Gutters are out there hanging around 24/7, soaking up the hot sun, getting buffeted by winds, handling volumes of rain, and being pinged by hail. With all the work they do to protect your home from the damage the elements can cause, you might wonder how long should gutters last. The lifespan of gutters depends on a number of factors including what the gutters are made of, how well they have been maintained over the years and microclimate.
Some types of gutter materials will last longer than others. Aluminum gutters, one of the top three most popular gutter materials because it’s versatile and lightweight, last 20 to 25 years. Like aluminum gutters, steel gutters also last up to 25 years. Copper gutters are strong, beautiful to look at, and have a lifespan of 50 years or more. The longevity of vinyl gutters, another one of the top three most popular gutter materials, ranges from 10 to 15 years.
How Gutters are Manufactured
A combination of the quality of materials and production methods used can impact the longevity of gutters. Some protective finishes on aluminum gutters are more scratch-resistant than others. Metals such as copper, aluminum, and steel are available in different gauges – the higher the number, the thicker the material is.
Many industry professionals attest that seamless aluminum gutters last longer than sectional aluminum gutters because seamless gutters are manufactured in continuous sections, making them stronger and less prone to leaks.
Whether they are aluminum gutters, vinyl gutters, or copper gutters, longevity does not only depend on the type of gutter material or how it was manufactured. Keeping your gutter system well-maintained ensures that it will not develop leaks, start to overflow, clog the downspouts and gutter channels, or endanger other parts of your home such as the siding, roof or basement.
Good home maintenance habits will also help to extend the life of your gutters. These include:
- no ladder leaning
- no harsh cleaning solutions
- inspections after storms to see if gutter sections and/or downspouts need repair
Climate, of course, plays a big part in how gracefully your gutters age. But microclimate also is a contributing factor on a gutter system’s durability. For instance, two houses side by side can have the same vinyl gutters, but the first house will need to replace their gutter system five years sooner than the second house because direct sunlight on the back of the house #1 is drying out the vinyl, making it brittle. That’s the effects of microclimate. The same can be said of lots of trees growing around one house while its neighbour has hardly any trees and only cleans their gutters once a year. Knowing how microclimate affects your house exterior can help you better maintain your gutter system.