Gutters are an important part of almost every household. The word “almost” is key here because there are houses that may not necessarily need gutters due to the virtue of their construction or location. For example, homes completely surrounded by concrete, or ones that have too little or too long an overhang, may not need a gutter. Because water either can’t pool or even if it does, it doesn’t reach the foundation and damage it.
Still, these are exceptions and not the norm, and puddles around the house and constant dripping during and after the rain are not very slightly, so most homes need some kind of gutter. But what kind should you go for?
There are two ways you can divide the “types” of gutters: Design and material.
Gutter Design Types
When it comes to design, there are three main types.
They are an older gutter design, and are very effective in channeling water away, but not so much against leaf and debris (warranting the use of leaf guards). They don’t usually blend in with the aesthetics of a home.
K-Style Rain Gutters
Most commonly use gutters are K-style. They don’t need additional support and can be connected directly to the roof. They look a little bit better than Half-round gutters and are even more effective in draining the water. One issue with them is that they are a bit harder to clean.
Custom-Built Fascia Gutters
For maximum aesthetic value (but similar utility), you can go for custom-built Fascia gutters. They will complement your home’s exterior perfectly but will cost almost double than conventional gutter designs. And they need to be professionally installed.
Different Gutter Materials
Another critical aspect of choosing the right type of gutter is its material.
The most common gutter material you’ll come across is aluminum – Its corrosion-resistant, light (making it easy to install), cost-friendly, and can last up to 25 years. Aluminum is also weather-resistant and very effective against the elements. Aluminum is also an aesthetically smart choice since it comes in many colors and can hold paint well. The only flaw is that it can bend quite easily. It’s desirable when constructing a gutter, not so much when you put a ladder against an installed aluminum gutter. You can mitigate this effect by purchasing gutter made of primary aluminum (with thick walls), instead of recycled aluminum.
Vinyl is the cheapest gutter material available. It’s perfect against water since it won’t rust, but not so much against the weather. A hot climate can damage the material. But cold isn’t too good for it either, as it cracks in freezing weather. It’s very cost-effective for mild weather and can be easily installed.
Zinc gutters are very durable but expensive. The gutter would cost anywhere between five to ten times more than the other two materials, and it needs to be professionally installed since its joints are welded to fit together. It’s heavy and requires strong support.
Stainless Steel Gutters
If you live in a colder region, and aluminum or vinyl won’t be able to hold off against heavy snow, stainless steel would be better. It’s costlier, heavy, and need professional installation. But it’s very durable and weather resistant.
Copper gutters are more expensive than any other material, and you can end up paying around $30 per foot. But it’s also more weather-resistant and durable than any other material, and that includes salty water that can even corrode stainless steel after a few decades. Properly installed copper gutters can last for a century.
How you choose the right gutter type for your home depends primarily upon the climate you live in, how much rain you get, and your budget. Other factors also come into play, like snow, the slope of your roof, whether you live near the ocean or if there are trees nearby (to account for fallen leaves). When you compare the strengths and weaknesses of different gutter types, you will be able to choose the right gutter for your home, based on what your guttering “needs” are.