There are many benefits to large gutters. Yes, they are more expensive than standard 5-inch gutters, but if you live in an area that gets heavy rainfall or if you have a steep roof, larger gutters are probably the way to go. They handle lots of water and fast-moving water better than their smaller counterparts.
But let’s dig a little deeper and explore precisely why large gutters are better in some cases and look at some of the factors you should consider when you’re in the market for gutters.
Why Gutter Size Matters
The answer is a resounding yes. A gutter system’s primary function is to redirect the water flowing from your roof away from your home’s foundation. Doing so prevents water damage, structural damage, and foundation issues that might arise, all of which are expensive to fix.
To ensure your gutters work correctly, they need to be appropriately sized for your house and your climate. Larger houses need larger gutters. And homes in regions that get periodic heavy storms may need them as well to handle the sheets of water that flow off your roof.
Understanding Gutter Sizes
The standard gutter size is five inches, but larger or oversized gutters are six, seven, or eight inches. An inch or two might seem insignificant on first blush, but they aren’t. A six-inch gutter can hold between 40 and 50 percent more water than a five-inch one. Why? Because six-inch gutters aren’t just 20 percent wider than five-inch gutters. They’re also deeper. The additional width and depth significantly increases the capacity of the gutter.
It’s important to note that, yes, some gutters are just too big. Seven- or eight-inch gutters are typically designed for commercial or industrial buildings with very large roofs. In reality, six inches is probably the largest gutter you would need on a home, and four inches is the smallest.
Downspout Size Matters, Too
Your downspout size is just as important as your gutter size. Larger gutters need larger downspouts; if your downspout is too small, it won’t be able to handle the increased water capacity your larger gutters can handle, increasing the risk of it overflowing or flooding.
Six-inch K-style gutters need 3×4-inch downspouts to keep up with the amount of water your gutters collect. This is in contrast to five-inch K-style gutters, which need 2×3-inch downspouts.
Factors to Consider
So how do you know if four, five, or six inches is the right size? Everyone’s home is different, so the gutters that might work for your neighbor’s house won’t work for yours. Consider the following factors when upsizing:
Your gutters must match your roof size. Larger roofs obviously collect more rainwater. Five-inch gutters are probably sufficient for most small homes with roofs under 1,400 square feet. However, if your roof is at least 1,500 square feet, you should seriously consider six-inch gutters.
A roof’s pitch is vital in selecting the right size gutters. Just as a wheel rolling down a steep hill goes faster than a wheel on a slight slope, rainwater flows much faster off a steep roof. Gravity is undefeated. During heavy rain or a wind-driven rainstorm, water can flow down the roof with greater force and speed and may overshoot smaller gutters.
Consider upgrading your gutters if you live in an area with frequent heavy rainfall. Five-inch gutters can struggle with heavy rain, but larger gutters can handle the increased water flow. Upsizing will give you peace of mind knowing your home’s exterior is well protected during heavy storms.
The style of gutter you have can determine its size and how effective it is at carrying rainwater. For example, five-inch half-round or K-style gutters can overflow quite often, so opting for six inches or larger gutters would allow them to keep up with the flowing water.
Take into consideration the size of your fascia boards. The width of the fascia affects how the gutter will appear, so you’ll need gutters that maintain a proportional look. A 1×6-inch fascia would benefit from five-inch gutters, while larger fascias will need gutters that are six inches or larger.
Benefits of Larger Rain Gutters
1. Less risk of clogging
Larger gutters are more efficient at draining water than shorter gutters and in a shorter amount of time. They also come with an oversized downspout, which can handle larger quantities of debris. These two features offer better protection from water damage and minimize the risk of leaves and debris clogging the gutters.
2. Increased curb appeal
As a homeowner, the idea of larger gutters might repulse you out of fear of it standing out on your roof and looking unattractive. However, this isn’t the case. Larger gutters have a sleek and modern design that can enhance your home’s appearance and increase curb appeal.
3. Work well with complex roofing systems
Depending on the size of your roof or the construction of your house, you might have a complex roofline and may need a custom gutter system. For example, if you have a two-story house, water from the upper level will flow into the first-story gutters. Because of this, you’ll want larger gutters, which can hold a larger volume of water without overflowing.
How Much Do Larger Gutters Cost?
Larger gutters are more expensive than smaller gutters, so a six-inch gutter would cost more than a five-inch gutter. However, they are more effective at preventing water damage to your home, which can help you save money in the long run. That said, size alone doesn’t tell the whole story.
Sectional vs. Seamless
Sectional gutters come in lengths of 5, 10, or 15 feet and are assembled onsite. They cost $3 to $20 per linear foot. On the other hand, seamless gutters, which are custom-built by a professional gutter company to fit the exact dimensions of your home, cost $6 to $30 per linear foot.
Gutters come in various materials, and the material chosen can affect the cost. Here are the options to choose from, along with their characteristics and price:
- Aluminum Gutters: These gutters are resistant to rust and easy to install, although they may crack or bend. Expect to pay $8 to $15 per linear foot.
- Vinyl Gutters: These are made of plastic or PVC, making them lightweight and easy to maintain. They’re also inexpensive, costing $4 to $11 per linear foot.
- Galvanized Steel Gutters: These are more robust than aluminum and vinyl gutters but are more expensive at $6 to $14 per linear foot.
- Copper Gutters: These gutters are mold, mildew, and rust-resistant but are one of the most expensive gutter materials available, at $15 to $36 per linear foot.
Not all materials can be used to make specific types of gutters. For example, seamless half-round gutters are exclusively made from aluminum.
Gutter guards prevent debris buildup and allow water to flow through, reducing the frequency of gutter cleaning.
Expect to pay between $900 and $2,100 to install gutter guards. High-quality gutter guards, which require professional installation, cost between $1,200 and $5,000. You can install plastic or PVC gutter guards yourself for just $95 to $200.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can install gutters yourself if you have the necessary tools and experience. However, even the best gutters can only succeed if properly installed, so hiring a professional for gutter installation is recommended.
Clean your gutters twice a year, once in both spring and fall.
Most gutter installers add a downspout for every 20 to 30 feet of gutter. They may install downspouts at each end of the gutter run in areas with heavy rainfall.
When to Hire a Pro
We recommended hiring a professional to install your gutters, and MyGutterGnome’s gutter experts will do just that, so give them a call.