When you need new gutters for your home you might be amazed at the variety of choices available. You may have thought “white ones” was the only answer. We put our minds in the gutter just long enough to bring you this round-up about rain run-off control systems for your roof. You didn’t even know they were called that, did you?

Integral gutters

Once popular, now rarely used, built-in gutter systems have only one advantage: you can’t see them from the ground. If your house uses these, they can be converted to modern design when you re-roof.

Wooden gutters

Unless you have a truly historic, legally-protected and registered home, these are just a footnote. Too expensive (at $12 to $20 per foot), with far too much maintenance required, for any homeowner to select them as a first choice. You thought we were kidding, didn’t you?

Copper or steel half-round gutters

You know exactly what these look like, and why they are also called “eaves-troughs.” Half-round troughs are moderately priced and available in colors. They’re more durable than the aluminum systems you see everywhere today, but still hold a distant second place in sales. Most often used when they are architecturally appropriate.

Plastic and vinyl gutter systems

Ideal for ambitious DIY homeowners, plastic component gutter designs are easy to find at home centers. At $3 to $5 per foot, they offer the lowest prices, but the poorest visual appeal and durability. Color choices are extremely limited. Potential for leaking and cracking from weather extremes: high.

Seamless aluminum gutters

The current market leader, and what you think of when we say “gutters for your home,” aluminum gutters rule the roof. Prices will vary, since aluminum is a commodity, but installed costs will fall between that of plastic and copper. Two sizes are offered, depending upon the area and design of your roof: 5″ and 6″. The familiar shape is “ogee,” similar to crown molding.

Seamless rolled gutters can be made from primary or secondary (recycled) aluminum, typically in .032″ thickness. Lighter-gauge aluminum is available if budget is the primary consideration. You can choose from a wide range of finish colors; the best products are triple-coated. “White ones” still capture the majority of the market. Professional installation can be done in one day, in most cases. (source: http://www.allstarraingutters.com/seamless-gutter-types.html)

Problems with gutters becoming clogged by debris are addressed by a confusing array of patented products, most of which can be applied after your gutters are installed. Some homeowners have even elected to use…

No-gutter rain deflection systems:

Several patents have been granted for “rain dispersion systems.” These replace trough-style gutters with something similar to a slat awning, and work by scattering the heavy “waterfall” flow of rainwater from your roof. These designs eliminate the need for downspouts, leaders, and drainage systems. Although a poor choice over walkways and delicate plantings, rain deflectors have garnered some market share in recent years. (source: http://www.rainhandler.com/shop/about_rainhandler.php)

A heavy rainstorm can drop more than 1,000 gallons onto your roof. All that rain water has to go somewhere, preferably not directly into the ground next to your house. When your home’s gutters need replacement, isn’t it nice to know that you have so many interesting choices?