- 1 Considerations To Help You Choose the Best Gutter for your Home
- 2 What Are The Different Types of Gutters?
- 3 What Are The Most Common Gutter Styles?
- 4 What Are The Different Types of Gutters?
- 5 How Can a Professional Gutter Technician Help You Choose The Best Gutters For Your Home?
Considerations To Help You Choose the Best Gutter for your Home
When choosing the perfect rain gutters for your home, there are many factors you need to keep in mind. Things such as your home’s architecture, the proximity of trees, location, weather, budget, and performance will all impact your decision.
While choosing a new gutter type might sound simple on paper, it can quickly become overwhelming. In that case, our gutter professionals would be happy to assist you– so, give us a call, or fill out our form today.
Consider Your Home’s Architecture
Homes that have short roof overhangs and low roof pitches usually need a gutter system, while some homes need wider gutters to accommodate more rainwater.
On the other hand, houses with large roof overhangs and homes built on elevations– like a hill– where rainfall is naturally diverted away from the foundation might not need wide gutters or any at all.
Gutters come in a variety of materials, each of which has its own advantages and disadvantages. Common types of materials include:
The least expensive materials, vinyl, aluminum, and coated steel, typically run between $1 and $8 per linear foot.
More expensive options, including copper and zinc, cost between $9 and $18 per linear foot. It is important to note that these prices don’t include professional installation, so homeowners need to factor in these costs too.
On top of the type of material, there are a variety of gutter styles and types that affect the cost (which we’ll get to later).
The performance of the gutter system is another primary consideration for homeowners. All the various styles, types, materials, and extra features look and perform differently.
For example, you wouldn’t want narrow gutters for a home with a steep slope in an area with heavy rain. We’ll cover exactly how the type (seamless and sectional), style (k-style, half-round, etc.), materials (aluminum, vinyl, copper, etc.), and additional features such as gutter guards affect the performance in the sections that follow.
Proximity of Trees
Homes that have trees within close proximity of the roof should strongly consider gutter guards or leaf filters.
The buildup of gutter gunk can lead to a host of issues, including pest infestations, landscaping issues, foundation damage, and water damage in your basement.
You can prevent these expensive issues with gutter guards or leaf filters (or routine gutter cleaning).
Leaf filters and gutter guards help eliminate debris buildup in gutter systems by sifting out leaves, twigs, acorns, walnuts, and other materials but allowing water to flow through easily.
Leaf filters usually cost between $17 and $43 per foot, including materials and installation. On the other hand, leaf guards can cost as little as $0.50 and up to $12 per linear foot. However, these costs vary based on the type of guard and its material.
We strongly recommend them if your home is deeply surrounded by many trees. They prevent extra maintenance and cleaning costs you would have without them.
Location and Weather
In areas that experience harsh winters, robust gutters are essential to support the extra weight of snow and ice on and in the gutters.
That is why we recommend stronger gutter materials and closer gutter hanger spacing to accommodate the extra weight.
On top of just regular snow and ice, ice dams can become problematic in certain climates, adding even more weight to the gutters. These situations require strong gutters with extra support. And in some cases, increased attic ventilation and gutter heaters may be helpful.
Although they can be costly, gutter heaters can help combat ice dams and snow buildup in gutters. Heated gutter systems are less expensive when there is a pre-existing gutter system, but costs vary quite a bit based on various factors, ranging anywhere from $400 to $4,000.
What Are The Different Types of Gutters?
Homeowners can choose from a variety of different gutter materials, including aluminum, vinyl, copper, and steel. Individual benefits and drawbacks accompany each material.
Although some choices are more affordable than others, they may sacrifice durability or longevity. Some of the more expensive options, like copper, are great for strength and durability, but they eventually succumb to the elements and lose their shiny appeal.
Aluminum gutters are the most popular due to their durability and low cost. Aluminum is rust-proof and has excellent resistance to corrosion. Plus, it is available in various different colors to coordinate with the color of your home and shingles.
On average, aluminum gutters are usually the most affordable (behind vinyl), costing between $3 and $6 per linear foot.
Vinyl, or PVC, is one of the most inexpensive gutter materials on the market. It is easy to work with, and parts are readily available in most home improvement stores and have various color options. These factors make it an ideal choice for do-it-yourselfers.
Costs usually range between $3 to $5 per linear foot for vinyl gutters, which is obviously quite affordable. However, vinyl doesn’t hold up well in colder climates, as it becomes brittle and prone to cracking.
Furthermore, it is not as durable as other materials (like metal gutters), and if you don’t inspect them routinely, issues can quickly arise.
Steel gutters come in two main types: galvanized and stainless steel. Galvanized steel gutters are much more common than their stainless steel siblings. Galvanized steel (also known as galvalume) is rust-resistant, with rust only becoming an issue after 20 to 25 years.
You’ll pay more out of pocket for steel gutters than aluminum and PVC– galvanized steel units cost between $8 to $10 per linear foot of gutter. On the other hand, stainless steel gutters, which don’t rust, sell for $20 per linear foot or more.
Steel gutters are pretty expensive, but steel is very durable and robust, making it an ideal choice for areas that experience harsh weather.
Copper usually takes the cake for the most expensive choices of gutter materials. However, it is also a very durable option with a high aesthetic appeal that many homeowners desire.
Over time, as copper ages, its color changes slightly with exposure to outdoor elements. The color will merge from its original hue to brown, to dark brown, to purple.
