Types of Gutters and Return on Investment

When homeowners are in the market for new gutters, typically the first decision is the type of material. But if you want to get the most out of your investment, consider not only the cost of purchasing the gutters, but other factors, as well, such as longevity, durability, and upkeep.

Aluminum Gutters

Aluminum gutters are lightweight, rust-resistant, and available in a wide range of colours. For homeowners considering the ROI of a gutter material, an aluminum gutter system is an excellent choice since they most likely won’t need replacing for as long as you own your home.

Cost: low to medium
Longevity: 20 to 25 years
Durability: rust-resistant; strong, depending on material gauge
Maintenance: relatively low; can be repaired; can be repainted

Copper Gutters

A copper gutter system is beautiful and timeless, regardless of whether the gutter profile is half-round or K-style. Copper gutters are available treated (stays the same copper colour) and untreated (develops a green, grey, or turquoise patina). If you intend on keeping your home in the family for over two generations copper gutters is a very good return on investment.

Cost: medium to high
Longevity: 30 to 50 years
Durability: very strong; never rusts
Maintenance: relatively low; can be repaired; never needs painting

Steel Gutters

Attributable to the metal’s high sheen, steel gutters are elegant and stylish. Galvanized steel is coated with zinc to retard rust. Stainless steel gutters are constructed from untreated steel sheets and are prone to rusting more quickly than galvanized steel. While steel gutters are strong and beautiful to look at, their ROI is lower than copper gutters and higher than aluminum gutters.

Cost: medium to high
Longevity: 20 years (galvanized steel); 15 to 18 years (stainless steel); begin to rust after 7 to 10 years (both)
Durability: very strong
Maintenance: medium to high; can be painted; rust spots will need to be repaired

Zinc Gutters

Zinc gutters are made from a metal alloy containing zinc, titanium, and copper. Due to its copper component, a zinc gutter system will develop a patina over time, similar in colour to copper gutters, depending on climatic exposure. Unlike copper gutters, zinc gutters don’t have as high a return on investment.

Cost: high
Longevity: 20 to 25 years
Durability: strong
Maintenance: medium to high; doesn’t need painting; when repairs are needed seams and joints must be welded

Vinyl Gutters

If you live in a house you plan to sell in the next five to 10 years, you won’t have to deal with aging vinyl gutters. On the other hand, if you plan to own your home for 20 or more years, you will probably have to replace the gutters at least once. However, vinyl is a popular gutter material because it’s inexpensive and looks good in the short term.

Cost: low
Longevity: 10 to 15 years
Durability: relatively strong depending on the thickness of the product
Maintenance: low; doesn’t need painting but can be; very easy to clean