- 1 How Long Have Gutters Been Around?
- 2 Why Do We Need Gutters?
- 3 Guarding Against a Hostile Climate
- 4 Gutters Can Reduce the Cost of Repairing Water Damage
- 5 The Importance of Considering Gutter Capacity
- 6 Gutter Market Size
- 7 General Rain Gutter Costs
- 8 How Long Do Gutters Last?
- 9 The Importance of Considering Ladder Safety
How Long Have Gutters Been Around?
It’s pretty difficult to trace the history of rain gutters because most articles indicating that they started being used between 3000 BC and 1500 BC don’t provide credible evidence of where this information can be substantiated.
However, the website belonging to the U.S. National Park Service, NPS.gov, reports that “there is little evidence that they [rain gutters], were employed at first in the Colonies but by the early 18th century their use had become accepted practice on finer buildings.”
As the industrial revolution spread across most of the West, cities started growing rapidly, and the need for housing escalated. This brought with it innovations to ensure that houses were dry. Compact and dry houses lowered the incidence of diseases like pneumonia, emphysema, bronchitis, and asthma. By the 1870s, most houses had iron cast gutters and downpipes.
Why Do We Need Gutters?
The main reason you need rain gutters is to keep the ground around the house dry. If not properly channeled, water tends to scatter everywhere, which could damage and erode the soil around a building. With the soil progressively eroded, stagnant water can become a permanent feature around the house.
Compare a house with gutters and another without. You will also notice that gutters add beauty to a home’s exterior. They make the building look well-trimmed, especially if you select the right style and material.
Guarding Against a Hostile Climate
When thinking about installing rain gutters, the biggest factor to consider is the amount of rain falling in the area where you live. Determining the average rainfall in your area will assist you in deciding on the size of gutters that will work best for you.
It is generally accepted that climate change results in extreme weather patterns characterized by either too much or too little rain.
CNBC.com reports that global warming has played a primary role in increasing flood costs in the U.S. The same publication reports that “Even in states where long-term rainfall hasn’t changed, the wettest storms have intensified and caused more financial damage as a result.”
Gutters Can Reduce the Cost of Repairing Water Damage
Without gutters, your home is at risk of substantial water damage. Repairing a home damaged by water will cost you $2,000 on average. The weather forecasting service, AccuWeather.com proposes that “If properly installed, your rain gutters will get water away from your home, not let it pool up against your foundation.”
It is forecasted that in the next 30 years, the cost of flood damage in U.S. homes will escalate by 61%. But what does this mean in real numbers? Kate Duguid, writing for Reuters.com, has the answer: “$20 billion of flood damage to at-risk U.S. homes this year, rising to $32 billion by 2051.”
Duguid adds that an estimated 4.3 million homes “concentrated in Florida, California, South Carolina, and Texas – have a substantial risk of sustaining economic damage from flooding this year .”
CNBC.com cites a study conducted by researchers at Stanford University who concluded that damage caused by rainfall fueled by climate change in the U.S. was almost $75 billion in the last 30 years.
The numbers above show the importance of doing whatever you can to minimize the risk of losses linked to rising levels of rain. To adequately deal with the increasing rain intensity brought about by climate change, it’s vital to consider how rain gutters can assist and if the ones in your home right now are the correct size.
The Importance of Considering Gutter Capacity
With changing weather patterns triggered mainly by climate change, it is vital to ensure that you consider the amount of rain in your area when you install your gutters. This ensures that the gutters you install can handle the expected volumes.
The Ohio Basement Authority, a company that provides foundation repair, basement waterproofing, crawl space encapsulation, and dehumidification solutions, suggests that “One aspect of heavy rainfall preparation is to ensure you have the right gutters and proper drainage to move water off your home’s roof and away from the foundation.”
The UK-based DIY website DIYDoctor.org.uk provides some instructions on calculating your roof area for guttering. The site suggests that “It is worth making sure that your gutters can cope with the amount of water that will come off your roof.”
The formula suggested by DIYDoctor.org.uk for calculating the roof area is:
Roof Length x Half Roof Width x Roof Height ÷ 2 = Roof Area.
From this result, the person installing your gutters will determine the gutter size to install in your home.
Gutter Market Size
Since the early days of the industrial revolution and the growth of modern cities, gutters have been found in almost every house. But how big is the rain gutter market today?
ResearchAndMarkets.com reports that in 2020, the global gutter market was estimated to be $6.9 billion. The same source reports that the market is expected to grow to $7.2 billion by the end of 2021. Growth will continue to accelerate for the next five years, taking the market to $9.2 billion by 2026, representing a CAGR of 5.05%.
General Rain Gutter Costs
Considering their role, rain gutters are generally not expensive when installed by professionals. For instance, rain gutters for an average American home measuring 2,400 square feet (223 square meters) will cost about $3,000. The national cost of gutter installation projects ranges between $900 and $5,000.
Even though an average figure can be provided regarding the cost of installing gutters in an average home, several factors will determine how much a specific individual will pay for installing gutters in a specific home.
ThisOldHouse.com, a website that provides home improvement information and expert advice, provides an idea of how much the various components required for gutter installation will cost.
Regarding material, you will first need to choose whether you want to go with metal or vinyl gutters. PVC plastic is used to make vinyl gutters, and metal ones are made from different types of metals.
Vinyl: Will cost between $3 and $6 per linear foot, making them the cheapest choice available.
Aluminum: Expect to pay between $5 and $15 per linear foot, depending on the exact style you choose.
Galvanized Steel: Considering that these gutters are installed mainly by professionals, they will cost you between $6 and $12 per linear foot.
Copper: These gutters are known for their longevity and will cost between $15 and $20 per linear foot.
Zinc: These are high-end gutters that can last up to eight decades, and because of this, at $20 to $40 per linear foot, they cost more than the other types.
Unless you are installing the rain gutters for yourself, you will need to consider the cost of labor. The labor cost will depend on the geographic region where you install the gutters and the material you are using. The type of home where you are installing the gutters will also determine how much you pay. For instance, a single-story home will be cheaper than a double-story one.
Generally, you can expect to pay between $5 and $7 per linear foot in labor costs for seamless gutters.
How Long Do Gutters Last?
The lifespan of gutters depends on several factors, including the material used to make them, the weather patterns in the area where they are installed, and the way they are maintained. Generally, you can expect gutters to last between 15 and 50 years before they need to be replaced.
Regarding the amount of maintenance involved, everything depends on where you live. However, the general recommendation is that you should clean your rain gutters at least twice a year.
For many people, cleaning the gutters is a cumbersome process that should be left to professionals. If you are one of these people, you can expect to pay between $118 and $225 per average home, with the national average being $160. The cost also depends on the number of stories your home has.
The Importance of Considering Ladder Safety
Trying to install rain gutters would be an extremely challenging job without ladders. Thus, it is crucial to consider ladder safety. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) reports that “There are more than 300 ladder-related deaths and over 130,000 emergency room visits related to ladders each year, as well as 2,000 ladder-related injuries every day.”
ANSI identifies the five most common causes of ladder accidents, including using a ladder that’s not the right size and not following the correct procedure when using a ladder.
The New Mexico State University suggests five ways of circumventing ladder injuries and deaths. The university suggests that you select the right ladder for the job, inspect it before use, take care when setting up the ladder, be cautious when climbing and descending it, and use common sense when working with ladders.