It can eventually turn a greenish color over time as it forms a patina – like the Statue of Liberty (which is made from copper).
Homeowners inexperienced with copper gutters should note that the color will not remain the same shade after a few summers and winters. So, if you’re hoping for a lifetime of shiny copper gutters, think again (unless you enjoy scrubbing and polishing them routinely).
With that said, copper is a solid metal, which makes it an excellent choice for any region. It is a more expensive choice of material, ranging from $12 to $25 per linear foot. While it is made from the same material as pennies, it’ll also cost you a pretty penny.
Zinc is yet another gutter material that’s common in one-cent coins (which are 98.5% zinc and 2.5% copper). Zinc is used in gutters for the same reason as pennies – zinc is a durable and long-lasting metal that can withstand prolonged exposure to harsh conditions.
They are long-lasting, but like copper gutters, they are costly. On average, zinc gutters cost between $17 to $24 per foot.
What Are The Most Common Gutter Styles?
Gutters come in all sorts of materials, colors, and styles. A few primary styles are common in homes today, including half-round, K-style, box-bottom, and fascia-mounted gutters. Each comes in various sizes.
Half-round shaped gutters have a U-shaped profile and have more of a traditional look than K-style gutters. They carry less water but drain more thoroughly than K-shape gutters. However, you can get wider half-round gutters that carry more water.
Half-round gutters extend far out from the fascia and rafters, sometimes as far as eight inches for the larger gutters. They are considerably wider than they are tall, as they typically are about three inches tall. Their material is available in different thicknesses.
Some homeowners like the look of half-round gutters, but they’re mostly on historic homes. What’s more “in style” today are k-style gutters.
The K-style gutter shape is a popular choice that gained traction after World War II. They have a flat back and profiled face that mirrors crown molding.
Frequently, K-style gutters are paired with rectangular downspouts but pair well with round downspouts as well. The creases that extend down the length of the gutter help strengthen the system.
K-style gutters tend to carry more water than half-round gutters but are harder to clean and more prone to clogs.
Box-bottom gutters, also known as square gutters, were built into the roof structure itself in the olden days. Nowadays, it is more common for these gutters to be exposed and mounted to the fascia.
They don’t feature the decorative shape of the K-style gutters, but they work great for commercial or residential buildings that aren’t going for style points. Box-bottom gutters have a deep trough that can easily handle heavy water runoff.
These gutters feature a tall and narrow shape that stretches the entire height of the fascia. Fascia gutters can be tricky to clean thoroughly, given the depth of the gutter.
On average, they can handle more than twice the runoff that half-round gutters of the same width can (because of their larger depth). They’re also the most expensive since they’re the most customized. But hey, at least your home will get points for style.
What Are The Different Types of Gutters?
One of the main things that homeowners need to consider is the type of gutter. There are two choices: seamless and sectional.
Each of these options comes with different benefits and drawbacks to keep in mind.
Seamless gutters provide a smooth, sleek look. Plus, there are various color choices and materials that homeowners can choose from.
As their name states, seamless gutters have no seams, and they always require a gutter professional to install. Why?
Mobile shops (usually on the back of a truck) must create gutters custom to your home with an extruding machine that forms aluminum into gutters right outside your home through an extremely fast process.
For example, a mobile shop can churn seamless gutters out for homeowners at a rapid pace, sometimes as fast as 45 feet per minute.
Obviously, homeowners can’t do this job since they don’t have the equipment. However, some companies will do a custom gutter run-out for a homeowner and allow homeowners to install the gutters themselves.
Since seamless gutters can run from corner to corner and aren’t limited by length, there are fewer seams where leaks can occur.
One of the significant downfalls of seamless gutters is the same as their core benefit– their extensive lengths.
Since they are one solid piece, the whole section needs to be replaced when one area fails, which isn’t cheap. Remember- since they’re seamless, the gutters can’t be created at your home without the help of that fancy gutter machine.
Sectional gutters are the ideal choice for at-home do-it-yourselfers (DIYers). Typically, they come in 10-foot lengths that can be fixed to your home’s fascia board with hangers. They are usually available in vinyl, metal, and copper.
The 10-foot sections and other DIY materials are readily available at most home improvement stores, and installation isn’t super complicated but does require some skill and patience.
If you’re determined, you can install sectional gutters on a modestly sized home over the course of the weekend.
If you choose to install sectional gutters on your home, you’ll need the help of an assistant and a sturdy ladder. You’ll also need sectional chunks of the gutters of your choice, corners, downspouts, gutter guards (if necessary), and material to properly seal the seams to prevent leaks.
Installing sectional gutters correctly is crucial, as improperly installed gutters may not be nearly as sturdy or practical as professionally installed gutters. If you install them incorrectly, the seams can cause issues.
Seams, which is where the sections meet, need to be sealed, but they are prone to leaking. As such, water can leak and damage your landscaping, foundation, and your basement.
Sectional gutters do have a benefit– they are easy to replace when a single section fails, as you can remove them easily without affecting the rest of the gutter system.
How Can a Professional Gutter Technician Help You Choose The Best Gutters For Your Home?
Choosing the best gutters for your home can be tricky, which is why enlisting the help of a professional gutter technician is always a good idea.
They have the knowledge and experience to determine the best material, style, and additions you will need for your home.
A professional gutter technician can advise you on the best course of action for gutters for your home so that you can get started with a successful system right away.