflowing into your yard or garden. If the water is flowing into a longer section of gutter, 5 in should suffice. Some larger commercial buildings may need 6 in gutters just because of the square footage difference. Large roofs accumulate a lot more water and therefore the gutter needs to have a higher capacity.
A 12,000 sq ft area per 40 ft of gutter will work for a 5 in seamless gutter installation. A 2,400 sq ft area per 40 ft would require a 6 in installation. The steepness of the roof is not really a factor in choosing the size of the gutter.
Standard Sizes of Homes for Seamless Gutter Installation
Most homes use 5 in gutters and some may have a few sections of 6 in built in to areas where it is appropriate. Both sizes are made out of the same material. Durability is only a factor if the 5 in gutter is overflowing often. In this situation, it might be a good idea to change to a 6 in for that area.
How Much Does Seamless Gutter Installation Cost?
The average seamless gutter installation project costs about $0.80 cent per square foot. Gutters are measured by the foot and the average price of gutter installation for an entire home is around $1,800. This of course would vary depending on the size and architecture of your home. 6 in gutters usually cost around 20% more to install than 5 in gutters.
The value of your home does not necessarily affect the price of the home. You may find some unprofessional contractors who try to run the cost up based on your home’s value if they find out you don’t have any other bids. This is why it is always good to ask for discounts and get multiple bids. Most gutter contractors have room to negotiate on their prices or scheduling.
How To Choose a Good Gutter Installer
First of all, go online and check reviews from websites such as Homeadvisor or the Better Business Bureau. You also want to check reviews on Google and Facebook. A lot of people go straight to the bad reviews. They will check to see if they can tolerate the worst part of the negative reviews.
Make sure when you get multiple bids for the project, you pick three viable options. If you realize one of the companies is someone you can’t work with, don’t count them as one of the three. Make sure all three bids are companies you would be satisfied with if you selected them for the job.
Something to look out for is a company who can’t professionally schedule their service. If the company doesn’t collect your full name, address, and other contact information that is a bad sign. If they say they will talk to you sometimes Friday, that is something to be wary of. Professional gutter installers should be able to give you a precise schedule.
How Much Input Does The Customer Have With Seamless Gutter Installation?
Requesting More Pitch
The customer can request more pitch, however, this may not be necessary. There are actually small holes in the bottom of the gutter that allows water to exit. If there is a high volume area of gutter with only one downspout, speeding of the flow can help.
Having too steep of a pitch can have a negative effect. For that reason, there is a limit to how much you can pitch a gutter. Usually the better option is to use a larger gutter. ¼ in pitch per 10 ft of gutter is usually considered excessive.
Requesting How Far the Gutter Extends Past the Shingle
You can request how much the gutter extends but there is a standard procedure to consider. The gutter should extend out past the roof to the end of the shingles to catch the full drip line of a shingle edge. If your shingles extend past the roof, the gutter needs to go out slightly farther.
Color of Gutter
There are over 80 different colors that can be used for seamless gutters. On the other hand, some states only have 15-20 colors in stock but they can be ordered. This shouldn’t be an issue because the 15-20 colors that gutter contractors usually have will likely match your home.
Blue River Gutters Seamless Gutter Installation Customization
At Blue River Gutters, the customer has all the input. We allow them to select the location of the downspout. These decisions are often made based on where they spend the most time in their yard. We install underground downspout drains where the customer wants them to be. Our customers are able to fully customize their gutter system and we only recommend best practices.