Are you in the market for gutters? If so, you may be overwhelmed by all the options. Not to worry!
This comprehensive guide will walk you through everything you need to know to choose the best gutters for your home.
There are a few things to consider when shopping for gutters, including material, size, shape, and more. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about gutters so that you can make the best decision for your home.
First, let’s discuss the shape of gutters. They come in two basic shapes: K-style and half-round.
First, let’s discuss the shape of gutters. They come in a few basic shapes:
A. K-Style Gutters
K-style gutters are the most common type of gutters, and they’re suited for DIY installation. They can be used to give off the appearance of crown molding near your home’s roofing, an attractive feature many homeowners love.
K-style gutters come in 5-inch to 6-inch widths and can be nailed directly to your fascia boards without brackets, making them easier to clean than other gutter systems. According to research, K-style gutters are the most popular style for new home gutter systems in the U.S.
And that’s for a good reason. They hold more water than other types of gutters and are less likely to leak or bend with added weight from rainwater.
Unfortunately, however, they’re more susceptible to clogging. So remember to prep your gutters ahead of storm season.
B. Victorian Ogee
Next on the list of gutter shapes is the Victorian Ogee.
As you can see in the image, the Victorian Ogee has a very distinct S-shaped curve. This is what gives it its unique look. While it may not be the best option for high water flow situations, it can certainly add a touch of elegance to your home.
But be warned, custom-made Victorian Ogees can be pretty expensive. So, if you’re on a budget, consider another option.
C. Fascia Gutters
Next on our list of gutter shapes is the fascia gutter.
As you can see, fascia gutters are installed along the entire fascia height of a house. This helps to create smooth lines on a gambrel roof and prevent water damage that can occur without a fascia installed. Fascia gutters also help to keep uninvited guests from entering your house through the rafter tails.
While they are more expensive than traditional gutters, fascia gutters offer several benefits that make them worth the investment.
D. Half-Round Gutters
There are many different styles of half-round gutters, such as reverse bead and single and double-bead gutters. They come in various materials and shapes, so you can easily find the perfect gutter for your home.
Because they have smooth surfaces, they tend to be more durable and easier to clean than other types of gutters. And, because of their shape, they can handle higher volumes of water than other types of gutters (except for K-style gutters).
Unfortunately, they’re not as good at hiding away unsightly downspouts and can be more challenging to install than other types of gutters.
E. European Gutters
European gutters are half-round gutters with an exterior bead and external bracket, typically made from rigid materials like copper. They have a sleek look and can handle more water than other types of gutters.
Have problems with small animals and birds taking over your gutters?
No problem; European gutters lack the angles and curves that these creatures use to climb into your gutters, making them ideal for homes in rural areas, which is good because they can’t be used with gutter guard systems.
Now that you know the shape of the gutters let’s move on to the material.
There are a variety of materials that you can choose from when it comes to gutters. The most popular options are aluminum, galvanized steel, copper, and vinyl. Let’s take a closer look at each one.
Aluminum is the most popular type of gutter material. It’s lightweight, doesn’t rust, and is relatively easy to install. Plus, it’s inexpensive compared to other types of gutters.
Because it’s easily painted, you can find aluminum gutters in various colors. And, if you live in an area with severe weather conditions, you can get aluminum gutters reinforced with steel or another metal.
The downside to aluminum is that it can be easily dented and more susceptible to leaks than other gutters. Another downside is that they’re more expensive than vinyl but worth the extra caught due to their longevity.
Copper gutters are popular for homeowners who want a beautiful and durable gutter system.
Though they are more expensive than other options, copper gutters can last long with proper installation.
Unfortunately, copper is not a DIY-friendly gutter material and, therefore, should be installed by a professional to ensure longevity.
Over time, copper gutters can develop a beautiful patina, but their lifespan is shorter than other materials. If you are considering copper gutters for your home, carefully weigh the pros and cons to make the best decision for your needs.
C. Galvanized Steel
Galvanized steel gutters are an excellent option for homeowners who want a durable and sturdy gutter system. Galvanized steel gutters are treated with a zinc coating to prevent corrosion and can last up to 20-30 years with proper maintenance. However, if not properly maintained, they may rust.
