It might not be obvious at first, but your gutters play a big role in protecting your house from water damage. They’re designed to catch water and redistribute it away from the roof, home, and foundation before it can leak into our attics and turn into rot and mold. So, given how essential gutters are and the role they play in protecting your roof and home, it’s important to make sure your gutters are made of good material that can withstand the elements and stay intact for many years to come.
Like roofs, gutters can be made out of various materials ranging across different budgets and the unique benefits with which each material comes. The best option for you tends to be the one that fits your needs and situation the most. Some materials might be more expensive yet more resistant to damages or rust, while others are cheaper and subsequently weaker but easier to install and replace as needed. Whether you want something that’ll stand the test of time, something that you can afford with a low budget or something that falls in the middle, you have a ton of options with a lot of unique benefits and drawbacks to consider.
Aluminum is one of the most, if not the most, common materials of which gutters are made. This is because they get the job done without being too costly or heavy. They’re weather resistant, rust resistant, and easy to install. You can even paint them if you want them to match your house. There are a lot of good things to say about aluminum gutters.
Aluminum gutters carry one drawback, however. If you want a really strong gutter, then aluminum may disappoint you. While this material gets the job done, it’s not as sturdy as other options are. This means that you can expect dents and warping if it gets impacted by something stronger. The thinner the metal, the more easily it’ll get damaged, so if you choose aluminum, you will want to opt for a thicker kind.
Similar to aluminum, vinyl gutters aren’t very expensive. Unlike aluminum, however, these gutters are also not very good in harsh weather, being damaged by long-term exposure to sunlight and having connecting rubber seals with the potential to leak.
The main benefit of vinyl gutters, aside from the affordability, is their customizability, as they’re able to come in a variety of colors. Vinyl gutters are also easy to paint, giving you even more color options. They’re far more convenient to install, as well. While they may need to be replaced more often, doing so is not a difficult job. In general, if you’re looking for an inexpensive yet aesthetically pleasing option and live in an area with less sunlight, then a vinyl gutter might just be the thing for you.
Steel gutters are often quite durable, making them a good choice for anyone who wants a stronger option. Unfortunately, rusting is a major problem for these gutters due to the amount of iron in the steel, which then corrodes when exposed to oxygen. Rust can cause the metal to break apart, and it also tends to look unappealing.
If you want to avoid the rust, your steel gutters will likely need to be coated in aluminum and zinc. However, not only are both of these metals already good gutter materials on their own, but the coating makes the steel more expensive, as you’re now getting a gutter made of galvanizedsteel – that is, steel with a zinc coating to protect it from corrosion. In this case, of course, you may end up preferring to just start with a gutter that’s made of zinc.
Steel gutters also can’t be installed without a professional’s help due to how heavy they are. You’ll also need extra parts, such as rain guards, to keep water and wet debris away and avoid speeding up the rusting process.
Steel is far from the worst gutter option available if you’re looking for something strong, but the drawbacks can make it undesirable to some, and there are even stronger metals out there with fewer drawbacks.
As mentioned, zinc is also a material many gutters are made from. A good, damage-resistant, and attractive metal, consider opting for zinc gutters if you’re looking for something that’ll last you a long time. They aren’t impervious to everything and might be less resistant in particularly salty environments or when exposed to acids, but in general, they stick around for a while and can even be seen on historic homes.
Of course, it’s not perfect, either. Zinc’s numerous benefits cause it to also be a very expensive option. It’s also not a great choice if you’re looking to install these gutters yourself. That’s because they have to be welded together, something best left in the hands of a professional if you’re inexperienced. Because of the extra labor, zinc gutters are even more expensive.
The high durability of zinc might allow you to overlook the drawbacks and choose it for your house because you’re paying for quality. On the other hand, you might want something less costly and easier to install, even if it won’t be quite as resistant to damages.
Copper is considered a very attractive and unique-looking metal, especially in the context of rain gutters – even if they oxidize into a green color. They’re great if you want your house to stand out or have an old-school look. However, the benefits of copper don’t stop at aesthetics. Copper is an extremely durable metal, surpassing even zinc, as it can withstand extreme environments with ease. If you want the most weather and damage-resistant option for your gutters, then copper is the absolute best choice with which you can go.
Money-wise, however, it’s the most expensive gutter option available. These gutters aren’t just costly, either. Like steel and zinc, copper gutters require a professional’s help for installation, forcing you to spend even more money to have them. Maybe you think the price is worth it for the strength of the metal, or else maybe you think you can survive with something less durable if it means not going over budget.
What’s the best choice for me?
As with most preferences, there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution as to which type of gutters a homeowner should opt for. In truth, what material makes for the best gutters is subjective and is best answered according to your own specific requirements. Different materials excel in different areas, and you need to know what your priorities are in order to choose from the selection. However, there are certainly some standout options for each category.
If you’re on a budget or want something you can personally install, then a classic aluminum gutter might be your best choice. They’re not the most durable option available, especially if you buy a thinner variety, but for the price at which they’re sold, they’re pretty solid. From the option to choose different colors or add your own paint, to their lightweight design and easy installation, to their resistance to rust, aluminum’s drawbacks usually don’t outweigh all its benefits. It is for this reason they are among the most common gutter materials in the world.
If you’re willing to spend more money, but not an exorbitant amount, to get something of good quality, then steel is a solid middle-of-the-road option. You will want to make sure to get galvanized steel, which comes with a rust-resistant coating of zinc and aluminum while not being as malleable as aluminum or as expensive as zinc. You won’t be able to install or even necessarily carry these gutters around without professional help, but after installation, you’ll have gutters with which you can remain confident.
If you aren’t concerned about cost and just want something effective and stylish, then you can’t go wrong with copper gutters. Though the price is higher, and the installation requires a professional’s assistance, you’re paying more for a quality product that otherwise has very few drawbacks, if it has any at all. It’s not a budget-friendly option, but if that’s not an issue for you, then you’ll be just happy with your distinctive and durable copper gutters. Zinc is a decent alternative if the copper is a little too pricey for you.
Gutter installation and replacement services
Regardless of whatever kind of gutters you have, they need to be installed, and if they’re damaged, they need to be repaired or replaced. Unless you’re a professional, it’s not a good idea to try repairing or replacing your gutters without help, especially if those gutters couldn’t be installed without help in the first place. Able Roofing’s gutter installation and replacement services get the job done quickly. If you have an issue with your gutters, don’t wait for it to get worse. Contact us today to get a free estimate, as well as to speak with a professional regarding any questions you may have pertaining to our products, processes, or prices.