Rain gutters serve an invaluable purpose in protecting your home by directing rain water runoff from your roof and away from your home. Just as water can wash away solid rock over time, it also can severely compromise your home's foundation over time, as well as find its way into your home through your roof or walls.
Your choice of gutter material and style will ultimately be determined by expense. You will need to pick the gutter system that is the most durable and leak resistant that is within your price range.
Labor costs will also need to factored into your budget if you aren't able to perform the installation yourself. Some gutter systems require professional installation because the gutters themselves need to be made onsite by special machinery designed for that purpose.
Here are some of your choices, from the least expensive to the pricier selections.
Vinyl gutters are made of plastic, which means that they won't rust over time. They are lightweight and sold in sections that can be cut to size easily with a hacksaw and are easily painted. However, their longevity may be questionable.
Vinyl gutters can crack and warp over time due to drastic temperature changes, leaving them vulnerable to leaks. Thinner vinyl gutters can also fail to support the added weight of muck and standing water that may become stuck when a downspout becomes clogged.
If you choose vinyl, buy gutters that are at least .032 inches thick.
Galvanized steel gutters
Like vinyl gutters, steel gutters are sold in convenient sections that can easily be cut to size with a simple hacksaw. They have the additional benefit of being able to handle more weight per linear foot than vinyl, should a backup occur and the gutters remain filled for an extended period of time.
However, steel and water don't mix, and eventual rusting is inevitable. Steel gutters are also difficult to paint because of their glossy, galvanized surface.
While the most expensive option of the three choices, aluminum is also the premier choice of material. It is as rustproof as vinyl but supports weight well, like steel gutters. It is also sold in sections that can be cut to size, installed, and easily painted by the average handyman.
Seamless aluminum gutters
The main problem with any type of sectional gutters (sold in sections and cut to size) is in the seams where the sections are joined together. These seams create natural fault points where leaks have the greatest possibility to occur.
The only seams in seamless gutters are at the end corners and the downspouts. This is because seamless gutters are made to size by a professional contractor using an extrusion machine onsite at your home.
The gutters can then be made to be an exact fit for your home, no matter how long they need to be. Eliminating section seams can greatly reduce the chance of gutter leaks.
Of course, this added security comes at a price, because seamless gutters are made by and installed by professionals. However, your home is usually your most valuable investment.
If you can afford the best protection, it's worth the cost, if only for the additional peace of mind whenever a rainstorm blows through your neighborhood. For more information, contact a company like A-1 Seamless Gutters Inc.