A gutter system works by directing water from the roof into gutters, down the leaders and away from your home’s foundation. Having a gutter fabricator install your gutters will ensure they’re sturdy, sealed, correctly pitched, and properly functioning

However, before choosing rain gutters for you home, it’s important to understand the different types, materials, shapes, sizes, and any other add-ons or accessories that can improve the functionality and protect your home from water damage.

When shopping for a gutter system, you will be able to choose among a variety of materials and colors. Gutter fabricators and installers price gutter systems per linear foot, but this should total all the necessary components including the gutters, downspouts, elbows, corner joints (miters), end caps, straps, drop tubes, and hanging brackets.

The Parts of a Gutter System

When crafting a gutter system, there are multiple pieces that are joined together to complete a pristine comprehensive flow. Gutter fabrication is truly an art.

  • Gutters are the horizontal pieces that make up the bulk of the gutter system. They run alongside the roof, pitched toward the downspouts, in order to catch and redirect water.
  • End caps are used to block the flow of water at the end of the gutter run.
  • Downspouts or leaders are vertical pieces of enclosed gutter pipe that run from the roof to the base of the home. Where they are placed depends on the length of your run, your homes features, and the best place on your property for water output.
  • Splash blocks sit at the bottom of the leader to catch and redirect the flow of water to an area away from the home.
  • Conductor heads are commonly used in areas that get a large amount of rain or commercial buildings. They sit about halfway down the downspout and provide an overflow basin to help manage high volumes of water so it doesn’t spill from the gutters above.
  • Elbows are installed between two straight gutter runs in order to redirect water around bends or corners of the house.
  • Miters are used to seal two conjoining gutter runs horizontally at a corner.
  • Straps are used to fasten the leaders to your home.
  • Hangers fasten to the gutter run and secure the gutters to you homes fascia board using screws
  • Spikes and ferrules are an outdated gutter hanging method and over time the spikes will begin to pull out of your home, leaving your system insecure and prone to water damage. If you find your home has a gutter system held up with spikes and ferrules you might want to get them inspected to see how much life is left before you need an update, or your home may already be long due for that update.
  • Drop tubes get inserted through the gutter run and connect your downspouts to your gutters to lead the water downward.

Gutter Materials and Estimated Pricing


Aluminum is the most popular gutter material on the market. It’s relatively inexpensive in comparison to other options, durable, and easier to work with. Unlike steel, aluminum will not rust over time and is available in a wide range of colors, which can be customer ordered through us. Find our color chart here.

Gutter installers will often quote a price at a “per linear foot” price which totals all the parts of the system and installation. Although costs for aluminum gutters will vary, homeowners should expect to pay somewhere around $6 to $9 per linear foot for 5 inch and 6 inch k-style gutters.


Copper is one of the most durable and most appealing gutter options sitting at the high-end of the gutter market, selling anywhere from $25 to $35 per linear foot.

Although one of the strongest metals, homeowners who enjoy copper must consider the color changes when exposed to the elements. Copper gutters will only stay shiny for the first month or two, then it will turn brown, dark brown, purplish, and eventually a greenish color over time.


Steel gutters are usually galvanized, although stainless steel options exist as well. Galvanized steel gutters will need replacement after 20 to 25 years due to rust, but steel is strong and durable, making it popular in areas that experience extreme weather, heavy rains, and lots of snow. Galvanized steel is slightly more expensive than aluminum, with prices at about $8 to $12 per linear foot. Stainless steel, which doesn’t rust, sells for upwards of $20 per linear foot.


Vinyl is one of the least-expensive gutter options on the market at around $3 to $5 per linear foot. It’s also easy to work with, making these gutters prominent in hardware stores and suitable for DIYers. However, vinyl tends to become brittle and break in colder weather. It is also not as sturdy or durable as metal options, so watch out for common signs that you need new gutters. We don’t offer or install vinyl gutters.

All pricing depends on material availability through the supply chain and average pricing, which can fluctuate. We try to keep you most up to date with pricing for our online estimator tool.

What are the different shapes and sizes of gutters?

The most common gutter shapes for homeowners to choose from are half-round and k-style. A 5 inch k-style gutter will drain the same amount of water as a 6 inch half-round gutter. Half-round or u-shaped gutters are considered a traditional shape, dating back to the early 1900’s. K-style gutters emerged as an option around the 1950s. Downspouts generally come in round, rectangular, or corrugated shapes. Larger buildings such as warehouses and offices tend to use box style gutters because they hold a higher volume of water as per the larger surface area of the roof.

The gutter size is measured by using the top opening. The most common gutter sizes are 5 inches and 6 inches. Downspouts are commonly 2×3 inches to fit 5 inch gutters and 3×4 inches to fit 6 inch gutters.

When determining the size of a home’s gutter system, a homeowner should consider the area’s rainfall density. Typically, a home that sees a lot of rain or has a larger roof surface area and/or a steep roof pitch should have a larger 6 inch gutter system. If your

home is surrounded by many trees, you may way to invest in 6 inch gutters to help maintain water flow and prevent clogging.

