Gutters serve an important function, directing rainwater and snowmelt away from your house’s foundation. Replacing a home’s gutter system is a costly endeavor, so make sure you put some thought into what kind of gutters you choose and how you plan on installing them. In this review, we’ll cover the most common gutter materials and styles, as well as the labor and extra features that go into gutter installation costs.
Factors That Affect Gutter Installation Costs
The biggest variables in terms of gutter installment are materials and labor, but there are a few other considerations, as well.
Perhaps the largest determinant of how much you can expect to pay for gutter installation is the choice of material. Broadly speaking, you have a choice between vinyl and metal gutters, and there are several common metals to choose from. Gutter prices are typically given in linear feet, and the average home has 150 to 200 linear feet of gutters. Keep in mind that these are just material prices, and they don’t include extra accessories or installation costs.
Vinyl gutters made from PVC plastic are the most common type of gutter and are the most budget-friendly. However, they’re not the most durable, so they’re only recommended in climates that don’t experience extreme temperatures or get a lot of rain or snowfall. These gutters cost between $3 and $6 per linear foot, and you can typically install them yourself. Depending on the weather in your area, vinyl gutters can last for 10 to 20 years.
Aluminum gutters are lightweight, resistant to rust, and easy to maneuver. Since aluminum is so lightweight, it’s more susceptible to bending and cracking than other metals. Depending on the style of the gutter and thickness of the aluminum, these gutters can vary in price between $5 and $15 per linear foot. The gutters themselves last about 20 years, but aluminum downspouts last 10 to 20 years longer.
Galvanized Steel Gutters
Galvanized steel is stronger than aluminum, but it’s heavier and requires soldering, so a professional installer is typically required to install these gutters. Galvanized steel gutters stand up well against high rainfall and last for 20 to 30 years, but they’re prone to rust. Most sell for $6 to $12 per linear foot.
Copper gutters are rare, but they last a long time—50 years or more, if properly maintained. The major downside of copper gutters is their price, as they’re one of the most expensive gutter materials available. In general, copper gutters cost between $18 and $30 per linear foot. Note: Copper can develop a patina, or a thin film, if not polished regularly.
Another high-end option is pre-weathered zinc, an extremely low-maintenance material that doesn’t rust and forms a self-healing patina that will obscure scratches and scrapes. These gutters can last for 80 years or more, and the price reflects it at $20 to $40 per linear foot.
Sectional vs. Seamless Gutters
The traditional style of gutters is sectional: you buy them in pre-cut lengths of five, 10, or 15 feet, and you (or a contractor) link the gutters to line the edge of your roof. The problem with this style is that the points of attachment between pieces become weak and can leak or corrode.
The alternative is a seamless gutter system. To create these gutters, a professional gutter company comes to your house with a piece of machinery that folds metal sheets on the spot to create a seamless gutter that matches your home’s dimensions.
As you might expect, seamless gutters are more expensive than sectional gutters, and they’re not something you can create and install yourself. Sectional gutters can be made of all the materials listed above and range from $3 to $20 per linear foot. Seamless gutters are typically made of aluminum ($5–$20), but they can also be made of steel ($9–$25) or copper ($24–$40).
Of all the types of gutters, K-style gutters are by far the most common. Their name comes from the fact that a cross-section of the gutter looks like a letter K. This unusual shape allows them to hold more water than a simple U-shaped gutter. However, U-style or half-round gutters, which are essentially a half-pipe, are also common, though they may be slightly more expensive than K-style gutters since they’re a bit harder to find.
Once you start getting into truly rare gutter styles, such as fascia and V-style gutters, the price of your gutter installation will increase significantly.
The most common gutter size is five inches in width, though it’s possible to find four- and six-inch gutters. If you need larger or smaller gutter sizes, you may have to look into custom gutters. In general, the larger the gutter size, the more expensive the materials will be.
Gutter systems consist of more than just the rain gutters themselves. You’ll need hangers and brackets, which cost $2–$32 each, to attach the gutter to your roof every two to three feet. To drain water from the gutters, you’ll need at least a few downspouts (typically one every 35 feet), which cost $3–$20 per linear foot, and elbows, which cost $5–$7 each, to link the gutters to the downpipe against the side of the building.
You may also need end caps, which cost $1.50–$4 each, at the end of each gutter run. Once again, pricing varies based on the material you choose, with vinyl being the least expensive and copper being the most expensive.
No matter which material you choose, the downspouts will require some extra accessories to be the most effective. For example, splash blocks or gutter guards direct the downward flow of water away from your house and cost about $8 each. You’ll also need flashing, which costs $0.40–$2.50 per linear foot, along the gutters and at each downspout to prevent water damage to your roof or siding.
Additionally, if you live in a cold climate with a lot of snowfall, heat tape can help prevent ice dams from forming over the eaves and gutters and damaging your roof. It costs about $0.55 per linear foot.
Installing your gutters yourself is possible if you’re using lightweight sectional materials, but many people prefer to hire a professional to do the work for them. Labor costs vary widely by material and geographical region. Here are a few additional factors that affect gutter installation costs:
- Gutters on a one-story home are much cheaper to install. For homes that are two stories or higher, you’ll probably need to add $1–$7 more per linear foot for labor.
- Corners are the hardest parts of a gutter system to install, so you may be charged more if your roof has more than six corners.
- Labor prices are higher for gutter materials that are heavier or harder to work with, such as steel or copper.
- If you choose an unusual gutter size or style, or if you live in an area with extreme weather that requires extra reinforcements on gutters, you’ll probably be charged more for labor.
- Roof accessibility and steepness may also affect the cost of your gutter installation. Contractors will typically charge more to install gutters if you have a steep roof or one where the eaves are hard to access.
- In areas where the cost of living is higher, gutter installation prices will generally be higher.
- Some companies that produce gutters and install them may be cheaper than paying for materials and labor separately.
The good news is that most contractors provide free estimates for their services. Getting quotes from a few different providers can help you compare the total costs of gutter installation and help you find a contractor you trust over one that’s merely cheap. Although gutter installation isn’t a terribly complicated process, a contractor who doesn’t know what they’re doing could potentially damage your roof or install a system that doesn’t protect your home properly.
How Much Does It Cost To Install Gutters?
Based on the above information, here are the average costs for installing 200 linear feet of either sectional or seamless five-inch K-style gutters on an average one-story home.
|Gutters (200 linear feet)||$600–$1,200||$1,000–$3,000||$1,200–$4,800||$3,600–$6,000|
|Hangers (40) and brackets (40)||$160||$200||$320||$1,600|
|Downspouts (6 x 10 linear feet)||$120–$240||$120–$300||$300–$600||$600–$1,500|
|End caps (6)||$9||$15||$21||$24|
|Flashing (260 linear feet)||$130||$130||$130||$130|
|Splash blocks (6)||$48||$48||$48||$48|
|Total gutter installation costs||$1,094–$2,605||$1,554–$6,488||$3,694–$7,594||$8,092–$11,392|
How To Choose the Best Gutters
As with most home improvement projects, finding the right gutters for your home is usually a matter of balancing durability against budget. After determining which type of gutter is best for your home, call a few gutter installation companies to request free quotes and compare pricing. You may also want to talk to other homeowners in your area about their gutters and what’s worked best for them.
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