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Question DetailsAsked on 5/21/2013

Gutter thickness

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2 Answers


Can you clarify your question ?

Do you have competing bids proposing different gutter thicknesses ? From approximately cheapest to most expensive:

Vinyl thickness varies by manufacturer. Supposedly will not support ladder, but I have been up on my roof at least twice yearly for inspection and washing, lean my ladder directly against Genova Raingo vinyl gutters (with 24 inch bracket spacing) and have never had a problem, as long as you do not slide the ladder sideways putting it up or taking it down and break off a gutter hanger. Poor performance in very hot sunny climes (the sunbelt states) as the plastic ultraviolet light weathers and degrades, first by bleaching, eventually cracking and splitting. Can be painted with good latex acrylic house trim paint to protect it.

Aluminum normally comes in 0.019 to 0.032 inch thickness, with 0.027 inch being the "industry standard" - the thinnest not likely to get wavy or buckle under ice and water load, but many companies will install only 0.032 if they are going to warranty it. (Downspouts usually 0.024-0.027 inch). If you plan on using a ladder to get up on the roof ever, plan on having to use a ladder stabilizer on the top of the ladder bearing on the roof itself, not against the gutter - it WILL bend or crumple. Avoid "secondary" or "recycled" aluminum gutters - metallurgical consistency is poor, leading to corrosion pitting and holing, and thickness tends to be non-uniform. If inside of gutter is not frequently cleaned or painted well with an outdoor metal surfaces paint when installed, likely to corrode out in 5-15 years due to organic acids from vegetation debris.

Steel comes in 24 to 30 gauge (larger number means THINNER), with 26 gauge probably being the most commonly installed "industry standard", though 24 gauge is less likely to warp under ice load and can handle a ladder gently leaning against it much better, but still iffy. Downspouts usually 26 or 28 gage. Should be hot-dip galvanized (not cold galvanized or galvanizing paint coated) and will also rust through in 10-15 years if not well-painted when installed.

Copper comes in 16-24 gauge (again, larger number means THINNER), with 20 gauge being the most common, though 16 gauge is used for steep roofs likely to have snow avalanches and in heavy eave/gutter icing country, and for historic buildings where it is desired to have the gutter last decades without maintenance. No ladder contact - must bear on roof only. Requires no paint or sealant as it self-protects, though will corrode through if organic debris is allowed to lie in it. Does discolor and form the famous copper to red to green copper patina over the years. Unless artificially chemically pre-weathered, can be splotchy and irregular for first 2-10 years or so, with some green and some red and some shiny copper colored sections. Also commonly has different appearance on sunny and shady sides of building.

Stainless steel commonly is used only on commercial building and very high-end modernistic houses, so it comes in thicker standard gages - 11 - 16 gage. Much longer lasting than any of above. Can handle a ladder gently leaned agaisnt it. Very long lived if high-quality manufacturer (bought high-grade stainless), but if some of the cheap south american or chinese import steel is used, I have seen it rust through in less than a year.

Hope this helped - maybe JCCasper will jump in with some additional thoughts - he is a gutter contractor - see his answers to questions on gutters and gutter covers by clicking on his name in 30 Days Experts list at left.

Answered 7 years ago by LCD


Some thoughts, beware that in Nebr & Iowa virtually all the seamless aluminum gutter contractors use .019 aluminum downs. I call these pop can thickness. You can get white and royal brown in .024 which is hugely stronger. Some markets like Des Moines Iowa have suppliers that stock .024 in a rainbow of colors but in Lincoln and Omaha Nebr most do not.

Same same on gutter thickness .032 is only way to go. The thinner .027 is too light and dents if you hit it with even pea sized hail, another consideration. In Lincoln only .027 is sold.

I am NOT a vinyl devote like LCD and pretty much equate it with junk. FYI the only gutter cover I know that works well on Vinyl is LeafFilter,a PVC based product.

For hanging tips and gutter cover ideas see my blogs

Jim Casper Gutter & Gutter Cover Contractor


Answered 6 years ago by jccasper

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