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.
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 are the most popular style for new home gutter systems in the U.S.
High rainwater capacity
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 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:
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:
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.
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 are attractive in appearance and work well for traditional style homes
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:
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:
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
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.
Downsides of Custom Fascia Gutters
Fascia gutters also have the following downsides that you should consider before investing in them.
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:
- Use a small shovel or your hands (with gloves) to clear those areas of gutters manually.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- After, double check the area to ensure that none of the particles are left inside.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.