You need adequate drainage to protect your home, which is where the trusty gutter steps up to the plate. Gutters are shallow troughs that typically run along the edge of your roof, and they are essential for protecting your home from water damage.
All types of gutters have the same goal: directing water away from your home’s foundations and sidings. But with so many different types of gutters out there, how do you know which one is right for you?
Here’s what you need to know about modern gutter styles, the pros and cons of each, and how to choose the best type of gutter for your home.
The Advantages of Modern Guttering
Installing new gutters protects your home from unpredictable weather. Rainwater can seep into the foundations and sidings of your house long before you begin to see the damage. Repairing damage to the structure of a building costs tens of thousands of dollars. In some cases, it could even make your home unlivable.
Gutters are often overlooked, but they are the unsung heroes of home protection. Unfortunately, older homes often didn’t have the same modern technology found in today’s guttering options. Let’s discuss why you should consider investing in new gutters:
Less Maintenance – Painting and applying sealant is a natural part of maintaining your gutters. Modern types of gutters are designed to need less upkeep and offer far more options, such as one-piece or seamless gutters.
Better Performance – Traditional gutters are notoriously unstable, especially in heavy rainfall. New gutters are better for rerouting water away from the home, and the best gutters for heavy rain will also account for potential overflow.
Fewer Problems – Clogging, degrading material, and sagging gutters are all common problems homeowners face. Modern guttering technology has been perfected to reduce the incidence rate of these problems, making newer gutters more convenient to install and maintain.
Many people believe there are few differences between the gutters of today and those of a century ago. But that’s simply not true. Guttering advancements have come a long way, which is why today’s gutter styles are better equipped to deal with the rigors of the extreme, unpredictable weather faced by millions of American homeowners.
The Different Types of Gutters
You don’t need to be an expert, but it pays off for homeowners to be familiar with the various types of gutters. It allows you to make the right choice for your home’s needs. For example, the gutter shape isn’t just an aesthetic choice, it actually defines the performance of the gutter.
In total, there are three primary types of guttering to choose from. Walk around your neighborhood, and you will likely notice a distinct type that dominates.
Here’s what you need to know about each of the three types.
The K-Style gutter is the most common guttering system in modern homes. Look for the unique shape on the front edge (it will likely look like crown molding). The molding was developed in this way to compliment the look of a modern home. Most people will have a color that matches the shutters or trim of their home.
K-Style gutters have a flat back and are installed directly on the Fascia Board trim surrounding the top edge of the structure. How it’s installed means there are no ways for water to escape the trough and run down the wall.
These gutters are among the most durable systems due to the folds and bends carefully placed throughout the metal. The 5” model is the industry standard, but you can also find 6” K-Style gutters in areas that experience heavier rainfall.
Most affordable guttering available
Simple to install
High levels of durability
Can handle high volumes of rain
Sleek and modern
Seamless Guttering Options
Seamless gutters are generally considered the best option, ideal if you value a smoother appearance, more color options, and minimal leakage. These rain gutter types are precisely what you would expect, made from a single piece of material rather than several interconnecting sections.
The joints of these gutters are situated on the downspouts and corners. Installing seamless gutters allows you to take advantage of the pinnacle of guttering technology because there are zero seams, which means zero leaks. While leaks can still happen at the corner joints or if the gutters become overfilled, the risk is low and you’re unlikely to experience problems.
Let’s run through the main characteristics of seamless guttering and why you should consider this option for your home.
The appearance of the guttering is important to homeowners. Naturally, you bought your house because you liked the exterior and you want to maintain that look. Aluminum seamless gutters have more than 50 different color options to take advantage of, so you can maintain your home’s exterior and keep up that curb appeal. The seamless look also means there are no visible seams, lending a high-quality aesthetic to your home.
Gutters aren’t immune to wear and tear, especially if you live in a place where they have to work hard. Naturally, leaks become more of an issue as gutters become older. Many leaks often go unnoticed until they suddenly become torrents of water falling from the roof during a storm. By that time, the damage is done, and you’ll need to order a costly inspection of your home’s foundations. Seamless gutters are specifically designed to combat leaking, meaning one less thing to worry about on your property.
Seamless gutters aren’t just basic troughs attached to your home’s roof lining. These types of gutters are specifically designed to follow the horizontal lines of your roof to avoid leakage and unsightly focal points on the front of your home. Unlike conventional guttering, seamless guttering cannot be installed by the average DIYer. A professional installation will be required, but it will be well worth the price for the look and performance.
Sectional gutters require regular inspections and resealing along the seams to prevent leaks. What does that translate to for you? Time and money. Seamless gutters are, well, seamless. That means less maintenance and inspections for you. While it’s true that repairing these gutters is more expensive, your overall maintenance costs are far lower with a seamless guttering option.
