There are many factors to consider when installing gutter systems for your home. Price, effectiveness, appearance, and maintenance requirements are all equally important.
However, there are several pros and cons when considering gutter construction materials and they vary by each type of material.
Vinyl and plastic gutters (K-Style)
Prevalent in most hardware stores, vinyl gutters can be easily installed by the homeowner. They’re cheap, maintain appearance, and can be easily swapped out for a replacement section. However, ladders or harsh weather conditions can damage them.
Commonly visible on older homes or buildings, these gutters were often built into the structures they adorn. The 7” box gutter is functional while handling high volumes of water, especially drainage from larger buildings, and can be constructed with either painted aluminum or steel in long lengths. Residential box gutters are typically available in the 5-6” range.
Rare but beautiful, copper gutter systems add a great visual appeal to buildings and complement classic restorations. They look wonderful, don’t rust, and they never need painting. They also require less maintenance than aluminum or some other materials. The downside? They will oxidize and turn green over time unless they are treated.
Steel gutters are better than aluminum or vinyl at standing up to ladders or branches, but even thick steel will rust and needs to be painted, both inside and out. Stainless steel gutters are a good alternative, but they’re expensive.
Rare and expensive, most of the wood species used in original constructions aren’t readily available, making a true restoration difficult (and expensive). Like copper or steel, they require maintenance and must be treated regularly. If $12-20 per linear foot is in your price range, however, they’re a beautiful finish to a classic home.
A popular style in the ‘60s, integral gutters have built-in roofing materials and can manage massive amounts of water. Unfortunately, this style has the increased potential for leaks and since they’re installed between the rafters and fascia, the leaks can damage those as well. The lining requires maintenance on a regular basis.
Half round gutters
Typically found on turn of the century homes, half round style gutters enable highly effective water flow, but must be sized larger than K styles to achieve the same capacity. For instance, 6” half round gutters are roughly comparable to 5” K style gutters.
When you’re ready to upgrade your existing gutters to a Gutter Dome System and guard against debris and clogging, contact us with questions or to schedule an appointment.