Gutters are more complicated than is commonly believed, and several issues have to be considered before choosing a gutter system for any building. Most gutter types come in various ranges of specifications, materials and colours, and installation has to be easy. Consideration must be given to whether the gutters are installed to replace old gutters or tailored gutters for a new building.

Issues to consider before choosing gutters for your building are as follows:

1. Gutter materials: a wide range is easily available and consists mostly of plastic, zinc, copper, steel or aluminium. In the past asbestos gutters were made but these are now considered a health hazard and are now banned from use. Plastic, aluminium and steel gutters are usually pre-cast for existing spaces, while guttering made of zinc or copper is normally tailored according to the dimensions of new spaces.

2. Gutter styles and profiles: The guttering can enhance or change the look of a building, and the style is important when it comes to matching the gutters with the general architecture and feel of the building. Types of guttering include fascia, K-style, half round and seamless.

3. The colour of the gutters: it is necessary to be able to paint the guttering to the colours required. Aluminium can make lovely guttering but has historically been difficult to paint, as the paint cannot adhere properly to the metal. However new developments are allowing more suitable paints to be developed.

4. Gutter sizes: while there are standard sizes of gutters, it does not mean that all buildings will require gutters of a standard size. The climate is a big factor here – one cannot use a standard five inch gutter in an area which is prone to torrents and lots of rain. A gutter expert can usually advise on the correct size of guttering to use in any environment.

5. Gutter finishes or coatings: it is fine to use aluminium or steel gutters, but these need to be treated through certain processes to give them required characteristics. For instance, steel guttering can be galvanized to prevent the gutter from rusting.

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