Everything You Need To Know About Gutters


Let’s talk everything you need to know about gutters! The most important thing protecting your home from the elements is rain gutters. They serve as items that gather the runoff from your roof caused by rain and melting snow, and divert it away from your siding and foundation. However, poorly functioning gutters cause exterior damage, eroding soil, and moisture problems like peeling paint. It’s important to know as much as possible about gutters when deciding what is best for your home and budget and know how to make sure that they work their best. 

Gutter Materials

These days, the most common material of gutters is aluminum. However, manufacturers make them with other materials. Here are some of them:

Vinyl Gutters 

The first type of gutters we’ll discuss are vinyl gutters. This type of gutter is a favorite because of its ease of installation, cheap purchase price, and durability. They are very lightweight, so they are very easy to manage and install. Vinyl gutters never rust or corrode. When used in mild climates, they function just as well as other materials. 

Poor installation of vinyl gutters results in sagging sections. Vinyl gutters also have a reputation for growing weak and cracking over time. Unfortunately, they are also particularly sensitive to cold weather. These types of gutters are an excellent solution for those looking for new gutters while on a budget.

Aluminum Gutters

The next most cost efficient option is aluminum rain gutters. Aluminum is the most common material for gutters. They are lightweight, rust-proof, and relatively easy to work with. Unlike vinyl gutters, aluminum is weather resistant. This type of gutter maintains its integrity well in cold climates. Additionally, aluminum gutters hold paint well and are manufactured in seamless models.

The downside of aluminum gutters is that they are not as strong as other materials. These types of gutters can dent and misshapen by ladders and other things placed on them. Choose “primary” aluminum for a stronger option. Primary aluminum is thicker and higher quality than secondary aluminum that is made mostly of recycled materials. 

Copper and Steel Gutters

Steel gutters come in a few different varieties. Galvanized steel rain gutters are the most popular type of gutters as they are great cost wise and sturdier than aluminum gutters.

The major drawback of galvanized steel gutters is the rust factor. Rust will eventually take its toll on steel gutters. With proper maintenance, galvanized steel gutters can last a very long time.

Copper gutters are the most expensive material for gutters. Even so, they are the most beautiful rain gutters on the market.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel gutters are almost indestructible. They shine for years on end, won’t rust, and are one of the strongest materials in the industry. 

The drawback to stainless steel gutters is the price. This type of gutter will run 2 to 4 times as much as other gutters. 

Wood Gutters

Wood gutters used to be the norm in years past. Mass-produced materials that are more weather resistant are the reason this type of gutter has fallen out of favor. They make wood rain gutters of cedar, redwood, and fir. They are still available, but builders use them mostly for renovations of historic homes. 

Be prepared to spend a lot of money if you choose this type of material for your gutters.

Gutter Shapes

K-Style Gutters

K-style gutters are the most common type of gutter shape. They are flat on the bottom and back. This style features an “ogee” profile on the front, which is similar to crown molding. These types of gutters can compliment your home’s look. They are most commonly 5 inches wide. For larger roofs, 6 inch widths are available. This type of gutter is the cheapest and easiest option to install.

Half-Round Gutters

The other common gutter shape is the half-round shape. Half round gutters can come in either 5 or 6 inches. It is a more historical type of gutter shape. They are half a circular pipe with the top half open for water. They are known to be more rustic, as they’re usually made from copper. They come in the same size that K-style gutters do, but they do not have the same volume as them. They are expensive and take longer to install. 

Box Style Gutters

The last most popular type of gutter is the box style gutter. Box style gutters are oversized and primarily used for commercial or industrial buildings. They design them to handle large amounts of water. 

Sectional Or Seamless Gutters

Another thing to consider with your gutters is whether you want sectional gutters or seamless gutters. Most materials are only available in sections that are joined as they install them, so seamed is the most common option.

Thanks to technology, seamless aluminum gutters are now widely available. The advantage to seamless gutters is that the most common place a gutter wears out is at the joints and seams. A seamless gutter will never have this problem. 

Gutter Maintenance And Repair

Your gutters need proper maintenance to keep working well. One of these maintenance steps that is so crucial for gutters is regular cleaning. A ladder that rests on the roof is the best way to avoid the ladder from leaning on the gutters themselves and damaging them. You can minimize the need to clean gutters so often by installing gutter guards. There are many types of gutter guards, from simple screens that fit inside to professionally installed systems. It requires an investment for gutter guards, but they are well worth the time saved. 

When learning everything you need to know about gutters, it’s important to remember gutters can be damaged. Impact or pressure can dent all gutters, but especially aluminum gutters. This can result from a branch falling on a gutter during a storm. It’s usually best to replace the gutter rather than repair the gutter. 

Joints in aluminum gutters develop leaks over time. These joint leaks occur at the corners, end caps, and drop outlet locations. Cleaning the joint area and resealing it with caulk usually solves this problem.

Look out for rusty areas on your steel gutters. This shows that the protective galvanized coating has worn off. Clean rusty areas and protect them with a spray finish. This treatment needs to be repeated over time to provide continued protection against corrosion.

Final Thoughts

Gutters are so important to the structure and strength of your home. Always make sure to properly maintain, repair, and replace gutters when necessary. This article covers nearly everything you need to know about gutters. Remember, if you have an issue, call us at 636-699-0449 so we can help you today!