Gutter Helmet Blog

Getting Ready for Gutters: 4 Questions to Ask Before Buying

Whether you’re adding rain gutters to a new home or replacing gutters, you’ve got to think about what’s right for you and your home before making a decision. That’s where this guide comes in. Here are some questions to ask to select the best gutter for you.

  • How much rain do I get? The first question to ask is the amount of water the system needs to handle. Find out the average rainfall in your area, and also calculate the square footage of your roof. That will tell you how much water you get and how much surface area the gutters have to drain. The more water you get, the larger the gutter and downspouts need to be. Gutters come in widths of five, six and seven inches, and each inch adds cost – so do your math carefully!
  • What are the building codes? After you know what you need, know what you have to get according to the law. Certain historical structures may require copper gutters. Local and state building codes are very clear on what’s needed for a gutter to pass inspection. Often you’ll find that legal requirements and what you think you need will be in agreement, but always check the law.
  • Do I want sectional or seamless rain gutters? There are two methods of installing gutters. Sectional gutters are exactly what they sound like: sections of material that are pieced together and mounted. Sectional gutters are cheaper, as you just buy the material and put it up yourself. The trade-off is that it’ll take more time and there are more points where the gutter can leak or break. Seamless gutters, on the other hand, are one continuous piece of material, so they are less likely to break or leak. They’re more expensive because you need to have them installed by a contractor with a specialized machine.
  • Which material am I interested in? Once you know what method you’re using, look at the materials available. Roughly in order of price, gutters come in plastic, vinyl, galvanized steel, aluminum, stainless steel and copper. Each material has its benefits and drawbacks; for example, galvanized steel is strong and cheap, but will eventually rust through. Copper is eye-catching and will never rust, but costs are significantly higher to install. Nor are all rain gutters ideal for all situations. Vinyl, for example, becomes brittle at cold temperatures.

The best thing to do is choose the most durable material you can afford, in the thickest size it comes in. For more about gutters and gutter protection systems, please visit