Aluminum Gutters vs. Vinyl Gutters

Gutters are an important part of most roofing systems. When it comes time to replacing old ones, it’s nice to have options. But sometimes having a number of different choices can make the decision a little more difficult. The two most popular types of gutter systems are aluminum and vinyl. Knowing the basic differences of each can help you make a more informed assessment of what is best for your home.

Aluminum Gutters

Aluminum rain gutters come in a variety of colors, are easy to maintain and if you decide to DIY, accompanying items such as brackets and connecting pieces are often cheaper than their vinyl counterparts. When choosing aluminum gutters for your home, here are some other points to consider.

  • Aluminum is the most popular material for metal gutters because it is relatively inexpensive and easy to maintain.
  • Select aluminum gutters that are heavier and thicker for consistency and longevity.
  • While prone to dents and dings, aluminum performs well in all kinds of weather. Aluminum does not expand and contract as much as vinyl does.
  • When you install them, aluminum gutters will have seams.
  • Seamless gutters are almost always installed by professional contractors with proper fabricating tools.
  • Do the math. It might appear to be more expensive to hire a professional, but once you’ve factored in the costs of the lineal footage, brackets and connecting pieces, the savings can be marginal.

Vinyl Gutters

Vinyl rain gutters are generally easy to install (perfect for DIYers), available in a limited number of colors and require simple maintenance. Here are some things to keep in mind before selecting vinyl gutters for your home.

  • Vinyl rain gutters are corrosion-free, scratch resistant and won’t need painting.
  • Being lightweight, they are easy to cut and move into place.
  • Vinyl gutters typically have seams every 10 feet.
  • Vinyl gutter systems tend to expand and contract more than aluminum gutters.
  • Depending on environmental conditions, vinyl is susceptible to extreme heat, cold and sun. It also has the tendency to expand and contract.
  • In certain weather or environmental conditions, vinyl gutters can become discolored.

It’s not a matter of one type of gutter system being better than the other. Rather, when deciding on vinyl or aluminum gutters, the focus should be on cost, durability and whether or not you will DIY or hire a professional contractor.