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Gutters

A Guide to Gutter Styles

On this page:
  • K-style vs. half-round gutters
  • Pros and cons of gutter styles
  • Gutter style maintenance needs

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Best Styles of Gutters

All gutters are designed to protect your home from structural damage by directing rainwater and snowfall away from your house. However, not every type of gutter and gutter style is the right choice for every type of home.

There are three major styles of gutters—K-style, half-round, and custom fascia. The best gutter style for you will be based on the weather conditions in your area, the look of your home, and the materials you feel are best suited for your needs. Gutters also come in sectional and seamless types, as well as various prices for a gutter installation, which can also influence your decision on this home improvement project.

This guide outlines the different styles of gutters that are available. We explore the three main gutter styles, provide details on how they work, the pros and cons of each, and how much you can expect to pay. In addition, we provide maintenance advice that will help your gutters perform at their best and keep them in good condition.

K-Style vs. Half-Round Gutters

The two major types of gutters you can purchase for your home are K-style and half-round gutters. Although both styles prevent water damage, the one that is best for you will be based on the type of home you have and its unique weather protection needs.

If you want something really unique that accentuates the style of your home, while still addressing its structural needs, you may consider getting custom fascia gutters. These products are specifically fitted to the size of your home and come in looks that enhance its aesthetic.

Note: Both k-style gutters and half-round gutters come in multiple material options, including aluminum, vinyl, steel, copper, and zinc. Different types of gutters have different costs and levels of durability. You can also choose between seamless and sectional gutters for k-style and half-round styles. Be sure to explore your all of your options and consult with a gutter contractor to choose the best style and material for your new home gutters.

K-Style Gutters

Over the last 50 years, K-style gutters have been the most common type of gutters among homeowners. These gutters, which resemble the letter K when you look at them from a side view, tend to hold more water than other types of gutters. This is due to their unique shape—which also makes them less likely to leak or bend with added weight from rainwater. They also give off the appearance of crown molding near your home’s roofing.

K-Style Gutters

K-style gutters are the most popular style for new home gutter systems in the U.S.

  • High rainwater capacity

  • Low cost

  • Long-lasting

  • Easy installation

  • Best for angular roofs

Materials and Sizes

K-style gutters are generally made from aluminum, but can also come in vinyl, copper, or galvanized steel. They come in sizes from 5 to 8 inches wide, but can be customized if needed. Most homes require a 5 or 6 inch k-style gutter. Only large homes will require gutters wider than 6 inches.

K-style gutters are the best choice for those who have angular roofs. This adds to their popularity, since that is the most common type of roof installed on homes in the United States.

K-style seamless gutters, the most common type, typically come in 10 to 20 foot sections, which can be easily installed by a professional gutter contractor.

Benefits of K-Style Gutters

There are several reasons that K-style gutters are so popular among modern homes today, including:

Higher water capacity
Due to their design, k-style gutters can hold more water than half-round gutters. This makes them an especially good fit for homes in areas prone to storms and heavy rainfall.
Easy installation
K-style gutters are flat on one side, so they can be attached to a fascia board. As a result, there is no need to install several brackets to keep the gutters in place, which makes the installation process a lot less complicated.
Attractive appearance
K-style gutters have an attractive appearance that can complement a variety of modern architectural styles. This aesthetic versatility means they enhance the appearance of your home, rather than acting as a functional eyesore that lessens its curb appeal.
Sturdy and long lasting
K-style gutters are sturdy, so they can last a long time without needing to be replaced. Their seamless finish makes K-style gutters much less prone to leaks, so you will not have to worry about them being ruined by water damage.

Downsides of K-Style Gutters

Despite the benefits, this style of gutters may not be the right choice for every homeowner. There are a few downsides to K-style gutters, including:

Possible debris accumulation
If you do not install gutter guards, there is a possibility that leaves, twigs, and other debris will get stuck in the crevices of K-style gutters. The gutters need to be cleaned and maintained at least twice per year to avoid clogs that can cause damage to your home.
May corrode over time
Although the shape of K-style gutters reduces leaking, they still may retain just enough water to make them susceptible to corrosion. This problem, however, depends on the type of material you choose for your gutters. It is particular prevalent with some metals, such as aluminum.
Not the best for older homes
Older homes tend to have a more round appearance. The angular shape of K-style gutters can be an awkward choice for these homes and may lessen their overall aesthetic appeal.

