How do I Choose the Best Commercial Gutters?

Jessica Reed

To choose the best commercial gutters, a homeowner needs to evaluate what type of weather conditions her gutters will need to stand up against, what style will look best with her home, and what her budget is for the project. Choosing the right material, such a metal, aluminum, or vinyl, is a crucial first step in picking the best commercial gutters. Once a homeowner has decided on a material, she'll need to determine whether she wants seamless or traditional gutters and whether or not to purchase extra accessories such as gutter guards or gutter mesh.

Gutter guards help prevent gutters from becoming clogged with debris, including leaves.
Gutter guards help prevent gutters from becoming clogged with debris, including leaves.

Commercial gutters are available in steel, copper, aluminum and vinyl. Each material has its own advantages and disadvantages that a homeowner should carefully weigh against each other. Copper gutters are the most expensive, but have the longest lifespan and provide extreme durability. Homeowners often like the look of shiny copper gutters for the home, and a limited selection of colors is available.

While copper gutters will not rust or corrode from rainwater, they do run the risk of discoloration as the years pass. To prevent this, a homeowner needs to put in extra maintenance during the year to apply sealant to the gutters to prevent oxidation, which causes the discoloration and gradual fading of the shiny metal exterior. When choosing copper commercial gutters, a homeowner should weigh the durability and long lifespan of the gutters against the cost and extra maintenance required to maintain them.

Steel gutters, the other metal commercial gutter available, provides an expensive yet slightly cheaper alternative that is still strong and has an extremely long lifespan. The metal holds up against dents and damage from harsh weather, is available in several colors, and carries no risk of discoloration. The drawback with steel gutters is rust. Without regular maintenance by the homeowner, water buildup will lead to rusted gutters that need replacement.

Cheaper commercial gutter options include aluminum and vinyl. Both are lightweight and affordable, with vinyl being the cheapest option and requiring little maintenance. Vinyl gutters are also easy to assemble for those who prefer to install the gutters themselves and save on the cost of a professional installation. Both provide a wide selection of colors, though vinyl presents more options than aluminum. Drawbacks include the regular maintenance required on aluminum gutters and the increased risk for damage or cracking in vinyl gutters from extreme weather or harsh temperatures.

Once a homeowner has made a decision about the material and color for her gutters, she needs to choose a style. Traditional gutters come in pieces which fit together and require more maintenance to clean out clogs from leaves and debris. Seamless gutters are a newer option in which the straight pieces are all one long piece, instead of smaller sections, and this prevents as many clogs from building up. Seamless gutters require professional installation while traditional do not, and this may add more to the cost of the commercial gutters than the homeowner on a budget wants to pay.

Finally, the homeowner should consider accessories that will save her time by reducing the amount of maintenance needed and improving the overall performance of her gutters. Gutter guards and gutter mesh are two options that go over the top of the gutters to block leaves and other debris from falling down into the gutters and clogging them. These accessories reduce the amount of maintenance needed to keep the gutters unblocked, and can expand the life of metal gutters by reducing the risk of water pooling up and causing rust.

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