You’re building a new house or replacing damaged gutters, and as you head to the home improvement store, the sheer abundance of choices overwhelms you. Which is alright. Gutters come in a variety of configurations and materials, and it gets tricky figuring out the type of gutters you should put on your home.
Don’t worry. We laid out all gutter types, materials, and styles to help find you gutters that complement your house design and function the best.
4 Types of Gutters
There are four different types of gutters, and here’s everything you need to know about them:
K-style gutters are the most popular style for a reason. They are just good mid-level gutters that are reasonably durable, very versatile, and moderately priced. They are also attractive and DIY-friendly. You can nail them to your fascia boards without any brackets because of their flat backs.
K-style gutters come in standard 5-inch and 6-inch widths and feature rectangular downspouts.
This gutter style has excellent structural integrity and is deep enough to carry water away from the roof without spills. K-style gutters are suited for rainy climates because of their flat bottoms and outwardly angled sides that move impressive amounts of water.
Where do they get their name? These gutters usually have a decorative cut at the front, such as an ogee or a curve, that resembles the letter “K”.
- Modern, crown molding-like appearance
- High water volume capacity
- Easy installation, great for DIYers
- Sturdy style
- Common and affordable option
- Harder to clean because of the depth and angles
- Prone to clogs since they collect lots of debris at the inner angles
- Rain-prone areas
- Houses with curvy exteriors
- Anyone who wants a reasonably long-lasting gutter at a moderate price
2. Half-round Gutters
This gutter style features a semicircular, open trough and a curved lip that lends a retro look to your house because homes built before 1960 frequently featured half-round gutters. These U-shaped gutters are not as tall as K-style gutters, but they are wider and might require gutter guards to prevent debris from clogging them.
Like K-style gutters, half-round gutters come in 5- and 6-inch widths. With the top half open and a round design, you cannot attach these gutters against the fascia boards. Instead, you need brackets.
- Durable and heavy-duty
- Enhance curb appeal with a classic appearance
- Easy to maintain
- Difficult DIY installation
- Not ideal for heavy rainfall because they don’t hold the same volume of water as K-style gutters
- Brick or historic homes
- Zinc and copper gutter systems
3. Custom Fascia Gutters
If you’re going for a contemporary look, here’s your pick!
Fascia gutters are custom-built gutters that are constructed from a single long piece of aluminum. You’ll have to work with a professional installer for this style to design a gutter system tailored to your roof’s pitch and dimensions. For this reason, this gutter type is the most expensive. It can cost you twice as much as K-style or half-round gutters.
This gutter type is highly durable and secure since it is custom crafted to fit your home.
- Large design handles heavier water flow
- Leak and rust-resistant since there are no section joints
- Great for homes with large roofs
- Tricky installation
- High-maintenance – requires frequent cleaning
- Seamless, clean appearance
- Unique house designs
- Professional installation
4. Box-style Gutters
As the name suggests, box-style gutters have a boxy appeal and are typically added to homes for an industrial aesthetic. They are oversized – they come in 7-inch and 8-inch widths – and are perfect for large properties. Some box-style gutters may even be as wide as 10 inches.
This gutter style is designed with high back sections, which means they are not hung on the roof’s edge. Instead, they tuck under the roof shingles and need to be put there during construction.
- Excellent width to handle large volumes of water
- Improved durability
- Easy to clean
- Leak-proof and seamless
- Can only be installed when the house is built
- Industrial and commercial buildings
- Professional installation
- Extreme climates
Types of Gutter Materials
The durability and longevity of your gutters depend on the material they are made from. Some common gutter materials include:
Vinyl gutters are the most common gutter type. Their popularity is justified by their ease of installation, affordability, and low-maintenance needs. They’re also water-resistant and can last for 10 to 20 years depending on how you care for them. They are typically made with PVC and plastics and may take a dent or two occasionally.