How Much Do K-Style Gutters Cost?

The average cost to install K-style gutters on a U.S. home is $8.25 to $15 per liner foot of gutters. The national average is $11.60 per linear foot.

This price includes both material costs for the gutters – which can range from $6 to $11 depending on the material – and the cost of labor and installation – which can range from $2 to $4 per linear foot of guttering installed.

Keep in mind that the total cost of the project depends on the material of k-style gutters you choose. For instance, aluminum and vinyl k-style gutters will be more affordable but less durable, while steel k-style gutters will be more durable but costly.

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Half-Round Gutters

Half-round gutters, which look like a tube that has been cut in two, are an excellent choice for homes that were built prior to the 1950s with more rounded features. They are also commonly used on modern homes that do not have angular roofs (which best accommodate K-style gutters), or feature brick or natural stone siding.

The shape of half-round gutters allows them to catch water without trapping it inside crevices. Half-round gutters also tend to corrode less than k-style gutters, since the interior is smoother, and are also easier to clean.

Half-Round Gutters

Half-round gutters are attractive in appearance and work well for traditional style homes

  • High durability

  • Easy to clean

  • Less prone to clogs

  • Various material options

Materials and Sizes

In terms of materials, half-round gutters come in the same varieties as k-style gutters. You can choose from aluminum, copper, steel, zinc, or vinyl half-round gutters. Half-round gutters are typically between 5 and 6 inches in width, but anything between 4 and 8 inches in width is available. They typically come in 10 foot seamless sections. These can be easily installed and attached to downspouts by a gutter contractor.

Benefits of Half-Round Gutters

There are plenty of benefits of half-round gutters. Rather than being better or worse than k-style gutters, half-round gutters simply offer different pros and cons. Here are some noteworthy benefits of half-round gutters:

Durability
The inside of half-round gutters is smooth. This helps boost their durability, since there are not many creases for water to be collected in. This also results in fewer opportunities for gutters corrode, which goes a long way toward extending the life of the gutters.
Easier to clean
Half-round gutters have less nooks and crannies on the interior. When you’re up on a ladder doing your bi-annual gutter cleaning, this will make the job a bit quicker and easier.
Less likely to clog
The shape and smooth surface of half-round gutters also make them easier to maintain because water and debris move through them efficiently. Things like leaves and twigs do not easily get stuck in these gutters, so they are less likely to get clogged.

Downsides of Half-Round Gutters

On the other hand, bear in mind that half-round gutters are less popular in the U.S. compared to K-style. The reason for this may be due to the following downsides:

Complicated installation
The shape of these gutters creates extra steps during installation because they cannot be fit onto the edge of a roof. Half-round gutters cannot simply be attached to fascia boards like K-style gutters, so they require brackets to keep them in place. Also, if you choose heavier material for your gutters, like copper, it will take more hardware to hold them. The complexity of installation for this gutter style involves the work of a contractor.
Limited availability
Since rounded gutters are less popular in the United States, they are not as readily available from contractors as K-style gutters. If you choose this gutter style, keep in mind that they may be trickier to get and it may be challenging to find your preferred material.
Less water capacity
If you live in an area that has heavy rainfall, half-round gutters may not be the best choice. While they are easier to clean, these gutters hold less water than other gutter styles. This may create an issue and lead to water damage to the home.

How Much Do Half-Round Gutters Cost?

The average cost to install half round gutters on a U.S. home is $9.25 to $16.90 per linear foot of gutters. The national average cost is $13 per linear foot of half round guttering.

This total installation cost includes both the cost of materials – which can range between $7 and $12.90 per linear foot – and the cost of labor – which can cost between $2 and $4 per linear foot of guttering installed.

Half round gutters are just slightly more expensive on average than k-style gutters. Again, the overall cost depends on the gutter material you choose.

The more complex installation involved with half-round gutters may also lead to higher labor costs. However, be sure to check the local installation rates in your area before turning away from this gutter style.

Custom Fascia Gutters

While this style is not as common on U.S. homes, if you want gutters with a unique look, custom-built fascia gutters may be a good choice for you. These gutters, which are generally 5 to 7 inches in width, are a popular choice for those with large homes. They are the most efficient at diverting water away from roofs, since they have bigger surface areas than other gutter styles. They are seamless and rectangular in shape, and can give your home’s exterior a stylish and contemporary look.

