A well-functioning guttering system protects your house siding and foundation. If overlooked, you could face many costly problems in the future.
Rain gutters come in different styles, shapes and are made using various materials. When selecting a gutter style, you’ll need to consider whether it is right for your home requirements, as well as local weather conditions.
Rain Gutter Anatomy
The various terms used when discussing gutters may be unfamiliar if you’re new to the world of gutters.
Before we start looking at some different gutter styles, here’s a quick rundown of what a rain guttering system consists of:
The downspouts are positioned vertically along the side of the house and are responsible for carrying the rain from the roof to the collection point.
This angled downspout sits at the bottom of the downspout to direct the water away from the foundation.
The downspout is secured to the house using “pipe cleats.”
The end caps seal the length of the gutter.
These are metal strips to prevent sagging by supporting the bottom of the gutter.
This hollow shaft surrounds the long screw or “spike” that affixes the gutter to the building.
And that’s pretty much it.
Gutters are simple configurations. When it comes to their assembly, style,
and material, however, it can get a little technical. There are two construction types, and a particular style is either one or the other, or, in some cases, both.
Seamed vs Seamless Gutters
Here are the differences between a seamed vs seamless gutters.
Seamed gutters, also referred to as sectional gutters, are small sections that fit together to create the overall system.
They’re 10-foot long pieces, generally made from aluminum, steel, or vinyl that affix to the property’s fascia board. Seamed gutters are great for DIYers, as the sections make them easier to install.
Pro Tip: If you install the seamed gutters yourself, it will be much easier to pre-assemble them by joining the sections on the ground first.
However, the joins are potential failure points that make them more prone to leaks, even when installed by a professional. These failures can sometimes go unnoticed and, depending on rainfall, worsen over time if the gutters are clogged with tree leaves or debris.
In the worst-case scenario, and depending on the durability of the material used to make the gutters, the whole gutter section may collapse due to the weight of the trapped water.
Seamed gutters are more economical than seamless. If one section of the gutter fails, it can be replaced without requiring significant changes to the rest of the system.
In contrast, seamless or continuous gutters have no joins other than at the top corners, offering a smooth look along the length with minimal leakage.
However, unlike seamed gutters, seamless gutters are not DIY-friendly. Consequently, you should expect to pay more as the installation procedure is more labor-intensive and should be carried out by a professional.
Another drawback of seamless gutters is that when one area fails, the entire gutter length will need to be replaced or the damaged area removed, which should be also be done professionally.
The seamless gutter system is made with single coils. They look great as they maintain the seamless horizontals of your roofline.
Seamless gutters are available in many colors (up to 30 or more), making them easier to match with your home’s exterior.
Deciding on a seamless gutter style offers superior quality that will last longer than its seamed counterpart. In addition, they will increase your home’s value and reduce the risk of rot, dampness, and mold.
Seamed Gutter Styles
Here are the seamed styles of gutters.
The K-style gutter or “Ogee gutter” is a popular choice in the U.S. because of its decorative appearance and how easy it is to install.
It can be nailed directly to the fascia board without brackets, thanks to its flat back. It also has a unique decorative front side that resembles crown molding.
Did you know? The K-style gutter is not named K-style due to its profile as commonly believed. Gutters are available in various styles and shapes.
Hence, the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors National Association (SMACNA) came up with a list of the 12 most common types of rectangular gutter profiles. The K-style is the 11th on the list, so it was assigned the 11th letter in the alphabet.
The K-style gutter is typically made from aluminum and can hold more rainwater than its rounded counterpart. One foot of 6-inch K-style guttering holds 2.0 gallons of water. This makes them an ideal choice if you live in a rainy climate.
A disadvantage of the rectangular profile of the K-style is that it’s a little harder to clean compared to a rounded shape. Its inner angles are ideal for rotting debris to accumulate.
