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This Is How Often You Should Replace Your Gutters

Amber Guetebier
Written by Amber Guetebier
Updated October 19, 2021
An exterior view of a beautiful house
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If you’re worried about leaks, it’s definitely time to do a gut-check on your gutters

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Whether you’ve been living in your home for years or you just moved in, the gutter system is an important area of your home to pay attention to. While most gutter systems, such as vinyl, steel, or aluminum gutters, will last an average of 20 years, others, including copper, can last closer to 50. If you’re wondering how often you should replace your gutters, this guide will help you determine the answer.

Signs You May Need Gutter Replacement

Gutters direct water from rainfall off the roof and down a sloping system, which leads to a downspout. This downspout directs water away from the foundation of your home. If your gutters are not functioning properly and water is overflowing and leaking down the side of your house, it’s possible you need to clean your gutters, as they could be clogged. 

However, if you are noticing multiple leaks, cracks, holes of any kind, rust, peeling paint, sagging, or splitting, it’s likely time for a gutter replacement. Other more serious warning signs could be water leaking or damage in your basement or foundation. 

Pro-tip: Look for all of these signs during or just after a rainstorm to gauge how well your gutter system is really working.

How Often Should You Replace Gutters?

With regular maintenance for most gutter systems, you wouldn’t need to consider replacing your gutters until 20 or more years. Some systems can last even longer than that. 

However, if you’ve moved into a home where the gutters have not been cleaned and maintained, that life span can shorten dramatically. If you notice a lot of leaks and sagging, even if the system is 10 years old, it may need replacement.

Should You Repair or Replace Your Gutter System?

Worker installing the gutter system
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It is possible to replace only the sections of your gutter that have damage. For example, there may be issues with the downspout—these can sometimes be bumped by cars, run into while playing, or dislodged by enthusiastic canines. That’s a simple replacement most homeowners can do on their own. 

One of the challenges with replacing worn or damaged sections is making sure the gutter actually matches. Since many gutter systems last more than 20 years, the exact make, material, and color may not exist anymore. You will also need access to a very tall ladder or a way to access the roofline safely.

Regular Maintenance for Gutters

Close up of house gutter clogged with leaves
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Now that you know how often you should replace your gutters, it’s time to think about maintenance (and prevention).

Even if you don’t think you need a gutter replacement yet, be sure to watch for warning signs of gutter damage when you perform regular cleanings. Gutters should be cleaned at least twice a year (in the spring and fall) or more often if you live in an area with heavy rainfall. 

While unclogging gutters and removing debris, keep an eye out for cracks, loose fasteners, leaks, and sagging. Watch your siding for mold or excess dampness. If you hire a local gutter cleaner, ask them to keep an eye out for any damage so you can be proactive in repairs.

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