Aluminum Gutters Buying Guide
Seamless aluminum gutters are the universal choice for homeowners and contractors alike for capturing and diverting rainwater from a building's roof. Available in over 20 pre-finished colors, aluminum rain gutters are effective, durable, and extremely cost effective.
Widely available and relatively easy to install, they are the ideal guttering system for a successful home improvement project.
Benefits of Using Aluminum Gutters
- Corrosion resistant - Aluminum is the most popular material used for fabricating gutters because of its corrosion resistance to the elements as it wont rust and decay over time.
- Cost-effective - Aluminum is widely available, recyclable, and long lasting and this makes it a great long term investment over time compared to other metals used in gutter systems.
- Light and easy to work with - Aluminum gutters are relatively lightweight compared to steel gutter systems and are easier to cut, install and fasten to the building.
- Long-lasting - Aluminum gutters have a high tensile strength, are durable, and wont rust and thus can last for many decades.
- Can withstand temperature changes - Expansion and contraction of aluminum gutters is a natural property of the material. There will be less volatility with heavier gauge gutters and an important reason to go with a contractor grade product as opposed to what is offered at the box store chains.
Aluminum Gutter Installation
There are different applications depending on the eave construction and the profile of the gutter being installed, but the general concepts for each of these are very similar. Here we will describe what is needed to install a typical k style aluminum gutter on a standard flat fascia.
The tools necessary for a seamless gutter installation include: Tape measure, tin snips, drill, nut driver, caulk gun, crimpers (or pliers), and a level or chalk line. Those that want to use rivets in lieu of screws would need an drill bit and a rivet gun.
The steps for an aluminum gutter installation are as follows:
- Measure the eave of the gutter to get the overall length. Be sure to include the outside edge of the shingles in the measurements for gutters that terminate at the gable end of the roof.
- Run a bead of sealant along the inside of the back, bottom, and face of the gutter at each end that is receiving an end cap or a miter piece.
- Attach the end caps and miters to the gutter using zip screws or rivets.
- Cut a hole in the bottom of the gutter that will allow for the installation of the outlet tube. Insert the outlet tube so that the flange of the outlet tube rests inside the gutter. Attach the outlet tube to the gutter with rivets or screws and apply a bead of sealant on the inside of the gutter.
- Start by fastening one end of the gutter to the fascia with a 1.5 screw. Typically, you should start at the point furthest away from the downspout. The back, top edge of the gutter should be level (at the same height) with the top of the wood fascia.
- Use a level or a chalk line so that the gutter is pitched to drain towards the downspout. A 4 ft. level or chalk line can be used to pitch the gutter per 10 ft.
- After the gutter is pitched properly, the gutter hangers can be installed. Ideally, hangers get installed into the rafter ends with a 1.5 screw and placed approximately 24 apart. Hangers should be level across the gutter and be fastened through the top of the back of the gutter.
- Two elbows are often needed to allow the downspout to span the eave and to the house. The top (or higher) elbows should slip inside of the elbows and downspouts below (or lower) so that water is diverted directly to the piece below. Use the crimper (or pliers) on the bottom end of the elbow/downspout to allow it to fit inside the next piece. Use zip screws or rivets to fasten each elbow and downspout together.
- Attach pipebands or pipe clips to the wall of the home using the 1.5 screws. We recommend two straps for most one story applications and 3 straps for most 2 story applications.
- Cut the downspouts and elbows down to the proper size using the tin snips.
- Attach the downspout to the downspout straps with the zip screws or rivets.
- Install an elbow at the bottom of the downspout (at grade) to divert water away from the foundation.
- Install downspout extensions or splash blocks as necessary to get the water further away from the home.
Types of Aluminum Gutter Styles
Aluminum is the most commonly used material used for installing gutters and thus available in a number of sizes, profiles and colors.
K style aluminum gutters are far and away the most popular and widely available of all of the gutter systems. Available in 5, 6, 7, and 8 sizes and in over 20 colors, K style gutters are made with roll forming machines. The gutter machine mounts in a work truck or pick up truck where the gutters can be made onsite. Making them on the jobsite allows them to be made to the exact measurements of the home.
Half round aluminum gutters are the preferred system for traditional and historic homes. The round shape is simple yet stylish and blends well with crown moldings, exposed rafter tails, and beadboard soffits. The round shape forces the water to drain out faster and is more effective in washing debris through the system than that of a K style gutter system.
Half round aluminum gutters are available in 5, 6, 7 and 8 sizes and in over 20 pre-finished colors. Plain round and round corrugated downspouts are the profiles of choice when installing a half round gutter system.
Other Gutter Materials To Consider for Your Home
- Vinyl Gutters- Vinyl gutters are typically available in two different colors and sold at the major box stores. They come with several types of fittings for the DIY installer. The installation takes considerably longer than an aluminum installation but requires less industry experience and less tools and equipment.
- Copper Gutters - Copper gutters are a great long term investment as they will last longer and require less maintenance over the life of the product. Lasting more than 75 years, copper gutters require a crafted tradesperson to properly solder the joints.
- Galvanized Steel Gutters - Galvanized gutters were the primary material used for guttering before aluminum gutters became the standard. Galvanized is steel that has an aluminum zinc coating that helps protect it from rust and corrosion. They have a higher tensile strength than aluminum and will require painting after they weather the elements.
- Euro Copper Gutters - Our Euro line of copper gutters are imported from Europe and made in metric sizes. Some of the benefits include seamless downspouts and miters that dont have a lock seam and thus dont need to be soldered.
- Freedom Gray Copper Gutters - Freedom Gray copper is the industry's answer to a long lasting, non corrosive metal without the patina process that turns green. Freedom Gray will patina and age over time but will keep its gray finish throughout its life cycle.
- Galvalume Gutters - Galvalume gutters have a steel substrate with an aluminum and zinc coating to protect it from the elements. Our galvalume gutters are mill finish and do not come with a paint finish like our lie of aluminum gutters.
- Zinc Gutters - Zinc gutters are capable of lasting as long as copper gutters. Over time and as it ages, zinc will form a protective layer that protects it from decaying. Maintenance of zinc gutters will be similar to that of copper and aluminum gutters.
- Mill Finish Aluminum Gutters - Our line of mill finish gutters are for those that want an unpainted appearance or want a custom color. They come ready to paint and are a great solution for both k style and half round applications.
- Paint Grip Steel Gutters - Paint grip steel gutters are made from bonderized steel and ready for paint. Unlike galvanized and galvalume gutters, paint grip gutters do not have a zinc or aluminum coating. The absence of those coatings allow the gutters to be immediately painted where the coated gutters need to weather for about a year before they are ready to accept paint.
Aluminum Gutters FAQ
What lengths do your aluminum gutters come in?
Our aluminum gutters are available in custom lengths and are made to order. We offer jobsite delivery to our local customers and can run as long a length that is required. Our custom crates are made for common carrier shipments where we can ship lengths up to 20 ft. long anywhere in the US or Canada.
Is it easy to install your own gutters?
While aluminum gutters are often installed by an experienced gutter contractor, we have a regular flow of DIY customers who are able to successfully install our products. If you are handy and comfortable working with a drill, some tin snips and can read a level you can install an aluminum gutter system on your home.
Are seamless gutters worth it?
Seamless gutters are a great choice for DIY homeowners and contractors alike. The k style aluminum gutter is the easiest to install while having low upfront costs and low maintenance costs. Its a rust free, corrosion resistant product with polished appearance that is durable and will last for decades to come.