When it comes to home protection from weather and other external elements, people always start with insulation and other types of “heavy artillery” to protect the walls of their houses from cold piercing winds, rain, snow, rodents, etc. However, for some reason, roof gutter systems are often skipped! Nevertheless, gutters are no less important than all the other types of home protection.
In this article, you will learn about gutter shapes and sizes that exist these days on the market. Also, we will tell you more about gutter style options so that you could better understand what makes gutters different and what kind of gutter might be more suitable for your house. Finally, we will tell you more about the different gutter materials, as well as the importance of gutter systems in general.
This informative yet simple guide will cover the terms a homeowner needs to be aware of for gutter installation and describe the different styles of gutters. In addition, it will cover why you need a gutter system.
Different Types of Rain Gutters You May Install On Your Home
People often forget about the high necessity of rain gutters for their homes, but these simple elements are crucially important for keeping your home both functional and safe to live in! Rain gutters direct water away from your siding, roof, and the foundation of your house, thus helping you avoid the most common problems that come with water damage, such as:
- foundation settlement
- basement flooding
However, when it comes to installing new gutters or replacing the existing ones, folks tend to get pretty much puzzled! Despite being quite a simple component of your home, gutters come in various styles and materials, which makes it difficult for a non-professional to decide which type of gutter system to purchase and install.
This is why we are here to help you out! Below, you can find a description of the most popular gutter styles, such as K-style and half-round gutters, as well as a couple of other types of gutters you should know about.
Half-Round Gutters And Their Specifics
These gutters come in a semicircular design and feature a curved lip. Due to the rounded design, they also have round downspouts. You can buy half-round gutters in 5-inch and 6-inch widths.
If you pay closer attention, you may notice that many homes that have been built before 1960 feature this gutter style. So if your home is historic or brick, you should consider these gutters since they will work well. In fact, when it comes to older and historic homes, your local authorities may require you to have this type of gutter!
Here are some strong and weak sides of this kind of gutter you should know about before you install them:
- They have a lovely rustic look
- They are easier to clean
- These gutters are less likely to rust or corrode
- They are less likely to clog
- More expensive
- Take more time to install them
- Come with higher labor costs for installation
- Not as efficient in heavy rains since they handle less water
- Less rigid and durable than K-Style
- Easier to damage
K-style gutters are the most common type of gutters that can be found in modern homes. Besides, these gutters are also easy to install yourself which makes them a more desired option for those who don’t want to spend extra cash on labor costs for installation.
Like half-round gutters, K-style gutters come in 5-inch to 6-inch widths, but the difference is that they have rectangular downspouts. Due to their flat backs, K-style gutters can be easily nailed directly to your fascia boards without using brackets. However, cleaning K-style gutters is more challenging than other gutter types because their inner angles tend to collect a lot of debris that often gets stuck there, clogging the system.
Pros of K-Style gutters
- They are cheaper than other options
- They are easier to install
- They are more durable than Half-Round gutters
- They feature rigid construction
- They can handle more water during heavy rain
- They look modern
Cons of K-Style gutters
- Tend to get clogged more easier
- More prone to corrosion
Custom Fascia Gutters
If you strive for a seamless, contemporary look of your home, you should opt for these custom-built gutters. Fascia gutters do have a downside though. See, they only need to be installed by a professional! This is a must because a professional will have to work to create a custom-built system made of one long piece of aluminum and then install it.
The aluminum piece is tailor-made and will be designed according to your home’s precise measurements and roof’s pitch. This will ensure that the gutter system is perfectly attached and functions well. However, due to so much custom work, you need to be aware that you will most likely pay twice as much for fascia gutters as half-round or K-style gutters!
Box-style gutters often can be found on commercial or industrial buildings, but if you need them for a residential home, a professional can tailor them quite easily. Box gutters are specifically useful for those who need to handle heavy rainfall since they are oversized.
This gutter style comes in 7-inch and 8-inch widths, but there are some that come as large as 10 inches wide! Due to their size, you will need a larger roof to install them.
Also, unlike other types of gutter systems, box gutters are not hung on your roof’s edge. Instead, they are installed by using a high back section that tucks under a roof’s shingles. Due to this feature, box gutters must be installed while your home is being built.
Now you know more about roof gutter types that exist on the market out there. You learned about the most common types of gutter systems, as well as their pros and cons. In addition, now you know a few specific features that some of them have (for instance, that box gutters can only be installed while your home is being built!). All this information will help you decide which type of gutter system you might need for your home should you decide to reinstall it.
