We are looking to get new gutters installed to our home, but we want to find the perfect gutter style that compliments our houses features. But what are the different types of gutters? And what are the best gutters? Our expert gutter technicians answer all your questions.
Table of Contents
The Main 3 Types of Gutters
Among the different types of gutters, there are 3 main gutter styles: K-Style, Half-Round, and Box gutters. Each of these gutter types are available in a variety of materials, such as Aluminum, Copper, Vinyl, and Galvanized Steel.
Lets’s take a look at each of these types of gutters and what they are primarily used for.
K-Style gutters are the most common type of gutter that you will see on modern homes. In fact, about 80% of homes feature this style of rain gutter.
This type of gutter features a unique shape on the front edge that resembles modern home’s crown molding. So these gutters will compliment your homes look. As they often come in different colors and materials, many homeowners will choose a color of K-Style Gutter that matches or accents their homes trim and/or shutters.
They have a flat back so they are installed to the Fascia Board trim that is around the top edge of your home. Being flush against the wall ensures that water isn’t able to run down your wall. The bends and folds in the metal provide a rigid structure, so these gutters will withstand more damage than a half-round.
Because they are the strongest, handle the most water flow, and look the best. For example, they are designed to complement the homes exterior by resembling crown molding. In conclusion, their name comes from the “K” shape that they simulate.
The two most common sizes are 5″ and 6″, with 5″ being the industry standard and the 6″ would be for slightly higher volume of water.
- Cheapest option available
- Easiest to install
- More durable than Half-Round (Rigid construction)
- Performance (Can handle more water during heavy rain)
- Modern look
Half-Round gutters are the most efficient gutter shape and flush out debris more effectively due to their rounded shape which makes it one of the best gutter types. Their name describes them perfectly, as they are half of a circular pipe with the top half open for water.
Often used in historic or older style homes, this gutter style offers a more historical and elegant look than the standard K-style gutters. You’ll usually find these on older homes to complement the rustic look. They are known to be more rustic, as they are usually made from copper which forms a patina over time. However, they also are available in Aluminum, Vinyl, or Galvanized Steel. Just like the K-style, these are available in 5″ and 6″ sizes.
These gutters are more difficult to install than K-style gutters. First, brackets are installed to the home along the roof edge. Once the brackets are in place, the Half-Round gutter is dropped into place and secured. It should be noted that copper gutters are much heavier than Aluminum gutters, so they need additional hardware to keep them secure to the home.
The half circle shape results in the inner part of the gutter being entirely smooth. Being smooth on the inside does provide a few advantages. First, the metal is less likely to corrode or rust because there is no where for it to pool up or stand still.
Secondly, since there are no creases or hardware on the inside, debris has a nice clear path and is less likely to get caught up on something and form a clog.
- The most efficient gutter shape
- Rustic look
- Easier to clean
- Less likely to rust or corrode
- Less likely to clog
- More expensive
- Takes longer to install (Higher labor costs)
- Not as efficient in heavy rains (Handles less water)
- Less rigid/durable than K-Style (Easier to damage)
- Heavier (pulls loose quicker over time)
The third most popular type of gutter that you’ll see around, is the Box Style gutter. These are oversized gutters that are primarily used for commercial or industrial buildings. That’s why larger sized gutters (6″ and up) are usually box style gutters. They are designed to handle large amounts of water, from larger roofs. The bigger your roof is, the more water output.
Box gutters are not hung on the edge of the roof like traditional gutters. They feature a high back section that tucks under the shingles on the roof. Therefore, they need to be installed when the building is being built. This ensures that no water can get into the building along the roof edge. You can install these to an older building, but you would sill need to get the roof re-done with new shingles.
Box style gutters come standard in sizes 7″ and 8″, but you can even purchase larger sizes like 10″.
The Best Gutter Materials
Now that you’re familiar with the different types of gutters, here’s comes the next question: What is the best material for gutters?
Gutters and downspouts are usually made from the same types of materials. Aluminum, Copper, Vinyl, and Galvanized Steel.
We’ll go over some of the pro’s and con’s for each material.
- Light weight
- Rust Resistant
- Easiest to install
- Available in many color options
- Prone to damage by extreme temperature fluctuations (can warp)
The most expensive style of gutters that you can purchase, are copper gutters. For example, you will mostly see these in the Half-Round style. They are used on older homes to complement the more traditional look. However, always remember that copper oxidizes and forms a patina over time, so these gutters will eventually end up turning green.
- “Patina” look
- Heavy Duty (thicker guage than aluminum)
- Most expensive
- Heavier so they come loose more often
Galvanized Steel Gutters
Galvanized Steel Gutters are made from hot-dip steel. They are stronger and more durable than aluminum or copper, but they are also much heavier which makes them come loose more easily. Because, the heavy weight is a huge burden on the gutter hangers. In addition to that, it should be noted that these rust very quickly and deteriorate much faster than all other gutters.
- Strength (Can handle large amounts of weight)
- Very Heavy (Gutters come loose more often)
- Rust very easily
Vinyl Gutters are pretty self explanatory: gutters made from vinyl, plastic, or PVC. If you were to go to Home Depot or Lowes to purchase gutters, these are what you would find. For one thing, they never corrode or dent which is a plus. However, they don’t last as long as traditional gutters as they bend or warp quickly.
- Easy to install (for DIY people)
- Cheap material (bends easily)
- Only available in white
All the types and styles of gutters provide the same basic function but while K-guard gutters are the most popular and most cost effective, half-round gutters flush out debris more efficiently.
Size of your home and roof are factors to determine what size you need. Find the style and type of gutter that will best suite your needs, and look the best on your home.
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Gutter Type Resource Link Guide