An inch of rainfall doesn’t sound like much. But when it falls on an average-size roof, it adds up to a 1,900-gallon torrent sluicing off the eaves. That’s an awful lot of water which will cause an awful lot of injury if your gutters aren’t up to the task of controlling it. Yet we barely give gutters a reconsideration until they’re clogged and overflowing, or ripped from their moorings by ice and snow.

So now that summer’s here, it’s time to require notice. Maybe easy cleaning is all of your gutters need, or even they have to get replaced altogether.

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What sort of Gutters Are Best?
If you’re starting fresh, there’s a veritable deluge of shapes, sizes, and materials to settle on from. apart from pricey, maintenance-heavy wood troughs and short-lived vinyl ones, the simplest option for many folks is metal—elegant copper, understated zinc, rugged steel, or affordable aluminum. Metal gutters are durable and wish relatively little care.

Find out everything you would like to understand to properly size your gutters and downspouts.

How much do the gutters cost?
The least expensive materials—vinyl, aluminum, and coated steel—run about $1 to $8 per linear foot; the foremost expensive—copper and zinc—sell for about $9 to $18 per foot. Prices don’t include installation.

Should I install DIY or hire a pro?
Straight sections of vinyl or aluminum sold at reception centers or online are well within a DIYer’s grasp. Call during a pro if your home is taller than one story, or if you would like seamless gutters, which are custom-made on site.

How long do gutters last?
Anywhere from a couple of years to the lifetime of your house, counting on the fabric you select and the way well they’re installed and maintained.

How much maintenance is involved?
If trees tower over them, gutters need periodic cleaning, even when fitted with gutter guards. Pine needles are especially notorious for causing clogs.

Gutter Materials
Vinyl Gutters

The least expensive, most DIY-friendly option because the sections just snap together. Color choices are limited, although it is often painted. Vinyl won’t rust or rot but becomes brittle in extreme cold and intense sun. It can bend and bow under heavy rain, wind, and snow loads. Available in K-style (shown), half-round, and a faceted U shape. Search for a guaranty of a minimum of 20 years.

Cost: About $1 to $2 per foot

Aluminum Gutters

This popular, low-cost metal won’t rust and comes in an array of colors, including ones that resemble aged copper and zinc. Available in seamless or in sections held alongside rivets or screws and sealed with caulk. Lightweight (.025 inch thick) and medium-weight (.027 inch) aluminum are vulnerable to denting and bending; heavyweight (.032 inch) aluminum lasts longer, about 25 years.

Cost: About $1.50 to $8 per foot

Steel Gutters

To prevent rust, it’s coated in zinc (galvanized), a zinc-aluminum alloy (Galvalume, shown), or blended with chrome (stainless steel). Available in seamless or sections; joints should be soldered. Galvanized steel lasts eight to fifteen years before it rusts; Galvalume features a 25-year warranty; chrome steel never rusts. Choose 26 gauge or thicker.

Cost: About $2 to $8 per foot for galvanized, $2 to $4 for Galvalume, $4.50 to $12 for stainless

Zinc Gutters

Strong, rustproof, and weathers to a beautiful matte gray. Pro installation recommended due to its high contraction and expansion rate when temperatures change. Seams are soldered, but the method is harder than with copper. Lasts 30 to 50 years, counting on its proximity to saltwater. susceptible to acidic runoff from cedar-shingled roofs.

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