Galvanized steel gutters, however, are best installed by a professional. Do-it-yourselfers may find the installation process to be challenging. But, once installed, galvanized steel gutters will provide your home with years of low-maintenance beauty and function.
If you’re looking for a long-lasting gutter solution, consider galvalume. Galvalume is a mix of zinc and aluminum that is resistant to rust and damage. It requires professional installation but can last up to nine times longer than galvanized steel gutters.
Galvanized steel gutters are more durable than aluminum gutters but may rust if not correctly maintained.
So again, go with galvalume if you want a gutter solution that will last. But keep in mind that it requires professional installation and regular maintenance to prevent rusting.
Zinc gutters are another excellent gutter material. Because it is used as an alloying element for aluminum, brass, and steel alloys, it gives these metals extra corrosion resistance.
They’re actually one of the longest-lasting metals used in gutters and roofing, often lasting 80-90 years with little to no maintenance.
Over time, Zinc gutters and downspouts form a protective zinc carbonate layer (aka patina). This patina is what gives zinc its anti-corrosive properties.
So zinc is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a low-maintenance, durable gutter system! While they may be a little more expensive than aluminum, they’re definitely worth the investment.
What’s not to love about zinc gutters?
Well, one downside is that they’re a bit more difficult to install than other types of gutters. However, if you’re working with a professional gutter installer, this shouldn’t be a problem.
Another thing to keep in mind is that zinc gutters can be a bit noisy during heavy rainstorms. This may be something to consider if you live in an area with a lot of rainfall.
Overall, zinc gutters are an excellent choice for your home. They’re durable, low-maintenance, and look great!
Vinyl is a material that is often used to make gutters. It is cheap and easy to install but may not last as long as metal gutters.
Vinyl is lightweight and inexpensive, making it a popular choice for exterior siding. It can last for many years without fading or cracking, but it can become brittle in high-heat climates and may crack when exposed to hard freezes.
Vinyl gutters are one of the most popular types of gutters because they are straightforward to install and relatively inexpensive. However, they may not last as long as metal gutters; in some climates, they can become brittle and crack.
If you live in an area with a lot of snow and ice or have trees near your home, your gutters may need to be replaced more often. If you live in a hurricane-prone area, it’s essential to ensure that your gutters can withstand high winds.
If you live in a high-heat climate, there may be better choices than vinyl. In these areas, it can become brittle and crack. If you live in an area with a lot of snow and ice, consider metal gutters instead.
When choosing gutters, you must consider the climate and the type of home you have. If you’re unsure which type of gutter is best for you, talk to a contractor or home improvement specialist.
Now that you know the shapes and materials of gutters let’s look at how they are constructed. Most gutters are made up of several different parts:
- The downspout is the pipe that carries the water from the gutter to the ground or a drain.
- The elbows are the joints that connect the downspout to the gutter and allow it to turn corners.
- The straps are metal or plastic straps that hold the gutters to the roof.
- The hangers are brackets that support the gutters and keep them level.
- The miters are the joints connecting the gutters at the corners.
- The end caps are the plugs that seal the ends of the gutters.
- The spew guards: These are the baffles that keep debris from entering the gutters.
- The splash guards: These are the deflectors that keep water from spilling out of the gutters.
Now that you know the parts of a gutter, let’s look at the different styles of gutters.
There are two basic types of gutters: sectional and seamless. Sectional gutters are made up of different sections that are joined together, while seamless gutters are made from one continuous piece of material.
Let’s discuss each type in more detail:
A. Sectional Gutters
Sectional gutters are made up of different sections that are joined together. They are usually made of metal or plastic and come in various colors. Sectional gutters are easier to install than seamless gutters but are more likely to leak.
If you choose to go with sectional gutters, make sure that the sections are correctly sealed and that the gutters are correctly supported.
Another thing to keep in mind is that sectional gutters may not be able to handle heavy rains, as well as seamless gutters. If you live in an area with a lot of rainfall, consider seamless gutters instead.
