Schedule Now
The Architectural Products Company

The Ultimate Guide to Gutter Materials: Choosing the Right One for Your Home

Gutters are a critical component of your home’s structure, designed to protect its foundation and landscape from potential water damage. To ensure optimal performance, it’s important to choose the right material for your gutters. The market offers a variety of options, including aluminum, steel, copper, and vinyl, each with unique benefits and drawbacks.

When choosing gutter material, it’s important to consider factors such as the climate in the Central Ohio area, your budget, and the style of your home. Additionally, you’ll want to factor in the cost of the material, installation, and maintenance to make an informed decision that meets your aesthetic and practical needs.

1. Aluminum


– Durability: Aluminum gutters are both lightweight but also very durable. They can last up to 50 years with proper maintenance.

– Cost: Aluminum gutters are less expensive than alternative materials.

– Aesthetic: Available in various colors, aluminum gutters easily match the aesthetic of your home.


– Rust: Aluminum gutters are more susceptible to rust in areas near coastlines.

– Dents: Aluminum gutters are more prone to dents than other gutters.

– Maintenance: Aluminum gutters need to be repainted about every 10 years. They may require more repairs than other materials.

2. Steel


– Durability: Steel is extremely durable and can withstand harsh weather conditions such as heavy rain, and strong winds without warping or cracking easily.

– Eco-friendly: Steel gutters are an eco-friendly option due to their recyclability.


– Installation: Heavier and may require additional support during installation.

– Maintenance: Requires moderate maintenance. It is recommended to install gutter guards and inspect and clean the gutters. They may require re-coating, as the protective coating may wear off over time.

3. Copper


– Aesthetic: Copper gutters have a timeless, elegant look that can add value to your home and enhance your home’s curb appeal.

– Durability: Copper gutters are very durable, and are a natural fungicide and algaecide, making it very difficult for moss and mildew to grow. They last for over 50 years and are strong enough to resist sagging.

– Eco-friendly: Cooper gutters are 100% recyclable, so once they do wear down, you can recycle them.


– Cost: Copper gutters are much more expensive than alternative gutter materials. They can be around double the cost of aluminum gutters.

– Maintenance: Copper gutters require more upkeep and maintenance, including cleaning and repairs, but also extra cleaning to preserve the copper’s natural color to avoid turning green.

– Installation: Installing copper gutters is not a DIY project, as copper weighs more than other gutter materials, making it harder to hang. They are also not commonly sold as precut pieces.

4. Vinyl


– Cost: Vinyl gutters are typically the most affordable option. So, if you’re on a budget, vinyl gutters may be the best choice for you.

– Installation: Vinyl gutters are lightweight and very easy to install, making them a great option for DIYers. However, be wary that parts and accessories can add up when installing yourself.

– Low Maintenance: They need minimal maintenance, as they do not need painting and will not rust due to their synthetic material. Damaged areas are typically easy to replace.


– Durability: Though vinyl gutters can be durable, they do have a shorter life span than other materials. The color can fade from prolonged exposure to sunlight, and joints lose the ability to be resealed.

– Structurally weak: Since vinyl is made from PVC plastic, it can’t support heavy weight over long periods.


Climate Considerations


The climate in your area can play a significant role in determining the most suitable gutter material for your needs. For instance, in regions with frequent rain and snowfall, the choice of material should be able to withstand heavy precipitation and resist corrosion. Similarly, areas with high temperatures and prolonged exposure to sunlight require materials that can withstand fading, cracking, and warping over time.

In Central Ohio, during the winter the weather can be harsh, making it necessary to have gutters that can withstand snow, rain, and cold temperatures.

1. Aluminum: Suitable for various weather conditions, such as rain, humidity, snow and ice, and various temperatures. However, Aluminum expands and contracts in extreme temperatures, such as below 30 degrees. For most of the year in Columbus, Aluminum may do the job, but throughout the winter you’ll need to consider contracting.

2. Steel – Suitable for various weather conditions, such as extreme temperatures, heavy rain, and snow and wind, perfect for Columbus weather.

3. Copper – Suitable for all weather conditions, including extreme climates, from hot summers to harsh winters, to rainy seasons, making this a great choice for Columbus homeowners.

4. Vinyl – Though vinyl gutters are very durable in temperate climates, they are known to crack and split in extreme climates, rain, and snow, so they aren’t the best suited for Columbus winters.


Aesthetic Options


Before making a final decision, it is also important to consider the overall design and aesthetic of your property. The selection of gutter material is a crucial factor that can greatly impact the overall appearance and aesthetic appeal of a home. For instance, copper gutters provide an elegant and timeless look, while vinyl gutters offer a more affordable and practical option. Careful consideration of the gutter material and its color can enhance the curb appeal of a home and complement its architectural style. Therefore, it’s important to choose a gutter material that not only functions well

but also adds to the overall beauty of a home. Browse the following examples to see which material may fit your home’s aesthetic the best:

1. Aluminum Gutter Example

A low angle view of soffit, gutters, downspout

2. Steel Gutter Example

3. Copper Gutter Example

4. Vinyl Gutter Example

Local Regulations and Building Codes


When it comes to selecting the right material for your gutter, it is important to conduct thorough research and check for any relevant regulations or building codes that may apply to your area or property. These regulations and codes can vary depending on your location, climate, and other factors, so it is essential to comply with them to avoid any legal or safety issues down the line.

Overall, it is important to weigh all your options when choosing your gutter material. At APCO, we will walk you through your needs, budget, and priorities, as well as our gutter options to determine which type of gutter is right for you. As your partners in gutter installation and replacement throughout Columbus, Ohio, APCO will ensure only the best products on the market. Contact us online or call us at 614-254-5489 to get started today!

Join Team APCO