A Comprehensive Guide to Gutter Material Options
Gutters play an important role in keeping your home protected, tasked with directing water away from your property when it rains to prevent moisture damage. How effective gutters can be, however, depends on several factors, including the material it is made from. It is important then that you choose the right material to ensure that you make the most out of your gutter system. Gutter material options available to you include:
Mid-range in price but top notch in durability, aluminum is an excellent gutter material that can last for at least 25 years. It comes in a range of colors so it’s easy to find a perfect match for your home and it won’t rot, regardless of how much rainwater it has to deal with. It is possible to dent, however, but risks are minimal.
Steel is sturdier than aluminum but gutters made from steel are vulnerable to strong winds, making it a poor choice for areas that are particularly windy. Regular maintenance keeps rot at bay, allowing the gutter material to last about 15 years. It is more affordable than aluminum though, so steel may be a better fit for those looking to work with a budget.
Copper is renowned as gutter material because of its excellent ability to combine form and function, imparting a unique charm to a home while ensuring utmost protection against rainwater. It’s not impossible for copper gutters to last a century (possibly outlasting your home) and they don’t require maintenance to allow the material’s natural patina to develop. Superior aesthetic appeal and quality, however, will come at a price, as copper gutters are the most expensive in the market today.
Joining copper in the high-end category is stainless steel. Typically utilized for custom projects, the material is also capable of durability similar to copper. However, that also means having a price tag comparable to copper, making stainless steel not easily accessible as an option to all homeowners.
Though rare, wood gutters exist, mostly chosen when certain designs and characteristics have to be achieved in a structure. Because they are more difficult to acquire, requiring specialist lumber dealers, wood gutters can be expensive, with costs possibly rivaling copper systems. Redwood and red cedar heartwood have superb resistance to decay but wood gutters generally have to be maintained to retain their form and last long.
Vinyl’s best selling point is that it is the most economical choice when it comes to gutter materials. However, it is not only affordable but offers decent durability as well, not rotting or rusting over time. It can fade though, which will be particularly visible on darker tones, and has a tendency to become brittle and crack when used in areas with colder climates. Proper care for vinyl gutters, however, and you can expect a system to last for years.
Choosing the Right Gutter Material
Keep in mind that what is right is relative. Pick out a gutter material based on what will address your needs the most and not simply what is popular or what your neighbor has. Don’t hesitate to talk to your local contractor for assistance in choosing gutters.
Chris is the owner and President of A & A Services, Inc, a home improvement company based in Salem, MA. He had his start in the industry as a handyman and painter in 1982, working hard to build the impressive reputation he has now in the home improvement field. Check out his posts on the companyblog for helpful tips on windows, siding, roofing, and gutters.