Aluminum gutters are extremely popular. More homeowners opt for aluminum than any other type of gutter material, including steel. Aluminum gutters are sturdy, durable and relatively low maintenance.
When shopping for aluminum gutters, experts recommend opting for primary aluminum, the thickest kind. Secondary aluminum is a recycled product that often has inconsistent thickness.
Aluminum gutters are reasonably priced. According to This Old House, they cost about $5 to $9 per linear square foot installed. Aluminum is not the cheapest material on the market for gutters, but it less expensive than several of the high-end gutter materials.
- Never rust - Aluminum will never rust, deteriorate or corrode, even if the gutters are filled with standing water for a long period of time.
- Long lifespan - Properly maintained, aluminum gutters have a lifespan of up to 30 years. They are extremely durable.
- Color choices - Aluminum is available in a wider variety of colors than steel. It is also available in custom colors to match your home.
- Can leak - Aluminum gutters are far more likely to leak, particularly around the joints.
- Damaged by storms - Aluminum gutters do not hold up as well as steel in storms. The lighter material can be damaged by falling debris, heavy wind and heavy rain.
There are two types of steel gutters: galvanized steel and stainless steel. Both are very strong, but the differences end there.
Galvanized steel gutters are more popular because of their low price tag, but they won’t last as long as stainless steel. Here, we’ll focus primarily on galvanized steel, which is more comparable in price to aluminum.
According to This Old House, galvanized steel gutters cost between $4 and $8 per linear square foot. Compared to other types of gutters, this is on the low end of the price spectrum.
Stainless steel gutters are pricey at about $20 per linear square foot.
- Price - Galvanized steel gutters are slightly less expensive than aluminum gutters.
- Durability - Galvanized steel gutters can withstand heavy winds and the weight of a ladder, flying debris and fallen branches. They’re ideal if you live in a heavily-wooded area. They also work well in cold climates.
- Prone to rust - Over time, galvanized steel gutters will rust. You can prolong the life by repainting every few years, but the gutters likely will have to be replaced after 15-25 years. Stainless steel gutters, on the other hand, will never rust.
- Difficult to install - Galvanized steel gutters require soldering, making them harder to install. They’re also heavier than aluminum gutters, requiring the installation of more brackets and supporting materials. Experts recommend that you hire a professional rather than take this on as a do-it-yourself project.
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