Seamless Gutters vs. Traditional Gutters

When gutters clog, leak or overflow, they don’t only soak your roof shingles, but can also rot your fascia board and soffits–or at worst––damage your topsoil and foundation. To prevent this, you can choose between traditional or seamless gutters to divert rainwater off the roof and away from your house.

But when comparing apples to oranges, you may wonder how they differ. Traditional gutters cost less, can be installed yourself, but need frequent maintenance. Seamless gutters, on the other hand, cost more, require far less maintenance, last longer and must be installed by a professional with a seamless gutter machine.

Gutter Comparison: Traditional Gutters vs. Seamless Gutters

Traditional GuttersSeamless Gutters
Maintenance Requires regular maintenanceLow maintenance
LifespanCan last up to 20 years when properly maintained in mild climatesCan last 20 to 80 years depending on thickness and material
DesignPre-cut into sections every 10 feetCustom designed to homes  in one long piece
Cost$3 to $20 per linear foot installed$4 to $30 per linear foot installed
InstallationEasy to install yourself for DIYersRequire professional installation
AppearanceLook attractive with regular maintenanceLook attractive with regular maintenance

Key Differences Between Traditional Gutters and Seamless Gutters


Traditional gutters

Traditional gutters need routine maintenance because they contain joints and seams between each piece and fasteners installed every three feet. Check joints on traditional gutters often because joints are vulnerable to acts of nature that cause clogs, gaps and sagging gutters, requiring frequent cleaning, refastening of hardware and resealing to maintain proper operation of gutters and downspouts.

When choosing hardware, know that the old school spike and ferrule systems (nails driven into cylinders) require refastening every season when they come loose and bend. For a stronger hold, consider using hidden hangers with screws containing two-inch threads rather than spikes and ferrules. Make sure to drive screws into rafters through fascia boards.

Seamless gutters

Seamless gutters require far less maintenance than traditional gutters since joints are only located at mitered corners and downspouts. This means mother nature is less likely to clog and weigh down gutters. When you have seamless gutters installed, check corners and downspouts for leaves and debris and scoop them up to avoid clogs and water backups. Consider adding gutter guards to keep debris to a minimum.


Seamless gutters

Seamless gutters are designed to the exact length and specifications of rooflines onsite with a seamless gutter machine containing rollers and brakes that shape gutters that installers feed into the machine. 

Traditional gutters

Traditional gutters are pre-cut into 10-foot sections with joints and seams although some may be longer. Having several joints and seams makes traditional gutters prone to leaks and clogs compared to seamless gutters. This means every 170 feet of gutter has 17 joints where problems can occur.


Gutters come in the following three styles:

  • K-style: These gutters available for traditional and seamless gutters  look like the letter “K” when viewed from the side. They contain decorative faces which resemble crown molding. Their flat-back design makes them easier to nail to fascia boards, but they’re harder to clean than half-round gutters. 
  • Half-round: This trough-shaped traditional gutter style used on homes prior to 1960 are prone to leaf and debris clogs. Half-rounds carry water well but  brackets are required due to their curved sides. 
  • Fascia gutters: This sleek-designed gutter style used with seamless gutters comes in one long piece and aren’t available for traditional gutters.


The lifespan of gutters significantly depends on their material composition. Here’s a breakdown of the lifespan of gutters and downspouts based on material.

  • Aluminum gutters: 20 years
  • Galvanized steel gutters: 20 years
  • Vinyl gutters: 25 years
  • Copper gutters: 50+ years
  • Zinc gutters: 80 years
  • Downspouts: 30 years, but copper and zinc downspouts can last 100+ years.

The lifetime of your gutters also depends on the frequency of cleaning and maintenance and the climate conditions in your area. Severe weather can wear down and break gutters requiring replacement. Vinyl gutters tend to crack under extreme temperatures and exposure to strong winds. 

Traditional gutters

Traditional gutters can last up to 20 years when they’re properly maintained and installed in mild weather areas which aren’t susceptible to extreme weather.

Seamless gutters

Seamless gutters can last 30 years or longer due to their thickness and construction, making them more durable than traditional gutter systems. Their longevity depends on the material of the gutter. Copper lasts the longest, aluminum around 20 years, and other materials fall somewhere in between. 


The cost of gutters significantly depends on material construction. 

  • Aluminum gutters: $5 to $15 per linear foot
  • Vinyl gutters: $3 to $6 per linear foot
  • Galvanized steel: $6 to $12 per linear foot 
  • Copper: $18 to $30 per linear foot
  • Zinc: $8 to $25 per linear foot

Seamless gutters

Seamless gutters range between $800 and $5,000 cost between $4 to $30 per linear foot including installation. 

Cost depends on the following factors:

  • Length of home
  • Number of stories
  • Price installers charge in your area. 

Traditional gutters

Traditional gutters run from $3 to $20 per linear foot installed. Similar to seamless gutters, price depends on the length of the home, number of stories and price of installation in your area.


Traditional gutters

Traditional gutters can be installed DIY. However, for two and three-story homes, it’s recommended to hire a professional. Always take proper safety precautions when working on a ladder.

Seamless gutters

Seamless gutters must be installed by a gutter pro who has experience working with gutter machines.


Traditional gutters

Traditional gutters can have an attractive visual appeal when properly maintained. But when maintenance is neglected, they can sag and pull away from the home which puts a damper on your curb appeal. Traditional gutters come in a variety of colors and styles to match the aesthetics of your home.

Seamless gutters

Seamless gutters also come in a variety of colors to complement the architectural style of homes. Because they come in one long piece, seamless gutters are less likely to sag and pull away from your house––a property eyesore.


Which is better: seamless or regular gutters? 

The thickness and longevity of seamless gutters make them better, however, traditional gutters are better for homeowners on a budget.

Are seamless gutters worth the money?

Seamless gutters are worth the money because they last longer and develop fewer issues due to their construction which means homeowners spend less money on maintenance, repair and replacement.

Do seamless gutters increase resale value?

Having seamless gutters installed on your home won’t increase resale value when it’s time to sell, however, traditional gutter problems can ruin curb appeal and cause expensive problems which can turn away homebuyers.