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Your Official Guide to Gutter Materials

Updated: Jul 18, 2023

Gutter systems come in many shapes and sizes, and can come in a variety of materials. From vinyl to copper, here are some of the most popular gutter materials available today. Read on to see which one is right for you!

A patient hand installs a white half round gutter by clicking each section into piece below a ceramic roof while on a green ladder

Gutter Shapes

Gutters can come in a variety of shapes. The type of gutter that is best for your home will depend on what type of building it is, or the slope of the roof. This Old House goes into greater detail about each roof shape. Here are the different shapes that gutters can come in:

A K-style gutter is shown on the edge of a white and gray house with a rectangular downspout in the foreground with green trees in the background

The most common shape is a K-style gutter. This gutter shape resembles crown molding, which is visually appealing. It also allows for the gutter to be nailed right into the fascia because of the flat nature of this shape. It is most commonly fitted with a rectangular shaped downspout. The downside to these is that it is hard to clean gutters of this shape.

A metal half round gutter is shown off with a circular down spout and a blue sky is in the background to showcase the shiny gray color of the gutter

Half-round gutters look exactly how they sound. A semi-circle that features a curved lip with a circular downspout. This is a popular choice for older homes and is featured on most historic homes. This is the second most common shape for gutters.

Custom fascia gutters are created from one long piece of aluminum. This type of gutter cannot be installed in pieces. Instead, this gutter is custom fit for your roof and is installed in one piece to create a seamless look. This has an expensive gutter replacement cost as it must be done by a professional.

A white box-style gutter is hidden in this roof with a circular downspout hanging down the side of a red brick building

Commercial and industrial buildings will use box-style gutters. These gutters are larger than the others, so it is the best option for larger roofs that see a lot of water. These gutters do not hang from the edge of a roof like other types of gutters. Instead, they tuck under the roof's shingles.

Vinyl Gutters

If you are looking for an affordable option for gutter materials, then vinyl might be the perfect choice for you. It is durable, easy to install, and has the lowest gutter replacement cost. Plus, it is also resistant to mold and mildew, making it ideal for areas where water tends to collect. However, this gutter material can become brittle in low and high temperatures which can lead to cracking. This type of gutter is great for DIY installation according to houselogic.

Aluminum Gutters

Aluminum gutters are lightweight, easy to install, and will not rust. Aluminum is also a cost effective material. The only downside is that this gutter material is more likely to dent, especially when using a thinner aluminum. If you live in an area that gets snow, then opt into a thicker aluminum as it will hold the weight of the snow better. HOME Stratosphere says aluminum is the more popular gutter material on the market.

Copper Gutters

Copper gutters are another popular choice among homeowners because of their durability and resistance to rust. However, they are also more expensive than other options, so make sure you weigh out the cost before choosing them. And while this gutter material has resistance to rust, it will eventually fade to a greenish color, which Forbes describes as a beautiful patina. It does stand up in severe weather, though.

Steel Gutters

Steel gutters are both durable and aesthetically pleasing. This Old House says steel gutter materials are galvanized so they will not rust, but oxidation can still occur. This is a more expensive option as steel is a heavier material, but it is worth it in areas with severe weather. This material is the most likely to stand up to all kinds of weather.

Zinc Gutters

Zinc gutters are another highly durable but expensive option. This type of gutter is rust resistant and can survive harsh weather. It will start out a dull color, but will eventually develop a sheen to it. This material is not the best for areas near the ocean as salt water can decrease the life of these gutters. Architectural Digest says that zinc gutters are one of the most low-maintenance options.

Wood Gutters

Wood gutters are popular for historic homes as they are an aesthetic option. They stand up well to extreme weather, but this is an expensive option. The cost of gutter materials and maintenance are increased with this type of gutter. According to Leaf Filter, this gutter material is not recommended for those that want a long lasting option.

For a full pros and cons list of each gutter option, check out Bob Vila.

Gutter Replacement Cost

The gutter replacement cost will differ depending on which gutter type you choose for your home. Copper is more expensive than vinyl, but it will also depend on the size of your home. Cost can often be estimated by linear foot, unless you are installing custom fascia gutters. Most homeowners can plan to spend a couple thousand on a gutter replacement. HomeAdvisor offers a calculator to determine what your gutter replacement cost will be.

A man's white gloved hand grabs piles of leaves out of his K-style gutter and off his red asphalt shingle roof in the fall to keep his gutters clean and damage-free

Clean Gutters

No matter what type of gutter you have, it is important to be careful when cleaning them. Gutters can easily scratch and become damaged. A standoff will help prevent scratches and dents from a ladder leaning against your gutters. Make sure to clean out the downspout first so that water will have a way out. You can use a hose to force buildup to open up. Clean gutters will flush water down the downspout, so you will know once your job is done. Remember, safety is the number one priority when climbing a ladder, so take every precaution to prevent falls. Contact a professional if you do not feel comfortable cleaning your gutters by yourself.

Gutter Replacement

Gutters should be inspected and cleaned twice per year to avoid damage. Leaves in the fall can clog up clean gutters, so be sure to watch for overflow. It is recommended that gutters be replaced about every 20 years or so. If they are cracked or damaged, then do not wait to replace them as water can damage your home’s siding and foundation.

If you are interested in a 100% free roof and gutter inspection, then call Lifetime Quality Roofing at 614-407-7663! Our experts are located in Columbus, OH, Cincinnati, OH, Pittsburgh, PA, Dallas, TX, and Tampa, FL. We install top-rated gutter products to put your mind at ease.

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