If you have ever dealt with a leaky gutter, you understand how important it is to have a seamless gutter system. An efficient gutter system moves water away from your house, whereas an inadequate system can lead to your roof rotting, your basement flooding, and your home’s foundation breaking down. Once you decide you need a new gutter system, you should do the research and choose which type of gutter suits you and your home best, both financially and aesthetically. Luckily, that research has brought you to this page.
Vinyl gutters are cost-efficient, lightweight, and are available in the broadest range of colors. They are made of PVC plastic and are therefore resistant to corrosion and denting. They come in pre-cut pieces that snap together, making them easy to install. If you choose to use vinyl, it’s best that you go with the thicker, more expensive gutter types. Cheaper vinyl is a thinner plastic that is more likely to sag or become brittle over time. Extreme weather also causes issues with the more lightweight plastic.
Aluminum gutters are inexpensive, easy to install, and light-weight like vinyl gutters. They are also resistant to corrosion and available in a wide range of colors, but they tend to bend more easily unless you purchase a heavier gauge. They also have issues with leaks because the metal expands and contracts too often for a sealant to keep a permanent hold.
Galvanized Steel Gutters
Galvanized gutters are made of steel and coated with a layer of zinc. This type of gutter is staunch but will likely rust later in its life. They need to be inspected and cleaned more often than other metal gutters to prevent clogging and premature rusting. They are less likely to leak and won’t crack in heat, and will give you 20 good years of service.
Galvalume is an aluminum and zinc-coated steel. The product is sturdy and durable and has a proven corrosion resistance. A continuous hot dipping process coats the steel gutter with 45 percent zinc and 55 percent aluminum, giving the galvalume gutters approximately nine times the endurance of galvanized steel, depending on its geographic location. With proper maintenance, this option will last, on average, between 70-150 years. While copper will oxidize without adequate care, galvalume won’t fade in the weather elements.
Copper gutters cost more than aluminum but won’t last much longer, considering the extra cost. If installed correctly, copper gutters will outlast aluminum, and you won’t need to paint them, nor will you have to deal with a mold issue. Most people who purchase them take into account that copper gutters are unique and will add a striking look to their house. Let’s be honest, that’s some fancy-looking swag. If you routinely treat them, you can keep them looking like a shiny new penny for years. Another option is to let them oxidize, giving your gutters the distinguished look of Lady Liberty.
Wood gutters, much like copper gutters, are used mostly for looks. Those interested in renovating older homes will use wooden gutters to keep the originality of the house. Wood gutters are cheaper but more cumbersome, and therefore more difficult to install. It takes a lot of work to keep them water resistant, but if you can pull it off, your house will have a historical look that all the cool kids will want to copy. It is essential to get the right quality of wood, redwood being the best option and red cedar heartwoods being right behind it. They both contain natural oils that repel water and help keep the rot out. The key to keeping up with wood gutters is regular maintenance. Paint the outside of the gutters every few years, but keep the insides well-oiled with shingle oil or a light mineral oil. Avoid tung and linseed oil; they will eventually trap the water inside of the wood. Also, make sure you clean your gutters out at least once a year to keep them from rotting.
Gutter Guards or Covers
Gutter covers can cost more than the rain gutters installed beneath them. They are designed to keep debris out of your gutters. The good ones save you the time and energy it takes to clean your gutters on a regular basis. You can install brand-new gutter-and-cover devices, or merely add covers to your existing gutters. You’ll still need to check your gutters occasionally because no gutter cover is perfect. Out-of-sight, out-of-mind, in this case, could mean out-of-money before long.