Gutters protect your home – the roof from leaks, the foundation from cracks, and window and door frames from wood rot. While vinyl and aluminum gutters remain popular choices for gutter materials for many homes, steel is proving to be a budget-friendly alternative. Steel gutters might be the right type for your house if you’re looking for home exterior materials that reduce your carbon footprint while having plenty of curb appeal.
Benefits of Steel Gutters
Steel gutters offer several benefits over aluminum gutters. While both aluminum and steel gutters have a similar lifespan of 15 to 20 years, steel is more resistant to dents and dings.
A steel gutter system is rust-resistant and it is not as prone to expansion and contraction due to extreme heat and cold. As a gutter material, steel has an excellent strength to weight ratio.
Of all the gutter materials available, steel is less expensive when compared to the cost of aluminum gutters. While steel gutters cost more than vinyl gutters, steel has a longer life and is more durable. Typically, a standard steel gutter system is almost half the price. However, when additional protective coatings or features are added, they can impact the overall price.
Steel gutters are environmentally friendly. They can be completely recycled. Some manufacturers even make their products from as much recycled steel as possible. Because steel gutters last up to 25 years depending on location (inland vs. water front) and climate (extreme vs. mild), it doesn’t need replacing as often as other types of gutter materials.
Another benefit of a steel rain gutter system is its durability. While steel gutters can rust faster than aluminum gutters without protective finishes or coatings, it is still an extremely durable gutter material. Steel can resist impact damage better than aluminum, offering protection against falling tree branches, a ladder resting against the gutters, and objects hurled around in a windstorm.
Galvanized Steel vs. Stainless Steel
Steel gutters are available in galvanized steel or stainless steel. Galvanized steel is produced by coating the steel with a thin layer of zinc. Manufacturers add the zinc coating to protect the steel from oxidization (rusting). Stainless steel, on the other hand, has chromium added to it for the same purpose – to stop the rusting process when the metal comes into contact with air and moisture.
Steel Gutters and Curb Appeal
Steel gutters accentuate your home’s exterior with a futuristic appearance. Whether you select galvanize steel or stainless steel, the metallic finish is sleek looking, as well as eye-catching. Change it up – create a welcoming atmosphere with colors like copper penny, graphite grey, and slate blue.
Things to Consider before Installing Steel Gutters
Unless you are a DIY superstar, it’s probably wise to hire someone to install steel rain gutters. While they are somewhat lightweight, they are not as flexible as aluminum gutters, making the installation process challenging.
Stainless steel typically costs three to five times more than galvanized steel, depending on other elements that have been added and in what amounts.
Whether you install stainless steel gutters or galvanized steel gutters, they will eventually rust as the protective coating ages and starts to wear away.
Some gutter contractors work with steel and some don’t. Make sure you hire a gutter installation technician who has experience installing steel gutter systems.
Ask who the manufacturer is and how the gutters were produced. Don’t purchase untreated steel gutters – they will rust in just a few years.