6-Inch Gutters vs. 5-Inch Gutters For Your Home | Kansas City


All that rainwater is coming down on your roof and needs to go somewhere.

But where?

Gutters are attached along the roof edge, a critical juncture where the roof plane meets the open air. They guide the water running off your roof away from your home. However, this only works when the size of your gutters can accommodate that volume of water and your gutters are not clogged with debris. Otherwise, all that water finds its way to fascia boards, exterior walls, windows, and even your basement, leading to basement flooding and foundation problems.

The weather in Kansas City makes this scenario very likely. Heavy rainfall, snow and ice challenge even the most robust gutter system.

Residential gutters are typically 5 inch or 6 inch, but at times can go up to 8 inch, ranging in size to control the rainwater. When it comes to gutters, size does matter; however, it’s also true that oversized gutters are unnecessary and might end up messing with the aesthetics of your home. 

If gutter size matters, what should you do? Let’s keep to 6-inch gutters vs 5-inch for today and examine their differences. 


6 inch gutters vs 5 inch – What’s the difference?

The most significant difference between these two gutter sizes is the amount of water they can handle. This is called the water flow capacity since gutters are made to carry water away from your home rather than retain it. This flow capacity is influenced by the size and shape of the gutter.

Half round gutters


As a general rule, half round gutter handles slightly less water than k-style gutters.

  • 5 inch half round gutter – typically handles 3,000-4,000 sq feet of rain
  • 6 inch half round gutter – typically handles upwards of 5,000 sq feet of rain


K-style gutters


K-style gutters have a flat bottom and a decorative front side. This design allows them to hold more water compared to half round gutters of the same width, making them more efficient during heavy rainfalls.

  • 5 inch 5,520 sq feet
  • 6 inch 7,960 sq feet

These calculations give you an understanding of the basic differences between the gutter sizes and styles. The size and style of the gutter should be taken into consideration when deciding what your home needs for heavy rainstorms.

NOTE: You should always install seamless gutter over seamed gutter where possible, regardless of the style of the gutter. Seamless gutters are made to the exact length and therefore have no joints that weaken the structure.


Which size is best for your home?

Now that you’ve got the basics down, here are the factors that will determine the right size gutter for your home. These factors are:

  • Roof pitch – this will determine how quickly water will be rushing into your gutters (This Old House has a great explanation on HOW TO DETERMINE YOUR ROOF PITCH.)
  • Roof surface area – multiply the width of your roof by the height (Height is determined from the starter row of shingles, to the top of the pitch) 
  • Rainfall intensity – the amount of rain per hour that falls in your region. In Kansas City, the average rainfall intensity is 2.5 to 4 inches, depending on the length of the storm. But it has been recorded much higher than that.

The formula for determining your gutter size is the following:

Roof Pitch Factor X Roof Surface Area X Rainfall Intensity = Max Sq Ft of Rainfall per Hour 

Once you have all three figures – roof pitch, roof surface area and rainfall intensity – multiply these, and you will get how much rainfall your gutter system will be facing.

Let’s look at an example at the average Kansas City rainfall intensity of 2.5-4 inches: 

  • You have measured your roof’s pitch and found that it is 6-in-12, so your roof pitch factor is 1.1
  • You know that the length of your roof is 40 feet and the height is 20 feet. So your roof’s surface area is 600 square feet.
  • You know the average rainfall intensity in KC is 2.5-4 inches.

1.1 Roof Pitch Factor X 600 Square Feet X 4 in of rainfall = 1650-2640 max square feet of rainfall per hour.

Considering average rainfall intensity in KC, one with 600 square feet of roof should avoid 5” half round gutter. However, 6” half round gutter, 5” k-style gutter, and 6” k-style gutter would all work to control most rainfalls. 

SUMMARY: It is usually the safer choice to go 6 inch in gutter size for residential homes. 5 inch is often insufficient, and 8 inch is excessive (it’s a commercial size, making it look awkward on most residential homes). 

The cost difference between 6 inch gutters vs 5 inch gutters varies according to:

  • The size of your home
  • The gutter style (half-round or k-style)
  • The gutter material (aluminum or copper) 
  • The size and number of downspouts you need

There are simply too many variables, as shown above, to give a dollar amount cost difference. However, you can typically expect a 20% increase in investment to increase from 5 inch to 6 inch with a standard choice like aluminum.

Local gutter professionals like Gutter Cover KC® will assist you to choose the best gutter size and style for your home. They have experience with the architectural styles of Kansas City homes, use the highest quality products and have been giving local homeowners exceptional customer service for over 20 years.

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This quick guide has discussed the differences between 6 inch and 5 inch gutters. A number of factors will determine if you home needs larger gutters or smaller ones, and it will benefit you to get the help of gutter professionals to assess your needs. In the long run, you will avoid unnecessary mistakes and, of course, wasting money.

For a free, no-obligation estimate, contact Gutter Cover KC® today!

FAQ on Gutters

1) How are gutters measured?

Gutters are measured horizontally, in linear feet. That means it can be measured with a tape measure, from beginning to end. It is not measured in square feet of your home.

2) How are downspouts measured?

Downspouts are measured vertically, in linear feet. That means it can be measured with a tape measure, from top to bottom. It is not measured in square feet of your home.

3) Are seamless gutters worth it?

Yes, in almost all cases seamless gutters are worth the investment. The seam of a gutter is its weakest point, the first spot to experience corrosion or rust (depending on material), the first spot to leak, etc. Every seam lowers the longevity of a gutter system.

Seamless gutters are generally industry standard, so should not be difficult to find in most cases.

4) What is the purpose of gutters on a house?

In short, the purpose of a gutter system is to protect your home from rainwater. Properly functioning gutters catch the rain coming off the roof, channels it through the downspouts, then gets it a safe distance away from your home.

A gutter system helps protect the home from wood rot, siding deterioration, water infiltration, foundation cracking, and flooded basements.