Types of gutters – the major kinds of home guttering, explained

Knowing about the different types of gutters is essential for any homeowner. Whether you’re replacing old gutters or wondering how best to maintain existing ones, understanding the different shapes, materials, and other variations available is important.

Different types of gutters have both advantages and disadvantages, and your understanding can be crucial when repairing an old roof or keeping your roof in good condition. These are the most important constructions and materials you should know when it comes to gutters for your home.

Why are there different types of gutters?

Choosing between different types of gutters doesn’t seem like the most exciting task, but gutters are essential to keeping your home safe from flooding. Gutters also affect the appearance of your home.

Leonard Ang, CEO of iPropertyManagement, the online resource guide for landlords, renters and real estate investors, explains, “The main cause of the variety of gutter types is the overall shape of the trough, how it is attached to the home, and what types of covers, filters or rain guards are included.’

When it comes to choosing the shape of your gutters, it’s “largely an aesthetic choice,” says Leonard. However, “where the gutters will be placed and what kinds of other attachments are included” is “a much more practical issue. It is important to consider the expected rainfall, vegetation above the ceiling, and height for cleaning. ‘

With these considerations in mind, these are the main types of gutters for homes that are available.

Wooden building with black steel gutters

Wooden building with black steel gutters

(Credit: Maskalin / Alamy Stock Photo)

Types of gutters by shape

A semicircular copper gutter

A semicircular copper gutter

(Credit: Kelly vanDellen / Alamy Stock Photo)

There are two main types of house gutters that are widely used. The first is the K-shaped Gutter. Christ Counahan, president of gutter protection company LeafFilter, summarizes K-shaped gutters as “common in modern homes”. These gutters “look like the letter” K “from the side and are widely used which makes them less expensive.”

The second main type of gutter is the semicircular gutter. Chris explains that these are “typically seen in historic homes and have a smooth interior that is easy to clean”. If you’re replacing gutters in a historic home, you will likely need this type of gutter.

You can get too Box gutters. Eric Lopez, a senior roofer and owner of 619 Roofing based in San Diego, “box gutters are primarily used in industrial or commercial buildings because they are bulky and can handle large amounts of water.” Box gutters are sometimes used in modern homes, although the K-shape is the more common type.

Types of gutters by material

Roof and house wall with zinc gutters and rain pipe

Zinc gutters with rain pipe

(Credit: en Schonewille / Alamy Stock Photo)

Once you’ve figured out what shape you need for your home, you need to consider the material of your gutters. There is a wide range of materials to choose from, each with their advantages and disadvantages.

aluminum is the most commonly used material for gutters. Bailey Carson, home care expert at Angi, attributes the popularity of aluminum gutters to their “low cost and long life.” The advantage of this gutter material is that “aluminum gutters last up to 25 years, are weatherproof, rustproof and available in a variety of colors”. The downside is that “they are prone to bulging or bending”. If you want to hire a professional to assemble aluminum gutters, it costs $ 4 and $ 6 per foot. Customize them yourself and pay between $ 2 and $ 3 per linear foot.

copper Gutters are popular primarily because of their beautiful color, but also in terms of their durability – “up to 100 years,” says Bailey. They’re not cheap either, costing anywhere from $ 15 to $ 25 per walking foot. You cannot assemble copper channels yourself, “which can make them even more expensive”. The payout? ‘Copper channels are resistant to high heat and cold.’

stole is cheaper than copper, but more expensive (and more durable) than aluminum, making it a great mid-range option. There’s a big difference in price between a galvanized steel gutter ($ 8-10 per linear meter) and a stainless steel gutter – $ 16-20 per linear meter. Bailey says that “both options work really well in any weather and are very sturdy,” but warns that “since steel gutters are very heavy, it is best to hire a professional to install them”.

vinyl is a decent gutter material option if you’re on a budget – they only cost $ 1 to $ 2 per foot. Bailey recommends being fully aware of the disadvantages of using Vynil on your gutters: this material fades in sunlight and is also the least durable product compared to other gutter materials. If you live in an area with lots of wind, rain, snow, or dry heat, this may not be the best material for your gutters. ‘

zinc is a little more unusual – and is almost comparable to copper in terms of cost, at $ 10-22 per linear foot. It has its advantages – the longevity is up to 50 years and it is “more resistant to rust, light and warpage than other materials”. However, Bailey points out that “zinc gutters must be welded together, so they must be installed by a professional”.

wood is ‘a rare option that can give your home a rustic look’ and won’t come cheap as wooden gutters are ‘usually made from cedar, fir, sequoia or other long-lasting woods’. Count on $ 20-30 per linear foot. “Bailey is not convinced of this option:” Wooden gutters do not last very long and are more expensive than other options, although they can make curbs more attractive. “

Types of gutters: hemmed or seamless?

As Bailey explains, “seamless gutters have become increasingly popular lately because they come in long sheets that can be customized for your home and are easy to install.” Seamless gutters cost more than traditional sectional gutters, “but will most likely last longer”.

Aluminum gutters

(Credit: Narin Eungsuwat / Alamy Stock Photo)

What type of gutters is cheapest?

Technically, vinyl is the cheapest material you can find for your gutters – you can purchase vinyl gutters for as little as $ 1 per linear meter. Perhaps the more important question is whether the initial savings will be worthwhile in the long run.

Finding a compromise between what you’re willing to pay and a gutter that will last a while is the better option. You may find that a steel gutter is the best value for money because it will last for many decades without the gutter needing to be repaired, but it’s not quite as expensive as copper or zinc.

If you’re looking to save assembly costs, aluminum is probably your best choice – it can be self-installed, unlike other metals that require professional assembly and / or welding.

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