Aluminum or plastic gutters – which is better?

Gutters are an essential component of any home’s roofing system. They serve the
important function of collecting rainwater and directing it away from the foundation of
the house. This helps prevent water damage, erosion, and flooding. Gutters come in
various materials and styles, each offering different advantages and disadvantages.
Common types of gutters include aluminum, plastic, vinyl, copper, and steel. The choice
of gutter material depends on factors such as climate, budget, durability, and aesthetic
preferences. Regardless of the material, it is crucial to have gutters professionally
installed and regularly maintained to ensure they remain functional and effective in
protecting the home from water damage.

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Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for general informational purposes
only. While we have endeavored to provide accurate and up-to-date information, it is
important to note that the decision of which material is best suited for your gutters will
depend on a variety of factors including climate, budget, and local building code
requirements. We strongly recommend that you consult with a professional roofing
contractor or specialist to assess your specific needs before making any decisions on
materials and installation. Advance Roofing LLC has proudly served the Spokane, WA
area for many years with the highest standard of quality roofing solutions and we are
always happy to help.

Why Gutters Are Important

Gutters play a crucial role in safeguarding our homes from water damage and foundation
degradation. When it rains or when snow melts, gutters safely disperse the runoff away
from the property, preventing pooling or puddling of water around the foundation.

Without gutters, water can accumulate near the foundation, seep into the ground, and
gradually erode the foundation. This can lead to cracks, shifting, and costly repairs.
Additionally, water damage can impact the integrity of the structure, causing issues like
mold growth, rotting wood, and damaged paint or siding.

Obstructed gutters or improper positioning can result in a range of problems. When
debris, such as leaves or branches, clog the gutter system, water overflows and spills
onto the ground below. This can create puddles, erode landscaping, and even damage the
foundation. Gutters that are not properly pitched or sloped may also cause water to back
up and overflow, further exacerbating the risks.

Choosing the right material for your gutters is essential. Different gutter materials have
varying lifespans, with aluminum gutters lasting around 20 to 30 years, while plastic
gutters have a shorter lifespan of about 10 to 20 years. It is important to consider factors
such as climate, durability, and maintenance requirements when deciding on a gutter

Types of Gutters

There are several types of gutter styles available. One popular gutter style is the K-style
gutter, which mimics the shape of crown molding and is suitable for most homes with
traditional designs. Another option is the half-round gutter, which has a semicircular
shape and is often used in homes with a more classic or historical architectural style.

For homeowners looking for a sleek and modern design, seamless gutters are a great
choice. These gutters are custom-made to fit your home’s measurements, eliminating the
need for any seams. Seamless gutters not only provide a clean and seamless look but
also minimize the risk of leaks and clogs.

To ensure that your gutters blend seamlessly with your home’s exterior, most gutter styles
come in a wide range of colors.

Aluminum or Plastic Gutters – Which is Better?

When it comes to choosing between aluminum or plastic gutters, there are several
factors to consider. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages, so it’s
important to weigh them carefully.

Aluminum gutters are popular because of their durability and resistance to rust and
corrosion. They are able to withstand extreme weather conditions, making them suitable
for both hot and cold climates. Aluminum gutters also offer ease of installation and
require minimal maintenance, making them a practical choice for homeowners.
Additionally, they come in a wide range of colors, allowing you to find the perfect match
for your home’s exterior.

On the other hand, plastic gutters are a more affordable option and are known for their
ease of installation. They are lightweight and easy to cut, making them a popular choice
for DIY projects. However, plastic gutters may not have the same longevity as aluminum
gutters. Over time, they may become brittle and susceptible to cracking or fading.
Additionally, plastic gutters may not be as strong as their aluminum counterparts, so they
may not be able to handle heavy rains as effectively.

Pros and Cons of Aluminum Gutters

Aluminum gutters offer a range of advantages that make them a popular choice among

  • Firstly, aluminum is a durable and long-lasting material that can
    withstand various weather conditions without rusting or corroding. This
    makes them suitable for both hot and cold climates.
  • Additionally, aluminum gutters are lightweight and easy to install,
    making them a practical option for DIY projects. They also require
    minimal maintenance, saving homeowners time and effort.
  • Furthermore, aluminum gutters come in a wide range of colors, allowing
    homeowners to find the perfect match for their home’s exterior.

However, it is essential to consider the potential drawbacks of aluminum gutters. Despite
their durability, they can dent and bend when exposed to heavy impact. Additionally,
aluminum gutters may have a higher initial cost compared to other materials. Overall,
aluminum gutters are a popular choice due to their longevity, ease of installation, low
maintenance requirements, and aesthetic options.

