Types of Rain Gutters

Rain gutters on a home.

Rain gutters are an extremely important feature of your house. The job of the rain gutter is to divert water from your roof away from the house, protecting windows, doors, siding, decks, landscaping, and the foundation. Here are the different types of gutters and other considerations when deciding what type of rain gutters to install.

1. K-style and U-style Gutters

These are the basic gutter that you see on nearly every house with a trough-like shape and sometimes an ornately flared out edge at the top. They are made out of a variety of materials, have a number of capacity options, and cost about 50 percent more than half-round gutters.

2. Half-round

Half-round gutters.

This style of gutter is shaped like a pipe cut in half and is predominantly used in historic homes.

3. Seamless Gutters

Seamless gutters are manufactured to exact lengths on site. They avoid leaks because there are no seams along the length, but they must be professionally installed and are slightly more expensive than aluminum.

4. Steel

Steel is a strong and durable material for gutters. It comes in many color options and can be painted. However, it is heavy and must be professionally installed. Plus, it is susceptible to rust and is a pricier option.

5. Aluminum

Gutters made of aluminum.

Aluminum is the most common gutter material available today. That is because it is lightweight, inexpensive, easy to install, doesn’t rust, and comes in a variety of colors or can be painted to match your house.

6. Vinyl

Vinyl is a great option for the DIY enthusiast. It is lightweight and inexpensive. The cons of vinyl are that it is available in limited color options, colors can fade, and it can crack in cold temperatures.

7. Zinc

Zinc is another great gutter option because it is durable, long-lasting, and there is no need to paint it due to its natural oxidation. It does require professional installation to weld the seams and can turn into an expensive project.

8. Wood

In modern times, wood is almost never used due to high maintenance, weight, and challenges of installation. Some might still consider it during a restoration.

9. Copper

Gutters made of copper.

Copper is the undisputed star when it comes to gutters. It’s exquisite beauty, natural patina, and general visual appeal are some selling points. And even though copper is extremely durable and will last decades, it is an expensive option that must be professionally installed so the seams can be welded.

Other Considerations

In addition to shape and materials of your gutters, you’ll want to select a size that works for your needs. While a larger gutter system provides a larger capacity and is less likely to clog, it is also more expensive and can’t always hold the weight of snow and ice in cold climates.

Ideally, the gutters are installed at the same time as the roof. This creates a seamless flow to avoid leaks and drips. It also offers more efficient mounting to the home, which reduces problems down the road. If you are considering adding gutters and your roof is nearing replacement, it’s best to do the two projects in conjunction with one another.