When it comes to choosing materials for gutter systems, home and business owners have many options available to them. While galvanized steel is more popular for industrial settings than homes, it is gaining popularity. What’s more Galvalume gutters are also gaining traction? Here, you will learn more about the differences between galvanized and Galvalume gutters along with some of the pros and cons of each.
What is Galvanized Steel?
Galvanized steel is an incredibly popular building component, and it’s also very popular for industrial and commercial gutter systems. Essentially, it is steel that has been hot-dipped into zinc oxide, which creates a barrier designed to prevent corrosion, oxidation, and rust. Though galvanization does improve steel’s resistance to the elements, it is not a permanent solution. There are several unique pros and cons associated with choosing galvanized steel gutters.
- Pros – Galvanized metal maintains its appearance very well for the first several years. It is more resistant to the elements than non-galvanized metals, and because it is heavier and more durable than aluminum, it will last longer. It holds up better to wind and freeze/thaw cycles than many other types of gutter materials, as well.
- Cons – Even galvanized metals will eventually begin to corrode. For gutter systems, this corrosion typically begins around the edges of the metal, such as at the bottom of downspouts. If not immediately treated and maintained, the zinc will continue to corrode and spread across the entire span of the gutter system.
What is Galvalume?
On the other hand, Galvalume is the brand name given to a patented product that is a bit different. It starts with the same steel panels, but rather than applying a thin layer of zinc oxide, these sheets are continuously dipped into an extremely corrosion-resistant aluminum-zinc alloy. Most of the time, this coating consists of 55% aluminum, 43.5% zinc, and 1.5% silicon, which adds some extra durability. The alloy is designed in such a way that the best qualities of both metals protect the steel beneath.
- Pros – Galvalume uses an aluminum and zinc alloy. The aluminum component makes the steel corrosion-resistant and gives it the ability to reflect a great deal of heat, which may otherwise cause the steel to deteriorate over time. The zinc provides better formability and oxidation protection. It offers better longevity than traditional galvanized steel, and corrosion that does occur is less likely to spread.
- Cons – Because Galvalume’s coating is more than half aluminum, it is not as strong as galvanized steel and may be more susceptible to denting.
As you can see, both galvanized steel and galvalume have their own benefits and drawbacks. At the end of the day, Galvalume products will last longer with less maintenance. Overall, Galvalume gutters can last between 30 and 40 years, whereas galvanized steel gutters may only last about 20 years depending on the climate and the environment.