Gutters are not just a cosmetic feature. Water can cause severe damage to roofs, homes, and even foundation without proper drainage. Directing water to the right areas can save a homeowner thousands of dollars on repairs. It is important to choose the right type of gutter when building a home. Each type has its benefits and its drawbacks.
Aluminum’s affordability and versatility makes it a popular material for professionals. Aluminum is rust-resistant and easy to manage. The material can mold into many shapes, including K-style and half-round gutters. Aluminum can also be painted.
Seamless aluminum gutters have the same properties as regular aluminum. However, these models are built on the installation site. Instead of hauling gutters to the site, the seamless models are made by a fabricator on the back of a truck. The majority of gutter installations are seamless and are preferred due to their reduced chance of leakage.
Cast iron gutters are durable. Most cast iron models are found on older style buildings. The life expectancy of a cast iron gutter is 40 years and up. The biggest caveat for these gutters is the cost of installation and manageability. If any problems happen to the cast iron, it can be an expensive fix. Also, cast iron gutters are hard to manufacture, which costs money.
These types of gutters are long-lasting and rustproof. Copper gutters are a heavy duty material that offers little versatility, though. The copper will need to be welded to make sure an installation holds, which can be time intensive. Also, copper cannot be painted. Instead, copper gutters are a lovely red-brown that will turn green as they get older. Copper gutters are used for historic buildings mainly but are still available for all types of homes.
If budget is an issue and you need gutters, vinyl (or plastic) gutters are the choice for you. Vinyl is an affordable, lightweight material that is easy to manage. They cannot rust and will clip together for an easy install. The biggest problem with vinyl is its durability. These gutters can crack in severe cold weather. Also, the sun can cause the vinyl’s color to fade. If you need to work on the gutters, a vinyl gutter cannot support a ladder for you to work on. Be conscious of this before installing this model.
Steel creates fortified gutters that can withstand the test of time if created properly. Galvanized steel often creates rust-resistant gutters. Still, these can sometimes begin to rust despite any rust-proofing done before install. Homeowners may need to install new gutters after five years. In exchange for a potentially short duration, gutter teams get a versatile material that can be painted. Steel has the strength of copper and cast iron gutters with the customization of aluminum. Installers will pay more for steel, but the price may be worth it depending on the need.
For a heavy-duty gutter that will stand the test of time, go with zinc gutters. These models are similar to steel, copper, and cast iron. Zinc gutters have roughly twice the lifespan of an aluminum gutter. However, zinc gutters are more expensive and just as cumbersome as steel or copper.
Types of Gutters
The K-style is a flat boxed gutter for modern homes. K-style gutters have been around since about the 1970s, making them a newer addition to homebuilding. A K-style holds up to 2 gallons of water per foot of gutter installed. Also, the front of the gutter can mimic crown molding, which blends the gutter into a home’s architecture.
These types of gutters are designed as a half-circle. They are installed on most historical sites or even older homes. Half-rounds are made with metals, which can make it seem out of place on a new home. Because of their widespread use on historic structures, they can add a touch of class and eloquence to any home.