Turning Houses Into Homes: A Home and Garden Blog

Exploring Your Gutter Options

If rain is dripping on your head when you leave the protection of your porch roof, it may be time to replace your gutters. Rain gutters are meant to last for decades, but nothing is forever. A dedicated DIYer can replace a set of gutters in a weekend, but the choice of styles can be overwhelming. Most decisions depend on the age of your house and the size of your budget, but you can consider a decorative element, too.

Shape and Size

Originally, all gutters were made in a U-shaped, or half-round design. Simple U-shaped gutters are the standard today for bargain installations, but the newer K-shaped type will hold more water and can be a good alternative for homeowners in areas with heavy rain activity. You can attach round or rectangular downspouts to either one. The right choice in gutters is the one that will handle your normal rainfall without overflowing. Find a gutter supply website to discover your area's average rainfall density and recommendations for gutter shape and size.


The most important decision you'll make about your gutters is what material they're made of. Price and simplicity of installation vary, but the pitch of your roof and your local weather will give the most clues about what materials to buy.

  • Aluminum gutters are the most popular for homeowners to install. It's inexpensive, durable, and relatively easy to work with. You can buy aluminum gutters in a variety of colors to match or accent your home, and they won't rust in years to come.
  • There are two types of steel gutters: galvanized and stainless. Even though galvanized steel gutters will eventually rust out, they're very durable, making them ideal for people living in areas with severe weather patterns. If your regular weather includes heavy rainfall and high winds, steel gutters should be on your list.
  • Vinyl is often the first DIY choice, and it's often the least expensive. It's light and easy to work with, and all the materials can usually be found in big box stores. The biggest downside to vinyl gutters is that they're subject to degrading because of weather; freezing makes them brittle and strong sunlight can break down the materials.


If you live in a neighborhood with mature trees, installing a gutter cover system will save you countless hours up a ladder, pulling debris from your gutters. There's a large variety to choose from; the right type depends on what's most likely to be deposited on your roof. Look for solid covers with slots or screened covers for smaller debris such as dead insects or seed pods, and consider gutter sponges if you get large piles of leaves every year. These sponges soak up the water and allow it to flow to the downspout, regardless of how many leaves fall on top of them.

Talk to a company like Northwest Rain Gutter for more information on various rain gutter options.