The Average Cost of New Gutter Replacement
Good gutters play a significant role in the maintenance of any home because they direct water from rainfall away from the house. Without properly functioning gutters, your home’s walls or foundations may be at risk, and fixing that water damage can be extremely expensive. Many gutter issues can be repaired, of course, but to deal with really extensive damage you may find it more cost-effective to replace your gutters entirely. The cost of doing so depends primarily on the materials and the length required.
The least expensive of all gutters are made from vinyl materials. Good vinyl gutters consist of PVC plastic, which is durable, resistant to denting and corrosion and easy to install. Furthermore, plastic is the same color from top to bottom, which means scratches and dings won’t stand out as they do on metal. The danger of vinyl comes from very cheap versions of the material, which are thin, brittle and highly susceptible to extreme cold. Taking materials and labor into account, vinyl gutters tend to cost between three and six dollars per linear foot, although the better quality materials tend to be in the upper portion of that range.
The mid-range material option is steel, which is perhaps the most durable of all metal gutter materials. Steel gutters have twice the tensile strength of aluminum and stand up much better under the weight of falling objects and other physical stress, making them particularly good choices in climates that get heavy snow or strong winds. Steel also has low rates of thermal movement and is less vulnerable to deforming. However, steel is heavy, which means the installers must cut the gutters into smaller sections that are easier to lift. Many homeowners also think steel gutters are less aesthetically pleasing than other types. Cheaper galvanized steel gutters tend to cost between four and eight dollars per linear foot; stainless steel is substantially more expensive at 15 to 20 dollars.
Another popular gutter material is aluminum, a lightweight and corrosion-resistant metal that is easy to cut and therefore easy to install. Professionally installed aluminum gutters are thick enough to be fairly durable, but the material still has several drawbacks. Aluminum deforms easily under the weight of falling objects or ladders and tends to expand and contract when exposed to extreme temperatures. Over time, the gutters can even pull away from the roof, letting water leak down the sides of the house. The cost of buying and installing new aluminum gutters tends to run from 10 to 15 dollars per linear foot.
Known in the industry as exotic materials, copper and zinc are gaining popularity among homeowners for aesthetic reasons. Blue-gray zinc gutters are generally considered attractive and blend well with zinc or slate roofing. However, they are somewhat vulnerable to thermal expansion and contraction and are difficult to solder, which can drive up the cost of installation and future repairs. Zinc tends to cost between 12 and 17 dollars per linear foot, depending on the market. However, seamless zinc is quite rare and can be much more expensive.
At the very top of the price range are copper gutters, which are impressively durable and never need to be painted. Depending on the climate, copper gutters tend to appear either green or brown, which can have a huge impact on a home’s aesthetic appeal and thus its resale price. The cost is high, however, as copper is an expensive metal that requires specialty installation to make sure nothing is wasted. Getting new copper gutters usually costs between 25 and 30 dollars per linear foot.
Actual Average Gutter Replacement Costs
The overall cost of new gutter replacement, then, depends on both the materials used and the overall linear footage to be replaced. Most homes need between 120 and 250 feet of gutters, depending on their size and the humber of stories. As such, replacement can cost as little as $500 for vinyl gutters on smaller homes and as much as $7500 or more for copper gutters on larger homes. There are relatively few additional costs, although removing the existing gutters can cost several hundred dollars for large homes.
When is comes to choosing new gutters for replacement, the cost of materials and installation is one of the biggest things to consider. Although weather, climate and other local factors play a role, generally the best policy is to pick the most durable material you can currently afford. Getting gutters that are resistant to damage may cost you more now, but avoiding future repairs will allow you to recoup that cost over time.