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What Are the Different Types of Gutters? (2024 Guide)

The different types of gutters include half-round, K-style, and many others. Learn about all of them and much more in our complete guide.

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Rain gutter or Eavestrough with downspout maked of steel galvanized.

Default Author Icon Written by Mike Miller + 1 other Reviewer Icon Reviewed by: Mark Howey Updated 06/19/2024

Rain gutters come in various styles and materials, but the right one for your home depends on your budget and preferences. There are numerous styles of gutter systems, such as K-style, half-round, and box. Each offers a unique look and performs differently. Additionally, there are multiple materials to choose from. Vinyl, aluminum, and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) gutters are all inexpensive options popular among do-it-yourselfers (DIYers). Then there are luxury materials, such as copper and zinc, which can cost up to $10,000 for a full system.

To better help you understand gutter systems and determine the right one for your home, we analyzed customer reviews, warranties, and product specifications for the best gutter options. Our guide will cover what gutters are, why you might need them, and our expert recommendations for the best gutters on the market.

Ignoring clogged or defective gutters on your home can be an expensive mistake. Water damage caused by overflowing gutters can cost an average of $8,000 in repairs to your home’s foundation and fascia. Protect yourself from these preventable expenses by investing in your gutter system now.

What Is the Difference between Seamless and Regular Gutters?

Seamless gutters are constructed from a single, cut, custom-fit piece of guttering. Standard gutters come in segments connected by joiners. Seamless gutters lack the many seams that come with traditional gutters. This lack of structural weak points makes them longer-lasting, more durable, and look better. The major downside to seamless gutters is that they’re expensive and can’t be a DIY job.

What Are the Different Styles of Gutters?

The two main types of gutters are sectional and seamless. Sectional gutters are more popular and cost-effective, but they are pre-cut and more prone to breaking down. Seamless gutters are specifically fitted for your house, making them pricey. However, they’ll likely last for a significantly longer time.

The most popular gutter styles are K-style and half-round gutters, but there are other types of gutters to know. Let’s take a closer look at each kind below.

Half-Round Gutters

 K-style Gutters

Seamless Gutters

Box Gutters

These gutters feature a semicircular design and a curved lip. They also feature round downspouts and come in 5-inch and 6-inch widths. Many homes built before 1960 feature this style, so these gutters work well if your home is historic or brick. In fact, local ordinances may require you to have this type of gutter if this is the case.

Have an attractive, traditional design that can add curb appeal to your home
Tend to be durable and well-suited for heavy downpours
May be more difficult and expensive to install
Can be prone to accumulating debris

K-style gutters come in 5- to 6-inch widths and tend to feature rectangular downspouts. You can nail K-style gutters directly to your fascia boards without brackets because of their flat backs. Cleaning K-style gutters is more challenging than other gutters because their inner angles collect a lot of debris.

Doesn’t need brackets to fasten to fascia boards
Is a common and affordable option
Can be difficult to clean due to its angled profile
Require more frequent maintenance than some other gutter types
K style gutters on a house with white siding.

These are custom-built gutters that provide a contemporary look. Seamless gutters must be installed by a professional who will work with you to create a custom-built system made of one long piece of aluminum. The aluminum piece is tailor-made according to your home’s measurements and roof’s pitch. Be aware that you’ll most likely pay twice as much for seamless gutters than you would for sectional half-round or K-style gutters.

Can handle heavier water flow due to larger design
Attach securely to your home’s fascia board
Can be difficult to install
May need more frequent cleaning due to increased width
Seamless gutters inside gutter rolling machine.

Box-style gutters are often found in commercial or industrial buildings, but a professional can tailor them to residential homes. These oversized gutters are designed to handle heavy rainfall. They’re available in 7-inch and 8-inch widths, and some are as large as 10 inches wide.

Box gutters don’t hang on your roof’s edge. Instead, they use a high back section that tucks under a roof’s shingles. Therefore, most companies usually install these on newly built homes.

Capable of standing up to heavy downpours
Have improved durability over most gutter designs
One of the most expensive options
Little aesthetic appeal
Modern building with box gutters.

Gutters can be made of various materials, with vinyl and aluminum being the two most popular options. Each gutter material has its pros and cons, and certain ones can’t interact with products made of copper or zinc. We’ve listed the different types of gutter materials below.

Vinyl Gutters

Vinyl gutters are made from plastics and PVC. They aren’t as durable as other types and have an average life span of 10–15 years. Be aware that vinyl gutters tend to deteriorate faster in extreme climates.

Aluminum Gutters

Another great option for DIYers is aluminum gutters, which are lightweight and rust-resistant. They have an average life span of 25 years but are at a higher risk of cracking than other metal gutters.

Galvanized Steel Gutters

Galvanized steel gutters are more durable and sturdy than aluminum gutters, but they require professional installation due to their need for soldering. These gutters are ideal for homes that experience heavy rainfall and wet weather. They last 15–20 years but may rust if not correctly maintained.

