Your gutters play an essential role in keeping your home attractive and safe from water damage. Without functioning gutters, rainwater and melting snow on your roof can erode the foundation of your home, damage your landscaping, cause windows to rot, and lead to leaks in the roof itself. As a result, you want to choose the best gutters possible.
Although you can find gutters made from many different materials, some options are better than others. Two of the most common gutter materials — vinyl and aluminum — perform very differently despite surface-level similarities. To help you make an informed decision, let’s take a closer look at vinyl vs. aluminum gutters.
Are Vinyl Gutters or Aluminum Gutters Better?
Aluminum gutters are a type of guttering made of lightweight metal of the same name. They’ve been prevalent for both homes and commercial buildings for many years. Vinyl gutters consist of a lightweight plastic material. You might also know them as “PVC gutters” or “plastic gutters.” They have a snap-together installation method, which led to their initial popularity in the DIY market.
Whether you choose vinyl or metal gutters depends on many factors, including which properties you value most and the unique demands of your home and climate. For most homeowners in Pennsylvania, aluminum gutters make a better choice.
If you are weighing vinyl vs. aluminum gutter options for your home, consider these factors:
Ease of Installation
PVC gutters allow for do-it-yourself installation by snapping together, but they’re more challenging to install than aluminum. Vinyl gutters have many seams, which means installation is time-consuming for even the most skilled DIY hobbyists. If you opt for professional installation, you may also struggle to find an installer who will work with vinyl gutters.
Aluminum gutters are as lightweight as vinyl and significantly easier to install because they have fewer seams — and some are even seamless. Most gutter installation professionals prefer working with aluminum, so you can easily find someone to handle the project for you.
Vinyl gutters usually don’t last in climates with strong winds, rain, or snow because of their light weight. They tend to do better in dry, mild areas. Even though they’re resistant to rust, they can sag and crack under the weight of heavy precipitation. Unlike aluminum gutters that come with seamless options, vinyl gutters are only available in sections. As a result, they’re more likely to leak. The average life span for vinyl gutters is about a couple of decades because of their weather sensitivity.
Aluminum gutters can better withstand adverse weather conditions. The metal itself can rust, but thick gutters can last for a long time without wearing down, and you can paint aluminum gutters to help them last even longer. As a result of their performance and strength, aluminum gutters can last up to half a century. Even though they need regular maintenance, they can hold more water than vinyl gutters.
When comparing vinyl and aluminum gutters, perhaps the most critical factor to consider is durability. Aluminum gutters offer outstanding durability for the price. They will not bend and rarely rust, and most aluminum gutter systems last upwards of 20 years in any climate. Aluminum gutters also withstand snow and ice as well, making them perfectly suited to harsh Pennsylvania winters. However, keep in mind that installing aluminum gutters in coastal climate exposes them to moisture and salt that can cause rusting.
Vinyl also resists rust and corrosion, but it features lower durability. Repeated exposure to heat and cold causes vinyl to become brittle and crack, and ice and snow can bend the material in the winter, decreasing performance and sometimes creating damage beyond repair. Although vinyl gutters may last up to 20 years in dry, mild climates, vinyl gutter systems in Pennsylvania may need replacement in just 10 years.
Many homeowners look for cost-effective materials when installing gutter systems. Vinyl and aluminum both have low material costs compared to other options like steel. Choosing vinyl gutters might make more sense at first because of their lower upfront cost. On the other hand, since vinyl has a shorter life span than aluminum, these gutters may cost more money over time in repairs and replacements.
Even though aluminum costs a little more than vinyl, gutters from this material provide an excellent return on investment because of their performance and long life span. They also cost less to install than other gutter materials. The price difference is partly due to aluminum’s low weight and ubiquity.
Other Reasons to Choose Aluminum Gutters Over Vinyl
When choosing vinyl vs. aluminum guttering, most Pennsylvania homeowners decide that the cost, durability, and ease of installation make aluminum the best-value option. Other reasons to choose aluminum gutters over PVC include:
- Seamless design: Unlike vinyl gutters, aluminum gutters can be made seamless. This design prevents leaking and looks nicer on a home’s exterior. It also makes them more convenient and affordable to install.
- Easier to repair: Since aluminum is thicker and heavier than vinyl, it tends to do better in most weather conditions. Gutter repair professionals can quickly hammer out any dents that could develop. These gutters also rarely rust, so they don’t require the same treatment as vinyl gutters.
- Color options: Choose the right gutters to enhance your curb appeal and increase your resale value. Aluminum gutters come in various colors to match the look of your home and create a stunning first impression for guests and potential buyers. At All Season Gutters, we offer aluminum guttering in 21 different color options, ranging from light neutrals to dark red, blue, and green. They can also be repainted and shaped if you ever want to update their appearance.
- Widespread popularity: Aluminum gutters have withstood the tests of time. They’re popular with many homeowners and inspire more purchasing confidence than DIY vinyl gutters. As a result, choosing aluminum can help preserve the value of your Pennsylvania home. Aluminum gutters can also attract potential home buyers when it’s time to sell your property in the future. Since they’re more prevalent in Pennsylvania, you’d be more likely to find a contractor who can install, repair, or replace your gutters.
- Eco-friendliness: If you’d like to make your home more eco-friendly, aluminum gutters are better for your property. Vinyl contains PVC plastic with toxic chemicals that can harm the environment and the people handling the materials. It also releases harmful chemicals in the air when burned. On the other hand, aluminum is fully recyclable if you should ever need to replace your gutters.
Let All Season Gutters Help With Gutter Installation
It’s clear that aluminum gutters provide more benefits than vinyl gutters overall. That’s why we make our seamless guttering from thick, high-quality aluminum. If you’ve decided to install new gutters for your home in Lemoyne, Camp Hill, Harrisburg, or other parts of Pennsylvania, All Season Gutters can help. With more than 13 years of experience, we can answer any questions you may have about gutter materials.