Although a home's gutters are not a selling point or even an attraction, they are quite necessary for your home and play a major role in damage reduction and roofing integrity. An old, leaking gutter can cause water to pour off your roof at an inopportune location, thoroughly soaking the ground beneath and seeping into any subterranean living space. Basements that are constantly soaked are a playground for various kinds of mold to grow and thrive. Yes, gutters are an important aspect of the home to keep in tip-top shape.
Most of the gutters on the market today are made from copper, vinyl, steel, or aluminum. Each of these materials have their own strengths and weaknesses.
Copper gutters can be a bit on the costly side, but are very durable, require little by way of maintenance, and resist corrosion well. Copper will also start out light colored, eventually get darker, then fade while becoming green. Depending on the homeowner, this is either charming or an eyesore that prevents them from going copper. For those that still want a copper gutter system but do not want to experience the visual imagery of copper oxidation, there are different copper sealant products that can be purchased and used to help preserve the original color.
A vinyl gutter is lightweight and easy to install. They are also unaffected by most weather conditions, don't require much by way of maintenance, and are an economical solution. Vinyl gutters can also be purchased in a wide spectrum of colors which may be a draw to those that shy away from the traditional white guttered roof. The only drawback to vinyl gutters is their weakness to extremes in temperature. Periods of extreme hot or extreme cold can result in the loss of a gutter's structural integrity, result in warping and/or other forms of deterioration.
Steel gutters are significantly stronger than other types of gutter systems and not affected by an adverse environment. As a result, many people opt to spend a little extra and install steel gutters. Among all the good things that can be said about the sturdiness and reliability of a steel gutter, keep in mind that steel gutters will rust if not treated periodically.
Aluminum gutters are lightweight and usually easy to install. While not as strong as a steel gutter, aluminum gutters are still fairly durable and hold up to weather conditions as well as a vinyl gutter will. Aluminum gutter systems are also more affordable than some others and as such are used quite commonly. Like a steel gutter however, aluminum gutters do require some maintenance to keep them element-resistant.
While selecting a gutter may not be the most visually thrilling aspect of home improvement, it is a very necessary one that can save you lots of headaches down the road. With this in mind, selecting the gutter that is right for your home and wallet should not be overlooked.