B. Seamless Gutters
Seamless gutters are made from one long piece of metal, which makes them less likely to leak than traditional gutters.
They require professional installation and are more expensive than traditional gutters, but they look nicer and have a smoother appearance. Seamless gutters are superior to conventional gutter systems because they have almost no length limit and are easier to install.
Because of their increased durability and watertight seal, seamless gutters are the best choice for most homes. But no matter what type of gutter you choose, ensure that it is properly installed and maintained to avoid leaks and other problems.
Gutters tend to come in two different sizes: five-inch and six-inch. Here are the pros and cons of each size:
A. 5-inch Gutters
A 5-inch gutter is the most common size and is adequate for most homes. If you live in a region with heavy rainfall, you will need to choose larger gutters to handle the water.
The main advantage of a 5-inch gutter is that it is less expensive than a 6-inch gutter. But keep in mind that you may need to clean them more often because they can clog more easily.
B. 6-inch Gutters
A 6-inch gutter is larger and can handle more water than a 5-inch gutter. They are more expensive but are less likely to clog and require less maintenance.
If you live in an area with a lot of rainfall, consider 6-inch gutters. But remember that they can be more challenging to install because of their size.
Bear in mind there are other sizes of gutters available; these are just the most common. When choosing gutters, make sure to pick the right size for your home and your climate.
Protip: Don’t get too large of a gutter; it may look out of place on your home.
Most gutters come in various colors to match your home’s exterior. The most common colors are white, brown, and black.
If you want your gutters to blend in with your home, choose a color that matches the trim or siding. If you want your gutters to stand out, choose a color that contrasts with your home’s exterior. Here are some of the most common color styles:
Different colors can create other effects to match any type of home. Neutral colors like white, cream or beige can create a classic look that will never go out of style. Neutrals, like white, tan, grey, or brown, can help gutters blend in with your home while still being visible.
B. Earth Tones
Earth tones are a great choice if you want your gutters to have a more natural look. Brown, tan, and green can all give your home a rustic feel.
C. Bold Colors
If you want your gutters to stand out, choose a bright color like red, blue, or yellow. These colors will make a statement and add curb appeal to your home.
If you want a modern look for your home, consider metallic gutters. Silver, copper, and gold can give your home a sleek and stylish look.
Although optional, gutter guards can be a great addition to any gutter system. Gutter guards help keep leaves and debris out of your gutters, which means they’ll clog less often.
There are many different types of gutter guards available on the market, so do some research to find the kind that’s right for you. Some popular types of gutter guards are:
Screens are often used as guards to protect against leaves and other large debris. However, they will not keep out smaller materials. Users will need to remove the screens periodically to clean the gutters.
Screens can become blocked quickly if there is too much debris on top of them, so you want to ensure that you keep an eye on them and clean them as needed.
B. Fine Mesh
A fine mesh guard is a type of gutter guard made of stainless steel and is better at keeping out smaller, particle-sized debris. Fine mesh guards can be more expensive than other guards, but they are less likely to become blocked and require less maintenance.
C. Surface Tension
Surface tension gutter guards use the scientific principle of (you guessed it) surface tension to keep debris out of gutters.
As rainwater trickles down your roof and reaches the lip of your gutter cover, the water molecules stick together– like when you put a drop of water on a countertop. This creates a “skin” of moisture that debris can’t penetrate, so it simply rolls right off the edge of your gutters.
Foam gutter guards are made of a porous, spongy material that allows water to pass through while keeping out leaves and other debris. These guards are easy to install and don’t require any special tools.
E. Reverse Curve
Reverse curve gutter guards are one of the most effective guards available. Water flows down your roof and is directed into a curved opening at the front of the guard. This curved opening creates a centrifugal force that forces the water to spin around and go into the gutter while debris is pulled away and falls to the ground.
Reverse curve gutter guards are more expensive than other guards, but they are very effective at keeping gutters clean and clog-free.
Well, there you have everything you need to know about gutters! We hope this guide has been helpful and that you now feel confident in choosing the best gutters for your home. Now that you know all about gutters read our guide to choosing a reputable gutter contractor for your home.