Although rain gutters are simple structures, they come in a variety of configurations and are typically manufactured from five different materials. They are often installed on the sloping sections of the roofs of houses. The rain gutter material and shape are crucial to your home’s curb appeal and its ability to handle the water that comes off of your roof. While you can spend a lot of money on a custom rain gutter installation, the truth is that you don’t have to spend a lot to get the look that you want.
There are four main materials used for rain gutters: vinyl, steel, aluminum, and copper. Steel is the strongest and will last the longest, but is also the heaviest and most expensive. Aluminum is the lightest and least expensive, but it will corrode and degrade over time and is not very DIY-friendly.
What Type Of Gutter Is Best For My Home?
You have several choices when it comes to the shape of your gutters, which we suggest to customers based on their desired aesthetic, the shape and volume of the roof, and the expected amount of rainfall in the area. We’ll run through all your different options and which are best for specific scenarios below
Rain Gutters were originally made from wood. Since then, there have been many innovations leading to a large selection of materials to choose from. However, not all materials are created equally. Wood rain gutters are practically non-existent these days since they don’t last very long. While aluminum is overwhelmingly the material we suggest most often, we’ll also dig into all the choices available for the materials they’re made out of.
Different Types Of Rain Gutter Materials
Vinyl gutters have quickly become a homeowner favorite because of their ease of installation, the fact that they never rust or corrode, and due to their cheap purchase price. Because they are so lightweight and sections easily snap together, they are very easy for the do-it-yourselfer to manage and install. Vinyl gutters are a good choice for milder climates but they are also a great option for harsher environments. They can be more flexible and forgiving than other materials, especially when they are installed correctly. However, they can crack and fail over time, especially when exposed to high levels of sunlight or extreme heat.
Aluminum is the most popular material for rain gutters, whether seamed or seamless. Aluminum is a practical and affordable material for rain gutters. It is very lightweight, rust-proof, and easy to work with. It is also more durable and less expensive than copper gutters, although it doesn’t last as long as stainless steel, which is the most durable material for gutters. Unlike vinyl, however, they are weather-resistant across the board and maintain their integrity in cold climates.
Another benefit of Aluminum over vinyl is that they hold paint well. Our customers love that they are able to choose from over 30 colors. You can also use this type of material in a seamless gutter machine.We order the painted aluminum as a coil and then run it through a machine at your property before hanging them up. This is called “Seamless Aluminum Rain Gutters”, which have a huge amount of benefits over the DIY, sectional options. More on that later..
Copper Rain Gutters are widely considered the luxury option. The material is the most expensive by weight, and it’s also extremely difficult to work with. Laborers must wear gloves and solder the gutters together instead of using a basic caulking like in aluminum gutters. It can be used in the same type of seamless gutter machine as aluminum.
What do you get for all of this extra cost and effort? Aside from being some of the longest lasting gutters around, copper is also the most beautiful. Over time, the metal oxidizes and forms a patina and coloring that is absolutely unmatched by any other material.
Steel, Galvanized Steel & Stainless Steel
There are three main types of steel gutter. The most common is a fully welded gutter, which is made out of one solid piece of steel. Another type is a rolled gutter, which is made from individual pieces of steel welded together and is known for its high strength. Galvanized steel is one of the most affordable choices available. The most popular choice is the 3-inch wide by 24-inch long, but you can also purchase 4-inch wide by 24-inch long. The size of your home will dictate the size of the gutter you need to install.
Traditional steel, or galvanized steel, requires very little maintenance, but it won’t last forever. Eventually rust will take its toll with this brand of steel and they will rust through, though with proper maintenance they can still last for a very long time.
Different Types of Rain Gutter Shapes
K-style rain gutters
This is one of the most common types of gutter for homes built in the past 50 years. Thanks to the flat back of the K-style gutter, no brackets are required for installation, and you can nail it directly to the fascia board. However, what makes the K-style gutter so popular is its typically decorative front side, which generally resembles crown molding.
Thanks to their flat bottoms and outwardly angled sides, K-style gutters usually can carry more water than half-round gutters, so they’re especially suited to rainy climates. On the downside, K-design gutters are a little harder to clean than half-round gutters, as the inner corners collect rotting debris.
The Victorian ogee rain gutter is named after the Victorian era because it has the same look of the cast-iron gutters that were very popular during that time period. This type of gutter is best suited for more traditional homes that are Victorian or period homes, but with the right styling of your home it can look great on most properties.
They are shallow gutters, which means they can’t handle all of the water flow that other gutters can, and so they work well on smaller homes or places with less rainfall.
European Gutters / Half Round Gutters
Custom Box / Fascia Gutters
Unlike K-style and semi-round gutters, fascia gutters aren’t sold in sections that fit together. Fascia gutters are custom-built for the house out of one long stretch of aluminum. Fascia gutters are pricey and must be professionally installed; you can pay as much as twice as K-style and semi-round gutters, which you could install yourself.
Even though they can be costlier, they are an extremely popular choice when it comes to adding to curb appeal. They have a sleek and modern look that adds tremendous value to both new and hold homes alike.
Types of Downspout Shapes
Downspouts come as either round or square, in widths from 3 to 6 inches. The most common sizes are rectangular:
2 inches by 3 inches
3 inches by 4 inches
Decorative varieties, such as spiral shapes, are available. The size and number of downspouts you’ll need depends on the capacity of your system. You need one downspout for about every 30 to 40 linear feet of gutter. To increase the capacity of your gutter system, add more downspouts.
Downspouts come as either round or square in sizes from 2 to 6 inches. Common shapes are 2 x 3, 3 x 4, or round. Additionally, you can find these shapes in a smooth or corrugated texture. The size and number of downspouts you’ll need depends on the capacity of your system. A single downspout usually handles about 30 to 40 linear feet of gutter, but in some cases more may be required.
Seamless vs. Sectional Gutters
In order to choose the right material for your home, you’ll need to consider whether you want sectional or seamless gutters. Seamless gutters are manufactured as a single piece. They are more expensive, but also more durable. Sectional gutters are made from material that is joined and fastened together as it is installed.
When it comes to a seamless gutter system for your home, you have two choices: aluminum gutters and copper gutters. While seamless aluminum gutters are cheaper, they don’t last as long as copper gutters. Copper gutters, on the other hand, are more expensive than aluminum gutters, but they can last for decades.
A seamless gutter is made from a single piece of material, unlike sectional gutters, which are made from multiple pieces. Seamless gutters are typically more expensive than their traditional counterparts because they are more labor-intensive to produce and require a specialized and expensive machine.
Most people choose to go with the extra upfront cost since going with sectional gutters cost more in the long run. This is because there are so many more places the system can fail on sectional rain gutters, which means more maintenance and a shorter lifespan overall.