Gutters, eaves and overhangs built into the external construction of a home keep water from seeping into the cracks in the home’s siding or between windows and siding, and protect the exterior from water damage. Having new gutters installed is necessary when an addition is built onto a home or if a large portion of existing gutters fails for some reason. The cost to install gutters largely depends on how many linear feet is needed. The gutter type and material also affects the cost. Contractors experienced in gutter installation generally charge $10 or more per linear foot of gutter.
Aluminum is by far the most common gutter material, whether it’s seamless or traditional sectional guttering. Sometimes gutters are made of vinyl (which is technically PVC plastic) or galvanized steel. Steel gutters are more common on commercial buildings than homes. Many contractors advise against vinyl gutters because many vinyl products are cheaply made and can get brittle with age. Here are typical costs per linear foot for common gutter materials:
Galvanized steel: $4–$8
Traditional sectional gutters are made up of lengths of horizontal gutter fitted together and attached to a building’s eaves, with vertical downspouts that carry water to the ground. Seamless gutters are made of a single piece of material, typically aluminum, and installed as one single piece. Downspouts are attached separately to this single piece. Seamless gutters, as the name implies, are made in continuous pieces. It’s best to have a professional install seamless gutters because they must be cut using an expensive specialized machine. Seamless gutter systems cost slightly more than traditional gutters.
Another benefit to having professionals install gutters is that they will install the proper size and length for the building and the geographical region—both of which affect the amount of water that must be diverted away from the building. Homes with multiple roof lines, differing degrees of pitch and multiple gables add a level of complexity that requires a plan. A professional installer can scale the system based on the square footage being served and factoring in the region’s potential for a heavy downpour. For example, a five-minute "burst" in Seattle is rated at only 2.1 inches per hour, while the same “burst” in Atlanta is 8.3 inches per hour. A five-inch K-style gutter is rated to move about 5,500 square feet of water, while a six-inch version can handle over 7,500 square feet. So gutter contractors in Seattle install different gutters than those in Atlanta.
Sizing for downspouts is also important. A basic 2x3-inch rectangular downspout is rated for about 600 square feet, while a 3x4-inch spout can handle twice that much.
Contractors can install various special features at the same time they install a new gutter system. Here are a few examples:
Drainage system to direct water away from the house and foundation: $200
Gutter guards: $200 and up
Downspout screens: $20 each (these may add less than an hour to the project time, depending on how many linear feet of gutters are being installed)
Property height or number of stories
The taller the building, the more gutter installation costs because the job requires taller ladders and people who have experience making external home repairs from a ladder. It’s a good idea to hire licensed, bonded and insured contractors for this work, regardless how tall the home is.