Are Vinyl Gutters Right for your Home?

When you have to replace the gutters, you might be considering vinyl guttering. This gutter material is popular with many homeowners because it is very budget-friendly and doesn’t require much maintenance. While vinyl gutters tend to have a shorter lifespan than aluminum gutters or copper gutters, they are strong and durable. But they’re not for everyone.

Lowest Cost

One of the most appealing aspects of vinyl gutters for homeowners is the cost. Of all of the gutter materials available, vinyl guttering is the cheapest per linear foot than aluminum gutters, copper gutters, and zinc gutters. Even when adding hangers, connectors, downspouts, end caps, elbows, sealant, and screws to the total cost of materials, vinyl gutters still will cost less per linear foot than aluminum gutters, for example.

Properties of Plastic

As a gutter material, the properties of plastic are amazing and include:

  • A high strength-to-weight ratio yet is still lightweight
  • Inexpensive to manufacture
  • Is water-resistant
  • Is shock resistant

What does that mean for a homeowner? Simply put, vinyl gutters are durable, attractive, and aren’t susceptible to weather damage such as hail, heavy rain, or active windstorms.

Vinyl Gutter Thickness

Do your research and pick your brand carefully. Not all vinyl gutters are created equal. Less expensive vinyl gutters are sometimes thinner and more prone to becoming brittle and colour fading than higher quality vinyl gutter systems that are produced from thicker plastics.

More Seams than Seamless

Vinyl gutters are available at building supply stores. They are sold in sections that can be easily handled, assembled and installed by someone who does do-it-yourself projects or a handyman hired by the homeowner. Construction professionals often recommend seamless aluminum gutters over vinyl gutters because the former only have seams in the corners while the latter have seams where each section of the vinyl gutter system is joined together. Depending on how much exposure to the elements the gutters get, over time they can become brittle, making the seams wear away and begin to leak.

Easy to Install

Because a vinyl gutter system is assembled from sections and snaps easily into place, it can be installed as a do-it-yourself project. Since gutter sections are lightweight, they can be cut and moved into place using basic gutter installation techniques, unlike installing copper gutters or aluminum gutters that require more advanced installation methods. Ensure you do all the necessary calculations for the number of downpipes your system should include: the proper pitch of the gutters; and the sufficient number of gutter hangers to secure the gutter sections in place. 

Before Investing in Vinyl Gutters

Here are some things to consider before deciding to invest in a vinyl gutter system. Factors to determine if vinyl gutters are right for your home include:

  • Many industry professionals won’t install vinyl gutters – ff you are not a do-it-yourselfer, you’ll have to hire a handyman to do the installation for you
  • Longevity – depending on climatic conditions vinyl gutters can last for as little as 15 years or for as long as 25 years
  • Vinyl gutters don’t resist heat like aluminum gutters – in a fire they can melt and detach
  • Vinyl gutters are susceptible to cold, rain and snow – it has been reported that homeowners in our rainy Pacific Northwest climate have had to replace a vinyl gutter system less than five years old due to splitting and cracking