Gutters are essential for protecting your roof, foundation, siding, and landscaping. They collect water that drains off the roof and direct the water away from the base of your home.
If your gutters are leaky, disjointed, or otherwise worn, it’s likely time to replace them. But which gutter material is best? The answer depends on your budget, priorities, and sense of style. Keep reading to learn about common gutter materials and how they compare.
Vinyl gutters are very popular and for good reasons. They are relatively affordable, come in various colors, and do not rust or corrode. Since gutters spend so much time exposed to water, being rust-proof is a big advantage. Vinyl gutters are also lightweight, which makes them easy to install and repair. They last at least a decade and sometimes much longer.
One downfall of vinyl gutters is that they can become brittle after years of sun exposure. It may crack if a tree branch or other item hits the gutter. Some people also dislike the appearance of vinyl. They find it looks too plastic-like and too modern for more traditional homes.
Aluminum is another lightweight gutter material. Their light weight makes aluminum gutters a popular choice for tall homes and those with hard-to-reach roofs. Aluminum does not rust, although it can begin corroding after years of water contact. You can buy these gutters in many colors. You can repaint the gutters if you want to change your home’s color scheme. You’ll just need to use enamel paint made for use on aluminum surfaces.
Galvanized steel is becoming more popular as a gutter material. It is longer-lasting and less prone to damage than other gutter materials. Galvanized steel gutters have an inner layer that contains zinc. This layer is impervious to rust. After many years, it will wear away, and your gutters will begin to rust through. However, this process takes many decades for that to happen. Galvanized steel gutters are harder and stronger than aluminum and vinyl gutters. They’re unlikely to crack or break if a branch falls on them.
There are two minor downsides to galvanized steel gutters. For one, they are difficult and time-consuming to install. They must be soldered together, meaning an experienced professional must install them. Galvanized steel gutters also cost more than aluminum or vinyl gutters. This is because the materials are more expensive, but also because they require more labor to install.
Galvanized steel gutters come in many colors. You can repaint them with appropriate enamel paint if desired.
If you never want to replace your home’s gutters again, then consider having copper gutters installed. Copper is incredibly hard and durable, and copper gutters will probably last longer than you’re alive. These gutters won’t bend and won’t get weighed down if debris accumulates within them. For this reason, copper gutters are a common choice for homes with trees across the roof and gutters.
As they age, copper gutters develop a greenish patina. This is the same patina you see on the Statue of Liberty and old pennies. Some people love this look, and others don’t like it. Before you choose copper gutters, make sure you like their appearance both when they are new and after they have weathered.
Copper gutters do cost more than gutters made from other materials. But keep this in mind: they are a one-time buy. Over the years, you can invest in one set of copper gutters or several sets of vinyl or aluminum gutters.
Which Gutter Material Is Best?
In a moderate climate, you could put gutters from any of these materials on your home. So, which material is best really is a matter of preference. If you’re on a tight budget, vinyl or aluminum offers ample protection for your roof, and they won’t break the bank. If you have a bit more to spend and want to minimize your maintenance, then galvanized steel or copper may better suit your needs.
If you’re still not sure what kind of gutters you prefer, consider getting a few quotes. It’s often easier to compare options with prices in hand. Contact Quantum Roofing if you’re looking for a roofing company in North Carolina, South Carolina, or Tennessee. Our experienced roofers have installed many gutters over the years. They can help you choose the best materials and styles for your home.