Gutters have two important functions. The most obvious is that they drain water from your roof and direct it away from your home, saving you from leaks, damage to your foundation, and other damage caused by too much water too close to your home.
The second function is less obvious but also important: gutters are part of the visual design of your home. Whether you want your gutters to blend in and disappear or serve as a showcase design piece, picking gutters isn’t just a utilitarian choice.
Gutters are visible from every angle of your home, so it’s worth thinking about their looks as well as their drainage capacity when considering new gutters.
Types of Gutters
There are lots of choices when it comes to picking new gutters for your home. Your choices generally fall into three categories: style, material, and size.
Generally speaking, gutters come in two styles. K-style gutters are flat in the back and on the bottom, while the front has a more decorative shape styled to look like crown molding.
Because the shape of the front of the gutter is mostly ornamental, there are lots of options and the choice really depends on the look you want for your home.
The other general type of gutter is the half-round style. Like the name suggests, half-round gutters are the shape of a round pipe cut in half. Half-round gutters are often used on historic homes or for specific visual effect.
K-style gutters are much more common on newer homes and tend to have about twice the capacity of the half-round style, but they also cost up to 50% more than their rounder cousins.
Gutters are available in a number of different materials, each with its own benefits (and sometimes drawbacks).
Aluminum is the most common material for gutters. It is lightweight, won’t rust, and can be painted any color to match the style of your home. It is also cost effective.
It comes in different thicknesses, but any thickness over 0.25-gauge should be sufficient for long lasting gutters. Eagle Watch Roofing technicians will fabricate seamless gutters on-site, using an extruder to shape your gutters at just the right length. This avoids seams that can be prone to leaking.
Copper gutters are more expensive than aluminum, but if you want a certain look, there’s nothing like the beauty of copper. For this reason, copper is most common on high-end homes are historic restorations.
Copper doesn’t need to be painted and will develop a lovely patina as it weathers. However, copper is not an option for the DIYer. Joints need to be welded.
It is also important to place expansion joints along the gutter, to accommodate the natural expansion and contraction of copper.
All of this should be left up to a professional. If you’re curious about what an Eagle Watch Roofing specialist will have to consider with copper gutters, this in depth look at copper gutters details the technical design concerns of copper gutters.
Vinyl gutters are also available. They are lightweight and cheaper than other materials, but there are plenty of drawbacks. Vinyl only comes in a limited number of colors.
Colors are also susceptible to fading as they are exposed to the UV rays in even indirect sunlight. Cold weather can crack vinyl gutters over time, making durability and longevity a concern. Vinyl gutters remain a good option for the DIYer, as they are lightweight and easy to work with.
Other options, such as steel and zinc are available for particular needs. Steel is heavy and susceptible to rust, but naturally strong and easy to paint any color.
Zinc gutters, like copper, do not need to be painted and will develop an attractive patina, but their cost makes them best suited for high-end or historic homes.
Not sure what to choose? Eagle Watch Roofers will come to your home to help you sort out the options. When you are ready, they will prepare a free, no obligation estimate, showing the unit price so you can easily compare with the competition.
Contact Eagle Watch Roofing to get started with your new gutter design today.
And don’t forget to visit our ‘Testimonials’ page to see what our satisfied customers are saying about us!