Types of Rain Gutters – Pros and Cons Explained

Want to keep your drainage system in tip-top condition all year round? Then you’ve got to be prepared to clear and clean the guttering on a regular basis(once or twice a year, depending on where you live). But how can you be sure your gutters are right for your property? Take a look at the pros and cons of different gutter materials to ensure your gutters are attractive as well as functional.

PVC and Vinyl

These gutters are a popular choice as they’re durable and won’t dent. They’re also cheaper than other materials to buy and to install. One of the main benefits of this type of guttering is that you’re able to replace sections if they get damaged, as they come in portions. This is way simpler than having to replace the entire system. Resistance to scratching is also high. Disadvantages come in the form of leaking harmful chemicals into the atmosphere, and the non-biogradability of the PVC itself. Although vinyl is lightweight, colours can be prone to fading in sunlight and may crack in severe cold.

Wood

Gutters made from wood are normally very functional when taking excess rain water off the roof. Not only that they’re also very charming to look at. If your home is older with architectural features this may be your perfect choice. You’ll need to make sure you select wood that contains elements of cedar as this’ll absorb moisture and deal with extreme weather for a long time. You may find that other woods will rot and become weak with exposure to wet conditions in a very short space of time. Original wood gutters were made from old growth cedar that’s rarely available today. You’ll need to bear in mind that wood guttering will require considerable maintenance.

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Aluminium

Aluminium gutters normally come with a protective painted layer that prevents chemicals from being absorbed into the rainwater and makes them able to withstand severe weather conditions. This material is widely used and due to its light weight it’s easy to install-even if you’re a novice! It comes in different thicknesses and gauges and as it won’t rust it works extremely well in snowy conditions. Seamless aluminium gutters reduce the risks of leaks through the seams but it’ll cost more and need to be professionally installed.

Steel

Galvanized steel gutters are very strong and durable, particularly if they’re coated with a layer of protective paint. Unpainted steel will actually rust over time, so longevity may be an issue here. Due to the heavy weight of the guttering it’s not recommended that you install it yourself. It can be expensive but you’ll get a choice of colour options as it it’s easily painted. There are high grades of steel available such as galvalume and stainless but they do work out to be expensive.

Copper

Copper gutters are very attractive and an additional benefit is that they don’t rust. You don’t even have to paint them as they develop a discolouration over time which only enhances the appearance. They’re also durable and long lasting and often used in classic restorations. You can pay up to three times more for copper depending on the weight and the style. You probably wouldn’t be able to install them yourself as the joints and seams need to be welded and they do tend to be expensive. A big plus is that the copper gutter will last as long as the house!

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Once you’ve determined what type of gutter materials to pick, you can then decide on the shape. Choose from two basic designs – the flat bottom and back with a decorative front known as a K-style gutter, or half-round gutters which are in effect half round tubes. If your gutter system is already installed and you want to change it then you’ll need to call in the professionals. The ideal time to do this is if you’re installing a new roof, or getting it repaired, as adding them then simplifies the installation.