Shopping for new gutters may not sound exciting, but it’s important. Gutters protect your roof and help prevent water damage to your home. Choosing the right type of gutter means less hassle and fewer unexpected expenses down the road.
Of the half-dozen or so choices, vinyl steel gutters are the strongest. They are also one of the most economical. However, vinyl steel gutters have several drawbacks, the biggest one being that they require more maintenance than other types of gutters.
According to This Old House, vinyl 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.
- Price - Vinyl is one of the least expensive gutter materials. It is also cheaper to maintain because it never requires painting.
- Won’t rust - Unlike certain types of gutters, including galvanized steel, vinyl gutters will never rust or rot.
- Easy to install/repair - Vinyl gutters are simple to cut, lightweight and easy to install. Many homeowners choose to take on installation as a do-it-yourself project. And if small parts of the gutter are damaged, they are easy to replace.
- Sensitive to weather - Vinyl gutters can crack and break apart in extreme weather conditions, whether it’s hot or cold.
- Warping - Vinyl gutters are prone to warping. The can bend and bow with heavy rain or from the weight of debris. To prevent as much warping as possible, it is important to keep vinyl gutters clean.
Aluminum is the most popular material for gutters. It is heavier and sturdier than vinyl but also more expensive.
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 also relatively inexpensive. According to This Old House, they cost about $5 to $9 per linear square foot installed. That’s slightly more than vinyl gutters, but less expensive than galvanized steel, copper or stainless steel.
- Sturdy - Aluminum is thicker and heavier than vinyl. It holds up to most weather conditions and any dents that appear can be hammered out easily. As with vinyl, aluminum won’t rust.
- Color choices - Aluminum is available in a wider variety of colors than vinyl. It is also available in custom colors.
- Price - Aluminum is slightly more expensive than vinyl.
- Tougher to install/repair - Due to its heavier weight, aluminum is more difficult to install. For the same reason, it is also more difficult to repair.
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