When choosing rain gutters for your home, there’s always so much to consider. Whether it’s trying to decide on the style of gutters you want be it seamless or box gutters, or what bells and whistles you may want to add like a rain chain, you have a lot of questions that need answered. The first thing to consider however, is something you may not have even realized was a decision that needs made. What material will your gutters be made from? You might not have thought that there’s actually a number of choices to be considered. Today, we’ll look at some of the most common materials for rain gutters and what benefits they offer, as well as some challenges.
Steel is one of the heaviest and most expensive material available for gutters, but it is also one of the most durable. Galvanized steel will resist rust and dents, while maintaining a great look for your home. There is a high investment cost at the beginning, but it pays off by lasting far longer than is the norm for cheaper materials. However, steel needs regular inspections for missing zinc and will need repainted and sealed every few years. While they are resistant to rust, they’re not quite as resistant as aluminum. Finally, steel gutters expand and contract with shifting temperatures, which can cause them to come loose from their mounting and leads to sagging gutters that don’t drain correctly if not maintained.
Aluminum gutters are just about the most popular choice for gutter materials. Aluminum is even more rust resistant than steel, and requires less maintenance. Aluminum is also more affordable than steel, and its light weight means it will be easier to install and less likely to sag over time. Aluminum is more susceptible to dents though, and can split over time when exposed to dramatic temperature changes. Aluminum gutters are available in a wide variety of colors and can also be repainted to match if you repaint your home.
Copper gutters have a traditional and stylish look that can be immediately appealing for a homeowner. Copper gutters last far longer than any other material available. If properly maintained, it’s not unusual to see copper gutters last as much as a hundred years. Freshly installed copper gutters have a shine that can have a tremendous impact on the appearance of your home. However, copper gutters, especially in the midwest where we’re no stranger to bad weather, require regular upkeep. They’ll quickly tarnish to a dull green color that may look unsightly in contrast to your home. Further, if you install copper gutters, you’ll likely need to make a full replacement of your entire gutter system including hangers, elbows, downspouts, and other parts, because copper can chemically react with other metals in a way that damages the material. This adds to the fact that copper gutters will be just about the most expensive material available for gutters, but the long lifetime can balance this out if you’re ready to make the investment.
Vinyl is the least expensive option available for rain gutters, and are the easiest to install, making them a common choice of homeowners who prefer to do the job themselves. Vinyl gutters don’t need repainted because they’re colored the whole way through rather than simply the surface layer. Vinyl gutters are also the least durable gutter material though, not holding up for more than a few years. Vinyl becomes bitter over time, and can crack easily. Because the method of installation used for vinyl gutters usually involves lighter weight screws, they can be blown off your home by heavy storms more easily.
There’s a number of items to consider when looking at the material used for your gutters, from the cost and durability, to the appearance and impact on your home value. Navigating these questions can be difficult, but our experts are ready to assist. Call us for an estimate today!