Replacing Home Gutters and Guards
The idea of water damage to a house can conjure thoughts of flooding or broken pipes, but the overlooked hero of safeguarding your home from rain storms or melting snow is your gutter system. Proper gutter installation can protect you from a waterfall of rain cascading down your roof when making the dash between car and front door, but most importantly it protects decks, the foundation, basements, and helps prevent water from seeping into your home and causing damage.
Gutter installation projects entail more than simply ensuring water has a place to travel from your roof, and the trusted professionals at Modernize are ready to connect you with local contractors that will help you make the best gutter-related decisions possible to protect your home. Whether it’s gutter repairs, replacement or installation on new builds, Modernize can help you understand your many options and what to ask a contractor when your project kicks off.
What to Expect
As with many home projects, the biggest question on a homeowner’s mind is typically, “What is this going to cost me?”
While the function and anatomy of a gutter system is mostly consistent across projects, homeowners have a range of material and style options to consider that impact the system’s longevity and cost.
Homeowners should also consider the installation of gutter guards. These protective filters help keep leaves and other debris out of gutter systems, while allowing water to flow with ease. Guards come at an additional cost, but can greatly improve the longevity of gutters and reduce the amount of time spent cleaning.
Selecting a Contractor for New Gutter Installation
The internet is filled with DIY gutter installation videos, but like many home improvement projects, the skills and knowledge of a professional can’t be replicated in tutorial videos. Professionals can identify potential problems — such as damage or wood rot in siding, framing and fascia boards — that might be overlooked otherwise.
Modernize can connect you with trusted contractors in your area, but we understand every homeowner’s needs and preferences are unique. That’s why we’ve also developed a Contractor Checklist to provide you with a step-by-step guide on what to look for in a potential contractor, and what questions you should ask.
Gutter installation can take one to several days, depending on the size of your home and materials being used. Discuss the timeline with potential contractors and be sure to plan ahead in case of any weather-related delays.
Developing an understanding of the different types of gutters, guards and their costs will also help you select contractors — although, keep in mind that skilled professionals will be able to provide the best insight on what gutter installation works best to protect your home.
Gutter Material Types
When comparing gutter types, there are two primary categories for homeowners to consider — material and shape. These two factors will dictate the longevity of your gutter system, its curb appeal and the overall cost.
Aluminum gutters are one of the most popular choices thanks to their easy installation and low cost. Available in a range of colors and resistant to corrosion, aluminum gutters allow for maximum customization that can work for just about any home. The curb appeal of aluminum can diminish over time as the material is susceptible to denting and bending, though thicker options are available to reduce these concerns.
On average, homeowners can expect to pay between $6 and $14 per linear foot for aluminum gutters. Aluminum gutters last approximately 20–25 years, with proper maintenance.
Vinyl gutters are a low-cost option that come in a variety of color options, never corrode and are easy to install. However, vinyl is prone to cracking when exposed to extreme cold weather conditions and can bow when exposed to regular, heavy rain, wind or snow.
Despite these drawbacks, vinyl has grown in popularity thanks to its average cost of $3 to $6 per linear foot. This material is expected to last 15–20 years, though weather conditions can cause this to fluctuate.
Copper and zinc gutters are highly resistant to rust and damage, but come at an added cost. Each material experiences a color reaction from weather exposure, which can produce a high curb appeal and natural protections from the elements. Homeowners can also take ease in knowing that these materials won’t attract mold or mildew and won’t require painting. However, copper gutters are still susceptible to storm damage in a manner similar to aluminum.
Zinc averages $20 per linear foot, while copper can average as much as $25 per linear foot — making them a better choice for homeowners that plan to live in their home for a long time. This is also due to their longevity of 60+ years if properly maintained.
Steel gutters come in a variety of options including stainless, galvanized and Galvalume (steel coated with a combination of aluminum and zinc). Each of these varieties are incredibly strong and weather resistant, though galvanized steel can be impacted by rust if damaged.
