Gutters 101: Materials and Types

Roofing contractors of Washington give the low down on gutters for any home.

Many Options for Guttering that Fit Any Budget

Gutters may seem like more trouble than they are worth due to the frequency of cleaning and the need for replacement parts over time, but gutters perform a very important job for any home. The real reason for rain gutters is to protect the foundation of a home and to prevent flooding in basement spaces. If you are discussing roofing replacement, this would be a good time to look at the gutters, too.  This article will provide an overview of the materials and styles of guttering available to the modern homeowner. 

Does Your Home Need Guttering?

Are rain gutters really necessary? Most houses do need some type of guttering in order to direct water away from the foundation of the home. Even if the home does not have a basement, crawl space, or a slab foundation can be undermined by frequent water runoff. This can cause a whole house to shift over time and cause severe foundation problems. So unless the home is completely surrounded by concrete or is located in a dry climate the answer to “Do I need guttering?” is going to be “yes.”

Guttering Materials

Rain gutters are made out of a range of materials that can affect the performance and durability of the gutter as well as the curb appeal of the home. Here are the five most common materials used for gutters:

  • Aluminum
  • Copper
  • Steel
  • Vinyl
  • Zinc

Some are inexpensive such as vinyl and aluminum and are easy to install. These are typically the most popular materials and can last for a quarter-century if properly installed and maintained. While steel, copper, and zinc are durable, they require professional installation and can be prohibitively expensive. They are beautiful and can last in excess of 50 years. Steel’s downfall is its tendency to rust in very wet climates, while copper and zinc simply develop an attractive oxidated known as a patina.

Styles of Guttering

Rain gutters not only come in different materials but have different styles as well. There are three major styles: the half-round, the K-style, and custom fascia gutters.  These three can be made out of any material, but certain styles do lend themselves to particular materials.

  • Half-Round Guttering: This is the traditional style of guttering that looks like a pipe split lengthwise down the middle. This is typically metal guttering and must have brackets for installation. Historical buildings may even be required to have this guttering to preserve the original look.
  • K-Style Guttering: This guttering can be of aluminum or vinyl and looks vaguely like a “k” in cross-section. It has flourishes similar to crown molding on the top edge.  Because they are flat on the backside, this guttering is easy to attach to any eaves without the need for other hardware.
  • Custom Fascia Guttering: This form of rain gutter is fashioned out of a single piece of aluminum guttering that matches the fascia and siding installed on a home. It provides a modern, uncluttered look, but is pricey and requires professional installation.

About Cobalt Exteriors, Inc.

If you are searching for a roofing company or one to do an exterior home renovation, look no further than Cobalt Exteriors in Woodinville, WA. There is no substitute for our more than 30 years of experience in the field of siding, roofing, decking, and windows. Call us today for a consultation in the Woodinville area.