A large number of gutter systems are expected to last 20 years. These include ones that are made from galvanized steel and aluminum. When made of copper, they have a lifespan that is twice as long, and they are serviceable for 50 or more years.

Though gutters are not likely to be the most expensive investment you make for your home, they are an important factor that can prevent more costly problems from needing to be fixed. 

10 Questions to ask about gutter installation

Because they are good for preventing more serious issues, it is important to understand when your gutters should be repaired or replaced. Here are the top 10 questions that you should consider when thinking about replacing or repairing your system. 

1. What is the system condition?

Looking at your gutters on a normal day and inspecting for problem areas like sagging, splitting, or holes can be helpful to determine if they need to be replaced. If your system is made with galvanized steel, checking for rust is also important. You should check for loose fasteners and peeling paint or landscaping that is washed out, as these can indicate that the gutters need to be attended to. 

2. How does the system perform in the rain?

Your downspouts should be properly attached and extend 10 feet or more from the foundation. In the rain, water should flow out of the downspouts smoothly and should not be leaking anywhere or overflowing from the top. If there are any areas where water moves directly from the roof to the ground, there may be a need for you to install more gutters. 

3. Are repairs possible to fix the problems?

After you’ve assessed the system, you can evaluate whether the problems are possible to repair. Loose gutters or missing downspouts are minor issues that can be easily repaired. If any areas are bent or sagging, they will likely be able to be reattached, but they should be replaced if they are too damaged to be held by nails or fasteners. 

If the gutters have holes or splits, they will not be able to be repaired. You should call a professional to replace them without damaging your home’s siding or roof. If there is rust, the system should also be replaced as soon as possible, since rust indicates that a problem may arise in the future. 

4. How often do I really need to clean home gutters?

You should clean them as often as there is debris in them. Having them cleaned by a professional once a year or so can also be helpful because they can check for other problems like leaking at the same time. 

5. How long does it take to install a gutter system?

Unless there are adverse weather events or unforeseen circumstances, the installation of the system should only take 2 days to complete. On the first day, the existing gutter will be removed and hauled away, and preparation for the new system will occur. The installation should be finished on the second day.

6. What materials last the longest?

Steel is the strongest metal, but it will eventually rust no matter how good your maintenance regimen is. In contrast, copper and aluminum aren’t prone to rust, so with proper installation and maintenance, they can last for decades. However, because aluminum is lightweight, it can be more susceptible to damage over time and may need repair or replacement sooner than other materials. 

7. Is it better to buy seamless or sectional gutters?

It’s rare for people to buy sectional systems now, as they have a greater potential for leakage. Seamless systems are ones that are installed continuously from corner to corner, so the only places where leaks can occur are in the corners. It also takes more time to install sectional gutters, so most people would prefer to have seamless ones that perfectly sit on the house roof. One other thing to consider is that sectional systems can look jagged when not properly installed, while seamless ones will provide an even visual line. 

8. Can gutter systems be painted?

Aluminum gutters are available in a large variety of colors, so it is unlikely that you wouldn’t be able to find a color that matches your home. If you decide to change your house color in the future, you can also repaint them. 

9. Where should the downspouts be put?

The gutter professional will assist you in the placement of the downspouts, and they are usually positioned toward the outside corners of the house. An additional downspout is also recommended to be placed in the middle of long runs, as downspouts are usually placed every 35 feet. If you need to get water further away from the house, downspout extensions can route the water in that direction. 

10. How much do gutters typically cost?

HomeAdvisor estimates that gutters cost $1,046 on average or between $580 and $1,515 for a span of 200 feet. Costs vary based on what materials are used, ranging from vinyl, aluminum, and copper as the least expensive to most expensive.

Comparing quotes from contractors can help make sure that you have the best price for your gutter system. Pricing can depend on the cost of living in your area, your roof pitch, and how complex the project is. To help you get an idea of the costs for your home, you can use this calculator by HomeAdvisor. 


A quality gutter system is an investment, and choosing the right company can prevent problems and headaches in the long run. At Prairie Exteriors, we take pride in trustworthy craftsmanship and service. After more than 60 years of combined experience with everything from simple repairs to complex roofing and siding, our team is well-equipped to serve all of your home needs. 

We use only the best quality products that we would install on our own homes and provide special manufacturer warranties. We’re happy to answer any questions you have and talk to you about your home’s needs. Contact us today!

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