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What Kind Of Gutters Do I Need?

Wooden Gutter

Don’t let your new gutters look like this!

When you’re in the market for new gutters, you’ll find a flock of options being tossed your way. Spikes or hangers, sectional or seamless, 5” or 6”, so many decisions. Thankfully, most homeowners will find the same options to be the best for them.

Gutter Spikes vs. Hangers

Gutter spikes and hangers are the two most common ways of securing a gutter system to your home. How do you know what you currently have? Take a look at your gutters. If every few feet you see a circle near the top lip of the gutters, or if you see a spike popping out, then your gutters were installed using gutter spikes. If you don’t see anything holding up your gutters, then it is likely that whoever installed your gutters used hidden hangers.

Which do you use? If you have the option to choose between the two, go with the hidden hangers. Every time. Your contractor may not come forth with the option, opting instead to use one or the other. Make sure you tell your contractor directly that you want hidden hangers. Gutter spikes pop out over time, and even if you hammer them back in they will wedge themselves back out even quicker the next time. Hidden hangers don’t pop out, and if you ever need to move them, you can just unscrew them, slide them over, and screw them back on. A bead of caulk on the hold in the back of the gutters and you’re good to go. You don’t see hidden hangers from the ground either, so there are no obtrusions in the front of your gutters.

Sectional vs. Seamless

Always go seamless if possible. Fewer seams means less possibility for leaks, and less awkward seams to look at. Many gutter contractors use seamless gutters by default, but talk to your contractor to make sure. Sectional gutters are installed piece by piece and have additional seams, each seam creating a new point of weakness which is prone to leakage.

5” vs. 6”

Gutter systems come in various sizes, usually between four (4) and six (6) inches across the mouth (top). In the U.S., most residential homes are fine suited for a 5” wide gutter system, whereas a 6” gutter is generally considered a commercial gutter. Many homes aren’t suited for a 6” gutter, as they are very large and heavy, and are very noticeable on a regular home. Don’t go any smaller than a 5” gutter though, as the savings will  usually be negligible and the amount of water the system is able to divert away from the home is decreased tremendously.


Live in a residential home in the U.S. in a region? Odds are you want a 5” seamless gutter system supported by hangers. This gutter system will last much longer than a sectional system or one supported by spikes, and will generally carry a 10-year warranty or better. Make sure to discuss this with your contractor however, because variables such as the style of your home and the weather of the region you live in may affect your options.

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