How Long Do Gutters Last For?

Gutters typically last between 20 to 30 years.

Yes, that’s a long time.

Of course, it depends on a variety of conditions.

The length at which gutters will last depends on what material they are made of, how well they are maintained, and the weather they are exposed to.

We’ll walk you through each factor so you can get a better idea of how long your gutters will last for.

Gutter Lifespan By Material

aluminum gutters instead of vinyl gutters

When looking at gutters, the gutter material will impact how long they last the most. There are a variety of different gutter materials, such as aluminum, PVC, copper, cast iron, and steel.

Aluminum Gutters (20-30 years)

Aluminum gutters will usually last 20 to 30 years. They are the most common gutter type in the United States. Typically aluminum gutters with be 5-inches wide with a K-style shape for optimal water handling. At the end of their lifespan, they tend to develop rust and will need to be replaced.

Copper Gutters (50-60 years)

Copper gutters will last 50-60 years, but if they are properly installed and maintained they can last forever. After around 25 years, they will develop a beautiful green patina that forms from the oxidation of the surface. If you desire, you can keep them the original copper color if you protect them with a clear top-coat.

Zinc Gutters (50-60 years)

Zinc gutters will last 50-60 years, but they will last longer if properly maintained. Similar to copper gutters, they form a beautiful patina that can protect the metal for hundreds of years.

Vinyl Gutters (10-15 years)

Vinyl gutters are often considered a cheaper option and the go-to if you plan on DIYing your gutters. Unfortunately, the come with the major downside of having the shortest lifespan of all gutter types. This is because the vinyl material is susceptible to problems such as rust. If the vinyl gutters get clogged, they can get weighed down by the debris and start to sag and deform. This is especially a problem i you live in area with heavy snow over the winter months.

Cast Iron Gutters (50-60 years)

Cast iron gutters are not common nowadays, but they are extremely long lasting. This is due to their heavy and durable design being made out of iron. Although these will rust if the paint comes off, it will take decades for the rust to erode the cast iron gutters enough for them to break. Cast iron gutters not common in the US and you will find them more abroad in Europe.

Stainless or Galvanized Steel Gutters (20-25 years)

Stainless steel or galvanized steel gutters are less common alternative to aluminum. They tend to be pricier because they aren’t as common. Many homeowners enjoy the aesthetic of the steel over aluminum which is why they choose them. The tend to last for a similar amount of time as aluminum although they have a tendency to rust quicker.

Wood Gutters (50-100 years)

Wood gutters are not too common nowadays, but they can add a rustic look to your home and are especially common on cabin-style homes. Wood gutters can last for a long time if taken care of and treated properly to prevent mold and water penetration.

How Often Do your Gutters Need to Be Replaced?

If you’re wondering how often you need to worry about your replacing your gutters, I will give you a short and long answer.

The short answer, every 20-30 years.

The long answer, is that it depends on your home, gutter type, and how well they are maintainted.

If you regularly clean out your gutters whenever there is a buildup of debris, reseal them when the sealant starts to wear away, and repaint them to avoid rusting when you notice paint chipping, your gutters can last for nearly forever.

Let’s dive deeper into the different types of gutter maintenance.

Common Gutter Maintenance and How Often

Gutter Cleaning (Twice a year)

Gutter cleaning is the number one way you can maintain your gutters for the long term.

If your gutters aren’t cleaned regularly, they will begin to fill will debris such as leaves, mud, shingle grit, and more. Eventually you will start to see plants growing, insects crawling around, and birds nesting in your gutters.

This can lead to even more serious issues, such as your gutters overflowing and leaking, which can damage your home. If enough debris is built up, you may see your gutters begin to sag, ruining the appearance of your home and the water flow in the gutters.

To avoid these issues, it’s considered best practice to clean your gutters twice a year to limit these problems, especially during the Fall months where heavy leaf fall is common.

If you live around a lot of trees, you may need to do more cleaning. You can also invest in gutter guards to protect your home.

Gutter Resealing

When your gutters are installed, they are sealed with gutter sealant to prevent leaking.

The gutter sealant is extremely important, otherwise water would leak from the areas where the gutter sections connect.

The sealant tends to wear down faster than the gutters themselves, so they’ll need to be resealed every 10-15 years.

If you notice water leaking from the joints of your gutters, it’s a sign that the gutter sealant needs to be installed again.

You can either do this yourself or work with a local contract to do so.

Gutter Repainting

When your gutters are installed they have a fresh coat of paint that keeps the bare metal underneath the paint protected from the elements.

But overtime the paint will wear, crack, and chip away. When this happens your gutters are at risk for rusting again. Rust is a common killer for all metals and if they rust through enough, your gutters can develop holes and will eventually look like Swiss cheese.

To prevent this from happening, it’s a good idea to refresh the coat of paint if you notice signs of paint wear and tear.

Gutters typically need to be repainted every 15-25 years.

Gutter Realignment

Gutters are typically aligned in a way so that the rainfall that enters your gutters will be escorted into the downspouts and away from the home.

Over a long enough time, the gutter brackets that hold your gutters up can begin to slide out of the fascia (the part of the roof the gutter brackets attach to), leading to your gutters no longer being aligned.

Certain things can contribute to this problem as well, such as snow or debris weighing down your gutters will speed up how fast they fall out of alignment.

To fix this problem, the gutters will need to be resecured in the fascia.

It’s a good idea to check the alignment of your gutters every time they get cleaned or by simply checking them when it rains.

Gutter Replacement

A full gutter replacement is not something that needs to happen often. This is typically only needed when your gutters are beyond repair or you are looking for a new style.

How to Know if your Gutters Need to be Replaced or Just Repaired

Before jumping gun and doing a full gutter replacement, there’s a possibility you could save a ton of money by doing some simple repairs.

Here is a list of repairs you can do instead of opting for gutter replacement:

  • Gutter realignment
  • Gutter repainting
  • Updating the brackets to hidden hangers
  • Cleaning out the gutters
  • Resealing your gutters

Does Replacing Gutters Add Value to your Home?

While gutters may protect your home from future damage, you may wonder, do they actually increase home value if you were to sell?

The answer to this is tricky. While gutters are not the sexiest of home renovations, they are something that buyers look for when buying a home. They don’t want to have install them themselves or work with a contractor.

So if you have gutters already installed, it’s a nice bonus to the prospective buyers.

A home without gutter is a red flag and reason for the buyers to potentially decide against buying the home. So yes, gutters can increase home value, but it’s not as simple as saying “Gutters add $XXXX amount of value to your home.

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