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Gutter Materials

Gutter Materials: Choosing the Right Gutters for Your Home

Gutters are an integral part of keeping your home structurally safe and sound from water damage. The last thing you want is to wait until a bad rain or snowstorm to think about an emergency gutter replacement. The best plan of action is to consider the best kinds of gutters for your home to better prepare yourself for emergency situations, such as inclement weather. There are different kinds of gutter materials that you can choose from, and each serves a particular function and purpose. Continue reading to explore your options and make the best decision for your home and your budget.

Types of Gutter Materials

Gutters can be made out of a variety of materials. Of course, the gutter material can impact the cost of an installation – some materials simply cost more than others. But material also effects lifespan, strength and sturdiness, rust resistance, and more. The following are the typical types of gutter materials on the market, as well as their pros and cons:

Aluminum

Aluminum gutters are one of the most popular choices thanks to their easy installation and low cost. This lightweight material comes in a variety of colors, but can also be painted as needed. Aluminum gutters are resistant to rust and able to withstand extremely cold temperatures.

However, the curb appeal of aluminum can diminish over time as the material is susceptible to denting and bending, though thicker options are available to reduce these concerns. These gutters can become bent easily if you choose the recycled aluminum rather than more sturdy options.

On average, homeowners can expect to pay between $6 and $14 per linear foot for aluminum gutters. Aluminum gutters last approximately 20–25 years, with proper maintenance.

Vinyl

Vinyl is an affordable and easy-to-install gutter material that has become very popular among homeowners. This type of gutter comes in a limited variety of colors — however, they can be painted if you cannot find a color that matches the look of your home.

On the downside, vinyl is a lightweight material that can bend or crack during heavy rain, snow, or winds. Vinyl gutters also may become brittle during times of extreme hot or cold weather.

Despite these drawbacks, vinyl has grown in popularity thanks to its average cost of $3 to $6 per linear foot. This material is expected to last 15–20 years, though certain weather conditions can cause this to fluctuate.

Copper and Zinc

Copper and zinc are typically more pricey than other types of gutter materials. However, there’s a good reason for the price – copper and zinc are extremely rust-resistant, require no painting, and are resistant to mold and mildew. Additionally, copper and zinc gutters are extremely durable, with the ability to last a century no matter what climate a home is in.

However, over time, copper gutters can oxidize to a blueish-green color. Additionally, copper gutters are still susceptible to storm damage in a manner similar to aluminum.

Zinc averages $20 per linear foot, while copper can average as much as $25 per linear foot — making them a better choice for homeowners that plan to live in their home for a long time. This is also due to their longevity of 60+ years if properly maintained.

Steel

Steel is among the most expensive option for gutters. But with this increased price comes increased durability, thanks to the zinc coating that is added to this gutter material. Steel gutters come in a variety of options including stainless, galvanized and Galvalume (steel coated with a combination of aluminum and zinc). Each of these varieties are incredibly strong and weather-resistant, though galvanized steel can be impacted by rust if damaged.

These gutters are also resistant to rust, but the downside is that they are not as visually appealing as other options, which can impact the curb appeal of a home.

While it is more expensive than other options, ranging from $8 to $30 per linear foot depending on coating, steel is one of the most effective options at resisting the elements. Steel gutter varieties are expected to last at least 20 years, with Galvalume gutters lasting even longer.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Gutter Materials

In addition to the material of gutters and their advantages and disadvantages, the following are some other considerations you should think about when making your choice:

Sectional vs. seamless gutters

Sectional gutters are a great option for do-it-yourselfers because they come in 10-20 foot sections that can easily be snapped together with joiner pieces. However, these gutters can be prone to leaking at the joints and do not provide a lot of color choices.

Seamless gutters come in customizable lengths and are more durable than sectional gutters. However, homeowners will need a contractor for installation. They are less likely to leak and have a sleeker look than sectional gutters.

Weather

The amount of rain and snow a geographic location gets can influence not only the gutter material that works best, but also the size required and maintenance. A local contractor can advise you on how to make the right choice for your region so you get the maximum protection from water damage for your home.

Maintenance and Cleaning

No matter what gutter material you choose, keep in mind that routine maintenance and cleaning is still necessary. You can look into gutter guards to avoid outdoor debris clogging your gutter system. However, it is advisable to clean out your gutters twice a year to avoid clogging and keep the system functioning properly.

Finding an Experienced Gutter Contractor

Before you decide on the type of gutter material you want, consult with an experienced contractor that can help you make the best decision for your home and budget.

The pros at Modernize can connect you with trusted, local contractors who will help you choose the best type of gutters and complete the installation. Be sure to consult our interactive checklist, which will help you evaluate contractors and make the most informed decision.

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