While it is more expensive than other options, ranging from $8 to $30 per linear foot depending on coating, steel is one of the most effective options at resisting the elements. Steel gutter varieties are expected to last at least 20 years, with Galvalume gutters lasting even longer.
Gutter Style Options
K-Style gutters are the most common gutter shape and can be found on most homes in the U.S. Their shape closely resembles the appearance of crown molding — an appealing choice with high curb appeal for many homeowners. K-styles can also hold more rainwater compared to other shapes of similar widths, making them an ideal choice for homes in rainy climates. These gutters come in a range of materials and colors, and are easy to install, creating a seamless end product that will protect most any home.
Half-Round Gutters are an inexpensive alternative to K-style gutters and can be a beautiful feature on many historic and traditional home styles. Half-rounds can move and drain water more efficiently than their K-style counterparts, but not handle as large a volume. For homeowners in areas with less frequent rain in search of a unique, traditional-style gutter, half-rounds might be an ideal solution.
The key to gutter longevity is proper care and cleaning — but cleaning gutters isn’t typically on the top of a homeowner’s weekend to-do list. It’s a messy chore that can present physical risks. Installing gutter guards is one of the best ways to reduce the amount of time spent cleaning gutters, while still avoiding clogs and reducing the risk of water damage to your home.
The three main types of gutter guards are screens, mesh and surface tension (sometimes called “reverse curve”). Each has its own set of advantages and price differences, but all can help protect your gutters and improve their lifespan.
Screen gutter guards are one the most common forms of guards thanks to their low cost and easy installation — many of which can simply be dropped in gutters or slid under shutters. The screens are composed of a wire or plastic grid that can keep leaves and other larger debris from entering a gutter system. Unfortunately, this design allows for smaller debris such as pine needles or seeds to enter gutters — requiring the screen to be occasionally cleaned.
Fine mesh gutter guards are similar in design and function to screen guards, but provide added protection against small debris. Mesh guards will require occasional cleaning, but it is often a less tedious task than compared to their screen counterparts. Expect this style to also be affordable and easy to install.
Surface tension gutter guards do not allow water to pass through them, but rather rely on the water clinging to their rounded nose and falling into the gutter. This method of moving water means that most debris (large and small) will simply fall off the roof, rather than into the gutter system. However, surface tension guards are also more costly and more difficult to install than other variations. They are also more visible from the ground and can be less effective in heavy storms — though they function perfectly fine in normal rain showers.
Gutter Replacement Costs
The average cost of installing gutters is largely dependent on the size of your home, the anatomy of the gutter system needed and on the materials selected. Still, understanding how much these options can cost is important when planning your gutter installation or renovation project.
Cost by Home Size
- 800 sq. ft.: $180–$1,800
- 1,000 sq. ft.: $240–$2,400
- 1,500 sq. ft.: $300–$3,000
- 1,750 sq. ft.: $450–$4,500
- 2,000 sq. ft.: $600–$6,000
Cost by Gutter Material (per linear foot)
- Aluminum: $6–$14
- Vinyl: $3–$6
- Copper: $15–$30
- Zinc: $20–$25
- Galvanized: $8–$12
- Galvalume: $20–$30
Cost of Gutter Shapes (per linear foot)
- K-Style: $3–$23
- Half-Round: $4–$25
Cost of Gutter Guards (per foot)
- Screen: $0.30–$3.50
- Fine Mesh: $2.50–$4
- Surface Tension: $3.50–$6.50
While gutter installation costs can vary greatly and range from several hundred to several thousands of dollars, the national average range is $900–$5,000, with most homeowners spending around $1,225.
Let Modernize help you find a contractor by telling us more about your project and expectations. We can quickly connect you with trusted, local contractors to complete your gutter installation project. By using the information in this guide and by leveraging our handy Contractor Checklist, you’ll have the tools you need to select a contractor and move one step closer to a gutter system that protects your family — and your home — from the elements.
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