Gutter Material Types And Their Pros And Cons
As you probably know, gutters are made of different materials, but vinyl and aluminum remain the two most popular options used today. However, in order to be able to decide which type of gutter system will suit your home better, it is good to learn what perks and downsides each gutter material has.
Strong And Weak Sides Of Vinyl Gutters
Vinyl gutters are the most common type of gutters out there these days. Vinyl gutters are easy to install and you can actually do it yourself, which is why people often choose this material for DIY installation projects.
However, vinyl gutters also come with certain cons. See, they are made from plastics and PVC, which means they are not durable and have an average lifespan of 10 to 20 years. Besides, vinyl gutters tend to deteriorate faster in wetter climates! So if your home is located in a place with wet weather conditions, you may want to consider a metal gutter instead, such as steel or copper.
Pros of vinyl gutters:
- They are cheap
- You can install them yourself
- They are waterproof
- They are made of cheap material that bends easily
- They are only available in white color
Pros And Cons Of Aluminum Gutters
As we have just mentioned above, aluminum gutters come as another great option for DIYers. They are lightweight and rust-resistant. Besides, this gutter type is more long-living, having an average lifespan of 20 to 30 years! On the other hand, aluminum gutters at a higher risk of cracking than other metal gutters.
Pros of aluminum gutters
- Not heavy
- Resistant to rust
- Very easy to install
- Available in many color options
- Prone to damage because of extreme temperature fluctuations
- Tend to crack
Galvanized Steel Gutters
Galvanized steel gutters are more durable and sturdy than other types of gutter systems (aluminum gutters in particular), but the biggest downside they have is that they require professional installation since these gutters need soldering.
Galvanized steel gutters will be ideal for homes that experience heavy rainfall and wet weather. They can last up to 20 to 30 years, however, you should note that they may rust if not maintained correctly.
- Can handle large amounts of weight
- Very heavy
- Tend to get loose more often
- Rust very easily
Zinc gutters are one of the best gutter options for those who are searching for something that requires low maintenance. These gutters are rust-resistant and use a self-sealing patina which allows them to withstand the development of any scratches or cracks on their surface. Thanks to being so sturdy, pre-weathered zinc gutters allow you to avoid extra payments for additional gutter repairs or replacements. In fact, this gutter type can easily last for 80 years on average!
The copper gutter type is another type of gutter system that is very durable. They do not warp, bend, or rust even while being affected by extreme weather conditions. Also, thanks to their appearance, they will give your home a unique look and style. However, copper gutters tend to be the most expensive option, and besides, they require professional installation only.
Pros of copper gutters
- Stylish “patina” look
Cons of copper gutters
- Most expensive
- They come loose more often because of being heavier
Now you are better informed about the major types of gutter systems, as well as the materials these systems can be made of. In addition, now you know what pros and cons each of these systems and materials have.
What Gutters Mean For Your House
Probably, there is no need to explain in detail what importance gutter systems have for our homes. However, since people tend to neglect their importance and skip proper gutter installation quite often, let’s remind you once again what benefits gutters bring to your house.
Mainly, your gutters are responsible for water management. During heavy rains, gutters direct water from your roof, through the downspouts, and right to appropriate areas outside the home.
Without a properly working gutter system, your roof can collect leaves and other debris that will clog the drains, causing water to stagnate. This can make your home prone to rotting, rusting, and other kinds of damage caused by water. In addition, gutters prevent water from settling around your basement. As a result, the whole structure remains stable and safe.
Well, now you know more about different kinds of gutters and the purpose of their use in your home. We told you what types of gutter systems exist out there and what features make them different. Plus, you have learned about the materials your gutters can be made of, as well as the pros and cons these materials come with. Finally, now that you know why installing proper gutters is important for your home, you will surely not neglect this essential part of your household.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Long Do Gutters Last?
The lifespan of gutters depends on the material they’re made of. Vinyl gutters last about 10 years, but aluminum gutters last about 25 years.
What Type Of Gutter Is Considered The Best?
Vinyl or aluminum gutters are often considered the best gutter type. Both are lightweight, easy to install, and never rust.
What Gutter Size Is Optimal?
Gutters with 5-inch or 6-inch widths handle the rainfall on most houses in most parts of the country, making them the optimal gutter size.