Custom Fascia Gutters

Fascia gutters are typically made of aluminum and custom-built to fit your home

  • Highest water capacity

  • Customizable

  • Sleek, modern appearance

  • Can be difficult to clean

Custom fascia gutters are usually made from pieces of aluminum custom-fit to the size of your home, rather than assembled from pre-made sections attached to each other.

Benefits of Custom Fascia Gutters

While benefits are similar to other gutter styles, it is worthwhile to take note of the following advantages of custom fascia gutters.

Protection from extreme weather
If you live in an area with extreme weather, custom fascia gutters are a good choice because of their design. Fascia gutters are able to handle a lot more water than other gutter styles, which gives you protection during heavy snow and rain. Also, these gutters are secure enough to withstand strong winds during storms, so you do not have to worry about them becoming detached.
Appearance
Fascia gutters have a sleek appearance that other gutter styles do not have. If you have a new home, you may prefer their look because they complement more modern architecture and do not use soffit panels.

Downsides of Custom Fascia Gutters

Fascia gutters also have the following downsides that you should consider before investing in them.

More difficult to clean
Since fascia gutters are very large, there are more opportunities for debris to get stuck inside of them. This can cause clogs if you do not clean them frequently. One way you can help mitigate this is by having gutter guards installed.
Possible water damage
Fascia gutters are designed to hold more water than other types of gutters. This is great if you live in an area with extreme weather conditions. Unfortunately, they are also prone to water damage if they are not maintained regularly, or repaired as soon as problems emerge.
Expensive
Because they are custom-built and fitted to your particular home, fascia gutters tend to cost more than traditional k-style and half-round gutter styles.

Cost of Fascia Gutters

Fascia gutters cost about $5 to $30 or more per linear foot. They are the most pricy gutter style, since they are custom built to fit your home. Fascia gutters are also more complicated to install than other types of gutters. They will require a professional contractor for installation.

Gutter Styles: Maintenance Differences

All gutters need to be maintained to some degree, usually at least twice a year. But the way you need to clean and maintain your gutters will be different based on the type of gutter system you choose. The following are best practices for cleaning each style of gutters.

K-Style Gutter Maintenance

In order to clean k-style gutters, you will need outdoor work gloves and a ladder. First identify areas where leaves and other debris have accumulated. Then:

  1. Use a small shovel or your hands (with gloves) to clear those areas of gutters manually.
  2. After clearing the debris, clean the inside of the gutters by pouring a solution of 1 part bleach and 2 parts water directly down them to remove any dirt that has accumulated inside. Continue this process on each section of your gutters.
  3. Then, go back and spray the gutters with hose water to remove dirt and bacteria left inside. Point the hose in the direction of the downspouts so that the water drains properly.
  4. In addition, when cleaning your gutters, look out for signs of damage to sections and repair them right away before these areas compromise your entire gutter system.

Remember that k-style gutters often clog more easily than half-round gutters, especially during storms. If you have k-style gutters, it is a good idea to prep your gutters ahead of storm season to lessen damage and maintenance needs.

Half-Round Gutter Maintenance

For half-round gutters, maintenance needs will be quite similar.

  1. Start by removing leaves and debris on the inside with a spatula or your hands with work gloves. If there are areas where the debris is hardened, you can scrape it out with a putty knife.
  2. After, double check the area to ensure that none of the particles are left inside.
  3. Next, look for places that may be clogged at the downspout entries and elbow joints. If there is clogging, use tongs to remove any debris you find.
  4. Then check to see if there are parts of your gutters that are damaged. If the damage is small, you can use sealant to repair the broken sections. If the damage is too big to repair, those parts of the gutters will need to be replaced.
  5. In addition, if there are areas of your half-round gutters that are slightly sagging, use metal brackets to reinforce them. If that does not fix the problem, or you do not know how to fix them on your own, you will need to contact a gutter contractor to address the issue as soon as possible.

Fascia Gutter Maintenance

Fascia gutters are deeper than other types of gutters, so they are more challenging to clean. Make sure to remove leaves, needles, and other debris from your gutters so they do not get clogged.

For custom fascia gutters, it best to hire a professional to clean your gutters to ensure it is done properly, and that any damage is repaired immediately.

Finding a Professional Gutter Installer

Are you thinking of replacing, repairing, or upgrading your gutter system? It is a good idea to hire a professional gutter contractor to complete this project. A professional will be able to advise you on which type of gutters are best for your home, and ensure the installation is done properly.