Gutters are a crucial investment since they protect your house from water damage. The pipes channel rainwater away from your roof, reducing the chances of mold and paint damage, among other benefits.
With all these perks, you might be tempted to install or replace a gutter system. And like many homeowners, the first question that pops into mind is: are gutters expensive?
That’s what we’ll discuss in this article. So, stick around for all the details!
Generally, yes. Installing or replacing gutters can be expensive. On average, the former process costs around $2000-$2300 for a one-story house.
However, gutter prices can cost as little as $600 or as much as $8000. Keep in mind that you’ll pay an additional $100-$200 to replace old pipes since your roofing contractor will have to remove the old material.
That said, the prices vary depending on the length, material, style, and installation requirements. For instance, gutters for a one-story ranch are more affordable than those for a McMansion or a two-story colonial house.
Gutters can be expensive mainly because of the material. Now, you’ve got a plethora of metal options to choose from. Those include aluminum, copper, steel, vinyl, and zinc.
Each has its pros and cons. Here’s a detailed explanation of the different pipe materials and their prices:
Aluminum alloys are probably the most popular choice for gutters, thanks to their durability and affordability. Although it’s lightweight, this material is sturdy and ductile. So, it’s easy to work with.
Not to mention, aluminum is corrosion-resistant, making it ideal for rainwater drainage pipes.
Still, those alloys aren’t crackproof. They can wear down over time due to harsh climates. That’s especially true if you don’t maintain them properly.
Typically, aluminum gutters cost between $8-$15 per foot. Since most U.S. homes need around 100-200 linear feet of pipes to cover the entire roof, the entire pipe-draining system can cost between $800 and $3000.
Copper is among the most expensive gutter materials. It can be double the price of aluminum rain-draining pipes.
On average, copper guttering can cost between $18-$40 per linear foot. That’s a total of $1800-$8000 per 100-200 feet.
Now, you might wonder: why is copper overpriced? The short answer is that they last longer—up to half a century!
Patina, a natural protective layer that forms on copper, is the reason behind this impressive lifespan.
Naturally, metals corrode when exposed to air. They react with oxygen in the air and moisture, producing rust, which weakens them.
The former process also happens with copper. However, instead of corroding completely, it forms the patina layer, which acts as a barrier, preventing the air from damaging the metal.
Typically, galvanized steel gutter prices are around $20 per linear foot, costing you between $2000-$4000 in total.
When maintained properly, galvanized steel can last 20-30 years. For those who don’t know, the former is made of iron and carbon alloys covered with a zinc coating through a process known as galvanization.
That layer shields the iron from harsh weather conditions, preventing oxidation and, thus, rusting. Aside from that, steel is highly durable, enduring extreme cold temperatures without cracking, unlike aluminum.
However, such strength comes with some drawbacks. Steel is heavy. You’ll need professional help to install those pipes
Of course, that comes with additional costs besides the pipes. So, you can expect to pay $1000-$2000 for installation.
Vinyl, or PVC, is one of the most popular materials for gutters due to its affordability. The former can cost around $6 per foot and between $1000 and $2600 for installation.
As you can see, PVC is the most budget-friendly option. Plus, they’re lightweight, so they’re usually easy to mount.
However, vinyl pipes are lacking in many aspects. This material isn’t as sturdy as other metal alloys.
Consequently, it won’t withstand harsh conditions, eventually cracking. That’s especially true during extreme cold or hot temperatures.
Likewise, falling branches, stones, rocks, or any other object can easily damage the vinyl. That’s why you should only consider this option if you live in a moderate climate.
Like copper, zinc is another high-end option that comes with many perks. Alloys from the former material have superior endurance, resisting rain and harsh weather conditions.
For that reason, zinc pipes can have a life span of up to 80 years! Such durability comes from the patina layer.
When exposed to air and moisture, the metal oxidizes to form zinc carbonate, an oxide layer that acts as a barrier. It protects zinc from natural forces and corrosion.
The only problem is that this material is susceptible to salty water. The latter facilitates an electrochemical reaction, causing the alloys to corrode quickly.
Zinc gutters typically cost between $20 and $40 per linear foot. That’s a total of $2000-$8000 without labor costs.
Generally, you can expect to pay around $100 to $2000 for gutter guards. That’s between $1 and $10 per linear foot.
Like gutters, guard prices vary significantly depending on the material type. Aside from that, the style also influences the total cost.
For instance, easy-to-install options like foam guards generally won’t break the bank like surface tension gutter helmets. Not only is the latter expensive, but it also requires professional installation.
You should also consider your roof design. The more complex the gutter path is, the higher the total cost.
Seamless gutters can be more expensive compared to traditional sectional pipes. Installing the former costs an average of $3-$25, depending on the material you’ll use.
Now you might wonder: why are seamless gutters on the expensive side?
That’s because the former is hard to install. Nearly all seamless rain-collecting pipes are custom-made.
Such a process requires a special machine that folds the alloys to make the gutters onsite, which comes at a hefty price.
Yes! Seamless gutters are generally better than sectional gutters for several reasons. Those include:
- Longer lifespan: seamless gutters can last up to 20 years or more. Plus, they’re low maintenance, unlike sectional pipes, which require resealing the joints every couple of years.
- Reduced leaks: Since seamless rain-draining pipes lack any points of attachment, they’re less prone to cracking and, hence, leaking.
- Better aesthetics: Even with a clean finish, sectional pipes aren’t as sleek as seamless gutters. The latter are custom-made to fit your roof’s measurements, providing a clean, visually appealing look.
Yes! Round downspouts are more expensive. Generally, downspouts cost between $8 and $25 per foot.
While that doesn’t sound too pricy, the former is difficult to mount to the gutter system. They require special hangers.
Plus, the installation process for round downspouts is time-consuming, resulting in expensive labor costs. Not to mention, they’re usually made of pricier metals, like copper or galvanized steel.
As you can see, gutters can be expensive, with costs varying depending on several factors like size, installation requirements, and more. However, the price mainly depends on the material you use.
Generally, copper and zinc pipes are the most expensive since they’re highly durable and can survive harsh climates. Galvanized steel and aluminum gutters are also excellent options for those who want to balance strength and price.
Vinyl pipes, on the other hand, are the most budget-friendly option. However, they’re only suitable in mild weather conditions.
While installing a gutter system isn’t affordable, investing in quality pipes can be worthwhile. That’s because they’ll last longer, saving you money and headaches down the line.
Ben has a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering. When not constructing or remodeling X-Ray Rooms, Cardiovascular Labs, and Pharmacies, you can find him at home with wife and two daughters. Outside of family, He loves grilling and barbequing on his Big Green Egg and Blackstone Griddle, as well as working on projects around the house.
If you want more backyard tips including recipes, how-tos and more, make sure you subscribe to my youtube channel