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What are the Pros and Cons of Vinyl Gutters?

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  • Written By: D. Waldman
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 07 September 2016
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    Conjecture Corporation
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In order to protect a home from roof and water damage, a suitable gutter system is required. Gutters not only keep rain water from collecting on the roof, but they also help channel the water they collect into specific concentrated areas. This helps to eliminate the waterfall effect that rain water would produce when falling off the sides of a home. While metal gutters were once the design of choice, vinyl gutters are quickly growing in popularity. A vinyl gutter system is more susceptible to weather and variances in quality, but it is also extremely inexpensive, easy to install, highly durable, and requires little external maintenance.

One of the primary downsides to vinyl gutters is the variance in quality of the available styles on the market. This is due primarily to the variations in the thickness of the plastic used for the different models. In order to ensure the highest level of quality, thinner vinyl gutters should be avoided. The slightly higher cost of the thicker materials not only guarantees a longer lifespan, but it also indicates a higher quality of workmanship.

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Vinyl gutters are also not recommended for certain areas. If subjected to extremely high temperatures on a regular basis, the vinyl may begin to warp. In consistently colder areas, the change from warmer temperatures to colder ones may make the vinyl more fragile, potentially leading to cracking or brittleness of the material. Vinyl gutters are, therefore, recommended for areas with mild to moderate temperature fluctuations.

Despite the downsides, a vinyl gutter system is the product of choice for homeowners seeking an affordable alternative to metal gutters. Metal gutters vary greatly in price, and some varieties can cost upwards of $40 US Dollars (USD) per linear foot. The same length of vinyl gutter can be found for much cheaper, making vinyl the more budget-friendly material of choice.

With regards to installation, the lightweight nature of vinyl gutters makes them much easier to maneuver than those made from other materials. This not only makes positioning the materials much easier, but also makes connecting the various components of the gutter system much simpler. Since the material does not possess the heavier weight that others may have, it also makes securing them to the home simpler, reducing the weight-bearing capacity for the mounting structure. The ease of installation can also directly reduce the installation time, cutting the overall cost of professional installation services.

One of the primary benefits of a vinyl gutter system is the durability the material possesses, which gives it a longer lifespan as well as an extended visual appeal. Unlike a metal gutter system, a vinyl system will not rust or corrode. Since the material used to create vinyl gutters is comprised of a single color, it won't show scratches or dings the way a painted metal gutter would. Vinyl is also much more resistant to dents and dings than other materials.

A vinyl gutter system is generally low-maintenance. It does not require painting or rust preventatives and can be easily patched if any minor damage occurs. On the other hand, its susceptibility to warping can also result from extremely heavy rainfall. In order to avoid this potential warping, the gutters must be cleaned on a more frequent basis than other designs. Therefore, the maintenance levels of a vinyl system could be considered both a benefit and a hindrance.

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