Seamless Guttering Pros, Cons and Materials

Doug Oliver Development/flickr

Is roof gutter replacement on your to-do list for fall? If so, consider seamless guttering. This type of gutter installation has been skyrocketing in popularity among American homeowners lately, and with good reason. Find out why.

Seamless Gutters vs Regular

Regular old-style gutters are appropriately known as sectional. Made up of numerous 10- to 20-foot sections, they're joined by connectors or couplings, soldered or sealed together. Individual sections can be hacksawn to size. This does make sectional gutters quick and easy to install, whether by a pro or a handy homeowner (in fact, you may find sectional guttering sold as a DIY kit). There’s a trade-off, though: you will end up with a lot of seams.

The alternative is seamless guttering, which has seams only at the roof corners and downspout attachments. It is roll-cut on site from one single piece of metal. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of this type of guttering.

Gutter seams by Ivy Dawned/flickr

Seamless Gutters – Pros

Reduce gutter clogs and leaks. Seams in gutters are weak spots. They’re vulnerable to leaking or overflow when blocked by dirt and debris, which may result in water damage to your home. That’s why minimizing the number of gutter seams is so valuable. GOOD TO KNOW: While seamless guttering is highly leak-resistant, be aware that it's not completely leak-proof.

Simplify routine gutter maintenance. Fewer seams also mean that you will have less of a hassle clearing out fallen leaves, pine needles, and the like.

Custom made to measure for your house. You’ll end up with a well-fitting, great-looking guttering system that adds value to your home.

Usually carry an excellent warranty. Seamless guttering tends to come with a warranty of 20 years to lifetime.

Seamless Gutters – Cons

Higher cost. For purchase and installation, seamless guttering cost is higher than sectional gutters. However, balance that initial expense against better protection, longer lifespan, and easier maintenance.

Require you to hire a roofing pro for installation. Don’t plan to tackle installation of seamless guttering on your own. It’s a complex process, which requires special skill and machinery. Find a reliable gutter installer to do the job.

May not be suitable for some roofs. If your home is topped by an ornate roof style, which includes lots of angles, seamless guttering might not be cost effective. You could be better off with sectional roofing, to accommodate the many corners.

Not suitable for seamless guttering by Ume-y/flickr

Professional Installation of Seamless Guttering

Here’s how a seamless gutter professional will typically proceed with the installation process:

  1. Locate the best spot to direct roof runoff, efficiently and safely away from your home’s foundation.

  2. Take precise measurements of your roof.

  3. Custom cut the material, using a specialized, truck-mounted seamless guttering machine.

  4. Remove your old gutters. (If you’d like the contractor to take care of haulage and disposal, be sure to include that in your contract.)

  5. Install the new seamless guttering system and screw it into place.

Common Seamless Guttering Materials

Aluminum – Rustproof and lightweight, aluminum gutters are available in a wide range of colors. These are generally the least expensive option; they’re easy to recycle, as well. Aluminum is prone to hail damage, though.

Copper – Copper gutters are durable and rustproof. Shiny when new, copper will develop a rich patina as it ages. Its distinctive appearance is good for curb appeal.

Painted or stainless steelSteel is the strongest of all guttering materials, making it ideal for harsh, stormy climates. The one drawback is that it is heavy, making gutter installation more difficult.

ZincZinc gutters are rustproof and sustainable (recycled content makes up more than 30% of zinc used in building materials). Leave them “au naturel” or paint, if you prefer.

Gutter installation by pointnshoot/flickr

Laura Firszt writes for

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