Vinyl Vs Aluminum Gutters: Which Are Better?

  • By: CarlBroadbent
  • Time to read: 9 min.
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Gutters are important investments in a home for they keep a structure standing for longer.

They do this by preventing rainwater and snow from moistening the roof, walls, and the sides of the house to the point of damage.

Fundamentally, gutters collect rainwater and snow from the roof and direct it away from the structure into the ground via a downspout.

Vinyl Vs Aluminum Gutters pros cons
Vinyl Vs Aluminum Gutters

Without a gutter, water will penetrate beneath the shingles, and with time, the foundation of your whole house will weaken. Gutters come in many materials, most of them metallic and some plastic.

Choosing the best material for your gutter is vital as it determines its effectiveness and influences the protection it renders your house.

Two of the most common materials used in making gutters are aluminum and vinyl. This article compares the two types of gutters.

Vinyl And Aluminum Gutters

Aluminum and vinyl gutters share a lot of similarities in their features.

However, their differences outweigh the similarities, especially in how they perform.

The main difference between the two is, of course, the materials.

The aluminum gutter is metallic, while the vinyl gutter is made with plastic.

Below is a detailed comparison between the gutters.

Similarities Between Vinyl and Aluminum Gutters

Both vinyl and aluminum gutters are popular in various states of the USA.

Like all other gutters, they protect the structure of a building by directing rainwater and snow on the roof away from the shingles and walls of a house.

plastic gutters explained
Vinyl Gutters

One similarity between the two is that they are both easy to install.

More often than not, a person can do the installation without requiring professional assistance. Also, they are both lightweight, which explains why it is easy to install them.

Furthermore, both gutters are quite affordable, especially compared to other types. So, they are perfect for consumers on a budget.

Therefore, vinyl and aluminum gutters are similar in terms of ease of installment, affordability, and product weight.

Differences Between Vinyl and Aluminum Gutters

As aforementioned in the article, vinyl and aluminum gutters have more differences than similarities.

They have differences in the:

  • materials used
  • durability
  • ease of use
  • cost-effectiveness
  • and colors

Materials

As per their names, aluminum gutters are made with aluminum material, while vinyl gutters are made with PVC.

PVC is another name for plastic. While both are lightweight, PVC is lighter than aluminum metal.

Generally, metal is sturdier than plastic, so an aluminum gutter is likely to outlast a vinyl gutter.

This is because metals are better suited to withstand harsh external conditions like extreme heat and cold.

On the other hand, plastic will succumb to the effects of extreme weather conditions over time.

When exposed to cold, plastic becomes brittle.

Similarly, plastic sags when there is too much heat, and thus, the gutter becomes quite ineffective. Aluminum gutters may get dents, but only under the harshest of conditions.

Aluminum, like other metals, is prone to corrosion when exposed to moisture.

Fortunately – Aluminum has less susceptibility to rust than most metals. Still, it is imperative to coat aluminum gutters with paint to protect them from rust.

Durability

Aluminum gutters are, expectedly, more durable than vinyl gutters.

Aluminum does not wear down easily, even in the face of the harshest external conditions.

If you maintain it regularly as required, the gutter can last for as long as close to half a century.

They exhibit super strength and sturdiness.

The only thing about aluminum gutters, as disclosed above, is that they rust when exposed to water several times.

A corroded aluminum gutter will have a reduced lifespan. Fortunately, you can prevent rusting by coating the gutter with paint.

Vinyl is known to crack and let up under extreme conditions like hailstorms, strong winds, or even scorching sunlight.

While they don’t rust like aluminum gutters, they sag and become brittle when it is too hot or too cold. Also, they have seams that may break under pressure and cause leakage.


At Best: Vinyl gutters can last for up to 20 years in a dry and calm region. On the other hand, aluminum gutters are more suited for areas that experience rainfall, snowfalls, and strong winds.


Ease of Use

Vinyl gutters are more lightweight than aluminum gutters.

So, comparatively, it is easier to handle a vinyl gutter than an aluminum one.

For instance, it is very simple to install a vinyl gutter by yourself. Thus, vinyl gutters are perfect for do-it-yourself junkies who like fixing things by themselves.

Vinyl gutters installation
Vinyl gutters installation

The only setback with the self-installation of vinyl gutters is that it can be time-consuming, owing to its many seams.

One has to be extra careful not to break the seams, which slows down the process.

Aluminum gutters are seamless, so they take less time to install compared to vinyl gutters. Still, it is advisable to find a professional to install an aluminum gutter than self-installing it.

Furthermore, there are more professional installers for aluminum gutters than vinyl gutters, probably because there is less demand for PVC installers.

When It Comes to Maintenance – It is easier to maintain PVC gutters because they do not require paint or a coating to keep them in good condition.

Elsewhere, aluminum gutters require a coating to prevent corrosion.

The painting has to be redone periodically, so you have to be on the lookout as to when it is faded.

