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Rain Gutters: Most Common Gutter Types, Styles and Materials

Rain Gutters: Most Common Gutter Types, Styles and Materials

Rain gutters can be found on nearly every type of home or building. They help to direct the water away from your roof, fascia, soffit, and foundation to help avoid water damage to those areas. They come in a wide variety of different gutter types, shapes, and sizes as well as materials. And while you can certainly have gutters of nearly any kind made specifically for you, it can be a lot less expensive to simply purchase some of the more common rain gutter types on the market today.

Common Rain Gutter Materials

Rain gutters have been made of wood and iron in the past, but today are most often found in four different materials:

  • Vinyl: Most common among DIY homeowners, vinyl gutters come in 5 and 6-inch widths and snap together easily
  • Aluminum: This is the most popular material for rain gutters because it is nearly indestructible and never rusts
  • Copper: This is the most popular material for homeowners that want a decorative rain gutter on their homes
  • Stainless steel: This was more common several years ago, but is becoming less so simply because if its coating becomes worn or scratched off, the gutters can rust

Common Rain Gutter Types

In addition to a selection of different materials, you also have a selection of different types and styles of gutter as well. The most common gutter shape in use today is the K style. These have a slightly decorative ogee front, with a flat back.

K style gutters are most commonly installed in 5-inch widths, but in areas with high rainfall, they are also commonly seen in 6-inch widths as well. K style gutters get their name from the fact that each of the 12 most common gutter styles are named after the first 12 letters of the alphabet. K style gutters are actually the 11th style produced. They are the most decorative of the 12 and are sometimes called ogee gutters as well. All 12 styles are available, but the K style is the one most frequently used. The other styles are similar to the K on the backs and bottoms, but their front panels all have varying details. Some, like the B are very contemporary, while others like the L are more elegant in style.

For some older homes, you may also see what is known as the half round gutter. Just like the name implies, these gutters are rounded on the bottoms and open on the top as if they were the bottom half of a tube. These hold less water than the K style, but when made of zinc or copper, they can have an old fashioned appeal that matches some architectural styles.

Gutter Construction Types

While you have several choices in material, style, and even color of your gutters nearly all of them come in just two construction types: seamless and sectional.

Sectional gutters can be purchased and installed by DIY homeowners. All vinyl gutters are typically sectional, for example.

Seamless gutters are made of one long solid piece, and must be made and installed by a craftsman.

Know Your Rain Gutters

For most homeowners, the best fit for their home when it comes to rain gutter replacement is to get gutters that were identical to those that were already there. No matter what they look like or what they’re made of, you can rest assured that you can more than likely find a match to keep your home looking and functioning as it should.


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