Need to add rain gutters to your new home or replace your leaky gutters that aren’t performing? Trying to decide whether to go with hardware store DIY gutters, or whether to look into something more involved like hiring a professional gutter installer?
Knowing the different types of gutters can help you make decisions about whether you want to tackle this task yourself or not. Believe it or not the materials you choose can have a large impact on your gutter’s performance. Let’s take a look at each of your options.
Up until about 30 years ago steel was the most common material for home gutters, so it’s tried and tested.
Advantages: Steel is very strong and doesn’t warp easily. It doesn’t expand or contract very much in extreme heat or cold, which reduces the chances that the gutter will pull away from your home or leak.
Disadvantages: Steel is heavy and takes forever to install, which means you pay more for labor. The soldered joints only add to the installation costs. They’re also incredibly challenging to paint and thus aren’t very attractive for your home.
Copper is a very high-quality metal for constructing gutters.
Advantages: Copper is, simply put, very beautiful. It ages well and the metal is high-quality. It’s the only metal of choice for restoring historic homes.
Disadvantages: Copper is extremely expensive. In addition, there’s a theft risk.
Right now there’s a large black market for stolen copper. You may have heard the story of people breaking into homes to steal the copper wiring. All that copper on the outside of your home might well make a too-tempting target.
Zinc is a very European choice. It’s another high quality metal.
Advantages: Zinc looks very nice on Old World or Contemporary style homes. It works especially well with slate roofs.
Disadvantages: Like copper, zinc is considered exotic. That makes it very expensive.
Zinc is also very vulnerable to the contraction and expansion caused by extreme heat or cold. While it’s not much of a problem in Tampa, zinc does become brittle in cold temperatures.
Vinyl is the do-it-yourself dream.
Advantages: If price is your biggest concern vinyl will get the job done without breaking your budget. It’s incredibly easy to install.
Disadvantages: Vinyl is not very sturdy. A fallen tree branch in a Tampa hurricane could tear it down in a heartbeat.
Though it’s not much of a concern here, it also gets brittle in cold climates.
Aluminum has been a trusted choice for over thirty years. It’s the only metal for seamless rain gutters. Aluminum offers so many advantages that we’ve been dealing almost exclusively in high quality aluminum gutters.
Advantages: Aluminum is rust-resistant and lightweight for a speedy installation. You can choose a variety of colors for your aluminum gutters too.
Disadvantages: Of all the metals aluminum is certainly the weakest. You wan to be careful about leaning ladders against these types of gutters. Putting too much weight and pressure on the edge of the gutter can cause it to bend. In addition, aluminum does expand and contract in extreme heat or cold. That problem can be alleviated by using a floating hanger installation that takes this tendency into account and corrects for it so that there’s little chance of it causing damage.
If you have any questions about the aluminum rain gutters we install or would like a quick and timely free estimate, please call us! We’ve been installing gutters (and gutter guards) for residents of St. Petersburg and central Florida since 1975! We have the experience to provide an efficient and professional installation.