One of the core functions of your home’s gutter system is to prevent water from penetrating your home’s fascia boards and foundation. Your fascia boards run along the roof’s edge, and your gutters are attached to them. When these are damaged, the repairs can be costly. Pooling water from storms can quickly cause extensive damage to your home’s foundation and other structural areas.

A properly functioning gutter system helps displace water away from your home’s most critical areas and prevent damage. Gutters also help prevent mold and mildew growth in your home and can extend the life of your roof. 

It’s generally recommended to replace your gutters at least every 15 years. When the time comes to replace your gutters, you may be surprised at the different varieties of gutters available from which to choose. 

If you need to decide between five or six-inch gutters for your home, you’ve come to the right place. We sell and install both 5-inch and 6-inch gutter systems, but we recommend homeowners choose 6-inch gutters for their homes.

In this article, we’ll break down the key differences between 5-inch and 6-inch gutters and provide helpful information to select the best option for your home.

Gutter Basics

Your gutters are critically important to directing water away from your home. Most homes have the standard gutter size of 5 inches. 

Despite the (seemingly tiny) one-inch difference, 6-inch gutters hold up to 40%-50% more water! This extra capacity significantly affects water displacement and protects your home. 

The more surface area or square footage on your roof, the more water runoff will be generated during a storm. 

The steeper your roof is, the faster water is directed into your gutters during a storm. The faster water accumulates in your gutter, the more likely it is to overflow. If your gutters are not large enough, they could quickly flood the system. Directing water away from your home is critical to avoiding costly issues such as foundation cracks, landscaping damage, roof leaks, and wood rot.

Similarly, the more complex your roof is, the more peaks and valleys, the more prone your gutters are to overflow. If your home has a second story, your gutters must have a larger capacity than those of a single-story home. Especially in these cases, 6-inch, seamless gutters would be preferable to 5-inch gutters. 

Some roofing materials, including tile, cedar, standing seam, or exposed fastener metal roofs, offer no resistance to flowing water. These roofing materials are smoother than asphalt shingles and may need a more extensive gutter system to accommodate faster water accumulation. 

Why we recommend 6-inch Gutters

At AIC Roofing and Construction, we recommend 6-inch gutters for your home, even if you don’t have a steep or complex roof. If you purchase a new gutter system from us, you’ll find the cost of 6-inch gutters is the same or slightly more than 5-inch gutters. 

The price of your new gutter system is a top factor when shopping for new gutters. We always seek to provide homeowners with a fair price and exceptionable value, which is why we recommend installing 6-inch gutters in your home. 

Although each home is different, there are a few reasons why 6-inch gutters are the safest to install on your home.

  • Water Capacity of 6-inch gutters

6-inch Gutters have double the water capacity. Their larger width gives them a superior ability to redirect a high water concentration. If a flash rain storm hits, 6-inch gutters are much more equipped to take on the sudden amount of water and properly redirect it away from your home. Louisville, Kentucky, gets around four feet of precipitation a year (recorded by The NOAA), this will undoubtedly make a difference in a home’s water displacement.

  • Look/Style of 6-inch Seamless Gutters

6-inch gutters give your home a more structurally sound and stronger aesthetic. The benefits and added curb appeal of 6-inch gutters can even increase your home’s value! 

If your gutters overflow, this can also cause streak marks on your siding. A larger gutter helps keep your maintenance down in this sense and also keeps your home looking pristine.

  • Lower Maintenance 

When cleaning your gutters, 6-inch gutters will provide you with a significant advantage. Remember, shingles can hang out as much as 2 inches over your gutters. When scooping debris out of your gutter channels, a wider mouth makes cleaning easier and faster. A more extensive gutter system will also hold more debris, making gutter cleaning a less frequent or at least a less urgent home maintenance task. The added inch of gutter space provides more area, making 6-inch gutters much easier to maintain. 

What are the risks of gutters that are too small?

If your gutter system is not large enough and begins to overflow, water may run over and out of the system. Overflowing water from your gutters can wreak havoc on your home, causing damage like: 

  • Pooling water ruining landscaping.
  • Large amounts of water can quickly cause severe damage to your home’s foundations.
  • Damage to your roof.
  • Streaks on your siding
  • Wood rot on your fascia boards 
  • Ice dams will form quickly – causing roof leaks!

Proper gutter size and installation are essential to extending the longevity of your roof. 

Don’t Forget to Clean your Gutters!

Regardless of the gutter size you ultimately select, frequently cleaning your gutters is key to your gutter system functioning properly. Debris trapped in your gutter system risks overflowing and will render any size gutter system less effective. How often you need to clean your gutters depends on your area. 

We recommend cleaning your gutters twice a year, but if you live near many trees, you may need to clean your gutters more frequently.

In the wintertime, freezing temperatures and debris in your gutter system can create ice dams, trapping water along your fascia boards and even higher up on your roof. The iced dams can cause a roof leak or damage to your fascia boards.

Final Thoughts

Many homeowners are surprised that there is no significant price difference between five and six-inch gutters. In fact, at AIC – they’re the same price! We typically recommend homeowners choose 6-inch gutters because of the superior water displacement and lower maintenance.

Does your home need new gutters?

Since 2003, AIC Roofing has served the Lexington, Louisville, and Richmond, KY areas. We are in the top 2% of roofing contractors in North America that received the GAF Master Elite Certification. Working with a GAF Master Elite certified contractor means working with an experienced roofer with rigorous training. Along with our GAF Master Elite certification comes an extended material and craftsmanship warranty. We renew this certification every year as part of our commitment to excellence.

If it’s time to replace your gutter system, we happily work with homeowners to help navigate the insurance claims process and offer financing options. We want every homeowner to feel confident and knowledgeable about the gutter and roof replacement process.

We would love to see if we would be a good fit for your project. If you’re ready to learn more, contact AIC Roofing today for a free, no-hassle consultation! 

3-tab attics barns chimney choosing a contractor commercial cost curb appeal DIY estimate financing flashing flat roof GAF glossary gutter replacement gutter size gutter system ice dams inspections insurance missing shingles roof design roofing materials roofing system roof leak roof maintenance roof materials roof repair roof replacement roof shapes roof types shingle ratings shingles siding siding materials siding replacement skylights storm damage underlayment ventilation warranty winter