G utters play an indispensable role in protecting your home by channeling water away from its roof, siding and foundation. By doing so it will help you to avoid leaks, flooding, mold, and many other types of damage.
What you probably don’t realize is that there are several different types of gutters – both in terms of their style as well as the materials that they’re made from.
Main Types of Gutter Styles
To be honest there are quite a number of different styles of gutters, but the most popular are:
These gutters have flat backs and are curved to look like a ‘K’ when viewed from the side. Compared to many other types of gutters they are aesthetically pleasing with a decorative front and side that resembles the crown molding of modern buildings.
In addition to looking good, K-style gutters also perform well during heavy rain and can carry more water than most other types of gutters. However the main downside of this type of gutter is that it is more difficult to clean.
Most of the gutters on older buildings tend to be half-round gutters that look like a trough with a semicircular design and curved lip. They are typically attached using brackets and are a good fit aesthetically on brick or historic buildings.
While half-round gutters perform well, are easier to clean, and don’t clog easily – they don’t carry as much water as K-style gutters. On top of that they also tend to be more expensive, more difficult to install, and easier to damage.
Commercial buildings often favor box-style gutters that are designed to handle large amounts of water. Instead of being hung on the edge of the roof like other types of gutters, box-style gutters tuck under your roof shingles – meaning they need to be installed at the same time as the roofing.
It should be noted that box-style gutters are normally more expensive than any other type of gutters.
Make no mistake there are many other types of gutter styles as well as custom designs out there. The three listed above are by far the most popular however, and are the best place to start if you’re thinking about installing a new gutter.
Main Types of Gutter Materials
The material that your gutters are made from can affect their aesthetics as well as durability. The main types of gutter materials you need to know are:
- Aluminum gutters that are generally cheap, light-weight, rust-resistant and easy to install. The main downside of this material however is that it is normally fairly thin, easily dented, and may even warp over time due to temperature fluctuations.
- Copper gutters are more heavy duty and durable, with a uniquely warm ‘patina’ aesthetic. While they won’t rust or warp, they are expensive – and the patina may eventually develop a greenish hue.
- Galvanized steel gutters are very strong and durable, but they’re also very heavy and prone to rust. If you choose galvanised guttering it is important to get a professional to install and weld it properly then perform regular maintenance.
- Vinyl gutters are a cheap, easy to install, and waterproof option that won’t corrode or rust and can even resist salty air. Unfortunately they aren’t very durable and may become brittle and crack quite easily.
- Zinc gutters are one of the most durable and long-lasting options that won’t rust, warp, or fade. However they are one of the more expensive materials available and don’t do well in salty air or if there is a lot of acidic runoff from certain types of roofing.
As you can see there are quite a lot of options out there in terms of gutter materials. Just remember that not all materials may be suitable for all styles of gutters – which is why it is best to choose the style you prefer first, and only then look at what material you want to use.
If you’re planning a DIY installation, you should also look up how each type of gutter is attached. On the other hand if you aren’t, be sure to look for professionals with experience – and maybe ask them for their opinion before you make a final decision.