Building a new home is a much different process from buying a new home. Even if you work with a general contractor to handle most of the details, you'll still need to make some big decisions. Exterior choices include some obvious things like siding and roofing, but your gutters are arguably just as important.
Far from just keeping the rain off your head, your gutters are essential to your home's construction. Their primary role is to channel water off your roof and away from your foundation, preventing excessive hydrostatic pressure from building against your basement walls or slabs. When designing a new home, choosing the proper gutters is surprisingly important.
The Basics: Choosing Your Gutter Material
Gutters are not a one-size-fits-all component. Gutters come in numerous styles and materials, with vinyl gutters typically being the cheapest option and copper or zinc gutters often being the most costly. Unfortunately, no choice will work for every home, and the most suitable gutters will depend on your construction budget and long-term goals.
In most cases, durability and lifespan are directly proportional to your price. Vinyl gutters may cost the least, but they won't last as long and may be less resistant to severe weather. On the other hand, copper gutters will cost drastically more, but they can last over fifty years. Aluminum gutters are a common middle point, offering more durability than vinyl but a lower cost than copper.
Out of all the material choices available for gutters, copper tends to have the most unique appearance and copper gutters will eventually develop a blue-ish green patina. While this look can be incredibly attractive, it may not suit every home or buyer. If copper doesn't suit your new home's style, zinc can offer similar benefits with a wider range of appearance options.
Gutter Style: More Than Skin Deep
In addition to choosing a material, you'll also need to choose a style for your home's new gutters. K-style gutters work well in aluminum or vinyl and are typical for most homes. These gutters are relatively affordable, discreet, and offer plenty of water-carrying capacity. K-style gutters are also usually cheaper to install since they fit directly against the side of your house.
However, other styles are also available, including half-round gutters that may be more suitable for traditional or classic homes. Half-round is particularly popular with zinc or copper gutters, although carrying capacity may be an issue if you live in an area with frequent rain. Still, these gutters can lend a unique appearance and help your home stand out from its neighbors.
Finally, don't forget to consider functional style options. Gutter guards can help reduce maintenance by preventing debris from entering the gutter channels, and seamless gutters can remove weak points near joints and help your gutters last longer. Discuss these options with your gutter contractor to determine if they fit your budget.
Contact a local contractor to learn more about gutters.