Gutters are available in a variety of designs, materials, and prices. Here are a few things to consider when choosing the right type of gutters for your house and budget.
There are three basic types of rain gutter designs: K-style, half-round, and fascia gutters. You can also find a variety of gutter guards to help keep your gutters clear of leaves and other debris:
Named for the shape of the gutter from the side that resembles the letter “K,” this type of gutter is most common on houses built in the last 50 years. The outer face of the gutter resembles crown molding, making it a popular option.
This open, trough-like design is a traditional style for homes built before the 1960s. They typically require brackets to keep them in place as they won’t fit flush to fascia boards.
Typically larger than K-style or half-round designs, custom-built fascia gutters are installed directly into the framing of a house giving them a sleek, contemporary look. This option is the priciest, and it must be professionally installed.
To reduce the amount of maintenance required — especially if you have large trees near your home — you may want to consider a gutter or leaf guard.
The benefits of maintenance-free gutters include preventing leaves or other objects getting clogged, reducing the need for regular cleaning, and extending the life of your gutters.
The most common material for gutters is vinyl or aluminum, but steel, copper, and zinc are also options, typically for historic or high-end homes.
Lightweight and inexpensive, vinyl gutters come in a variety of colors and can be painted. You can expect vinyl gutters to last anywhere from 10 to 20 years.
Vinyl gutters won’t corrode or rust, but they are prone to cracking in very cold conditions and becoming brittle in intense heat. Over time, the color is likely to fade from sunlight.
some gutter maintenance to consider
Easy to install, weatherproof, and more durable than vinyl, aluminum gutters are a popular option that can last up to 25 years. Like vinyl, they are available in multiple colors and can be painted.
More durable than aluminum, steel gutters can handle climates with severe weather. They can be painted, but oxidation will likely occur within 10 to 15 years.
Long lasting — up to 50 years — zinc gutters won’t warp or rust, and after time will turn from a plain gray to an attractive patina.
Extremely durable in any weather condition or temperature, copper gutters won’t fade, rust or warp and can last up to 100 years. Like zinc, copper gutters have a unique, pleasing patina (that will eventually turn green over time).
The cost for gutters depends on the type of material used and whether you have them professionally installed, and prices may also vary from one location to the next.
Vinyl is the least expensive option, especially if you opt for DIY installation. Aluminum gutters are typically the next step up in price, and they may also be fairly easy to install on your own.
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Steel, zinc, and copper gutters will likely need professional installation, adding even more to the cost of these pricier materials. Steel is usually a mid-range option, while zinc and copper are at the high end of the scale.
The wide array of options can be overwhelming at first, but once you know the pros and cons of each, choosing the right gutters for your home can save time, money, and hassle over the years.
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