Which Is Best Seamless Gutters vs Traditional Gutters

  • By: CarlBroadbent
  • Time to read: 9 min.
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Gutters are an essential component in every home. Most people tend to go for traditional gutters; however, over the recent years, seamless gutters have become very popular- and for a good reason.

Choosing seamless gutters over traditional sectioned gutters is one way to reduce gutter build-up and keep them in good working order.

Seamless Gutters Vs Traditional Gutters tips
Seamless Gutters Vs Traditional Gutters

Seamless gutters are also more robust and reliable than conventional gutters. This is because they are made of a single material, which adds rigidity and strength. 

Also, when compared to traditional gutters, they require the least amount of maintenance and have far fewer leaks. 

Seamless gutters will save one a lot of money on future repairs and replacements, but they are costly to install.

Traditional gutters are the most widely available and least expensive. They do, however, come with issues that, if not addressed, can spell disaster for a home.

For Instance – They are more prone to leaks than seamless gutters because they have joints that are sealed with sealant. Also, long-term exposure to the elements can erode sealant, allowing leaks to form. 

Seamless Gutters Overview

As you probably already heard, seamless gutters are made from a single piece of material.

Seamless Gutters cons
Seamless Gutters Overview

There are no sections and no sealing at the joints. The only areas that need to be sealed or soldered are the end caps because they are one solid piece.

This reduces the possibility of leakage and can extend the life of your gutters, soffit, fascia, and siding.

Seamless gutters are also more durable than traditional gutters.

These gutters are available in various standard gutter materials such as steel, zinc, aluminum, and copper.

Pros

  • Have a longer lifespan than regular gutters
  • It is much sturdier and stronger; you don’t have to worry about the tendency to sag
  • Far less prone to leaking, gathering debris, and clogging
  • Require less maintenance than regular gutters
  • It can be made in a variety of sizes to accommodate roof pitch and amount of rainfall
  • Lower maintenance
  • Add value to a property
  • More uniform, attractive appearance
  • Lots of colors available

Cons

  • Requires a particular machine when installing
  • It’s heavy
  • It’s expensive
  • Take longer to install

However, these gutters cost more than other types of gutters.

Nonetheless, they are less likely to leak and more durable than traditional gutters, saving you a lot of money.

Another appealing aspect of seamless gutters is that they require less maintenance. You only need to clean tree debris once or twice a year.

Traditional Gutters Overview

Traditional gutters are available in pre-cut sections that are simple to assemble.

Cleaning tiger stripes gutters products
Best products for cleaning tiger stripes gutters

During the installation process, pieces are connected to span the length of the area that needs to be covered.

Because they are separate pieces, the sections must be appropriately sealed or soldered at the joints to avoid leaks.

Pros

  • Readily available at home improvement centers
  • Multiple material options
  • More cost-effective than other options
  • Easy to assemble and install by an experienced handyperson or homeowner

Cons

  • Expect more leaks
  • Require more maintenance and can quickly get clogged
  • You need to take care of cut sections (these sections need to be sealed and welded)
  • Require constant maintenance
  • Have a shorter lifespan

Otherwise, the connection points are where water can begin to leak and enter the home’s fascia or siding.

If this occurs, immediate repairs must be made to prevent further damage to the home.

Traditional gutters are made from various materials, including aluminum, copper, steel, and vinyl.

While steel is the most robust option, copper, aluminum, or vinyl may be viable, depending on your situation.

Seamless Gutters Vs Traditional Gutters

Traditional GuttersSeamless Gutters
MaterialAluminum, steel, copper, vinylAluminum, steel, copper
LifespanUsually max of 20 years From 20-60 years
DesignSections (usually 10 feet) Custom one long piece
CostFrom $3 to $20 per linear foot with installationFrom $4 to $30 per linear foot installation included
InstallationDIY You need a professional

Cost

Seamless gutters are more expensive to install because they require professional installation (price ranges between $800 and $5,000 cost and $4 to $30 per linear foot, including installation).