Vinyl gutters in a variety of colors to match any home's style

The Advantages of Aluminum Gutters Over Plastic Gutters

When it comes to choosing gutters for your home, aluminum gutters offer several
advantages over their plastic counterparts.

  • First and foremost, aluminum gutters are an economical choice. While
    plastic gutters may be initially cheaper, aluminum gutters are a more
    cost-effective long-term investment. Aluminum gutters are known for
    their durability and long lifespan, often lasting 20 years or more with
    proper maintenance. Plastic gutters, on the other hand, tend to have a
    shorter lifespan and may require replacement sooner.
  • Furthermore, aluminum gutters are highly resistant to weather
    conditions. They can withstand extreme heat, heavy rains, and cold
    climates without warping or cracking. This makes them a suitable
    choice for homeowners in various regions.
  • Another advantage is the low maintenance requirements of aluminum
    gutters. They are easy to clean and do not require regular upkeep, saving
    you time and effort.

It is important to note that painted aluminum gutters may chip over time. However, this
can be mitigated by choosing high-quality brands with strong warranties. Properly
checking the warranty before purchasing can help protect against any potential issues.


While aluminum gutters offer numerous advantages, there are some disadvantages to

  • One major drawback is that aluminum gutters can be tough to install and
    repair. Unlike plastic gutters that can be easily cut and adjusted,
    aluminum gutters often require professional installation due to their rigid
    and sturdy nature. This can add to the overall cost of the gutter system.
  • Additionally, aluminum gutters are prone to denting. While they are
    durable and can withstand extreme weather conditions, accidental
    impacts from ladders, tree branches, or other objects can cause dents.
    These dents not only affect the overall appearance of the gutters but can
    also impede proper water flow.
  • Over time, the color on aluminum gutters may fade. Despite being
    initially painted or coated in various colors, exposure to the elements
    can cause the color to gradually lose its vibrancy. Aluminum gutters may
    also develop a yellowish tint, which can detract from your home’s
    aesthetic appeal.
  • Lastly, the high initial cost of aluminum gutters can be a disadvantage
    for some homeowners. Compared to plastic gutters, aluminum gutters typically have a higher price point. While they may offer long-term cost
    savings due to their durability, the upfront investment can be significant.

Overall, while aluminum gutters have many benefits, it is important to consider these
disadvantages before making a decision. e.

Pros and Cons of Plastic Gutters

Plastic gutters, also known as vinyl gutters, are a popular option for homeowners due to
their affordability and easy installation.

  • One of the main advantages of plastic gutters is their low cost
    compared to other materials like aluminum or copper. This makes them
    a budget-friendly choice for those looking to install or replace their
  • Plastic gutters are also lightweight, making them easier to handle and
    install without professional assistance.
  • Another benefit is that plastic gutters are resistant to rust and corrosion,
    making them a durable option for areas with heavy rain or high humidity.
  • Additionally, they require minimal maintenance, as they do not easily
    accumulate debris or require regular painting.

However, plastic gutters do have some drawbacks. They are not as strong as metal
gutters and might not be suitable for extreme weather conditions or heavy snow loads.
Plastic gutters can also become brittle over time, especially in cold climates, which may
result in cracking or breakage. Despite these downsides, plastic gutters remain a
practical and cost-effective choice for many homeowners.

A range of materials including metal, plastic, or composite to choose from when
selecting gutters for your home.

Maintenance Considerations for Both Aluminum and Plastic Gutters

When it comes to maintaining gutters, both aluminum and plastic gutters have certain
considerations to keep in mind.

For aluminum gutters, regular maintenance is important to prevent clogs and ensure
proper drainage. While aluminum gutters are durable, they can become dented over time
due to falling branches or other impacts, affecting their functionality and aesthetic
appeal. They may also fade in color from prolonged exposure to sunlight and harsh
weather conditions.

Plastic gutters, on the other hand, are prone to cracking, especially in cold climates. The
freezing temperatures can make the plastic brittle and easily susceptible to cracks,
requiring frequent replacements.

Regardless of the material you choose for your gutters, regular maintenance is essential
to keep them in optimal condition and prevent any potential issues. This can include
cleaning out debris and ensuring proper water flow, as well as addressing any damages
or wear and tear promptly. By taking proper care of your gutters, you can ensure their
longevity and functionality in protecting your home from water damage.

Cleaning Requirementsfor Aluminum and Plastic Gutters

Regular maintenance and cleaning are essential for both aluminum and plastic gutters to
ensure their optimal performance and longevity. Gutter cleaning is a crucial task that
helps prevent clogs and damage caused by debris accumulation.