The half-round gutter is shaped like a tube cut in half, and it carries water incredibly well. They aren’t as decorative as the K-style gutter, but are ideal for a traditional look to suit a particular architectural style.
They’re typically found on houses made before the 1950s and are perfect if you want to restore a historic home by preserving its distinctive features.
Their open tube-like shape makes them prone to debris and leaf clogs, but you could install leaf guards to get around this.
In addition, their curved sides prevent them from sitting flush against the fascia board. For that reason, brackets are often required to keep them in place.
Half-round gutters are available in various styles, including double-bead, single-bead, and reverse bead. The different types do not affect their installation difficulty or efficiency.
Seamless Gutter Styles
Lets take a look at the different styles available for seamless gutters.
Fascia Style Gutters
A fascia gutter shape offers a modern and sleek look. Custom-built out of a long aluminum stretch, they are typically installed on homes without fascia boards and act as both guttering and fascia boards.
This style is installed directly onto the framing, so the flat side of the gutter conceals the edge of the roof’s rafter tails.
With fascia boards, a smooth aesthetic line is created to prevent water damage or pests from entering your home via the rafter tails.
As they are seamless and must be installed professionally, you can expect to pay twice as much for this style of guttering.
The European gutter, or “euro-gutters” for short, are a type of half-round gutter. The bead is shown outside the gutter instead of the inside and attaches via a visible half-round hanger.
They are popular for their aesthetically pleasing and classy look. Cooper-based European gutters provide long-lasting visual appeal. They look great from the start when shiny and new and once they begin to age, they gain a distinctive patina.
Ultimately, they increase curb appeal and the value of your home.
If you live in an area prone to severe storms or temperature swings, European style guttering is a great choice to consider.
Generally made from durable material, they’re better equipped at handling extreme fluctuating weather conditions. Euro-gutters offer a wider circumference and opening overall, which encourages efficient water flow.
Did You Know? That cutter, butter, clutter, flutter, and shutter all rhyme with gutter but no words rhyme with eave trough, which is the technical terminology used for rain gutters.
Victorian Ogee Gutters
The traditional style of “Victorian Ogee,” also known as “Old Gothic” gutters, provides a distinguished look that’s perfect for specific homes.
The profile is based on the cast-iron gutters that were popular during the 19th century. They have a stylish and traditional appearance, and with the right styling, provide great aesthetic appeal.
However, this is a shallow gutter, so it can’t handle as much water flow as other shapes. Therefore, it would be better suited to a smaller home. And like other seamless styles, these gutters will need to be custom made to fit the dimensions of your property.
Box style guttering has a rectangular/square look and offers a modern and clean appearance. They are commonly used on commercial buildings, though there are box-style versions for residential homes.
They have a sizeable 6-inch depth. Designed to handle more significant amounts of water, they, are custom-constructed like their seamless counterparts, using a hard-wearing material.
The different materials used for the various gutter styles can add to its look and longevity. Wood was once a frequently used material for building rain gutters, but it was prone to weathering and rot.
Although wood gutters are still used on old and historically significant homes, today’s gutters are typically made from aluminum, zinc, steel, copper, or vinyl.
This is the most popular material used for residential gutters, seamed or seamless. They are significantly lightweight, easier to install, and often cost less than other options.
Aluminum gutters are available in three thicknesses .025-inch, .027-inch, and .032-inch. The least expensive thickness, .025-inch, is most likely to bend or dent. The thickest is better at handling heavy snowfall.
For aluminum K-style, DIY rain guttering, you can expect to pay around $2 to $3 per linear foot and double the price to have professionals install them.
Zinc gutters are high-end but extremely strong and corrosion-, weathering-, and warping-resistant. While zinc rain gutters are a pricier investment compared to aluminum, you can expect them to last twice as long (slightly less if you live anywhere with salty air).
When you first purchase zinc guttering, they’ll be a dull gray color. Over time, they will eventually develop an attractive patina similar to cooper gutters that serve to protect them from the elements.
