Rain Gutter Choices: Know Your Options
There are lots of rain gutter choices. However, many of those choices are not good options. So we’ll give you a brief overview of your choices and tell you what we feel are your best options, and why.
Rain gutters come in many different materials. To know which is right for you, consider matching a material to the look of your home. Also consider your budget too because some materials are more pricey than others.
Rain Gutter Choices
Some of your rain gutters choices involve gutter materials, gutter styles, and gutter installation. First we’ll go over your material choices.
Aluminum: This is the most common gutter material. Aluminum gutters are rust-proof. Also, you can paint aluminum gutters to match, contrast, or compliment the color of your house. Lifespan is about 30 years or more.
Galvanized Steel: Steel gutters with a protective zinc coating. This durable metal features rigid strength (good for long sections) and a long lifespan. Additionally, some people really enjoy the mottled patina look so that also makes it an attractive option for them. Lifespan is about 20-30 years.
Copper: One of the most expensive gutter materials, copper is very popular among homeowner with a keen sense of style. Lifespan is about 50-75 years. Because of its long lifespan copper is a great long term value.
Other Gutter Choices (that we do not offer)
Vinyl: Vinyl is a cheap gutter material and readily available at big box stores. Vinyl gutters are popular among DIY homeowners based on low price, availability, and ease of use. We do not sell vinyl gutters due to its inherent low quality. They are a lightweight material prone to fading and cracking therefore offering a short lifespan. And also, since they come in short sections with seams, they are prone to sagging, leaking, and breaking at those seam junctions. In our opinion, not a good value in the long term; not even in the short term really.
Plastic PVC: Plastic gutters are uncommon but they do exist. Plastic is worse than vinyl for all the same reasons that vinyl gutters are sub-par. While they are an attractive alternative to a penny-pinching individual, remember they have a shorter lifespan and a lower appeal to potential home buyers. Therefore they are not a good value and we do not offer them based on those determining factors.
Wood: Wood rain gutters are very “Old School” because it is the original material of the first rain gutters on homes. Wood gutters were common on upscale homes up to as recently as the early 1930s. But then as metal became more affordable and easier to work with, it therefore became more popular too. Wood gutters certainly do have a wonderful appeal, especially on a vintage old home restoration project. However, without a protective water proof coating and constant proper care and maintenance, you can expect a relatively short lifespan from wood.
We do not offer wood gutters due to the fact that we specialize in metal gutters. Custom wood working is a different service category all together that uses completely different tools. However, we deeply respect the craftsmanship that goes into creating custom gutters made from wood.
Gutter Style Choices
Listing in order of water volume and flow capacity:
Half Round gutters look like a round pipe cut lengthwise in half; thus, the name half round. These gutters are simple in both design and function. They have enough volume to effectively carry water towards downspouts, however, with some limitations.
K-Style Gutters feature a “crown molding” type of look and feel that stands out. Since they have a decorative look they appeal to homeowners wishing to add to the design of their home. Some say they look elegant, while others simply enjoy their curves and appeal. K-Style features greater volume so it has capacity to carry a greater volume of water than half round gutters.
Straight Face gutters look the way they sound. They have a simple and plain smooth straight outer face. This gutter has the greatest internal volume so it can flow the most amount of water. It’s favorite appeal is that since it’s is simple and plain, it easily blends into a home’s fascia without standing out as an additional feature. They appear almost invisible on the home.
Gutter installation comes down to either Professional or Do-It-Yourself (DIY). Furthermore, seamless and sectional are your two primary choices of gutter types. We are grouping these four choices together because of how closely they relate to each other.
Seamless gutters are custom made and form fitted to your home as one continuous piece of material from a large roll of raw gutter material. They reduce leaks and weaknesses such as bowing and sagging. Seamless gutters require professional installation.
The other option is to do it yourself using gutter sections, either in vinyl or aluminum. Big box stores sell pre-made gutter sections, in contrast to seamless rolls of raw gutter material. Sectional gutters are like piece-together building blocks of individual pre-cut sections. They generally look like an after-thought on a home. They rarely blend in and tend to leak at the seams which are the weak points.
While we do not recommend self-installing gutters without proper experience and tools, this option is a good choice for DIYers willing to take the risk. Risks include personal safety (ladders, working on the roof, use of sharp power tools, etc), low value materials (vinyl or plastic), and the high chance of improper installation. Each of these risks must be carefully weighed before committing to the DIY project.
Last but not least are your gutter downspouts. Downspouts channel water out of your gutters to the ground or into a collection container. If you’re not collecting rain water then it’s best to make sure you have proper downspout extensions in order to guide the water and away from your home.
Downspouts come in two shapes, square and round, and in several size dimensions. Like with gutters, bigger is always better (as space allows). Typically, most people want their downspouts to match their gutter system. However you can mix and match to your heart’s delight in order to blend or highlight your downspouts.
So there you have it; a basic overview of your rain gutter choices for designing the best gutter system. Hopeful you find this information helpful. If you have any questions, or if you want a price quote for our gutter installation service, then please contact us.
Owner: Greg Martin
Location: San Marcos, CA. 92069