Although we don’t think about them often, gutters are an important protective feature for any home. Since the 1960s, seamless aluminum gutters have been the most popular style of gutter in the U.S. due to their light weight, durability and lower cost compared to other types of gutters, such as steel and copper. Aluminum gutters are also crucial for diverting stormwater away from your property and preventing mold, wood rot, erosion and other detrimental factors in your roofline, foundation and siding.
Below you can find all the information you need to make an informed decision when shopping for new aluminum gutters. We’ve covered aluminum gutter benefits, installation costs, styles, importance of downspouts and gutter guards, maintenance needs, and more.
Seamless vs. Sectional Aluminum Gutters
The majority of homes in the U.S. have gutters made of aluminum that come in a seamless (rather than sectional) style. This is because seamless aluminum gutters are sturdier, longer-lasting, and better protect the home compared to sectional gutters.
Aluminum seamless gutters are custom-formed onsite to fit the exact dimensions of your home’s roofline. On the other hand, sectional aluminum gutters – the less common type – are premade gutter lengths that are assembled in the field. Although all seams are covered with a sealant, sectional gutters are usually DIY projects and more prone to leakage than their seamless counterparts.
Benefits of Aluminum Gutters
It’s no coincidence that about 70 percent of all gutters manufactured in the U.S. are made from aluminum. The metal offers many inherent benefits to home gutter systems, including:
- Corrosion resistance. Aluminum contains almost no iron, which is responsible for rusting in other types of metals when they are exposed to oxygen and water. Not only do aluminum gutters not rust, but they actually form a film of aluminum oxide that provides enhanced water protection.
- Cost-effective. Aluminum gutters offer homeowners a solid value option compared to more expensive copper gutters and less-expensive (and less durable) vinyl PVC gutters.
- Durability. Aluminum gutters can have a life expectancy of 30 years or even longer when properly maintained.
- Lightweight. Aluminum’s popularity was borne in part from its light weight compared to copper or galvanized steel gutters.
Aluminum Gutters Installation Cost
Aluminum gutters installation costs will vary by region and by the licensed gutter company. Factors that greatly influence aluminum gutter installation prices are the size of your home, difficulty of installation, and the number of gutter downspouts that need to be installed to move water from the roofline to the ground level.
As a rough rule of thumb, you can estimate how many linear feet of guttering you will need by dividing the square footage of your home by 10. For instance, a 3,000 square-foot home would need about 300 linear feet of gutters.
|Aluminum gutters||$6.10- $11.20 per linear ft.|
|Aluminum downspouts||$25.30 - $46.10 per unit|
|Aluminum end caps||$2 - $3.60 per unit|
|Aluminum gutter guards||$3.10 - $5.70 per linear ft.|
|Labor and installation||$2.20 - $4 per linear ft.|
|Estimated grand total for 1,500 sq. foot home||$1,770 - $2,780|
On average, aluminum gutters typically cost between $6.10 and $11.20 per linear foot to install. Aluminum downspouts cost between $25.30 and $46.10 on average per downspout installed. Most homes require two to four downspouts depending on the roof structure and stories. You also may be responsible for the cost of important gutter accessories, such as end caps, hangars, brackets, elbows, flashing and splash blocks.
Labor, meanwhile, costs an average of $2.20 to $4 per linear foot extra for aluminum gutter installations in the U.S. For a 1,500 square foot home, this would translate to about $330 to $600 in installation costs. Labor prices could be lower for gutters on a simple single-story A-frame roofline, or higher for a complicated two-story hip-and-valley roofline.
Discuss aluminum gutter materials and labor costs with at least three to four reputable gutter installation companies prior to starting your project. You also can use our handy gutter installation cost calculator to get a baseline idea of how much you might pay for your new aluminum gutters.
Styles of Aluminum Gutters
There are two main styles of aluminum gutters from which to choose: half-round and K-style. Below we’ve listed the main features and pros and cons of each style.
K-Style Aluminum Gutters
This style of gutter got its name because it resembles a capital letter “K” when viewed from the side. The design helps provide strength and rigidity, especially when the gutter is filled with snowmelt or rainwater. K-style gutters are the most widely used style of gutter in the U.S. They pair well with contemporary and modern architectural styles.
- K-style gutters are deeper than half-round gutters, so they can carry more rainwater.
- They have a flat back that can be nailed directly to your roof’s fascia, which makes them easy to install. This could potentially help you save on labor costs.
- The extra rigidity lends itself to increased durability and longevity.
- The shape can accumulate debris faster than half-round gutters.
- They can be more difficult to clean.
K-style gutters are most commonly sold in 5” and 6” widths, but they can be manufactured up to 8” wide.
