Steel Gutters vs. Aluminum Gutters

When choosing new rain gutters, you want the best for your home. You also don’t want to have to do this again anytime soon. Instinct might have you choose steel because it’s stronger or aluminum because it’s more affordable. Keep in mind that no one gutter system is better than another – each has its own advantages and disadvantages. But knowing the basic differences between steel gutters and aluminum gutters might help to make your final decision easier.

Aluminum Gutters

Aluminum is the most popular material for metal gutters because it is relatively inexpensive and easy to maintain. Unless you select stainless steel, aluminum gutters won’t rust and are generally cheaper and lighter than steel gutters. When deciding on whether or not aluminum gutters are better for your home, consider the following:

  • Aluminum gutters come in a variety of colors
  • Can last up to 30 years
  • Relatively easy to DIY
  • Gutter accessories such as brackets and connecting pieces are often cheaper than their steel equivalents
  • Since aluminum is lighter, gutters can be dinged and dented more easily than steel
  • Because they are prone to dents and being bent out of shape, aluminum gutters should be checked especially after a heavy rain or wind storm
  • Aluminum tends to expand and contract in hot and cold temperatures
  • Unless you select seamless aluminum gutters that are installed by a professional gutter contractor, aluminum gutters will have seam

Steel Gutters

Steel gutters are stronger and don’t dent as easily as aluminum gutters. They tend to be more difficult to install yourself than aluminum gutters because they are heavier and each gutter section has to be soldered. Before choosing steel gutters, keep these points in mind:

  • Steel gutters are available in a variety of colors
  • Have a typical life span of 5 to 10 years
  • Steel gutters and gutter system accessories tend to be more expensive than aluminum gutters simply because it is heavier and therefore tends to need more brackets
  • Being heavier, steel is stronger than aluminum and does not damage easily
  • Even galvanized still will eventually rust, most often at the joints where they have been soldered
  • Steel gutters expand and contract at a much slower rate than aluminum gutters
  • Since steel gutters are generally harder to work with, it is recommended that they be installed by a profession gutters contractor
  • Requires higher maintenance than aluminum gutters – steel gutters should be repainted regularly to protect against rust

While aluminum gutters are a more popular choice than steel gutters for a number of reasons including cost-effectiveness and durability, steel gutters are attractive in other ways. They are stronger and heavier, less prone to dents and other types of environmental damage. Depending on where you live and the overall look you want for your home, steel gutters might be the way to go.