How to Find Gutters for Your Home

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Rain gutters are necessary to protect your home from water damage like rotting wood, foundation issues, leaks, and erosion. Their basic function is to direct roof runoff water away from your home, yet they can also affect the aesthetic appeal of your home. Gutters come in various styles and in various types of materials. Here is a quick guide to help you find the right gutters for your home.

Gutter Materials

Gutters come in various types of materials with the most common being:

1. Aluminum: This is the most common material used for gutters because of its many advantages. Here are some of the characteristics of aluminum gutters:

  • Holds more water than most gutters.
  • Typically comes in five inch or six inch sizes.
  • Quality aluminum gutters rarely rust.
  • Comes in a wide variety of colors.
  • Color stays well, which means they rarely need to be painted.
  • Fairly inexpensive at $4 to $8 per linear foot.

2. Copper: Gutters made of copper are typically chosen for design or decorative purpose. They add an elegant flare to the exterior of the home, while being strong and durable. Here are some of the characteristics of copper gutters:

  • They are long-lasting and will never rust or rot.
  • Very distinctive and noticeable style of gutter.
  • Visually appealing, adding a decorative flare to the exterior of your home.
  • Beneficial to your home value due to their attractive appearance.
  • Requires less maintenance than other types of gutters.
  • Typically requires professional installation.
  • More expensive than other types of gutters at $15 to $20 per linear foot.

3. Vinyl: These types of gutters are also known as plastic gutters, and are fairly common and easy to install. Here are some of the characteristics of vinyl gutters:

  • They have great durability, and tend to be resistant to scratches, dents and rust.
  • Made from PVC plastic, which is also used for plumbing pipes.
  • Suitable for homes in areas with extreme climates.
  • Fairly easy to install, even for the less experienced homeowner.
  • They maintain their color fairly well.
  • They are the most inexpensive at $3 to $5 per linear foot.

4. Stainless steel: A very popular material, stainless steel gutters hold up well and maintain their look and sheen. Here are some of the characteristics of stainless steel gutters:

  • Virtually indestructible making them ideal for areas with harsh climates.
  • They do not rust and are known for their shine.
  • They will last for many years.
  • Requires professional installation.
  • They are fairly expensive at roughly $20 per linear foot.

5. Galvanized steel: This particular type of gutter is very durable and cost-effective, though not as attractive as stainless steel. Here are some of the characteristics of galvanized steel gutters:

  • Extremely durable making them the appropriate type of material for tornado, snow and hurricane-prone regions.
  • Resistant to rust.
  • Less likely to suffer from warp damage than many other types of gutters.
  • One of the most inexpensive types of gutters at $4 to $8 per linear foot.

Styles of Gutters

Once you've decided on the type of material you'd want your gutters made from, it's time to select the style of gutter that is right for your home. Gutters are constructed in two different ways: sectional or seamless. Here is a quick look at the differences between the two:

  • Seamless gutters: This particular style of gutter is less prone to leaking since it comes in continuous pieces that are only split at sections on the inner and outer corners and at downspout outlets. These require the least amount of maintenance, but require a professional installer who will use a machine to cut and trim the appropriate size of gutter section for different areas of your home.
  • Sectional gutters: This style of gutter is sold in pieces of various sizes and are snapped together to conform to the areas where they are needed. The main problem with sectional gutters is they are prone to leaks at the seams where pieces are joined together.

Gutter Shapes

Gutters can come in various sizes and shapes, with K-configurations and U-configurations being the two most commonly used shapes.

  • K-shape gutters: This is the most common shape, with the gutter opening forming the letter K.
  • U-shape gutters: Another common shape, these particular gutters are also known as "half-round" gutters due to their U-shaped form.

Both of these gutter shapes commonly come in five or seven inch sizes. The shape you choose will depend on how aesthetically compatible it is to the shape of your home.

Choosing the right color, shape, style and material for your gutter depends on your specific needs and how much you can afford to spend. Whether you are looking for an affordable gutter system, or a gutter that will add a little curb appeal to your home, it is important to choose a type of gutter that will protect your home depending on the type of weather conditions and climate you reside in.

Last Updated: July 22, 2011
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About Matthew Cenzon Matthew Cenzon has been writing for numerous publications since 2003, covering topics ranging from health and nutrition to the real estate industry. He is one of the contributing writers for IdealHomeGarden.com, and is a college graduate of the University of California, Riverside, with degrees in English and Asian literature. Matthew’s interest in interior design and home improvement stem from his background working in the residential real estate appraisal business for over five years, where he witnessed many of the Do's and Don'ts of home decor.

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