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rain gutters

Types of Rain Gutters

May 19, 2020 by Aly J. Yale

There are lots of options when it comes to gutters. From low-cost vinyl to classy zinc and copper, your choices really run the gamut.

The best option depends on your budget, the amount of work you’re willing to put in, and the look you’re going for.

Not sure which gutter is right for your home or investment property? Here’s a quick look at your options -- as well as the pros and cons of each one.

Vinyl gutters

These are one of the most affordable gutter options out there; they also come in a number of colors, and they’re pretty easy to install, too. Another perk? They’re not prone to denting or corrosion like metal options are.

That doesn’t mean they’re strong, though. Vinyl gutters have the tendency to sag, and they’re not great for holding a lot of weight (like snow, for example). They’re best for milder climates, as repeated freezing and thawing can make them brittle.

Aluminum gutters

Aluminum is probably the most common type of gutter you’ll see. It's a good choice if you’re DIYing your install, and it's very budget-friendly. Aluminum gutters also won’t rust or sag, and they come in a whole host of colors (they can be painted, too).

On the downside, they’re not the most durable option, and like vinyl, they can be damaged in harsher weather conditions. They’re also more prone to leakage around the joints.

Steel gutters

If you’re looking for a long-lasting option, steel gutters are the way to go. These stand up to rough weather, and they’re extremely durable. If choosing between stainless or galvanized steel, go with the former, as it’s not prone to rust or corrosion.

The major drawback of steel gutters is that they’re expensive (especially galvanized ones). There are also fewer options when it comes to style and color, and they have a tendency to expand and contract with heat, making them less of a fit for hotter climates.

Wood gutters

Wood gutters can add a nice aesthetic touch, depending on the style of the home you’re placing them on. They’re generally pretty durable, too, as long as you commit to regular sealing and maintenance.

Price is the major disadvantage here, as they can be expensive. Wood gutters also require a lot of upkeep.

Copper and zinc gutters

Copper and zinc gutters are popular options thanks to their long-term durability and classic look. They won’t rust or grow mold, and since they naturally develop a nice patina with age, they don’t require painting or extra work upon install.

Copper gutters are expensive, though, and they’re not easy to DIY either. You’ll likely need to bring in a pro for these, which will add on even more to your final cost.

The bottom line

As you can see, there are lots of options when it comes to rain gutters. If you’re not sure which option is right for your home, you might consider speaking to a contractor or roofing professional just to be safe. They can guide you to the best gutters for your budget and local climate.

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