There are many different types of gutters to consider for your home, but the best option for your house is one that quickly and efficiently moves water away from the foundation and protects your siding. Everything else is aesthetics and cost. Gutters spend a majority of the time just gathering dust and leaves, but at the first drop of rain, they spring into action to collect water and keep it away from the home, in order to save your siding and foundation.
Seamed or Sectional Gutters
Sectional gutters are available in 10-foot pieces that are attached to the home with hangers. These can either snap together with joiner pieces or you can overlap them. These gutters are great for those who want to do the project themselves. These gutters can be found in metal and vinyl. Vinyl gutters can’t be painted and are heavy but are resistant to fading, corroding, and rusting. Metal gutters are lightweight but can damage easily. Copper gutters are more expensive and usually need to be specially ordered. The advantages of these types of gutters are that they are inexpensive, easily available at most home stores, and easy to install. The disadvantages are there are few styles to choose from and they may leak.
If you want a smoother look with minimum leakage and more color choices than seamless gutters can be a good choice. Technicians usually install these gutters with a machine that squeezes out the metal and forms the gutters on the spot. The process is fast, but it’s a job that professionals need to do. You will have a sleeker appearance and since there aren’t many seams, they are less likely to leak. There is no length limit and they can run corner to corner on your home. They can be expensive and it’s hard to find replacement options if needed. They are the best to match your home since they can come in as many as 50 different colors.
In addition to the different types of gutters to pick from, there are different shapes. The K-shape is the most popular and the look is similar to crown molding found in your home interior. These gutters carry more water than the half-round types. These gutters are structurally stronger since there are creases that run the length. The half-round shape has a more traditional appearance. If you choose copper then that option will most likely come in a half-round shape. These cutters carry less water than K-shape ones and extend farther out so they are wider than they are tall. Fascia gutters are narrow and tall and are the entire height of the fascia. This shape can be hard to clean because of the depth.
Materials for Gutters
Wood was once the most common material for rain gutters but it is prone to weathering and rot. Wood gutters can still be seen in old neighborhoods, but now gutters are mostly made from copper, steel, zinc, vinyl, and aluminum. K-style and half-round gutters are made from these materials but you will only find fascia gutters in aluminum. Aluminum is the cheapest option but it can bend and dent. If you live in an area with heavy snowfall, you want to get a thicker material that is going to be a bit pricey but worth it.
Aluminum gutters can last up to 25 years and can be painted if they don’t come in your chosen color. Vinyl is the least expensive option and one of the easiest to DIY. Vinyl can also be painted, but it’s the least durable of the materials and it’s best for climates that don’t get a lot of severe weather. Vinyl is more prone to fading in direct sunlight. Vinyl won’t be damaged by salty air and won’t rust or corrode. Zinc gutters are more expensive but are durable and resist warping, weathering, and corrosion.
You can expect up to 50 years from them. Zinc gutters require professional installation and are typically only used on higher-end homes due to the price. Steel gutters are durable and are a better choice for severe weather climates than aluminum. They are heavy and prone to rust though. Copper has a unique look to it but then it eventually gives way to a greenish patina. They are more expensive but can last 100 years.