Nothing’s perfect, and no gutter is entirely immune from blockages — particularly if exposed to extreme weather. The smooth, continuous nature of the interior of these gutters is designed to slide any leaves or other debris along and out through your downspout. Moreover, many blockages happen due to debris getting caught between cracked or broken seams. When your gutters don’t have seams, it becomes less of an issue. Seamless guttering has been proven to experience fewer blockages than legacy guttering systems.
If you have any historic or older homes in your neighborhood, chances are that they have half-round gutters. Essentially, take a circular pipe, slice it in half, and voila — you have a half-round gutter. These are more rustic in style and are often made from copper.
Nowadays, some retailers offer half-round gutters in galvanized steel and aluminum vinyl. They come in two standard sizes: 5” and 6”.
To install these gutters, an installer must install brackets along the edge of the roof. The gutter is then dropped in and secured. With copper gutters, heavier-duty tools will be required to secure them safely.
Half-round gutters are smooth on the inside, making them less likely to experience ruse or corrosion. Debris is also more likely to slide away easily, rather than leading to clogging.
Rustic in style
Simple to clean
Less corrosion and rust
Reduced chances of clogging
Difficult to install
Less capacity for holding water
The box-style gutter is the guttering of choice for commercial and industrial buildings. They are specifically designed to manage large amounts of water. Larger roofs benefit more from box-style gutters because they can handle more water output.
Unlike traditional gutters, box-style gutters are tucked under the roofing shingles, so they must be installed during the construction of the building. While they can be installed on existing buildings, the entire roof must be redone.
Due to their higher capacities, the standard sizes of a box-style gutter are 7” and 8”, but some jumbo sizes can go up to 10”.
Handles greater amounts of water
Must be installed during the building’s construction
Higher installation costs
Alternative Rain Gutter Types
There are numerous gutter types you could install on your home. If you’re searching for alternative rain gutter types for aesthetic purposes, there are plenty of options to choose from. Here are some examples of alternative types of gutters.
European gutters are designed to be aesthetically pleasing. These gutters are built for elegance and sophistication, hence their popularity. Essentially, they are no more than half-round gutters with beading on the exterior to make them more visible. They are installed using visible half-round hangers.
What makes them so effective is they are often built out of copper or other durable materials to make them last. Water flows through these gutters faster and at high volume. The full-round downpipes make them less likely to experience blockages.
Designed for homes without a fascia, these gutters are tall and narrow. These gutters act as both fascia boards and gutters while hiding the rafter tail edges. Fascia gutters are particularly effective at preventing water damage and stopping small animals from nesting inside. If you’re looking for subtlety and a clean look, fascia gutters are a good option.
Victorian Ogees are known as “old gothic gutters” and are highly distinctive. Made from cast iron, these are found on homes from the 19th century. Combining the style and tradition of period homes, they are shallow and incapable of handling high water flow. Smaller homes are best suited to these gutters, or if you happen to live in a drier part of the U.S. While great for adding an aesthetic flair to your home, in terms of utility, the Victorian Ogee is inferior to modern guttering solutions.
Modern Gutter Styles and Materials
So, what exactly are gutters made of? Gutters can be built from various materials, with aluminum and vinyl being the most popular within modern guttering. Every material has its advantages and disadvantages. Here are the most popular materials you will likely come across when considering a new guttering system.
DIYers prefer to use vinyl because they are so easy to install. Vinyl is among the least durable guttering materials due to being constructed from a mixture of PVC and plastics. Expect a vinyl guttering system to last from 10 to 20 years. Vinyl guttering is less ideal for wetter climates because water will cause them to deteriorate faster than other guttering materials.
Lightweight and cheap, aluminum is highly resistant to rust and corrosion. Unlike metal gutters, aluminum has a higher risk of cracking. However, they still last longer than vinyl, with a maximum estimated lifespan of 30 years.
If durability and sturdiness are your primary concerns, galvanized steel gutters are an excellent choice. They will require soldering to install, which will require a professional installation to make sure they are in good working order. Galvanized steel is preferred for homes in regions that experience regular wet weather and heavy rainfall. They will need regular maintenance to prevent rusting.
Zinc gutters are the gutters for you if you prefer a system that requires minimal maintenance. These gutters are resistant to rust, come with a self-sealing patina, and have been pre-weathered. The sturdiness of zinc gutters means you can get an 80-year lifespan from these gutters.
Copper gutters are the traditional material for guttering systems on older homes. Prioritized because they won't bend, rust, or warp even in extreme weather, using copper will also leave your home with a unique look. However, copper is the most expensive option and will require a professional to install it.
Get Your Gutters Done Right
Choosing the correct type of guttering for your home is one of the most important decisions you will make. Aesthetic reasons aside, the right seamless guttering system will protect your home for decades with minimal fuss.
The simplest way to choose the right type of gutters is to partner with GUTT-R-DONE. We are the experts in gutter installation in Lafayette and surrounding areas. We can help you determine your home’s needs and find the right gutter style for your budget.
To learn more about how we can transform your guttering system, call orbook online with GUTT-R-DONE today.