Skip to Content

The Most Common Gutter Materials (Pros and Cons of Each)

The Most Common Gutter Materials (Pros and Cons of Each)
This post may contain affiliate links. If you click one of these links and make a purchase, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. In addition, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Gutters are important because they protect your home from pooling water. When water pools on the roof, it can cause substantial damage that will wind up costing you a lot of money to repair.

Water can also pool near the foundation of your home. This is why you need a gutter and downspout system to safely guide water away from your house.

If you’re getting ready to install gutters on your new home, you might be considering which materials to use.

There are many common types that are worth considering. Read on to learn about them so you can choose the best option for your home.

Aluminum Gutters

Aluminum gutters might be the most common gutter types that you’ll see in homes. People like using aluminum gutters because they’re so lightweight while still being relatively durable.

You won’t have as many issues with the gutters falling due to weight when using a lightweight material such as aluminum. Also, aluminum is resistant to corrosion, and this means that it can stand up to the elements.

Often, aluminum gutters will be the most affordable option that you’ll find. So if you wish to save some cash, going with these types of gutters will make sense.

To add to this, these gutters come in many different colors. So it’s easy to find the perfect fit for your home from an aesthetic perspective.

Vinyl Gutters

Vinyl gutters are also very common. Some people even prefer using vinyl gutters over aluminum gutters.

This is because vinyl gutters are affordable, and they look really nice. Since so many people have vinyl siding on their homes, it’s easy to find vinyl gutters that will match the siding.

The downside is that vinyl gutters aren’t as durable as aluminum ones or some of the other options you’ll learn about later. You have to replace vinyl gutters more often, and this could lead to greater costs in the long run.

You should also know that vinyl gutters are more likely to leak than most other gutter types. So these options might not be ideal when it comes to durability and getting the gutters to last for a long time.

Copper Gutters

Copper gutters can work out nicely, but they cost quite a bit more than aluminum gutters. Typically, people only spend the cash on copper gutters when they aren’t concerned about having a budget.

Buying copper gutters won’t be a cost-effective choice to make. However, many say that these gutters are far more attractive than the other options.

Installing these gutters on your home will give it an upscale appearance. It just comes down to how much you want to spend.

The performance of copper gutters will be good, but it won’t be better than aluminum gutters. So if you care about how much money you’re spending, it’d be better to go with aluminum.

Galvanized Steel Gutters

Galvanized steel gutters are very strong. They might be among the strongest types of gutters that you can buy.

Sadly, these gutters are also known to rust. So they might not be practical choices in the long run.

Steel Gutters

Steel gutters are better than galvanized steel gutters. They’re coated with both zinc and aluminum to alleviate rusting concerns.

Buying steel gutters will be much more expensive than buying galvanized steel gutters. It all comes down to whether the increased strength of these gutters will be worth it to you.

Steel gutters are far heavier than aluminum gutters. So sometimes aluminum will be a much more practical choice.

Zinc Gutters

Zinc gutters are an option that you’ll see some using as well. This might not be the most common gutter material, but it is one that works nicely.

You’ll find that zinc gutters are both strong and durable. One good aspect of using these gutters is that you don’t have to paint them or apply a finish for them to look nice.

Are Vinyl Gutters Better Than Aluminum?

Some people like vinyl gutters better than aluminum gutters. However, saying that vinyl gutters are better than aluminum would be a stretch.

There are some advantages that you can expect when buying vinyl gutters. Vinyl gutters are very inexpensive, and many people love the way that they look.

You might think that vinyl gutters will look better on your home if you also have vinyl siding. Sadly, vinyl gutters aren’t very durable.

Aluminum gutters are much more durable, and they’re less likely to leak. So if you want gutters that will function optimally, it’d be better to go with aluminum.

Do Aluminum Gutters Rust?

No, aluminum gutters are resistant to corrosion and that means you don’t need to worry about rust. These gutters might be the best to buy overall if you’re concerned about rust issues.

Aluminum gutters can stand the test of time. They don’t cost much money, and they can be used for so long that you’ll feel good about your investment.

Do Copper Gutters Turn Green?

It is indeed possible for copper gutters to turn green. You can keep this from happening by treating the gutters with special chemicals, but if left untreated, the gutters will oxidize.

The oxidization process causes gutters to turn bluish-green. Many people refer to this color as “patina.”

To keep copper from turning green, you’ll need to clean the gutters and treat them with special products. A coating can be applied to copper gutters to protect them from oxidization.

What Gutter Material is Best?

Choosing the best gutter material will come down to your specific expectations and needs. Some people say that aluminum gutters are the best because they check all of the right boxes.

Buying aluminum gutters will be affordable, and you can expect the gutters to perform well. Aluminum gutters are relatively durable, but they’re also lightweight.

You don’t have to worry about aluminum rusting because it’s resistant to corrosion. For many, aluminum will be the ideal material due to its combination of affordability and performance.

Others might prefer copper gutters simply because they look elegant. These gutters can oxidize over time, but you can mitigate this issue by having a special coating applied to the gutters.

Copper gutters are so pricey that they won’t be practical for most people. So not many would say that copper is the best gutter material.

Vinyl is attractive, but it isn’t very durable. So it’s hard to recommend vinyl gutters due to the fact that you have to replace them fairly often.

Overall, aluminum appears to be the big winner in the battle of common gutter materials. However, you can choose whatever gutter material you find to be the best based on your sensibilities.

What Material Should Not Be Used for Gutters?

Wood is a terrible option for gutters. People generally don’t use wood to make gutters in modern times.

In the past, wood was used for gutters out of convenience. Now people know that wood is too heavy to be practical.

Also, wood doesn’t stand up very well to the elements in comparison to materials such as aluminum. So avoid wooden gutters.

You likely won’t find wooden gutters being sold anywhere in modern times. Some might choose to make their own wooden gutters, but this isn’t recommended.

Final Thoughts

Learning more about gutters and the various materials that they’re made out of should help you. You now know that there are many options to consider.

Most people will want to go with aluminum gutters out of convenience. Some might choose to go for copper gutters or vinyl gutters, though.

There are pros and cons to consider when looking at each type of gutter material. Aluminum gutters just happen to be affordable, lightweight, and fairly durable.

So the best recommendation is to stick to using aluminum gutters unless you have a good reason to prefer one of the other options. Make a good choice for your home so you can protect it from issues with pooling water.