Gutters have a very important job! They keep water away from your home. Without them, the moisture will do a number on the structural integrity of your house.
You’ll end up paying tons of money in expensive repairs. So, if your area sees heavy rainfall (and even if it doesn’t), you can’t go without them. The question is, which ones should you get?
The common battle is vinyl vs aluminum gutters. They both have their own set of advantages and disadvantages. We can help you weigh these pros and cons so you get the best system for your home.
Don’t start shopping around until you’ve read this helpful homeowner’s guide.
What is Aluminum?
Before we get into the advantages and disadvantages of the different types of gutters, let’s talk about the materials a little. We’ll tell you out of the two materials we’re going over, aluminum gutters are the most popular.
They’re the tried and true ones that have been around since the beginning of time. Okay, maybe not that long, but they have been in existence since the 17th century or so.
There are two different types of aluminum gutters that you can choose from. Seamless and seam. The seamless gutters aren’t hard to install but they still need a professional approach.
Seam aluminum clicks into place and is so simple to install that you can do it. We’ve got a separate pros/cons list for seamless vs seam gutters that we’ll get into a little later.
What is Vinyl?
Vinyl gutters haven’t been around quite as long as aluminum ones have been. They first came into existence in the 1930s. Since they’re newer, they haven’t been able to catch up to aluminum yet, but they’re working on it.
They’re made with sturdy PVC plastic. This plastic can give it an edge on aluminum in some areas. It can also cause it to fall short in other categories.
We will say that vinyl is the easiest material to install if you’re planning on doing the process yourself to save a little money. Everything clicks right into place. It’s lightweight so, you don’t have to worry about any heavy lifting.
All those seams do have a drawback, however. You’ll be working with a lot of parts. That can get complicated fast if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Like vinyl, aluminum is lightweight. You can choose the seam option if you want to install the gutters yourself. You can also go seamless and call in a professional.
Many contractors have experience working with the material and can quickly get the job done. Not everyone has experience with vinyl materials so, it might be harder to find someone to do it.
When weighing vinyl gutter vs aluminum gutter in terms of durability, aluminum comes out on top. No matter how much it rains, the material won’t rust or buckle. It can handle snow and ice too, as long as your area doesn’t see heavy snowfall.
Too much cold weather might dent it. You might want to go with vinyl if you live in a coastal area. The salt in the air may corrode the metal.
Whereas aluminum might dent when faced with ice, vinyl will fall apart. It can’t take harsh weather at all. Since vinyl gutters have seams, it’s likely that you may suffer from a leak.
It can hold up against your everyday dents and scratches, though. As long as you don’t live in a wet climate that sees a lot of snow, your vinyl gutters can last as long as your aluminum ones. If you do see a lot of harsh weather in your area though, expect to replace your gutters after 8 years.
It’s not that hard to manufacture vinyl and again, you can install it all on your own. This makes it one of the cheapest gutter materials on the market. Vinyl doesn’t have a long lifespan. This being said, it costs more in the long run because you’ll be constantly replacing it.
Aluminum, on the other hand, has a pretty long lifespan as long as you follow the proper maintenance tips. Once it’s installed, it will be 20 years or more before you have to call someone to replace it. The material itself isn’t too expensive either.
Aluminum comes in over 20 different colors. You’re sure to find at least one that will match the look of your home. If you can’t find a good color, there are custom options available as well.
Aluminum gutters have the added benefit of the seamless option. It looks cleaner, which will do wonders for your curb appeal.
Seam vs Seamless
We’ve talked a lot about seam and seamless gutters. With vinyl gutters, you don’t get a choice between the two. Aluminum comes in both options.
Seam gutters aren’t bad. They’re easy to install, but there is also a lot of potential for leaks. The seam design is also what causes vinyl gutters to buckle under the weight of snow.
Again, seamless gutters are a lot more aesthetically pleasing. It’s durable too.
Vinyl Vs Aluminum Gutters: Which is Best for Your Home?
Vinyl vs aluminum gutters. What’s the final verdict? Where they both have their own set of advantages and disadvantages, aluminum comes out on top in most categories.
That doesn’t mean that vinyl is the wrong choice. If you live in an area that doesn’t see that much bad weather, your vinyl gutters will hold up fine.
Having the right gutter system will increase your home value and make it easier to sell later. Check out the real estate section of our blog for a list of other things that will make your house pleasing to buyers.