Gutters: What Material Is Best?
If you're putting gutters on your home for the first time, or replacing your existing gutters, you may be surprised by just how many options there are. While there may be numerous options to choose from, it’s important to understand the various costs associated with this type of project before making a decision. In fact, experts estimate that the cost to install gutters and related components like downspouts can vary widely, with installation rates ranging from a minimum of $3 to more than $17 per linear foot.
And while gutters protect the sides of the house from mud, preventing erosion, reducing water damage to the foundation, and keeping visitors from getting wet—guttering can demand more maintenance and cleaning, distract from the profile or design of a home, and be a big expense when constructing or remodeling.
The four top gutter material options are aluminum, vinyl, copper and stainless steel.
So, what’s the best choice for you? Consider these facts:
- Over time, copper develops a special lining that protects from rust and other potentially harmful elements including algae and fungi growth, so blockages, with their related cleaning and maintenance expenses, will be significantly reduced.
- Aluminum gutters need to be maintained to avoid corrosion and dents, so cleaning them and caulking them regularly is important. And since aluminum expands and contracts with the temperature, they’re prone to cracks, which need to be repaired in order to avoid leaks.
- When it comes to affordability, vinyl tops the list because it’s lightweight and easy to install. Additional benefits include the fact that its color won’t fade, chip or crack over time. Vinyl can get brittle and snap in cold extremes, so it may not be the best option for homes in cold climates.
- Steel ranks second when it comes to affordability, however, it’s important to note that it can rust in certain climates. Not only is it sturdy, but it can also hold a lot of weight, so sagging is less common.