Q: I recently had my house re-roofed and now want to add gutters. I'm trying to choose between painted aluminum and painted galvanized steel. Each type comes in the fascia style I prefer and they are comparable in price. What are their advantages and disadvantages?

— Dan, Monterey, CA

A: Tom Silva replies: They both will do the job. Galvanized steel is a little stronger than aluminum but may rust over 5 to 10 years as the paint wears. Gutters that are not kept clean will have a shorter life because rust will start where raw steel is exposed (at a seam, corner, or where a hole was drilled to let water exit) unless they are primed and sealed. Aluminum with a baked-on finished wears better than the steel, and can be cleaned from time to time with a mild detergent. But, sooner or later, you will need to repaint either one.
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