What Are Gutters Made Of?

Posted by Kevin Leahy on November 23, 2018

The rain gutters on your home play a crucial role in protecting you and your home from the elements, but what do you really know about them?
What they are made of and how they are constructed and installed can determine if they are quality gutters that will last you a long time or not.

Gutter systems can come in many different types of gutter materials. Here is what gutters are made of:

Vinyl Gutters

Vinyl gutters have become one of the most popular choices for gutter systems. Their benefits include the ease of installation and the fact that you never have to worry about them rusting. They are also a more economical choice. Because the pieces are lightweight and easily snap together installation is also a lot easier making it easier for those homeowners who want to do the installation themselves.

The only caveat is that if you live in colder climates, there is the chance that the vinyl can crack over time, and if you don’t install these properly, you may have water pooling in certain sections.

Aluminum Gutters

Another popular type of roof gutters is one made of aluminum. These like the vinyl ones are lightweight and rust-proof and if you are a DIYer, it won’t give you any particular headaches during the installation process. Other pluses with this type of gutters is that it, unlike vinyl, can withstand cold climates and can be painted whatever color will look best with the outside of your house. They also come in seamless models.

One of the concerns, with choosing aluminum gutters, however, is that it can be easily dented or bent from a whack from the ladder or being stepped on by accident. If you are going to go with aluminum gutters make sure they are made of primary aluminum which is of a higher quality and sturdier than if you choose a system made of recycled aluminum.

Stainless Steel Gutters

Vinyl and aluminum gutters are considered two of the best types of gutters because they are cost efficient, meaning that for what they cost, they do their job well. And they are not over the type expensive either. Stainless steel gutters are another great option, but they come with a heftier price tag. These gutters are the sturdiest of the bunch and they won’t rust at all so if you have the extra money to spend it is a good investment.

Wood Gutters

You don’t see wood gutters a lot because they are more expensive, but architectural purists who are trying to restore an old home, will want them. Be careful though because not all wood gutter products are as effective at their job protecting your home from water damage.

Copper Gutters

Copper gutters are also used in restoration projects. Although expensive, it has a lot of benefits. It doesn’t rust and never needs painting. Make sure to add a sealant though because copper will oxidize and turn green over time if not treated.

Other Important Things to Know About Gutters

Besides the material of the gutters, you need to decide between sectional versus seamless and K-Shape or Half-Round shape. Keep in mind that round downspouts today are only found on 19th century era houses and they must be one inch longer than the K-Shape to handle the same capacity.

If you live in the western part of the United States, you will also have the option of Fascia gutters which are fixed to a fascia board. It can also be fixed to the end of rafters. For houses built in the 1960s, the gutters might be an integral gutter system which can hold more water, but on the downside is more prone to leaks.

And if you prefer seamless gutters, you are going to have to go with an aluminum gutter system because that is the only type that currently offers a seamless option. In addition, when choosing the shape of the gutters, keep in mind that K-shape gutters carry more water and are more structurally sound than the half-round shape.

With all these options, it can be a bit overwhelming. Remember though that the most important thing is that it does its job moving rainwater quickly and efficiently away from your home. The rest just comes down to the look you prefer and how much you can afford to spend.

One of the last things you will need to consider is whether you are going to have them professionally installed or to do it yourself. If money is a worry, you can definitely save by installing the system yourself, but you need to make sure you know exactly what you are doing and that you are following safety protocols.

If you are installing the new gutters yourself, be sure to double check that you are buying the right size. Because your gutters need to be able to be large enough to drain away all the rain from your home, finding the right size is crucial. If you go too small, the gutters will only get overloaded in heavy downfalls leading to a lot of water damage to your home.

Also make sure to not hang the gutters too far apart. The gutter hangers are the way you mount the gutter system to your home so they need to be spaced properly. If you leave too much space between the hangers, the rain gutters will actually sage causing the water to pool instead of flowing through.

Besides the gutter system itself, you should also consider purchasing and installing gutter guard, leaf catchers or other products that help you maintain your gutter system with as little hassle as possible. For example, TheSpoutOff are rain gutter outlets that can be easily added to a new gutter system and they are designed with larger openings which prevent leaves and debris from getting clogged up in the gutters. They also make it easier to check on your gutters because it comes with a removable downspout that allows you to inspect the system from the ground instead of having to climb a ladder.

Want to learn more about how TheSpoutOff can help protect your roof from water damage? Contact TheSpoutOff today to learn how it can take the hassle out of cleaning your roof gutters, no matter what gutter materials were used.