But unlike steel and aluminum gutters, dents in vinyl gutters usually pop back on their own. Vinyl gutters are durable and tend to be the most lightweight option. Vinyl gutters typically cost $1 to $2 per linear foot for DIY installation and $5 on average for professional installation.
- 20-year lifespan
- Most affordable
- Available in a variety of colors
- Rust and corrosion resistant
- Long sun exposure fades color
- Prone to cracking under pressure and in prolonged harsh temperatures
- DIY installation
- Painting and customization
- Beach homes since vinyl isn’t affected by salty air
Another common gutter material is aluminum. It’s easy to use, affordable, readily available, and easy to maintain as well. You can paint aluminum gutters in a variety of colors, and it won’t rust or corrode.
These gutters typically cost around $2 to $3 per linear foot if you install them yourself and somewhere between $5 and $6 per linear foot if installed by a professional. The only downside is that aluminum can dent fairly easily, so tree branches, hail, and falling debris can wreak havoc on them.
- 30-year lifespan
- Rust resistant
- Might warp with extreme temperatures fluctuations
- Dent easily
- Seamed DIY installation
- Seamless professional installation
A copper gutter is highly durable, resists warping and bending, and has the capacity to withstand extreme weather conditions. Copper adds a nice rustic, traditional appeal to your home too. It is easily the most expensive gutter material but the price is justified by the longevity it offers.
Copper gutters may outlive you – they can last 100 years with proper care, and good installation and maintenance. It can cost you around $15 to $25 per linear foot to get copper gutters professionally installed.
- Extremely durable
- Unfazed by heat, cold, and humidity
- Eventually develop a nice patina
- Rust and warp-resistant
- No DIY installation
- Very expensive
- Homes in temperamental climate zones
- Beautiful shine, old-world appearance
- High-end homes
This material is super sturdy. It will hold up to heat, humidity, cold, and heavy rains with ease. Galvanized steel gutters tend to last a good 20 or 30 years, depending on maintenance, and resist rust very well.
Steel gutters come with a heftier price tag, but they are definitely worth the investment. These gutters are around $8 to $10 per linear foot. Just like copper gutters, steel gutters also need professional installation since the process involves soldering.
- Won’t dent or bend
- Highly durable
- Need regular maintenance
- Homes in very wet areas
Homeowners searching for a low-maintenance option for your gutters, look no further. Zinc gutters have a self-sealing patina, they won’t rust or develop scratches or cracks from debris passing through. Plus, zinc gutters look good!
Best of all, this material typically lasts up to 80 years if properly cared for. The downside? Zinc isn’t a great choice for locations with salty air. Zinc gutters also require professional installation as the joints and ends should be welded. They cost around $10 to $22 per linear foot for professional installation.
- Long-lasting and attractive looking
- Won’t crack or rust
- Not suitable for acidic or salty climates
- No DIY installation
- Durability and longevity
- Severe-weather climates
The lifespan of a gutter depends on two major factors:
● Material it is made from – Copper gutters can last up to 100 years whereas Vinyl gutters last just 10 years. Aluminum gutters last for 25 years on average.
● How it is maintained after installation – Good maintenance includes regular gutter cleaning, periodic inspections for damage and clogs, installing gutter guards, etc.
For average homes, a 5-inch wide gutter works great. If you expect a high volume of rainfall annually or have a larger roof, a 6- or 7-inch gutter is best. You can also follow MyGutterGnome’s thorough guide on how to determine the right gutter size for your home.
Typical weather conditions and your local climate can help you choose the best gutter material for your home. Vinyl gutters have their pros and cons – they are affordable, easy to install, and low-maintenance, but not suitable for intense weather conditions. Just like that, steel gutters have their pros and cons. They are leak-resistant, durable, and long-lasting but they’re heavy and expensive.
Putting the Right Type of Gutter on Your Home
All rain gutters are designed to serve one basic function: Collect water from the roof and divert it safely away from the home’s foundation. But choosing the right material and style of gutters can make all the difference.
Need help to figure out your gutter options? Call in one of our gutter experts for a consult today!