Aluminum gutters are relatively low-maintenance and resistant to rust and corrosion.
However, they can still accumulate leaves, dirt, and other debris over time. To clean
aluminum gutters, you can use a ladder and a garden hose to remove loose debris. For
stubborn grime or mildew, a mixture of mild detergent and warm water can be used.
Scrub the gutter surface gently with a soft brush before rinsing it off.

Plastic gutters, on the other hand, are lightweight and durable. They are less prone to rust,
but they can become discolored over time or develop mold and mildew in humid
climates. Cleaning plastic gutters involves a similar process as aluminum gutters, using a
garden hose and mild detergent solution. However, be cautious not to use abrasive
materials or harsh chemicals that may damage the plastic surface.

It is important to prioritize regular gutter cleaning to prevent clogs that can lead to water
overflow, foundation damage, and costly repairs. The frequency of gutter cleaning varies
depending on factors such as foliage density and tree cover. In areas with heavy foliage, it
is recommended to clean gutters at least twice a year – in spring and fall. For areas with
lighter foliage, annual cleaning may be sufficient.

An experienced roofer inspecting a completed gutter system to ensure it meets all
building code requirements and provides adequate protection for the property owner’s
home or business premises

Potential Repairs Needed

When it comes to potential repairs needed for both aluminum and plastic gutters, there
are a few common issues to look out for. For aluminum gutters, some potential repairs
may include sealing leaks, replacing damaged sections or joints, and addressing sagging
or improper pitch. Signs of damage to aluminum gutters that may indicate the need for
repairs include water leaks, water overflowing, rust spots, or noticeable sagging.

For plastic gutters, potential repairs may involve fixing cracks, replacing damaged
sections or joints, and addressing discoloration or mold growth. Signs of damage to
plastic gutters that may indicate the need for repairs include visible cracks, water leaks,
discoloration, or visible mold or mildew growth.

It is important to address these potential repairs promptly to prevent further damage and
potential structural issues. Leaking or damaged gutters can lead to water overflow, which
can cause water damage to the roof, siding, and foundation of the house. Sagging or
improperly pitched gutters can prevent proper water drainage, leading to pooling or
erosion around the foundation. Discolored or moldy plastic gutters can not only be
unsightly but may also indicate a potential health hazard.

Price Comparison Between Aluminum and Plastic Gutters

When it comes to cost comparison between aluminum and plastic gutters, it is important
to consider both the initial installation cost and the long-term durability. While plastic
gutters may initially seem like a cheaper option, they may require more frequent repairs
and replacements compared to aluminum gutters.

The average cost of installing aluminum gutters ranges from $4 to $14 per linear foot,
depending on factors such as the type of gutter system and the location. On the other hand, plastic gutters tend to be on the lower end of the cost spectrum, with vinyl gutters
being the most affordable option.

It’s worth noting that while the initial cost of aluminum gutters may be slightly higher than
plastic gutters, their durability and longevity can make them a cost-effective choice in the
long run. Aluminum gutters are known for their strength and resistance to rust and
corrosion, making them a reliable option for homes in various climates.

Ultimately, the cost range for gutters can vary widely, ranging from $4 to $30 per linear
foot depending on the material, style, and installation requirements. While aluminum
gutters may not be significantly more expensive than vinyl gutters when properly
installed, it is important to consider the long-term benefits and potential savings that
come with choosing a durable material like aluminum.

A home with aluminum gutters, installed to protect the siding and foundation from
water damage.


In conclusion, when it comes to choosing between aluminum and plastic gutters, it’s
important to take into consideration factors such as climate and budget. Both materials
have their advantages and disadvantages, but aluminum gutters tend to be more durable
and longer-lasting.

When making a decision, it’s crucial to choose a gutter material that suits your specific
needs. Consider factors such as lifespan, price, durability, and installation options. If
you’re looking for a gutter system that can withstand the test of time and requires
minimal maintenance, aluminum gutters may be the best option for you

Comparing Aluminum and Plastic Gutters: Get the Answers You Need!

What is the average lifespan of a gutter guard?

The average lifespan of a gutter guard is around 10-15 years. However, this can vary depending on factors such as climate and material quality.

Are rain gutters necessary?

Rain gutters are necessary because they help channel water away from your home, preventing damage to the siding, foundation, and landscaping. They also improve the curb appeal of your home by adding an attractive finishing touch.

What is the average cost of steel gutters?

The average cost for steel gutters ranges from $6 to $20 per linear foot, depending on factors such as installation requirements and type of system chosen.