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Choosing new rain gutters for your home is not an easy decision. There are many factors to consider, including the gutter material, design, and required installation process. We’ve reviewed these factors and several more to help you weigh your options.
Gutter suppliers offer several options to customize your home’s gutter system for aesthetic appeal and functionality.
First, consider the gutter material before committing to a purchase. Aluminum gutters are the most common material and benefit from a lightweight construction, making for an easier installation. This material lasts for around 20 years, but note that it can be susceptible to denting and warpage from falling debris.
Other gutter materials include the following:
- Copper: Copper is an unconventional choice with a striking, elegant appearance that is often a good match for historic homes. It forms a patina over time due to natural oxidation, giving the material a bluish appearance that many people enjoy. Copper is durable and doesn’t rust, lasting 50 years or more in ideal conditions.
- Galvanized steel: These gutters are zinc-coated, a process that strengthens the material’s resistance to rust and corrosion. Steel gutters often last longer than aluminum gutters, but they are heavy and difficult to install.
- Vinyl: Vinyl gutters are made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a type of plastic. These gutters are the most cost-effective option for homeowners but have a shorter life span than aluminum gutters and are more prone to warpages due to weather fluctuations.
Residential gutter systems come in several styles, but K-style and half-round gutters are the most common choices.
- Half-round gutters: Half-round gutters are less common than K-style gutters, but they offer a unique, rounded appearance that complements traditional homes. The hangers are exposed but often have an aesthetically pleasing design. Half-round gutters flush out debris more efficiently due to their rounded shape, but they are more difficult to install.
- K-style gutters: These gutters look like the letter K from the side and like crown molding from the front. They are easy to install, can hold hidden brackets for a sleeker appearance, and come in many sizes. K-style gutters are the most common style you will see on modern homes.
- Seamless gutters: Seamless gutters contain no seams, meaning the installer fabricates the gutter from a single sheet of metal or vinyl. This adds to the cost, but the absence of seams reduces the chance of leaks developing in your home’s new gutter system.
- Sectional gutters: Sectional gutters, also known as traditional gutters, come in separate pieces that are connected together during gutter installation. This process leaves seams that must be sealed with caulk or solder, depending on the material. Seams increase the chance of leaks developing without yearly maintenance.
Gutters come in multiple widths. You will most commonly see 5-, 6-, and 7-inch gutters. The larger the gutter, the more heavy rain flow it can handle. However, large gutters cost more and are often only necessary for homes with steeply pitched roofs. You may also consider a larger gutter if inclement weather is common in your area.
The following factors are different for every homeowner and should be key considerations when choosing a gutter system.
In an area that frequently experiences severe weather conditions, it’s important to purchase gutters that are large enough to withstand heavy precipitation. This will help prevent water damage to your home. You might also want to consider a more durable material, such as galvanized steel or copper, to avoid rust and corrosion developing on your gutters. In mild to moderate climates, aluminum gutters are a reliable option.
Style of Home
Modern homes tend to look aesthetically pleasing with most gutter styles. However, an older, more rustic home may benefit from the elegant appearance of copper gutters and a half-round design. This is ultimately up to you, but if you live in a historic neighborhood, you may want to consult local zoning regulations before purchasing a gutter system.
Vinyl is the most cost-effective gutter material, but pricier materials, such as copper, provide a striking appearance and superior durability. Zinc is another high-end gutter material that you can find from many suppliers. Aluminum and galvanized or stainless steel are mid-range options.
You can choose to purchase gutters and conduct a DIY installation or schedule a professional installation. Some materials, such as copper gutters and steel gutters, benefit from professional installation due to the unwieldy material weight. Seamless gutter designs also require professional installation.
One additional thing to consider when purchasing a gutter system is whether you intend to sell your home in the future. Certain styles of gutters, such as half-round gutters, tend to be more pleasing to the eye. High-end materials, such as copper and zinc, also have an appealing aesthetic quality. These factors can boost curb appeal and potentially increase the value of your home.
You should also consider the gutter’s warranty before committing to a purchase. Some manufacturers and installers may provide long-term warranties, while others only provide limited warranty coverage.
We recommend considering the gutter material, style, size and cost when deciding on the best gutter for your home. You should also decide whether you want to install the gutters yourself or hire a professional. Regardless of which gutter type you choose, you will need to clean your gutters at least twice per year.
To reduce gutter cleaning frequency and the chance of damage caused by falling debris, you can install a gutter guard. These products offer gutter protection by allowing water into the gutter while shedding debris to the surrounding ground. LeafFilter is the best gutter guard provider in our rankings, offering a durable micro-mesh design that blocks large and small debris to prevent gutter clogs.
Best Gutters FAQ
Are gutters necessary for a home?
Yes, gutters are a necessary home component to prevent water from running down your home’s siding and foundation. This helps prevent structural damage, landscaping damage, mold and mildew, and pest infestations.
Can half-round gutters withstand heavy rainfall?
Half-round gutters can withstand heavy rainfall. However, it’s important to note that a half-round gutter can not handle the same amount of water flow as a K-style gutter of equal width.
How do I make my home’s gutter system as low-maintenance as possible?
To make your home’s gutter system as low-maintenance as possible, you should install a high-quality gutter guard. This will reduce the amount of debris that accumulates in the gutter system.
How We Chose the Top Gutter Guard Providers
We researched and analyzed dozens of gutter guards and gutter guard companies to create an in-depth review methodology. We formulated a rating system based on the factors homeowners find most important. We evaluated each provider’s gutter guard design and aesthetics, service offerings, customer service and communication, quote process, warranties, and financing options.
We created a separate rating system for DIY-installed gutter guards sold on retailer sites. We evaluated these guards based on their quality of materials, aesthetics, communication, warranty, customer reviews, and cost.
We evaluated each provider’s reputation using independent, third-party sites such as the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and Google My Business pages. For products, we analyzed the customer reviews on whichever online retailer primarily hosts the product.