Due to the quality protection gutters give to a building, many individuals install gutters in their homes while some are looking forward to installing a gutter.
If you want to install a gutter you should know that as long as gutter installation is concerned, the materials used in the construction of a gutter is very important because it determines the quality and durability of your gutter. Gutters are constructed with different materials such as galvanized steel, stainless steel, copper, aluminum, vinyl, wood, zinc which have distinctive properties from each other.
Vinyl and aluminum are popularly used in gutter construction. Thus, we have vinyl gutters and aluminum gutters. Vinyl gutters and aluminum gutters share some similarities which are they are both lightweight and very affordable, but also have a lot of differences.
“Vinyl” is simply a synthetic plastic that consist of PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride). Vinyl gutters are plastic gutters so like many plastics they are lightweight. Vinyl gutters are low-budget gutters. You can purchase a vinyl gutter for $3 per 10 foot. Although you can install this gutter by yourself because of its lightweight and simple nature, it consists of seams (sections) so it requires extreme care during installation to avoid damages like cracks. This is the challenge gutter installers face and that is why today there are very few vinyl gutter installers.
They come in different colors so you don’t need to waste money painting it to fit-in in an area. Vinyl gutters are very light so they are not suitable for harsh climates. Heavy rainfalls and snow can cause it to crack or even break. It is prone to leaks because of its numerous seams. Access heat or cold can cause it to become brittle leading to intense depreciation. Vinyl gutters can last up to 20 years only in mild climatic conditions. Its price is cheaper than aluminum but it won’t last like aluminum. It will require replacement and continuous repair unlike aluminum. The sum up of the cost of repair and replacement is great expenses making aluminum cheaper.
Aluminum is simply a silver-like metal. Aluminum Gutters are metal gutters which makes it tougher than vinyl gutters. They are popular for their good characteristics. Aluminum gutters are cheap and lightweight although they are not as cheap and light weight as vinyl gutters. They also come in a variety of colors but require constant painting to avoid corrosion. Durability is the best feature of aluminum gutters. They can last for 30 years and above if not a century. Aluminum Gutters can withstand the harshest weather condition but are susceptible to corrosion caused by heavy rainfall and snow. Most aluminum gutters do not consist of seams (seamless) while those that consist of seams have few seams. You don’t need to be extra careful when installing aluminum gutters and because it is seamless or has fewer seams it is time saving. Aluminum gutters hardly leak and can hold a large amount of water. They don’t expand, bend, or break. With aluminum gutters you are sure you won’t buy or install a new gutter and repair is low. Furthermore, Aluminum is safe for the environment since it doesn’t release or contain harmful chemicals. Vinyl emits toxic chemicals into the air that can harm the environment.
Vinyl vs Aluminum Gutters which is better?
With all these details, it is no doubt that aluminum gutters possess outstanding qualities like low cost and maintenance, durability, easy installment and joy for people who install it.
How to clean and maintain aluminum gutters
1. Get a ladder and place it where the gutter is connected to the house. Do not lean completely on the gutter. To avoid this, position the ladder on the main building.
2)Use a gutter scoop or leave blower to remove dirt and leaves in the gutter. In the absence of these, use a trowel.
3)Reposition your ladder to another spot of the gutter to continue your cleaning. A gutter is usually long and cannot be cleaned on a single spot. You need to climb down and reposition your ladder to another spot to cover all areas. Do not try to reach a far distance when you are on top of the ladder, you might procure scratches and injuries or a fall.
4) Although some rinse-off the remaining dirt with water. Make sure to dry it because water causes aluminum to rust.
5) Thoroughly check the water tunnel for any blockage. If there is any blockage, use a long brush stick or mop stick to push down the debris blocking it. Use a water hose to push out more dirt off the water tunnel.
6)Spot treat stains with bleach cleaner. Do not use ammonia. It can damage the gutter. You can use normal detergent to clean the gutters. After applying your bleach or cleaner, leave it for five minutes then wash it off.
7)Use a strong bristled brush to brush off dirt or stains. Don’t use metal brushes it can scrape off the aluminum. Don’t scrub much around the joints. Neither scrub lightly nor hardly.
How to clean and maintain vinyl gutters
Cleaning a vinyl gutter is more challenging than an aluminum gutter.
1)Mix a detergent or any gutter cleaner with some good amount of water and some bleach
2) Get a ladder
3)Use a soft bristle-brush or sponge to clean the gutter. Vinyl gutters are fragile and can crack if scrubbed with hard a brush. Do not use a trowel to clean it.
4)Apply the solution to the gutter and let it sit for 5 minutes or more.
5) Rinse with water. Drying is not necessary because vinyl cannot be affected by water.
6) If the water channel is blocked with debris, do not use sticks to push them down. Increase the flow of water on the water or garden hose to a significant level to push down the debris. Do not use extreme high level of water it can damage the vinyl. Using sticks will break the water flow tunnel.
Note: Make sure to reposition your ladder to cover more areas and avoid injuries.
If you have a few more pennies to spend, you should install a zinc gutter. Zinc gutters are better than the best. Zinc gutters are expensive but are durable, far stronger, UV resistant, corrosion resistant, weather resistant and forms a beautiful blue or grey patina with time. They are unshakeable. But if you don’t want to spend much on gutter installation, aluminum gutters are the best to install.