Whether new gutters are a part of new roofing project or you’re just choosing new gutters for your home as part of ongoing maintenance, you have a variety of gutter materials from which to choose. Metal, vinyl, wood and PVC materials all have benefits and drawbacks, so you’ll have to weigh the facts carefully before you make any installation decisions.
Once you know the pros and cons of wood, PVC, vinyl and metal gutters, you’ll be ready to make an informed decision about the gutters you choose for your home.
With careful research and attention to details, you can choose the type of gutter that fits your lifestyle, the location of your home and the exterior architecture of your house.
Wood gutters can add old-fashioned, traditional charm to a home. Not only are they beautiful, but they generally function effectively to route rainwater away from your home. In fact, if your house has old-fashioned architecture, wood gutters may feature crown molding to match cornices in your home’s exterior.
If you opt for wood gutters, make sure they contain cedar wood. Cedar wood will withstand moisture and environmental elements for an extended period. Other types of wood will not maintain strength or resist decay with exposure to moisture.
When you see gutters labeled “vinyl,” these gutters generally contain PVC -- polyvinyl chloride. The addition of chlorine to vinyl makes it durable, but at the same time environmentally questionable to some consumers because of its non-biodegradable status. In addition, PVC may leach harmful chemicals into the environment.
PVC gutters are durable and will resist denting and damage. PVC gutters are also inexpensive to purchase and install. If a portion of your PVC gutter system becomes damaged, replacing only the damaged portion should be a simple project. Because the PVC gutters contained dyed materials, they resist scratching and gouging. You should not notice damage from scratching because the scratches won’t disfigure the surface of the gutters.
Because PVC gutters often contain thinner materials, they may crack and split more easily than thicker gutter materials.
When choosing metal gutters, choose between galvanized steel or aluminum. If you opt for aluminum gutters, the gutters should have a layer of paint over them The paint will enable them to withstand weather conditions for many years without leaching chemicals into the rainwater.
Galvanized steel gutters should always have a layer of paint over them to protect against zinc leaching into the rainwater. Unpainted gutters will also rust over time, which will create a variety of issues. Galvanized steel gutters are stronger and more durable than aluminum and they will work effectively and stay attractive for many years.
Regardless of the type of gutters you install on your home, regular maintenance is necessary to ensure that the gutters stay free of blockages. If you allow debris to sit in the gutters for an extended time, damage may occur to the gutter materials. It’s also possible to install gutter guards over the tops of the gutters to prevent leaves and other debris from entering the gutters.
With careful research and attention to details, you can choose the type of gutter that fits your lifestyle, the location of your home and the exterior architecture of your house. Once your gutters are in place on your house, they will add beauty and function to keep your home safe from damage that could occur from rainwater.