When to Replace Your Gutters

When it comes to home maintenance, gutters are often neglected. However, if left unattended, they can fall into disrepair.

Published November 23, 2021

When it comes to home maintenance, gutters are often neglected. Homeowners typically work on projects that give them immediate satisfaction such as kitchen and bathroom renovations. However, if you leave your gutters unattended, they can fall into disrepair.

The question is, how do you know when it’s time to replace your gutters? There’s no fixed answer as it depends on many factors including the type of gutters you have, the climate you live in, and how well maintained they are. That said, there are a few signs to look out for as they can indicate it’s time for a change. 

The age of your gutters

Generally speaking, gutters can last between 20 and 30 years. However, there are quite a few variables. Seamless gutters typically last a bit longer as they have fewer leaks and greater durability. As you can imagine the materials used also affect the lifespan. Most homes have gutters made of aluminum which lasts about 20 years. However, copper gutters can last 50 years before they need to be replaced.

If you’re looking to extend the lifespan of your gutters, consider the following:

  • Make sure you clean your gutters at least twice a year. Ideally, after all the leaves have fallen off trees and when winter is over.
  • Avoid impacting your gutters. Don’t lean a ladder against them, don’t use chemicals to clean them, and avoid power washing them.
  • Hire a gutter company to clean and do repairs if you’re not comfortable doing it yourself.

You’ve noticed cracking

Cracking is usually the obvious sign that your gutters need to be replaced as soon as possible. Not only will you physically be able to see the cracks, but water will be leaking from them. When this happens, your gutters are no longer doing their job properly. The extra water leaking down the side of your home could damage your property.

The hard thing about cracks is that they’re not always obvious. If you have a multi-story home, you may not be able to see them from ground level. Cracks can also start off small, but eventually grow. You might be able to repair small cracks, but it can be an early sign that your gutters need to be replaced.

Rust and mildew are apparent

Seeing rust on any metal object is normal. Especially gutters since they’re designed to carry water. That said, if you’re starting to see multiple patches or rust in large areas, you might want to further investigate. Rust typically appears on the bottom of gutters, so start here first. If you notice paint bubbles or peeling on your gutters, that could also indicate that there’s rust underneath.

Mildew and mold are also things you want to look out for. Check any areas below ground in your home for any growth. You’re looking for small black dots or patches. Mildew can also have an obvious smell which can give away its presence. This matters because mildew grows due to moisture. If your downspouts are too close to your home, your foundation may be getting wet. That moisture can find its way into your basement over time. You’ll want to take care of this problem as quickly as you can as it can create potentially unhealthy living conditions.

Seam stress and rot

Although gutters are designed to be sturdy, seam stress is always possible depending on certain conditions. Gutters will naturally be vulnerable wherever two horizontal sections connect. Quite often leaks and separations happen here first since it’s the weakest spot of your gutters. The weight from debris, such as leaves, can also create stress if you’re not maintaining your gutters. This separation can be a concern for homeowners, which is why many homeowners are switching to seamless gutter systems such as LeafGuard®.

Once you have seam stress, rot can also be a concern. If you’ve noticed rotting on your siding, window sills, or door frames, it likely means your gutters aren’t functioning properly since rain is cascading down the side of your home.


Any leaks from your gutters should be addressed as soon as possible. As you’ve already learned, they can be caused by a variety of reasons. Homeowners might ignore small leaks and think they’re not a big deal, but as soon as there’s one leak, your gutters are no longer operating at maximum efficiency. Repairing small leaks can help you prolong the life of your gutters.

Now think about how gutters are designed. They’re supposed to move water towards the downspouts. That water is then diverted away from your home. If you have leaks, your home is being exposed. That could potentially lead to bigger issues later. As soon as you see a leak, try to address it as quickly as possible. 

What to do when you’re ready for new gutters

If you’re tired of leaks and constant maintenance, it may be time for a new gutter system. Contact Local Home Pro for a free estimate on seamless gutter systems that are customized for your home. All of their professionals are local and vetted to ensure that they understand the needs of you and your home.

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