Roofing, Gutters

Should You Replace Roof or Gutters First? We Ask The Pros

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There’s a lot to consider when roof replacement arises. For those that have gutters, you may be wondering if you need to replace them or whether you can keep the gutters you have installed. Do you need to replace the roof or the gutters first?

Generally, you would not need to replace your gutters when replacing the roof. Any gutter repairs that need to be done can be completed after the new roof is installed. However, if you do not have drip-edge flashing installed, you may need to remove the gutters first to establish the drip-edge flashing on the roof to meet local building codes.

Beldon Roofing Company states, “When it comes to gutters versus roofing, your best bet is usually to go with a new roof first.” However, challenges sometimes present themselves in the roof replacement process. The pro answer is that putting the new roof first and then the gutters is typically better. That said, this is not always possible.

Some of the issues we will discuss in this article include:

  • Should you replace gutters when replacing roofs?
  • Will your roofers also install gutters?
  • How do I determine if I need new gutters?
  • Can gutters cause roof damage?

Recommended Reading: Are Gutter Guards Worth It or a Waste of Money? We Ask the Pros

Should You Replace Gutters When During Roof Replacement?

When it’s time for roof replacement, it’s customary to replace the gutters when you replace the roof. According to Bill Ragan Roofing Company, “…your roofing contractor shouldn’t remove the gutters during your roof replacement. Even when you need your gutters replaced, they shouldn’t be removed until after your new roof is installed and the roofers are gone.”

While I mostly agree with this statement, it’s not entirely factual. Let me explain.

Gutter replacement is generally a good idea during roof replacement. In cases where the gutters have been cared for properly, roof replacement is possible without removing the gutters. However, in gutter neglect cases, removing the gutters to repair damage to the roof structure is necessary before roof replacement.

You may not be the first person to have lived in your home. If so, you might not know when you last replaced your roof or gutters. A home inspection can help determine the condition of your roof or gutters.

It’s highly recommended that you get a professional home inspection. You should hire a professional to give you insights on minor warning signs you might have missed that indicate your roof and gutters are too old. 

That said, you can conduct a DIY home inspection to help you decide whether to move into a home where you will soon have to replace the roof or gutters. 

The easy tells of a worn-out home exterior are signs of wood rot, chipped or broken pieces to the siding, sagging gutters, and missing roof shingles. Damaged and curling shingles are also a warning sign.

One should also check for fungi growing on the roof, which will grow on the roof’s north side. Look for mold on wood roofs, look for bent or chipped metal on metal roofs, and keep an eye out for bowing, chipping, and uneven places. 

Do Roofers Replace Gutters?

Most roofing companies can install gutter systems. These companies may have employees install gutters or subcontract the gutter work to a local gutter company. However, not all roofers or roofing companies offer gutter installation.

How Do You Determine When to Replace Gutters First?

So, how will you know what situations require you to put the new gutters on first? This will depend on what type of gutter system you are installing. If you put in a seamless gutter in a single piece, chances are you will have to have them in place before you can get your new roof on. 

Other cases to consider are those when you can replace the gutters without replacing the roof. For example, if you have a situation where your gutters need to be repaired more intensely than your roof, you can install the gutters first and take more time to replace the roof

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Can Gutters Cause Roof Damage

Gutter maintenance is important to controlling stormwater runoff. When gutters become clogged, stormwater runoff can’t drain properly and spills off the gutter walls, damaging the facia boards, roof decking, and, in extreme cases, the roof rafters or trusses.

Poorly maintained gutters can cause damage to the roof structure without correct flashings.

Drip edge flashings help protect the facia and roof structure from spillover. The drip edge flashing is attached to the roof decking and folds over the fascia, creating a lip that supports the lower edge of shingles and blocks overflow from the gutters.

If a roof has gutters but does not have a drip edge flashing, the gutters will need to be removed to allow the drip edge flashings to meet local building codes when the gutters are installed after roof replacement, the gutter’s rear wall slides behind the drip edge’s bottom lip flashing.

Should You Replace Gutters with Every Roof Replacement? 

Having noted the situations where a homeowner can switch out gutters before the roof, it’s important to return to a key point. Gutters should be replaced with every roof remodel. In some cases, it’s necessary.

Gutter replacement is especially important when the gutters are attached to the roof, regardless of gutter condition. The reason is that the gutters must seal along the roof’s edges perfectly

You’ll have to remove your gutters with every roof installation, regardless. However, if you replace your gutters with your roof replacements, this “all in one” project could save you the costs of multiple projects through the years.

It’s also worth noting that when you take the gutters off for a roof repair, you have greater visibility of the roof portions the gutters typically cover. This allows for a better roof repair process. 

Roofs and gutters have comparable lifespans, so replacing them together is logical. It can help the homeowner keep better track of the lifespan by recalling only the date of a single project. 


Hubert Miles | Licensed Home Inspector, CMI, CPI

Hubert Miles is a licensed home inspector (RBI# 2556) with more than two decades of experience in inspection and construction. Since 2008, he has been serving South Carolina through his company, Patriot Home Inspections LLC. As a Certified Master Inspector, Hubert is dedicated to providing his expertise in home inspections, repairs, maintenance, and DIY projects.