There comes a time in every home owner’s life that they have to do the dreaded job of replacing the gutters. Gutters are an essential piece of the home, and keeps water out of the home, improves athletics and allows the rest of your investment to last longer and look better. So why is replacing gutters such a dreaded job? Many people are not sure which gutters are right for them, what they can expect to receive, what suits their home, budget and their needs.
All of this, as well as the mounting gutter costs, can make this an overwhelming choice.
That’s where we come in. We aim to simplify your choices, by explaining two of the most common types of gutters: Sectional and seamless.
Now, while you have probably heard these terms before, there is far more than them than meets the eye. So, what is the difference?
Traditionally, sectional gutters are gutters that have been pieced together. These segments are usually 10-20 feet long, and they have multiple connecting seams. These gutters are also held together with connectors, and they frequently have corner pieces, drop outles and end caps. This is in order to connect easily to the downspouts, and to ensure smooth delivery.
Generally speaking, seasonal gutters are not custom made. They are usually sold as component systems, and installed in pieces. This is why most do it yourself gutters are sectional, instead of seamless. Professionals install these too, as they are easy to install and cut to size. It is easy to cut these to size with a simple hacksaw, in order to ensure that they fit the home just right. Of course, snap in place connectors are common, joining gutter pieces, sections and downspouts together securely.
Due to this, all sectional gutter systems contain corner pieces, end caps and more, for easy connection. While easy to install, one of the drawbacks of this system is the fact that there are many seams in the design. Where there are seams, there is the potential for leaks and weaknesses in the design. One of the positive aspects, however, is the fact that they are reasonably affordable, which makes them quite popular.
- Pros of sectional gutters: relatively easy installation; cost effective
- Cons of sectional gutters: seams invite a higher potential for leaks
As their name suggests, seamless gutters are made of one continuous piece of material, rather than being pieced together. Seamless gutters only have joins in certain places, such as the corners, and at the downspouts, making them sturdy. Usually made of strong materials, such as aluminum, they are lightweight and durable. The material, as well as the fact that they are made continuously, give these gutters greater strength. This strength does come at a cost though, and these are usually a more expensive option than their Sectional counterparts.
Since they are specialized, they must be custom made to order, and need specialized equipment to install. You cannot install these yourself, and an experienced and knowledgeable contractor is always required when working with seamless gutters. They can also be made out of galvanized copper. While they may seem more costly and time consuming, this is all worthwhile when you realize that seamless gutters will never, ever leak. Common sizes include: 4-, 5- or 6-in. diameters; 5-in. Ks, 2X3-in. or 3X4-in.
- Pros of seamless gutters: performance is of high quality; good color variety
- Cons of seamless gutters: costly to install
If you are looking for a cheap, easy fix, it is better to go with sectional gutters. These gutters provide solid performance for a reduced cost, and for a new home owner, or someone on a budget, this might just be the best way to go, at least for now.
However, if you have the money, there is no question that seamless gutters are far superior. Simply put, they last far longer, are stronger, and are less prone to leaks. This means that, over the long run, they will be less likely to need replacement, and will save you money that way. Initial costs might be daunting, but don’t let that put you off making a good, solid investment towards your home, and your comfort.