Gutter Showdown: Aluminum Gutters Vs. Vinyl Gutters
Whether we are acutely aware of them or not, your gutters are an integral part of your roofing system. Gutters play a huge part in managing water from rainfall and snowfall and pulling it away from the foundation of your home, saving the integrity of your windows and rescuing your outside decorative foliage. Naturally, with all the care and attention you put into the maintenance of your home, the material your gutters are made of and their ability to perform as needed makes for an important choice.
In this article, the pros and cons for aluminum gutters and vinyl gutters will be reviewed. Special attention should be paid to the needs you’ve isolated based on your home and what works best for you.
So far, the most common, aluminum gutters are a kind of gutter system made of a lightweight aluminum building material, hence the name. These kinds of gutters are popular in residential and commercial builds, and are diverse enough in appearance to vary in size, color, and shape. Most installation professionals have a wide range of aluminum gutter types to choose from based on your home and it’s vision.
Curb appeal and higher resale values benefit pretty greatly from a great set of gutters, and for this purpose, aluminum gutters can be painted and reshaped for any guttering needs.
Easy to install, aluminum gutters are extremely light and have fewer seams than their vinyl counterparts. Gutter installation professionals generally opt to use aluminum in most projects, making it a cinch to find someone to install on your behalf. The cost of installation is low and the durability, discussed below, makes it a one time cost for a long term investment when cared for properly.
Durability is among the highest considerations when choosing a gutter type. You don’t want to have to pay for new gutters often, so choosing a material that will give you the most bang for your buck is going to be a good bet. Generally speaking, aluminum gutters last for the better part of 2 decades, don’t tend to bend or rust in any way, and can withstand some pretty intense rainfall and snow.
Aluminum gutters are a time tested and classic gutter option for those in the market for something inexpensive, easy, and long term. Having the peace of mind that your home and your wallet are happy and healthy is one of the biggest benefits of any functional gutter system, regardless of materials used. Aluminum provides the most diverse aesthetic options, easiest installation methods, and longest term functionality between itself and the vinyl gutters listed below.
Made from lightweight plastic, vinyl gutters (or PVC gutters) are making waves in the world of professional guttering. PVC gutters typically have a wide range of DIY solutions, which can lead to lower installation costs upfront, and take a few hearty hours of work for a seasoned DIYer.
PVC gutters snap together in their installation which is why it’s so common to see installation of these gutters on at home installation forums. These pipes, however, tend to have a lot of seams which can make installation a little more involved and time consuming than its aluminum gutter counterparts. Finding a professional who is willing to work with vinyl may not be as easy as it would be with aluminum installation, but tenacity and shopping around might help you.
When it comes to performance and durability, vinyl gutters are resistant to corrosion and rust, but unfortunately comes in a distant second behind aluminum for longevity. The average installation of PVC guttering systems stay in place and at peak performance for about 10 years in more temperate climates, which is, on average, half of the life expectancy the aluminum gutters bring to the table.
Prolonged heat exposure and cold fronts can leave plastic brittle and prone to cracking. These gutters can also bend under extreme conditions, causing snow and ice to be a major problem for those with plastic pipe plans.
The cost of material for PVC or vinyl gutters is admittedly cheaper than the cost of aluminum, but the old saying “You get what you pay for” sums it up just about perfectly. Because of the costs of repair and replacement on a more frequent basis, you may end up paying more in the long run for the vinyl gutter options.
It’s safe to say that, while both aluminum and vinyl gutter options come with a list of their own perks and pitfalls, the purpose of gutters is to be a long term solution to an ongoing housing issue. Though the water management is the main focus, with added considerations like ease of install, how much it costs, and how often you’ll have to repair your gutters makes it easy to name aluminum the winner!
Aluminum gutters are more reliable and need less ongoing attention. You won’t have to worry yourself about the dangers of the colder weather and brittle plastic, and finding a reputable installer with the know-how and experience is as easy as calling around to a few installation professionals in your area. The options for aesthetically pleasing colors and shapes are almost limitless.
All in all, both of these options have really great implications you can apply to your gutter installation experience. It goes without saying that regular maintenance of any system, regardless of what material you choose, is a must have to promote the longevity and durability of your new gutters. Cleaning them as the seasons change will allow you to clear the pipes of any leaves and debris while simultaneously allowing you to check for damage, leaks, and breaks in your lines. Catching issues early is the key to repair rather than a full replace.
Professional cleaners in your area are just a phone call away, or if you prefer the DIY option, a few hours on a ladder and a trash can for the junk can be just as effective.