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A Homeowner’s Gutter Guide: Materials, Styles, and Shapes

Gutter Guide

For new and existing homeowners alike, conducting exterior maintenance can be difficult. With a vast amount of home improvement information available, tasks like choosing new gutters can seem overwhelming. Whether you are considering seamless gutter installation or are not sure how to approach basic gutter cleaning, let this gutter guide teach you the basics.

Gutter Materials

Vinyl: This gutter material is the least expensive, but is also the least durable. Vinyl also has a tendency to crack in colder climates. Consider your capacity for replacement when choosing this material.

Aluminum: These gutters are lightweight and affordable. One of the most popular materials, aluminum is also rust-proof.

Copper: The most durable of the materials, copper gutters can last between 75 and 100 years. It also shows its age through green discoloration over time. For these reasons, copper gutters are becoming more popular for historical homes and buildings.

Galvanized Steel: This metal is famously durable and is often rust-proof for up to 20 years. This makes it popular for people living in harsh climates.

Gutter Styles

Sectional: The more traditional gutter style, sectional gutters are sold in separate pieces that are attached together during installation. While this form of gutter is cheaper, it is also more prone to leaks.

Seamless: Growing in popularity, this type of gutter is sold as one piece. During seamless gutter installation, the piece is fitted to the roof. As its name suggest, it doesn’t have any seams, which makes it less prone to leaks.

Gutter Shapes

U-shaped: This style of gutter, also called a U-style or half-round gutter, is the more traditional gutter shape, dating back to the early 20th century. For this reason, it could be the right choice for historic homes.

K-shaped: K-shaped or K-style gutters are just as efficient as U-shaped gutters, draining the same amount of water, but are more modern. This style emerged in the 1950s.

The average homeowner spends 1% to 4% of a home’s total value on maintenance and repairs every year, and this cost increases as the house ages. Just like roof repair, regular gutter repairs should become part of your exterior maintenance routine. Keep them clear of leaves and debris in order to prevent sagging and blocks. Be sure to include your downspouts in your gutter inspection as well. It is also important to know when to hire a cleaning professional and when to replace your gutters. Be sure to talk to your gutter provider about the best maintenance and replacement schedule.