The four types of gutters that are installed on most roofs are made of galvanized steel, aluminum, vinyl and wood. Each of these has its advantages and disadvantages, and the question that most home owners ask concerns which type of roof gutter is the least likely to leak as a result of rainy weather. This is often related to a gutter's durability and how frequently it requires upkeep. The goal of selecting the best gutter is to find one the least prone to leaks and that also has the best price. Aluminum and vinyl gutters have been found to fit both of these criteria the most often. Consider the following pros and cons of each type of gutter to determine which will work best for your needs.
These types of gutters are among the most durable and resistant to cracks and corrosion, the main causes of leaks. Unlike galvanized steel, aluminum gutters do not need to be painted with a protective finish on a regular basis. However, extra care does need to be taken when putting together their joints during the installation process. Gutter joints that are not fitted together securely are another very common cause of leaks. These make up what are commonly called sectional gutters. Aluminum gutters are also available as seamless, though these can sometimes be a bit harder to find. When you put your new aluminum gutter together, pay special attention when you the elbow joints that are usually at the steepest angle.
With any type of gutter, you can go a long way toward preventing leaks by cleaning leaves and other debris out of the gutter on a regular basis. Leaves especially have blocked plenty of gutter downspouts and caused water to back up inside the gutter. Standing water can easily lead to rust, corrosion and eventually leaking holes in any type of metal gutter, including aluminum.
Vinyl gutters are less prone to holes caused by rust and corrosion, and they often come with fewer connection pieces. This can make them a bit easier to install. Many brands of vinyl gutters are available as seamless models, meaning they come in one piece that is installed along the normal roof line and connected to a downspout. This is an appealing option because it eliminates the chance of leaks at poorly-fitted gutter seams. Though it is not required, many home owners choose to paint their vinyl gutters to increase their longevity. Vinyl gutters are popular for this reason and also because they are among the least expensive gutter option.
Though this problem is less common, vinyl gutters can occasionally leak between the gutter and the piece known as the drop cup outlet that connects the gutter drain hole to the pipe of the downspout. The drop cup is simply a wider piece of pipe that is fitted between the two. Gutter cleaning, heavy rain fall off from the roof, and simple wear over time can cause the drop cup to loosen. This is easily visible when water drips out onto the exterior of the downspout instead of through the pipe itself. This can be easily fixed by tightening the drop cup and double checking that it was attached correctly. In the worse cases, a drop cup for your vinyl gutter is a part that is easily replaced.