They require professional installation as the ends and joints are welded. Expect to pay approximately $10 to $22 per linear foot for professionally installed zinc gutters.
Pro Tip: When deciding on the material for your rain gutters, consider where you live, e.g. the type of climate, the kind of home you have, and the look you want to achieve.
Steel gutters are more robust than aluminum and better equipped for severe weather. Steel rain gutters are typically galvanized to strengthen rust resistance, but natural corrosion is inevitable within 10 to 15 years.
Leaf guards can help extend the life of galvanized steel gutters significantly, as a saturated mass of fallen leaves accelerate the onset of rust.
On the other hand, stainless steel gutters won’t rust, but they are significantly pricier than galvanized steel. DIY installation is not recommended as they’re pretty heavy.
For professionally installed galvanized steel gutters, expect to pay approximately $8 to $10 per linear foot and almost twice as much for stainless steel.
Copper gutters are distinctly attractive and grow even more so with age. Many traditional homes feature copper rain gutters because of their old-world look.
In addition to increasing your home’s resale value, they are resistant to rust, mildew, and mold growth. Cooper is powerful and not affected by weather, from the hottest heatwave to the coldest snaps.
It is the most expensive type of rain gutter and requires professional installation. However, they are a worthwhile investment, as they can last up to 100 years with proper installation.
Anticipate paying as much as $15 to $25 per linear foot for a copper gutter system.
Did you know? The first rain gutters were built by an ancient civilization in 3000 B.C. Water was drained from one location to another via a structure made from brick, stone, and wood. The first drainage systems to channel water away from the streets were used by the Romans.
Vinyl gutters are the least expensive and offer the most straightforward DIY install as the pieces are lightweight, snap together, and will never rust. For a K-style DIY project, you can expect to pay around $1 to $2 per linear foot and $5 per linear foot for a professional install.
One drawback of using vinyl for rain gutters is that it’s the least durable. It’s thinner, so it will sag over time, turn brittle, and shatter.
They’re also prone to fading in bright sunlight. In milder climates, vinyl guttering could serve you up to 20 years or as little as 5-10 years in extreme weather.
Gutter sizes start with a standard five or six-inch depth. Seven and eight-inch gutters are categorized as oversized.
A height of five inches is the most common size used for K-style gutters. In general, this is sufficient for most homes to manage the volume of water running off the roof.
But if you live in a rainy area, you’ll need to consider wider downspouts to assist in channeling the rainwater away from your home quicker.
Half-round gutters are usually sized at six inches. If you think you’ll need something larger, discuss your maximum rainfall intensity, roof pitch, and the drainage area square footage with your roofer. They can check whether a 6-inch gutter is necessary.
What Is The Most Popular Gutter Color?
White, off-white, tan, gray, or brown colored gutters tend to be the most popular and standard choices. They provide a clean and finished look to complement your home’s exterior without standing out too much.
Can Sagging Gutters Be Repaired?
Yes. Sagging gutters can be repaired in two ways. First, check whether the spikes are tight. If not, tighten or replace them.
You also can try fitting gutter hangers in the sagging areas or tightening the screws on the current hangers.
What Is The Best Gutter?
Rain guttering systems are essential for the home. If rainwater is not channeled away from your home’s foundation, it can compromise the structure, cause damage to the brickwork, and other problems that could end up costing you more than the cost of a rain gutter.
A guttering system either has a seamed or seamless construction. Seamed is when the structure is formed by joining the sections together. Although cheaper to install, it’s more prone to leaks.
Examples of this type of guttering include K-style and Half-round gutters. The seamless gutter structure comes in complete lengths, with joins only at the corners. These require professional installation. Hence, seamless gutters are more expensive. Examples of seamless gutters include Fascia and European style gutters.
The type of gutter material you choose will add to creating a customized gutter system that compliments the style of your home and enhances its curb appeal.
As well as looking good, with proper installation and maintenance, gutters will protect your house for many years to come.
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