Vinyl vs. Aluminum Gutters – All You Need to Know

Last updated on October 25, 2021

How to choose between the vinyl and aluminum gutters for your home. Here are the factors you need to consider to make the right choice. Read on!

Gutters are an essential aspect of your roof; they redirect rainwater from your roof to the downspouts. They are made from different materials like vinyl, aluminum, steel, or copper. The material of your gutter will affect its durability and suitability in your area. 

The vinyl gutters are made from light plastic material, while the aluminum gutters are made from light aluminum metal. You will learn the factors to consider when choosing between vinyl and aluminum gutters. We’ll also look at the pros and cons of vinyl and aluminum gutters.

That said, let’s get started.

What's Inside?

What to Consider When Choosing Between Vinyl Vs. Aluminum

vinyl gutters

Vinyl and aluminum have almost the same features. It is challenging to choose the right gutter for your home unless you go through a guide. You can also get insightful information about gutters on this page

Here are what you should consider before settling into a specific type of gutter.

The durability of the gutter

So, when comparing the vinyl and aluminum gutters, the first aspect should be the lifespan of the gutters. The aluminum gutters will last for at least 20 years in any weather; this is outstanding durability for their price. Besides, the aluminum gutters do not rust, corrode, or bend. The gutters are ideal for the winter season since they can withstand the snow and ice.

On the other hand, vinyl gutters resist rust and corrosion but are not as durable as aluminum gutters. The vinyl gutters can last for 20 years in dry and mild climates but will need replacement after ten years in cold areas. The main limitation of the vinyl system is that when exposed to hot and cold temperatures, it becomes brittle and cracks. So, during the winter season, the ice and snow can bend the vinyl, causing low performance or, worse, creating beyond repair damages.

Ease of Installation

Aluminum gutters come in two different types, the seamless gutters and the seamed gutters. The package comes with a few seams for the seamed gutters, so you will not spend much time installing them. However, they are tricky to install and might require professional or purchasing the right tools for the task. For the seamless, the gutters come in a package and should be installed by a professional. However, the aluminum gutters are made from a light material but heavy compared to the vinyl gutters.

The vinyl gutters are super light, easily accessible, and have a snap-together installation method. However, the vinyl gutter comes in a seamed design; the seams are many and consume a lot of time to install. Therefore, many homeowners with basic DIY skills prefer doing the installation themselves.

Performance

The aluminum gutters can withstand adverse weather conditions. Although the aluminum gutter rusts over time, it can be repainted to prolong its lifespan. Also, thick gutters are durable and last longer without wearing down if maintained adequately. 

Aluminum gutters are also efficient since they can hold more water than vinyl gutters.

The vinyl gutters have one major limitation: they cannot withstand adverse cold weather and are thus unfit for winter seasons. Since the gutters are light, they cannot withstand the heavy wind, snow, and rains. Also, the gutters can sag and crack in case of heavy precipitations. Also, they can probably leak since they come in sections/seams, which can be a disaster if installed incorrectly. However, the vinyl gutters are rust-resistant and are suitable for dry and mild temperatures.

Material Cost

The initial cost of the aluminum gutters is higher than the initial cost of the vinyl gutter. However, the aluminum gutters last longer and have a perfect return on investment. The aluminum gutters will cost $6-$12 per piece and an average installation cost of $1,930 and $2,545 (confirm with the gutter suppliers and the installation companies for exact prices).

On the other hand, the initial cost of the vinyl gutters is relatively low; they cost $3-$5 per piece, and the average home installation fee is $1,220 to $1,615. Also, the vinyl gutters do not rust thus do not require a repaint. However, the gutters are not durable, and the overall repair costs might hike its long-term costs.

What are the Pros and Cons of Vinyl and Aluminum Gutters?

aluminum gutters

The pros and cons of the gutters might have been mentioned above, but to compare the two types of gutters, you may need a more precise breakdown.

Vinyl Gutters

Pros

  • Do not rust or corrode
  • Its initial cost is relatively low
  • It does not require a repaint
  • Ideal for warm and mild weather
  • They are light and perfect for DIY
  • Quiet when redirecting water through downspouts

Cons

  • It has a short lifespan
  • Not ideal for cold weather
  • Ice and snow bends it making it brittle and cracks
  • Are prone to sagging

Aluminum Gutters

Pros

  • Can withstand adverse climates
  • They are durable-lasts for at least 20 years
  • It is not easily bendable
  • It comes in more than 15 colours to choose from
  • It comes in both sectional and seamless design
  • It is rot and rust-resistant

Cons

  • The initial cost is high
  • Aluminum gutters can dent under heavy snow or hailstorms
  • Not easy to install/ not suitable for DIY installation
  • Not ideal for coastal climates; exposing them to salt and moisture can make them rust
  • Noisy when redirecting water through downspouts
  • The coated enamel wears off with time, thus requires regular repaint to prevent rusting.

The Verdict

So, which is the ideal gutter for your home? The vinyl gutter or the aluminum gutter? Based on the pros and cons of using aluminum vs vinyl, the aluminum gutter carries the day. It proves to have a perfect return on investment and can withstand adverse climatic conditions.

On the other hand, vinyl gutters seem cheap and easy to install. Besides, they work perfectly in mild temperatures, and with the latest technology, seamless vinyl gutters are now available in the market.

That said, you can choose the ideal gutters for your home based on their suitability and the good characteristics they pose.

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