There are many types of gutters made in all kinds of sizes, from different materials and in varying widths. The most popular gutters are usually aluminium due to its durability, its resistance to moisture and rust and their light weight.
Historically gutters were constructed of steel which was galvanized to prevent them from rusting. They were very heavy and difficult to install as all the joins had to be soldered together and they had to be prepared with a long a tedious preparation process before they could be painted, and even then the paint could peel off quite easily after exposure to the sun or rain. Aluminium gutters were a revolutionary concept when they appeared around the mid sixties and have been installed with great success since then.
Aluminium gutters can be traditional or seamless and are overall considered to be a good product. Sometimes salespeople plug the “seamless” gutters for a sale by promising no leaks and cracks, but just because it is called seamless and does not appear to have obvious joins, does not mean they are impervious to leaking. If they are not installed absolutely correctly, they can leak on every turn or outlet where there is a seam – even if the seam is invisible. It is best to install traditional gutters when doing a DYI project, and seamless gutters should be installed by those experienced and qualified to do so, and a warrantee should be given by the installation professional.
When planning gutters for the home, it is important to focus on the issues that will affect the longevity of the gutters, such as the weather, attachments to the home, amount of rain, etc. The gutter material has to be an appropriate thickness to deal with bumps and scrapes, and must be of a wide enough size to accommodate the volumes of water which are likely to occur. Some gutters can deal with expansion quite well with the installation of a new type of hanger which will allow the gutter to expand and contract with the weather, and eliminate stress points which normally occur on the seams.