Zinc Gutters

Pre-weathered zinc gutters are one of the most low-maintenance gutter options. These gutters are rust-resistant and use a self-sealing patina to avoid the formation of any scratches or cracks. Zinc gutters are sturdy, so you avoid paying for more gutter repairs or replacements during their average 50-year life span.

Copper Gutters

Copper gutters are very durable and can last up to 100 years. They don’t warp, bend, or rust in extreme weather conditions. They also give your home a unique look with a beautiful shine and traditional style. However, copper gutters tend to be the most expensive option and require professional installation.

What Are the Other Components of a Gutter System?

We’ve defined some of the core components and concepts of a home’s gutter system to help you better understand its design and role in protecting your home.
Downspout: This vertical pipe carries rainwater from the gutters down to a drain or the ground.
Drainage: This refers to a system of gutters and drainpipes that carry rainwater away from your home’s siding and foundation.
Fascia board: This flat board runs horizontally along the edge of your roof. It tends to cap the ends of your roof rafters to provide a more finished look. Fascia boards can also provide a base for attaching gutters.
Hanger: This is a metal bracket installed on the fascia board to secure the horizontal gutter section.
Pitch: This is the angle at which a horizontal section of the gutter is tilted. This angle forces rainwater to flow toward a downspout and is crucial to proper gutter function.
Seams: Many gutter designs have seams where individual lengths of gutter connect. During installation and routine maintenance, you must apply a gutter sealant to prevent these seams from leaking water.
Splash block: This plastic or concrete surface is placed under a downspout to direct water away from your home, avoiding pooling around the foundation and possible trenching during heavy downpours.

How Much Does a Gutter Replacement Cost?

The average cost of gutter replacement for a 200-linear-foot gutter system is between $1,700 and $3,100. Larger homes or more expensive materials may cost much more. Higher-end gutter systems can reach prices up to and exceed $10,000. A gutter system’s average pure material cost ranges between $6 and $14 per linear foot. Seamless gutters cost an average of $1,200–$5,000 for a 200-foot system. 

The following table breaks down the installation cost for each main type of gutter system: 

Gutter typeCost for a 200-foot system
Vinyl gutters$600–$1,200
Aluminum gutters $1,000–$2,800
Galvanized steel gutters $1,200–$2,800
Zinc gutters $2,000–$5,800
Copper gutters$5,000–$8,000

This cost range only accounts for gutter systems. Add-ons such as gutter guards can cost between $800 and $1,800. Gutter guards are a long-term investment since they help protect your gutter system and extend its life span.

Should You Choose a DIY Gutter Installation?

Installing gutters yourself is one of the best ways to reduce gutter installation costs. DIY installations directly remove labor costs and associated fees. However, this process is labor intensive and more limiting than working with a professional. It can also be dangerous and time-consuming. 

To handle a gutter installation project, you’ll need to be comfortable working on a ladder, have the right tools, and be experienced in general home construction. However, even if you meet these criteria, you won’t be able to install certain gutter systems. Seamless gutters require a rolling machine and specialized training. Copper, steel, and zinc gutters require custom installations with specific tools.

Which Type of Gutter Is Right for You?

We recommend choosing a gutter style and material that best matches your home’s needs. The shape and size of your gutter will determine its water-carrying capacity. Generally speaking, we recommend 6-inch K-style gutters for most homes. These gutters are easy to clean, moderate in price, and handle heavy amounts of water.

Our research indicated that many homeowners purchased gutters because their homes lacked a gutter system. If your home needs a completely new gutter system, it’s always best to use a professional installation company. It’s not difficult to replace a single section or patch a few cracks on your own. However, full replacements are difficult, dangerous tasks that professionals should do. You should get quotes from at least three gutter companies to help you find the best installer in your price range.

We also suggest that you invest in gutter guards for your gutter systems. Gutter guards improve your gutters’ efficiency, reliability, and longevity by preventing clogs and debris buildup. We surveyed over 1,000 gutter guard customers and found that 68% of homeowners who installed gutter guards also repaired or replaced their gutters simultaneously. See our top recommendations for gutter guards below.

Frequently Asked Questions About Types of Gutters

How long do gutters last?

The life span of gutters depends on the material of the gutter. Vinyl gutters last only about 10 to 15 years, but aluminum gutters last about 25 years.

Which gutter type is best?

Vinyl and aluminum gutters are often considered the best gutter types. Both are lightweight, easy to install, and never rust.

What is the best gutter size?

Gutter gauge or thickness must be sized based on the efficiency and capacity of your gutter style. Gutters with 5-inch or 6-inch widths handle the rainfall on most houses in most parts of the U.S., making them the optimal gutter size.

Our Rating Methodology

We back up our gutter guard recommendations with a detailed rating methodology to objectively score each gutter guard product and provider. We conduct research by reviewing product specifications and provider website information, speaking with customer representatives, and analyzing customer reviews. We then score each provider against our review standards for gutter guard design, customer support, the quote process, services, and reviews to arrive at a final score on a 5-point rating scale.

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