On the other hand, traditional gutters are cheap because they don’t need to be installed by a professional (prices run from $3 to $20 per linear foot installed).

Even when professional installation is used for traditional gutters, the price remains lower. Installing the gutters yourself will cut the cost per foot in half.

MaterialCost Per Foot (Traditional Gutters)Cost Per Foot (Seamless Guters)
Vinyl$3-$6Not Available
Aluminum$5-$10$6-$13
Steel$7-$11$8-$12
Copper$16-$28$17-$32
Zinc$8 – $12$20 – $25

Cost depends on the following factors:

  • Length of home.
  • Number of storeys.
  • Price installers charge in your area. 

Durability

Even though both seamless and traditional gutters are made of the same materials, seamless gutters outlast traditional gutters in terms of durability, owing to the lack of seams that can fail.

Traditional gutter seam seals will eventually fail, requiring regular repair.

These seams are also vulnerable points where gutters can sag.

Types of Pipes ERW, HFW, Seamless,...
Types of Pipes ERW, HFW, Seamless, EFW, Spiral and SAW pipe

Seamless gutters will last longer before needing replacement or repair because they do not have these seams.

Under the right conditions (proper installation, maintenance, and weather), the maximum lifespan of most traditional gutters is 20 years.

How to Clean Copper Gutters tips
How to clean copper gutters

Seamless gutters, on the other hand, can last 30 years or more.

Also, note that the lifespan of gutters significantly depends on their material composition:

  • Aluminum gutters: 20 years
  • Galvanized steel gutters: 20 years
  • Vinyl gutters: 25 years
  • Copper gutters: 50+ years
  • Zinc gutters: approximately 50 years

The two most important aspects are maintenance and climate conditions when it comes to the lifetime of your gutters.

For instance, vinyl gutters tend to crack under extreme temperatures and exposure to strong winds. 

Maintenance

While both types of gutters will require yearly maintenance, seamless gutters are easier to maintain because debris won’t clog and weigh down gutters as there are no gaps.

In case you have seamless gutters installed, it’s always a good idea to check corners and downspouts for leaves.

Scoop them up to avoid future problems like clog and water backups. You can consider installing gutter guards to keep debris at bay.

On the Other Hand – Traditional gutters require routine maintenance because they have joints and seams between each piece and fasteners every three feet.

Repairs

When it comes to repairing seamless gutters, any repairs necessitate the replacement of the entire gutter.

Vinyl gutters installation
Vinyl gutters installation

Because the gutters are seamless, you can’t just repair one section and leave the rest alone—a full replacement is required.

Traditional gutters, however, can be easily fixed by repairing the section that needs fixing without replacing the entire gutter.

Gutter Guards

Gutter guards are beneficial to both traditional and seamless gutters.

Gutter guards prevent leaves from entering the gutter channel.

Sectioned gutters can pull away from the guards and leave gaps.

As a result, the gutter guard will always need to be reattached occasionally. This issue does not exist on seamless gutters because they do not sag or come apart.

Shapes

Seamless gutters are available in various styles, while traditional gutters have one standard style.

Seamless gutters shapes explained
Seamless gutters shapes

Gutters are classified into three types:

  1. Fascia gutters: This sleek-looking gutter style is only available with seamless gutters and comes in one long piece. It is not available with traditional gutters.
  1. K-style gutters: These gutters, which are available for both traditional and seamless gutters, resemble the letter “K” when viewed from the side. They have decorative areas that look like crown molding. Although their flat-back design makes them easier to nail to fascia boards, they are more challenging to clean than half-round gutters.
  1. Half-round: This style is available in seamless gutters. Half-round gutters, as opposed to k-style gutters, have a round shape that allows water to drain out rather than remaining in the flat bottom of the gutter.

Installation

The installation process and complexity of seamless gutters and traditional gutters also differ.

In contrast, seamless gutters require professional installation.

This is because they necessitate a roll-forming machine, which bends and cuts the gutters to the exact length of the roof.