Half-Round Aluminum Gutters
Half-round aluminum gutters are shaped like half a barrel, or a circle that’s been cut in half. They usually are featured on older homes or historical Victorian architecture, although they can also work well with homes that have brick or natural stone siding.
- Water moves faster through the trough of half-round aluminum gutters.
- The half-circle shape makes them easy to clean.
- Water won’t collect or pool, so there tends to be less issues with leakage.
- Half-round gutters are a bit more shallow in depth than K-style gutters, so they don’t carry as much rainwater. This could potentially be an issue for climates with more rainfall.
- They are not as popular as K-style gutters, so it may be harder to source them.
- They can be a bit more difficult to install, which can drive up the price of labor.
Half-round aluminum gutters can be made in widths ranging from 4” to 8,” but 5” and 6” are the most common sizes.
Note that many gutter contractors will only carry k-style gutters, as they are the most widely manufactured style in the U.S. Be sure to discuss which style is best suited for your home with a professional contractor.
Aluminum vs. Vinyl Gutters
In this section we will compare and contrast aluminum gutters and vinyl gutters – another popular material – to help homeowners decide which type best meets their needs.
Vinyl gutters are also called PVC gutters because they are made from polyvinyl chloride, the third most widely used type of plastic in the world. Vinyl gutters have many benefits:
- These gutters will never rust or corrode.
- They are lightweight, which makes them easy to handle during installation.
- They are more inexpensive compared to metal gutters. Vinyl gutters cost an average of $2.80 to $5.10 per linear foot, plus labor costs. Compare this to $6.10 to $11.20 per linear foot for aluminum, and $5.95 to $10.85 per linear foot for steel gutters.
- Vinyl will not ding or dent. Scratches also will not stand out like they do in painted aluminum because the gutter is one uniform color throughout.
Vinyl gutters also can have some potential drawbacks. Among them:
- Long-term exposure to harsh weather will likely make the vinyl brittle and reduce its durability.
- Vinyl gutters are lightweight, so they cannot efficiently withstand extreme winds, snowstorms and excessive rainfall like aluminum gutters.
- Vinyl gutter sections snap together, making installation more time-consuming.
- There are many seams, which could lead to leaks.
Vinyl gutters definitely have a place in the residential gutter market. They perform best in drier, mild climates that see light rainfall and little to no snow. If you live in an area with a harsher climate, aluminum gutters offer greater longevity and return on investment.
Choosing Gutter Guards
Gutter guards are often an essential element of a well-performing gutter system. Gutter guards are screens or covers that are installed on top of the gutter to prevent leaves, twigs and other debris from accumulating in the gutter trough.
There are many different styles of gutter guards. The most common, however, are flat or half-rounded screens that can be made to fit either half-round or K-style aluminum gutters. They can either just drop in, or attach to the leading edge of the gutter with clips or fasteners.
Homeowners have many choices when it comes to choosing gutter guards for their aluminum gutters. Aluminum gutter guards will be the most durable and suitable, but if you are on a budget you can opt for economical plastic gutter screens. Aluminum gutter guards will cost you an average of $3.10 to $5.70 per linear foot, which includes labor. Costs may go up for more durable metal gutter guards. Mesh gutter guards, meanwhile, cost between $2.50 and $4 per linear foot.
Discussing which option works best for your home with a licensed gutter contractor or home improvement retail specialist will help ensure you choose the best style of gutter guard for your climate.
Installing Aluminum Downspouts
All gutters require downspouts to convey water off the roofline and down to the ground. You’ll need downspouts approximately every 40 feet to ensure your gutter system effectively moves rainwater.
Professional contractors will recommend that you pair aluminum downspouts with aluminum gutters that are the same color and size to maintain visual continuity. Aluminum downspouts come in a variety of styles, including rectangular, round and corrugated round. However, the rectangular style is usually paired with K-style boxed gutters, while rounded aluminum gutter downspouts are paired with the half-round gutter shape.
Downspouts are usually sold in 10-foot prefabricated lengths, and in widths varying from 3” to 6.” Be sure to discuss the proper width with a licensed gutter contractor to ensure you choose the correct width to properly convey water off your roofline. Aluminum downspouts cost an average of $25.30 to $46.10 per unit.
To complete the gutter installation, you will also need elbows, downspout brackets, splash blocks and other accessories to properly attach and secure the downspouts.
Finding a Reputable Local Gutters Contractor
Once you are ready to install aluminum gutters on your home, the next step is to get in touch with local contractors. Modernize always recommends comparing at least three to four quotes before making a final decision. This will help you find the best price and professional for your project.
Modernize can help you connect with reputable local contractors so you can start the vetting process. Use our network of trustworthy professionals to make getting your gutters project started easier.