In order to choose which type of material you should choose, it is important to first understand your options:
Wood – Wooden rain gutters can add quite a beautiful aesthetic to the home, but they are not very practical. These gutters are typically only installed when renovating a historical property. Wood leads to high expense and a lot of maintenance.
Copper or Aluminum – These materials are a great choice, especially if your experiences a lot of rainfall each year. Neither of these metals rusts, making maintenance costs particularly low. Aluminum is a fairly inexpensive option for your residential gutters, but copper gutters have a longer lifespan. Copper gutters also develop an eye-catching patina over time that many homeowners enjoy.
Steel – If you are interested in an extremely strong gutter system, galvanized steel is a good and affordable choice. These systems rarely require maintenance or repairs, other than regular cleanings.
Vinyl – Vinyl gutters generally cost significantly less than metal gutters, but they do not last nearly as long. Homeowners generally choose vinyl if they are interested in the least expensive option, or if they want a material that will be versatile and fit into interesting shapes, or a material that will be particularly resistant to mildew or rust. Remember, if your climate receives substantial rain or snow, you will most likely need to replace vinyl gutters frequently.
Before You Install
Before you commit to a specific type of gutter, you will need to check first to see if your region requires that you use certain materials. You do not want to spend time and money installing gutters only to have them fail the state or local building inspection. Certain areas and certain types of structures may have special requirements. For example, historical buildings may be limited to only using copper rain gutters.
If you are still not quite sure which type of gutter will be right for your home, the next best thing to do is consult with a professional installer to receive a recommendation.