Seamless and traditional gutters are made with some of the same materials: aluminum, vinyl, galvanized steel, stainless steel and cooper. Rarely, homeowners may install traditional gutters made of wood when doing a renovation project. Because of the method of manufacture, wood gutters can't be installed without seams. Stainless steel and copper gutters, whether seamless or sectional, have more strength than the other materials, but come with a higher price tag. Contractors or homeowners usually paint the other materials to match or coordinate with the house. Vinyl gutters have the lowest price of all the materials.
When installing seamless gutters, a contractor calculates the length needed and then brings a machine to the site where he feeds a coil of material through it to form the custom gutters. Traditional gutters come in prefabricated lengths of 10-22 feet that attach using folds, sealants, or snap in place connectors.
A homeowner who has the skills necessary can save money by installing their own traditional sectional gutters. Traditional gutters, unlike most seamless gutters, can come fitted with expansion joints relieve stress in the joints experienced when the gutter expand and contract because of changes in the weather. (see reference 3) Seamless gutters have joints only where the gutter has and angle or a downspout. The long horizontal runs of continuous material guarantees seamless gutters won't sag and leak.
Traditional gutters may weaken from the weight of snow and rain, sprouting leaks in the joints, causing water damage to the home. Seamless gutters require installation by a contractor because of the special equipment used to form them, making this type of gutter system the more expensive option.
Some traditional aluminum gutters attach with hidden hangers and have sections with lengths up to 37 feet, giving them a seamless look on most home. A homeowner choosing aluminum for their gutters, whether seamless or traditional sections, will want to use at least .032-inch thickness material for durability. Using a hidden attachment clip in place of old-fashioned spikes and ferrules complement the streamlined look of either type of gutter. (see reference 2)