What Are Seamless Gutters?
Most homeowners have the option of standard (traditional) or seamless gutters. The difference between the two makes a difference in how the gutters function, hold up over time, and protect your home from water. But how exactly can a gutter be seamless? It comes down to the sections, a seamless gutter machine, and directing water away from the home.
Seamless Gutters vs. Regular Gutters—What’s the Difference?
Seamless gutters are made in continuous pieces of aluminum, copper, galvanized steel, or vinyl. Gutter cleaners or installers use a seamless gutter machine that bends the gutters to follow the roofline, so there’s no need for sections. The only seams are found at corners and downspouts.
Regular or standard gutters come in ten-foot sections that are pieced together following the roofline. The sections are then sealed and soldered together. Like seamless gutters, standard gutters are made of aluminum, copper, galvanized steel, or vinyl.
Seamless Gutter Pros
- Less prone to leaks because of fewer weak points: Seams create potential weak points—the fewer weak points the gutter has, the less likely it is to leak.
- Less likely to clog: Seams create a catch point where debris can gather. With seams only at the corners and downspouts, there are fewer clogging points along the gutter.
- Typically last longer: Seamless gutters need less maintenance over their lifetime compared to regular gutters. That can save you money on home repair costs, including gutter cleaning costs.
Seamless Gutter Cons
- Costs more upfront than traditional gutters
- Require professional installation, whereas traditional gutters are a DIY project many homeowners can do themselves. Professionals will make sure the job gets done right, but that adds installation costs to the price of the gutters.
How to Choose Seamless Gutters
If seamless gutters are in your budget, they offer better durability, fewer clogs, and less chance of developing leaks. That doesn’t mean they can’t develop leaks or get clogged, just that they’re less prone to those issues. Prices vary by material and the size of your house. Vinyl is often the most economical choice, even though it offers less durability than aluminum, copper, or galvanized steel.
However, if you’re on a tight budget, traditional gutters can still do an excellent job of protecting the fascia and foundation of your home from water. If you’re got some DIY skills, you may be able to install them yourself. Vinyl is the budget-friendly choice with regular gutters, too. However, galvanized steel, aluminum, and copper offer better durability.
You also need to consider the location and landscaping around your home when choosing gutters. Homes surrounded by trees have a higher clog potential. In this case, seamless gutters could pay for themselves over time by clogging less often and needing less maintenance. You’ll have to weigh the pros and cons as well as determine if you’re willing to put some sweat equity into the installation or would rather hire a pro.
Investing in gutters that stand up to tough weather and potentially clog less often can save you time and money. A good look at your budget and landscaping can give you an idea of whether seamless or traditional gutters are the right choice for you.