When it comes to protecting your home from rainwater damage, gutters play a vital role. You may be wondering, What are the different types of gutter materials and their benefits? Which type of gutter is best suited for my climate and budget? The type of gutter material you choose can greatly impact the performance, longevity, and overall aesthetics of your gutter system.
In this blog, we’ll answer your questions and explore the various gutter materials available, such as aluminum, vinyl, copper, and galvanized steel.
Types of Gutter Materials and Their Benefits:
1. Vinyl Gutters:
Vinyl gutters are an extremely affordable option for residential buildings.
- Benefits: Vinyl gutters are inexpensive and low-maintenance (they do not require painting!). They do not rust or corrode, making them ideal for humid climates or coastal environments. Vinyl eavestroughs have a lifespan of 25 years or more, and damaged sections are easily replaced. They are also scratch-resistant and, because of their lightweight nature, they’re simple to install for do-it-yourselfers. Furthermore, vinyl gutter systems eliminate the “ping” and noise factor that metal gutter systems can have.
- Considerations: The major downfall of vinyl gutters is that they’re prone to cracking and splitting in extreme range climates (hot-cold, cold-hot). Their colour can also fade overtime. They are not available in a continuous or seamless option and therefore need to have joints approximately every 10 linear feet. These joints are also known to lose the ability to be resealed.
2. Aluminum Gutters:
The most popular residential gutter type is made of seamless aluminum, known as formed K-style gutters.
- Benefits: Because of their durability, lightweight nature, and rust-resistant properties, aluminum gutters are a popular choice among commercial and residential properties. They are available in over 25 colours, making it easier to match the exterior of your home. Aluminum eavestroughs are fairly inexpensive, will last for more than 20 years in almost any climate, and will resist thinning (meaning hail or snow will not wear the metal away).
- Considerations: While aluminum gutters are suitable for most climates, they aren’t the best option for areas with heavy snowfall. Aluminum eavestroughs can dent from ice and hail. Crazy temperature changes will also cause aluminum to expand and contract, potentially leading to cracking and splitting. They also need regular maintenance to avoid corrosion and chipping paint.
3. Galvanized Steel Gutters
Steel gutters are very durable, and galvanized steel products in particular hold up well in extreme weather conditions.
- Benefits: Galvanized steel gutters are very strong and durable and can withstand harsh weather conditions, including heavy rain and snow. They last between 20-50 years and are resistant to rust and corrosion which makes them a great option for commercial and residential properties. The coating and paint options for galvanized steel eavestroughs are almost endless and are affordable.
- Considerations: While galvanized steel is rust-resistant, it is not completely impervious. The zinc coating can wear away over time, forcing repair. They are also significantly heavier than other materials and, because they contain zinc, are not economically friendly. Furthermore, if seams and joints in galvanized steel gutters are not properly maintained or experience significant expansion and contraction due to temperature changes, they can develop leaks.
4. Copper Gutters:
Copper eavestroughs are often used in historic homes and last longer than any other material.
- Benefits: Copper gutters are known for their timeless beauty and elegance. They develop a unique patina over time, adding character to your home. They are a lifelong investment, lasting homeowners over 50 years. Copper is highly resistant to corrosion and can last for decades with proper maintenance (they are not expensive to maintain).
- Considerations: The main downfall is the cost. Copper gutters are the most expensive option (up to double the price of vinyl or aluminum), and their installation requires specialized skills from professional gutter installers. Copper eavestroughs need to be soldering at the joints.
Choosing the Right Gutter Material for Your Climate and Budget:
- Climate Considerations:
- Cold and Snowy Climates: For regions with heavy snowfall, consider aluminum gutters. They can handle the weight of snow and ice better than other materials.
- High Humidity or Coastal Areas: Vinyl gutters are ideal for humid climates because they do not corrode. However, due to their corrosion resistance, copper gutters can also work well in coastal environments.
- Budget Constraints:
- Limited Budget: If you’re on a tight budget, vinyl gutters the most affordable option that still offers decent performance. They require minimal maintenance and last for many years.
- Moderate Budget: Aluminium gutters strike a good balance between cost and durability. They are available in a variety of colours to complement the aesthetic of your home.
- Higher Budget: If you’re willing to invest more upfront, copper gutters provide a unique and upscale look. Keep in mind that their outstanding longevity will offset the cost over time.
Ultimately, the gutter material you need is determined by a combination of your climate, budget, and aesthetic preferences. Aluminum, vinyl, galvanized steel, and copper all have distinct advantages, so consider what is most important to you. Talking to a professional can help you choose the right material.
If you live in Vancouver, British Columbia, consider hiring Vancouver Eavestrough for your eavestrough installation needs. Our installers can assist you in selecting a material that meets your budget, climate, and aesthetic needs.