Choosing New Gutters: A Simple Guide for Homeowners

Posted on: 10 July 2017

Gutters are a part of your home that you probably don't think about until something goes wrong. But when they do start leaking and coming unattached, it's important to replace them promptly. After all, without a good gutter system, water won't drain from your roof properly, and you may end up with rotten and peeling shingles. 

Gutters are a pretty simple home component, but there are still some decisions to be made when you choose new ones. Here is some helpful information to help guide you.

Which material is best for you?

Before you make any other decisions about your gutters, decide what material you would like them to be made from. The most common materials used are aluminum, steel, and vinyl.

Aluminum gutters

They have the advantage of being lightweight, which makes them easy for you or your contractor to install. They are typically made on-site from a spool of aluminum. Today's aluminum gutters are seamless gutters, which means they are less prone to leaks and less likely to become clogged. Aluminum gutters do not rust. However, they are prone to denting if you push against them with a ladder or they're hit with hail.


These gutters cost about the same as aluminum gutters. The material is very durable and will withstand ladder pressure and hail without denting. The downfall of steel gutters is that if they are not protected, they can start to rust. You may need to paint or spray them with a metal protector every few years.

Vinyl gutters 

Vinyl gutters are also lightweight and flexible. However, since they must usually be manufactured offsite and transported to your home, they often have seams. These seams may grab onto debris, making clogs more likely than with aluminum gutters. Vinyl gutters are very quiet; you won't hear water flowing through them as you may with steel or aluminum gutters. They're also cheaper than aluminum or steel gutters.

What color would you prefer?

Once you know which material you'll be going with, you can start looking into color options. Aluminum, steel, and vinyl gutters all come in an array of colors, though your exact color options will depend on the brand you choose.

There are really two ways you can go when picking a gutter color. You can choose a color that blends in with your siding or roofing, creating a smooth and cohesive transition. Or you can add an accent color to your home's exterior by choosing a gutter color that does not appear elsewhere. For instance, if your siding, roofing, and windows are all shades of brown and tan, you can use dark green for the gutters.

What gutter shape should you choose?

The last big decision you should make is which shape your gutters should be. There are two main shapes to choose from. K-style gutters, which are sometimes called ogee gutters, have square bottoms and straight sides. Sometimes the sides come up at a slight angle. Half-round gutters are shaped as their name suggests: like a tube cut in half with a round bottom.

There are a few things to consider when choosing your gutter shape. First, consider your home's architecture. If your home has a lot of straight lines and right angles, then K-style gutters may be a better choice. If it has smoother lines and a more subdued appearance, then half-round gutters may be a better option. Also, consider whether having hangers showing will bother you. The hangers used for K-style gutters are typically hidden by the gutter, while the hangers for half-round gutters are visible under the gutter.

To learn more about your gutter options and how to choose the best one, speak to a contractor in your area.