On the other hand, traditional gutters can be easily installed by anyone with DIY skills.

This is because traditional gutter sections and components are available at most home improvement stores.

Appearance

Traditional gutters have visible seams and joints.

On the other hand, seamless gutters have a more streamlined appearance that makes them less noticeable and more appealing. 

High-quality gutters installation
High-quality gutters

One negative about traditional gutters is that they tend to sag and pull away from the house, reducing their appeal.

Both gutters come in different colors to match your property. However, with seamless gutters, you can have a wide variety of designs and patterns.

Leakage

The main advantage of seamless gutters over traditional gutters is that they do not have sections.

Seams are only at the downspouts and corners; therefore, the risk of leakage is eliminated.

No matter how professionally installed, traditional gutters have a significant disadvantage in terms of leakage.

Over time, the gaps and joints will fail, resulting in leakage. 

Material

Seamless and traditional gutters use the same materials, except vinyl, which is only available in traditional gutters.

Choosing seamless gutters guide
Choosing seamless gutters

Aluminum, steel, and copper are examples of these materials.

Unlike traditional gutters, typically available in 10- to 20-foot sections, seamless gutters are custom cut to size.

Steel

Steel is one of the heaviest materials around.

This makes it an excellent choice for areas prone to extreme weather, such as heavy rains and snowfall.

Steel, however, has the disadvantage of rusting when it comes into contact with moisture over time. 

Furthermore – They are challenging to support and lift because of their sheer weight during installation.

Steel gutters are usually galvanized, giving them the same durability as aluminum but a more industrial appearance.

Copper

Copper is a naturally rust-resistant and lightweight metal, making it ideal for use when guttering.

Cleaning copper gutters step by step guide

Most people are familiar with the color that you can notice over time. However, this is not the same as rust. It is just oxidation.

Zinc

Zinc gutters are known to be pricey.

However, in case you invest in them, you know you’ll get durable and weather-resistant gutters.

These gutters are also reinforced with traces of both copper and titanium.

When zinc gutters are first installed, they appear as a dull gray color, but they develop an appealing patina over time. 

Aluminum

Aluminum gutter systems are one of the most popular gutter options because they are lightweight, rustproof, and simple to install.

Unlike other materials, they can withstand cold temperatures.

Homeowners can also paint this material to match the color of their home’s exterior.

RelatedVinyl Vs Aluminum Gutters: Which Are Better?

Vinyl

Vinyl gutters, unlike metal gutters, will not rust or corrode.

They’re also lightweight, making them simple to install. The disadvantage of vinyl gutters is their short lifespan.

When they become clogged, they warp and sag.

Which Is Better: Seamless Or Regular Gutters? 

Both gutter systems have advantages and disadvantages.

However, given the list of advantages and disadvantages presented above, it is clear that seamless gutters outperform traditional gutters.

Cleaning tiger stripes aluminum gutters guide

Because of their ability to reduce leaks, seamless gutters are frequently regarded as superior to sectional gutters.

Even the well-built seams on traditional gutters will begin to wear away and degrade over time. 

Depending on the Location – If overhanging trees surround your house, leaves or pine needles can quickly accumulate in your gutters and cause clogs or leaks. Seamless gutters are more likely to withstand clogs and save you money on maintenance costs.

Because they have seams formed along the bottom of the gutter, traditional gutters, on the other hand, cause water to back up and debris to form blockages. 

Additionally, seamless gutters look better and last longer than traditional gutters.

However, they are significantly more expensive than traditional gutters because they require professional installation.

Those on a tight budget may prefer to stick with traditional gutters.

Although seamless gutters may cost a little more upfront, it usually pays makes up for it in the long run due to the low maintenance requirements.

Final Thoughts

Both traditional gutters and seamless gutters have their pros and cons.

Howeverseamless gutters are the better option. Because of their seamless design, they are more durable and less likely to leak. As a result, they require less upkeep. 

However, they are not the best option for everyone.

Because seamless gutters are slightly more expensive to install, they are not suitable for those on a budget.

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