Gutters are essential in keeping rainwater out of our roofs and homes. Investing in good ones can save you thousands of dollars from repairs caused by flooding and water leakage. But how long do gutters last?
Often a gutter is as old as the house they’re attached to. Depending on its material, a well-functioning gutter lasts up to 50 years.
Gutters have been around since the earliest civilizations. One of the earliest forms of gutters is recorded in the Indus Valley and is made of dried clay.
In the modern days, markets have innovated gutters using different durable materials that can withstand time and high volumes of water.
Below are the common types of gutters and how long they last:
Aluminum gutters are one of the top picks of homeowners. They’re famous for being versatile, lightweight, and low maintenance. They’re also significantly durable.
On average, an aluminum gutter can last for 20 years. The following are the qualities of aluminum that make it a staple in modern homes:
1 – Lightweight
Aluminum is a lightweight metal that makes it less prone to sagging. Having said this, it’s relatively easy to install compared to other metals.
2 – Rust-free
Metals tend to corrode over time due to oxidation. However, aluminum can form oxide and hydroxide layers on its surface that resist oxidation.
The surface film can be about 1 nm and thickens when the temperature increases.
3 – Low-maintenance
Since aluminum is lighter and rust-free, it requires less maintenance too.
Possibilities of repairs due to sagging and leakage caused by corroding areas are less likely when you use aluminum gutters.
4 – Customizable
Because of its malleability, aluminum is easier to match in different roof designs. Aluminum gutters come in various colors, making home design fun and easy.
Aluminum gutters are also universal and a go-to option for homes. The only downside of aluminum is its tendency to dent easily.
But don’t worry; minor dents over time won’t cause significant damage to the draining system.
Vinyl is made from polyvinyl chloride, commonly known as PVC. It’s affordable, easy to install, and reasonably sturdy.
A vinyl gutter can last from 8-20 years, depending on its quality and thickness. Below are the reasons why vinyl is also a popular pick:
1 – Affordable
The number one reason why vinyl is popular is its price point. A linear foot of vinyl gutter can cost only around $2-6.
If you’re on a budget and need to finish your house’s water-draining system, vinyl gutters are worth a try!
2 – Corrosion Proof
Unlike metals, vinyl isn’t at risk of corrosion. Productions have also been using resin to coat the vinyl gutter with resin to protect it from UV degradation.
3 – Color Range
Since it’s made of plastic, you can choose from various colors for your gutter. Vinyls can also be painted manually according to your preference.
4 – Easy Installation
Unlike metals, vinyl is light and can be installed easily. It requires less manpower and expenses. Some homeowners even opt to install them on their own.
Vinyl gutters are affordable, but since they’re made out of plastic, they’re at risk of breaking due to high volumes of water.
If you’re living in a place with extreme weather, you might want to opt for metal instead, as it has a better resistance to heavy rain.
One of the most dependable materials for gutters is copper. Though leaning on the pricier side, copper gutters add value to your home with their timeless durability and style.
A copper gutter can last up to 50 years with the proper installation and fair environment. Below are the additional reasons why it’s a classic option:
1 – Style
Copper’s aesthetic gives off an effortless elegance that screams vintage.
One of the selling points why copper gutters are a must-have is their ability to amplify your home’s look. Their shiny bronze color can make any roof sleek and elegant.
2 – Durable
Copper has natural properties that act as fungicides and algaecides. These characteristics make copper gutters less likely to be withered by moss and mildew.
It also doesn’t break or warp when exposed to extreme temperatures and weather.
3 – Eco-friendly
Since they last long, you wouldn’t be changing them anytime soon. It means less waste, and even if they reach their limit, copper materials are highly recyclable.
However, the sturdiness comes with a hefty weight and technique sensitivity. Installing a copper gutter needs professional help as it needs to be tailored to your house.
The installation is meticulous, as the gutters must be soldered and placed accurately to ensure you get your money’s worth.
Choosing the proper gutter guards is as crucial as selecting the suitable material for your gutters.
Gutter guards are strain systems that help filter the water in your gutters. They help reduce clogging and damage to gutters and waterways.
A gutter guard usually lasts around 5-20 years. However, it varies on the consistency of maintenance and the material used.
There are a lot of gutter guard varieties in the market. Choosing the right one for your gutter’s location is the best way to get the best bang for your buck.
Below are the different types of gutter guards and their properties:
Screen gutter guards are perforated plastic or metal sheets that strain particles from water.
Their straining capacity mainly depends on the size of their holes. The fine mesh works best in straining small debris like pine needles, pollen, and shingle grit.
They’re also easier to maintain with blow or brush cleaning. Screen gutter guards are affordable and can last up to 6 years.
Surface tension or reverse-curve gutter guard is a hood that covers your gutter. Water enters through a small opening at the side where the guard and gutter meet.
It covers most of the gutter and prevents large debris from getting in.
Smaller debris may sneak into crevices, but a skillfully installed surface tension guard wouldn’t let debris in.
Its unique style allows debris to slide off from the gutter’s edge. The waste on top can also be cleared with a simple water hose cleaning.
A high-quality surface tension guard can last up to 20 years.
Also called the hedge-hog gutter guards, these are made out of five-inch plastic bristles protruding from a galvanized steel wire.
It looks like a giant bottle cleaning brush put inside your gutters. Its sturdy bristles strain any debris from the water flowing in your gutters.
It’s available in different lengths and sizes. Though disposable, a quality brush gutter guard can be cleaned and reused for as long as 10 years.
Like the brush variant, a foam gutter guard is installed inside the gutters. Due to its porous nature, it can strain finer debris, all while keeping the water flowing freely.
They’re commonly made out of polyether, polyester, or polyurethane, making them last for as long as 5-10 years.
However, the foam is expected to shrink and wear out over time, especially in places with extreme climates.
Gutter guards can save you a lot from expensive repairs, but they need maintenance too. Doing so can help you troubleshoot any problem or check if it needs to be replaced.
Here are the glaring signs that you need to get them changed:
How your gutter looks is the most straightforward way to determine if it has reached its lifespan.
Cracks, sagging, and seamstress (edges of the gutter disconnecting) are immediate signs that you need to change them.
Fading color or peeling paint from your gutters also signifies the onset of damaging chemical reactions (oxidation, molds, etc.) on their surface.
Some signs can be seen inside your home. If your walls randomly formed bubbles with water inside it, water might have been seeping through your walls.
Often the water inside the paint can enlarge and encourage peeling on our part to release the water and repaint it.
Another sign of excess water making its way through your house is mildew formations.
You can see them on walls, floors, and even wooden furniture. These grey or greenish mold formations thrive in damp areas. They can sometimes emit a subtle foul odor.
If your house’s sills, door jambs, and exterior are made of wood, it’s better check them routinely for any signs of rotting.
Wood and water don’t go well with each other, especially over time. Constant exposure to water leaks can soak the wood’s fiber and weaken it.
Getting new gutters might be a pain to our pockets, but it’s relatively cheaper compared to the damages and accidents that might happen when we leave them malfunctioning.
Water is dangerous when it reaches spaces it shouldn’t be. A faulty and worn gutter can cause leakage that may flood basements and even the house’s main rooms. This could lead to different hazards like electric shocks or slipping accidents.
Exposure to moisture can also damage walls and furniture and may leave a foul smell.
Gutters are one of the essential parts of our house. Nowadays, there are many gutter materials to choose from.
As much as they keep our house leak-free, gutters also need maintenance. One of the best ways to keep them clog-free is using gutter guards.
Keeping gutters in their top shape is essential for safety reasons. It would also save you from paying a hefty amount for damages caused by water leakage.
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.
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