5 Types of Gutters to Consider for Your Home
Your home is an investment, and you want to protect it. Protect your home from rainwater damage with the right gutters. Understanding the different types of gutters and their pros and cons will help you make an informed decision about which will work best for your home.
What Are Gutters?
Rain gutters are the often-overlooked features that run horizontally along the home’s roofline. They work by diverting water away from your home’s siding and foundation, reducing the risk of damage to the home, basement flooding and damage to your yard and landscaping.
Types of Gutters
Today’s rain gutters are usually manufactured from five different materials— aluminum, vinyl, steel, zinc and copper. Here’s a little information to help you decide which one is the best choice for your home.
Aluminum gutters are the most popular type of gutter on the market right now. They are very durable, relatively inexpensive and can last 20 to 25 years with minimal maintenance. Aluminum gutters won’t rust and are available in several different colors. Cons: Aluminum gutters can dent or bend.
Vinyl gutters are the least expensive. They’re lightweight, easy to cut and offer easy, DIY installation. Vinyl gutters resist dents and corrosion. Like aluminum gutters, vinyl gutters come in different colors and can also be painted. Cons: Vinyl rain gutters are the least durable and don’t do well in extreme weather conditions. They’re prone to fading in bright sunlight and can become brittle in hot weather.
Galvanized steel gutters are a good option if you’re looking for a low-maintenance, long-lasting gutter. Galvanized steel gutters are less prone to dents and leaks and are a good choice for areas that get heavy rain and snow. While galvanized steel gutters may start to rust after about 20 years, stainless steel gutters will not rust. Cons: Steel gutter systems have a higher upfront cost than aluminum or vinyl gutters. Steel gutters are heavy and can pull away from the fascia over time. Professional installation is recommended.
Zinc gutters are very durable and resist weathering, corrosion and warping. Zinc gutters are expensive, but you can expect to get up to 50 years of usage. Cons: Zinc gutters do not do well in regions with salty air. They require professional installation because the joints and ends require welding.
Copper gutters are extremely durable and can stand up to extreme heat or cold without rusting or warping. While they are the most expensive type of gutter, copper gutters also have the longest lifespan and may last 60 to 100 years. Cons: Copper gutters can begin to look tarnished and lose their shine over time. They require professional installation and special tools for maintenance.
How to Choose Which Type of Gutter You Need
There are several things to consider when choosing new gutters, including material type, style, size of your gutter system and cost. But first thing’s first. Does your home need gutters? Chances are the answer is YES. However, if you live in a very dry climate, you might not need rain gutters. If you are in the gutter majority, ask yourself these questions:
- Do you plan on installing your gutters yourself?
- How much is your budget?
- Does your HOA require a certain color or type of gutter?
- How’s the weather in your region?
- Do you get heavy rain or snow?
- Do you want a low-maintenance gutter or are you okay with a little maintenance?
These are all important questions to consider before purchasing new gutters.
Types of Rain Gutter Styles
There are two main styles of rain gutters: K-style and half-round. K-style gutters have a look similar to the crown molding you’d find in your house. K-style gutters are the most common for today’s more modern homes and can hold about twice as much water as the larger half-round gutter. If you own a home built before 1960, the half-round or U-shaped gutter, with its more traditional look, might work best for you.
Most gutters are available in seamed or seamless versions. Seamed or sectional gutters work best for DIY installations and are the most budget friendly. Also, if one section leaks or fails, it can be removed and replaced without interfering with the rest of the gutter system. Seamless gutters give you a smooth, seamless look, with less leakage and more color choices. However, seamless gutters are not a DIY project. They cost more because they must be cut and fit specifically for your home by a professional.
Homeowners will need to know what size gutters they want. You’ll choose your gutter size (the size of the top opening), downspout size (length and width or diameter) and thickness. The most common gutter size today is a 6-inch diameter gutter.
Installers price gutter systems per linear foot. This should include all the necessary components for a gutter system, including the gutters, downspouts (the vertical section), elbows, end caps and hangers.
While you’re taking all these things into consideration, don’t overlook quality and performance. After all, it’s your home and your investment. Protect it with the right gutters. See a gutter professional or visit your local home improvement store to get started on your gutter project.