Here's How Often You Should Replace Your Gutters

Why are gutters important and when is the right time to replace them? According to Sunvek, gutters control the water that hits your roof and directs it where you want it to go. Without gutters, rainwater and snow melt would run off the roof and pool right next to the foundation of your home. This is terrible for the health of your home and will likely result in leaks, floods, and mold. Not properly directing the water away from the foundation of your home will cause costly and dangerous damage.

How much it costs to install gutters depends on a few factors. For example, the size of your house will be a huge deciding factor. This determines how big of a gutter system you need. It will also depend on the material and type of gutters you choose. According to Market Watch, the national average for a single-story home is $2,300.

How long different gutter materials last

Compared to other home items, gutters last a pretty long time. Thompson Creek says most gutters last from 20 to 50 years, depending on the material, quality of installation, and the type of weather experienced in your location. Additionally, how well you care for the gutters over the years will significantly impact their lifespan. Without proper care, you may dramatically reduce how long the gutters will last and ultimately cost yourself thousands of dollars.

Downspouts tend to last longer than the horizontal parts of a gutter system, says Thompson Creek, and this is because of the weight that water and snow have on the flat pieces. The vertical downspouts are there to keep the water going the same way, but they don't experience the same wear and tear. 

Although they are expensive, copper gutters can last up to 50 years or more. While aluminum and galvanized steel gutters last around 20 years, vinyl gutters last about 25 years. Even the cheapest gutters can last decades, so while it's a heavy investment, it pays off in the long run.

Signs your gutters need to be replaced

If your gutters are nearing their life expectancy, but you're not sure if it's time to replace them, there are a few things you can look for to help you make that decision. According to Thompson Creek, the best time to assess the health of your gutters is when it's raining. They suggest walking around the house to see how the gutter performs. During this walk, you'll need to look for areas where water flows over the gutters or behind the gutters (via Barry Best). You can also check the ground to see if there is any landscape eroding where there's too much water rushing out of one space.

If you're not interested in getting soaked during a rainstorm, you can take a walk around your home when it's sunny. Harry Helmet says to keep an eye out for cracks, holes, or rusty areas on your gutters. Take note if you see broken fasteners or random screws and nails on the ground. Check if the gutters are separating from the house or each other, and see if there are any stretches where the gutters appear bent or dented. One of these signs doesn't mean it's time to replace your gutters. However, if you see multiple signs, it's time to have them inspected by a professional.