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What are the Pros and Cons of Plastic Gutters?

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  • Written By: Christina Edwards
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 12 September 2016
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Plastic gutters are one option when it comes to installing gutters on a home. Like everything else, they have their have advantages and disadvantages. They are easy to install, inexpensive, and will never rust. On the other hand, they can also be easily damaged by heavy ladders or tree branches. Many plastic gutters also have a tendency to deteriorate or become weakened after prolonged exposure to UV rays, age, or cold environments.

Unlike some types of gutters, such as ones made from steel or aluminum, plastic gutters are typically much easier to install. They are more lightweight, which helps make them easier to carry up a ladder. Also, many plastic gutter kits simply snap together. Some metal gutters can be very heavy, which can make them quite difficult to carry, especially up a ladder. Metal gutters may also have to be riveted or soldered together.

Plastic gutters are usually less expensive than other types of gutters. Steel and aluminum gutters can cost almost twice as much as plastic gutters, and copper gutters can cost up to four times as much. The cost, however, usually depends on the brand of gutter system that is purchased and where it is purchased from. By shopping around and comparing prices, a do-it-yourselfer is more likely to find the best deal.

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Unlike some metal gutters, plastic gutters won't rust. One major problem with certain steel gutters is their tendency to rust. Standing water, or even just prolonged exposure, can cause some of these gutters to rust through causing holes in the gutter. These holes can let water pass through, which can eventually cause damage to a house, or flooding.

While plastic gutters are easy to install, inexpensive, and won't rust, they do have their disadvantages. Some may be rather flimsy, and they can be easily damaged by a heavy ladder or falling tree branches. This can be a problem if there is ever a need to get onto a roof, or if there are tall trees near the house.

Deterioration can also be another problem with gutters made of plastic. Many of these can deteriorate after prolonged exposure to UV rays. This can cause the gutters to become weak and possibly break. A plastic gutter may also get brittle with age and in cold climates. Some can become cracked and break after too many seasons of extremely cold weather due to expanding and contracting during low temperatures. A build-up of ice may also contribute to cracking of some plastic gutters.

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