The difference between seamed and seamless gutters

Finally, a homeowner will have to decide between a sectional or seamless gutter system. Traditionally, gutters came in sections that had to be pieced together, leaving seams that can compromise durability and leak over time. Today’s aluminum sectional systems require gutter sealant at the seams to prevent leakage. This sealant usually has to be re-applied as regular maintenance. Sectional copper or steel systems are soldered together at the seams, eliminating the need for constant resealing. Seamless systems are growing in popularity due to their higher functionality and less maintenance. A seamless gutter system requires a professional gutter fabricator with a gutter machine that a roll of metal runs through and crafts the gutter to the length of your roofline.

Proper Pitch – What’s That?

Gutter installation should follow a couple of basic rules. The pitch is important in making sure the water and whatever other debris leaves your gutters and doesn’t sit stagnant inside. If your gutters are level with your roofline, they aren’t doing their job. The rule of thumb for this slope is a vertical 1/2 inch for every 10 feet of horizontal run. If the run is more than 35 feet long, we would recommend installing the high point of the system somewhere in the middle of your roofline and pitching the gutter downward in both directions with downspouts on both ends of the run. Water exiting the downspout must always be directed away from the home’s foundation.

Is gutter installation a DIY job, or a job for a pro?

Gutter systems need to be installed on the house where the angle of the roof would guide rain, snow, and flowing water in order to catch and redirect that water to an appropriate spot away from the home for the purpose of protecting and preserving the foundation and home’s exterior. Installing a gutter system requires multiple people with experience working on a ladder, as well as an adequate ability to measure, seal, and secure a horizontal and vertical trough at an appropriate angle to receive and redirect water.

We consider gutter fabrication to be a specialty and art form and not just anyone should install them for proper function, but if you’re not just anyone and okay with the

materials supplied at your typical hardware store and feeling confident, we’ve given you all the information you should need. We don’t recommend DIYers attempt gutter installations on homes with more than one story, for safety concerns.

Gutter Accessories, Ad-Ons and Others Features You Should Know About

The gutter industry has seen an explosion in the accessory side of the business to improve the function and appearance of a gutter system.

  • Rain chains are decorative add-ons that take the place of traditional downspouts. They typically consist of a chain that directs the flow of water down to the ground, but they may also have several small cups along the length of the chain or even a large catch-basin at the bottom of the chain.
  • Downspout extensions can be straight runs, flexible, or hinged. They can be added on to your system at an additional cost. As long as the elbow at the end of the downspout is pointing away from you home and water is directed away from the foundation, then you’re good. If water pools where it runs out, an extension might be necessary.
  • Splash blocks aren’t typically carried on hand, but can be added with an extra cost if you wanted further peace of mind that the water is directing away from your foundation and not running backwards
  • Gutter foam or filters are designed to sit inside the gutter in order to prevent sticks, leaves, and other debris from falling into the gutters and clogging them. We don’t typically recommend putting foam in the gutters, because they can act as an obstruction themselves.
  • Gutter Guard comes in different styles and gets installed over top of your gutters. They act as a filter allowing water to freely flow through while catching larger debris. Gutter guards are not a magical never-have-have-to-maintain your gutters option. Any working system needs routine maintenance to make sure everything continues working at its highest performance for prolonged life. We offer multiple gutter guard styles and you can schedule an installation through us.
  • Decorative boots, as the name implies, are purely an aesthetic choice. They have a unique shape or pattern that turns the base of the downspout into a decoration for the home. These accessories have a wide range of shapes, sizes, and decorative designs, allowing DIYers to customize their homes. We don’t offer decorative boots, but they can be found online.
  • French drains are underground drains that run through your yard and divert the water to the edge of your property or directly into a sewer system. A wonderful way to make sure water stays far away from your foundation, but they aren’t full proof and maintenance free. Many times they get clogged with leaves dirt and rocks and if they aren’t set at an angle they’re more prone for clogging. We do not install or provide maintenance on any French drains. You’d have to call a plumbing or drain and sewer company to install, service, or remove any drains.
  • Downspout silencers are installed inside the downspout and elbow where water lands to silence the sound of the water hitting metal. We can add these into your gutter system for an additional fee.

Gutter Maintenance

While a gutter system is a great addition to any home to keep the foundation protected, it does require semi-regular maintenance to ensure that the system doesn’t form a leak, get clogged, or become overloaded. At least 2 times per year it’s necessary to inspect and clean out any debris that has accumulated in the gutter. Someone should inspect the gutters on a monthly basis and after any large storms to clear clogs and repair any damage before they become a problem to your home.

If the gutter has too much debris in it, the additional weight can cause the gutter to pull away from the roof, breaking the fasteners and causing the collapse of the entire system. Help avoid clogs and debris accumulation with gutter guards that sit over the top of the gutter to block debris from entering the gutters. We offer multiple gutter guard styles and you can read about the positives and negatives of each here.

Final Thoughts

Keep the foundation and ground around a home safe from erosion and flooding by adding a gutter system to the house that will catch and redirect rain, hail, sleet, snow, and running water from the roof to an area on the ground away from the base of the home. Choose from a variety of materials to meet your budgetary limitations, or make a choice based on the highest quality and longest life to outfit the home with a premium copper gutter system. Gutters are customizable with multiple colors of aluminum and add ons that can fit your aesthetic needs and personalized functionality.

Take the time to learn the appropriate sizes, shapes, and features that are suitable for your gutter system before selecting the right parts to replace or install a new gutter system to protect your home. If your gutter system is outdated with seams and spikes, it’s time for an upgrade to a seamless system with sturdier screw fasteners for higher durability and prolonged life.