Gutter Types

Gutters Downspout

Rain gutters are made from many types of material and come in many colors. When it’s time for you to have your new gutters installed, or if you need gutter repair or maintenance, make sure you find a reliable contractor to install your gutters.

Find out more about the different types of gutters so you can choose the best for your home.

Gutter Materials

  • Aluminum gutters:Most common of all types of gutters, these are inexpensive, lightweight and easy to install. They're weather-resistant and available in many colors.

  • Vinyl gutters: Vinyl gutters are simple to install and rust-resistant. Like aluminum, they come in a wide variety of colors. However, they're not as strong as other types and tend to become brittle in cold weather -- which can lead to cracking.

  • Galvanized steel gutters: The most economical gutter, they are very strong and durable. However, they must be treated to prevent rust.

  • Stainless steel gutters: These are popular because they are very strong, maintain their sheen and will not rust. They are costly, though.

  • Copper gutters: Copper will never rust or rot and are low maintenance, but can be pricey. Unless sealants are applied, these gutters will develop a patina over time, which some homeowners dislike.

Gutter Construction: Sectional or Seamless

Gutters can be constructed in one of two ways: 1) in sections or pieces, or 2) in one seamless, continuous piece. There are several advantages and disadvantages to the two types of gutter construction.

1) Sectional gutters, the best option for DIY gutter installation, are commonly sold in sections up to 20' long. These are joined using snap-on pieces that connect the gutters and downspouts together. Downspouts, as pictured above, are pipes which run down the wall of your home to carry rainwater and snowmelt from the gutters to a drain or the ground. The advantage of seamless gutters is that you can install them yourself, and they are easy to repair, too. However, they can develop leaks at the seams.

2) Seamless gutters are the most popular since they require less maintenance. Because seamless gutters are custom-ordered to fit your home, they usually need to be installed by a professional gutter installer who will use a machine to precision-cut or trim the gutters at your home. There are small seams with the seamless gutters, but they join only at inside and outside corners and at downspout outlets. Seamless gutters are available in aluminum, galvanized steel or copper.

Updated December 11, 2018.

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