Cost-effectiveness

Both aluminum and vinyl gutters are more affordable than options like steel gutters.

Vinyl behang x
Vinyl behang

Still, vinyl gutters have a lower buying price than aluminum ones. Thus, the former is more suitable if you have a tight budget.

Unfortunately, vinyl gutters are not as cost-effective as aluminum gutters in the long run.

PVC gutters have a shorter lifespan and a higher possibility for repair and replacement costs than the latter.

While aluminum gutters have a higher initial price, they offer greater performance for longer.

Therefore, you will not have to incur costs for repairing or replacing them for years.

They offer an excellent return on investment, more than can be said about vinyl gutters.

Essentially, aluminum gutters are more cost-effective than vinyl gutters.

Colors

Aluminum gutters have a wider variety of colors than vinyl gutters.

You can find an aluminum gutter in blue, green, red, black, gray, and white.

The different color options allow you to choose a color that compliments your home for an aesthetically pleasing outcome.

On the other hand, vinyl gutters are only available in neutral colors like black and white.

They are perfect for simple-minded people who are not that invested in the appearance of their home exteriors.

Pros of Aluminum Over Vinyl Gutters

Aluminum gutters tiger stripes remove
Washing aluminum gutters

Aluminum gutters have the upper hand compared to vinyl gutters in several instances.

These instances include the following.

Aluminum gutters are seamless

Unlike vinyl gutters, aluminum gutters come with very few or no seams at all.

Hence, they have fewer chances of leaking and causing damage to the house.

Also, it takes less time to install them, which is convenient.

What’s more, seamless gutters look more appealing on a home’s exterior.

Aluminum gutters do not get worn easily

Aluminum gutters have significantly thicker and heavier material than PVC gutters.

For this reason, they are better suited to withstand harsh external conditions.

In addition, they do not rust as easily as other metals, and this can be prevented by applying a coat of paint.

In the case of dents, aluminum gutters are easily repairable. The strength and sturdiness of aluminum gutters are why they have a longer life span than vinyl gutters.

Aluminum gutters have a variety of colors to choose from

Aluminum gutters have more color options to choose from than vinyl ones.

This way, you can choose the color that suits you and your home best.

While vinyl gutters are only available in neutral colors, aluminum ones come in blue, red, green, and neutrals.

Aluminum is more cost-effective

Even though the initial cost of aluminum gutters is higher than that of vinyl gutters, aluminum is more economical in the long run.

This is because they have a longer lifespan, hence lower replacement expenses.

Also, they do not need repair as often as vinyl gutters, hence lower repair costs.

So, aluminum gutters exhibit a better return on investment (ROI) than vinyl gutters.

Aluminum is environmentally friendly

Vinyl is made of PVC, meaning it is non-biodegradable.

When dumped, it accumulates on the earth and water bodies, interfering with natural processes.

Also, plastic releases toxic chemicals that are harmful to the environment and people in the surrounding areas.

Elsewhere, aluminum is recyclable and, thus, environmentally friendly.

Pros of Vinyl Over Aluminum Gutters

Cleaning house Gutters
How often should you clean gutters?

Vinyl gutters are lightweight

As it is made with PVC, vinyl is comparatively lighter than aluminum.

Therefore, vinyl gutters are easier to handle and easier to install.

You do not need a professional to do it for you, which saves you a few bucks.

With aluminum, you would need professional installation, which is an expense.

Vinyl gutters do not rust

Unlike aluminum gutters, those made of vinyl do not face the risk of rusting, even when it is moist.

This is because vinyl is plastic, and plastic does not rust.

Therefore, there is no need to apply a protective coating of paint, which would be absolutely necessary with metallic gutters.

Low initial cost

Vinyl gutters are super affordable compared to aluminum gutters.

They are financially accessible to most people and, therefore, perfect if you are on a tight budget.

You can easily find a vinyl gutter for $3 to $5 a length.

Which Is Better? (Vinyl Vs. Aluminum Gutters)

The better gutter is subject to factors that are most important to an individual.

Therefore, vinyl gutters are preferable to some people, while others consider aluminum gutters to be more effective.

Factors that people consider include:

  1. performance
  2. durability
  3. cost
  4. ease of use
  5. weight
  6. and maintenance

In matters of durability and performance, aluminum gutters are the better option.

The climatic conditions of an area also play a part in determining which gutters are more suitable.

If an area experiences heavy rainfall regularly, then you should consider aluminum gutters as they are sturdier than vinyl gutters.

Affordable Vinyl shed gutters
Affordable Vinyl gutters

Vinyl gutters are popular among people who prefer to do things by themselves as they are easy to install.

They are also suitable for people on a tight budget as they are cheaper than aluminum and other types of gutters.

Furthermore, they are easy to maintain as you would not have to apply paint or coatings to prevent rusting, as is the case with aluminum gutters.

Additionally, if you are an environment-savvy individual, then aluminum gutters would be suitable for you. Metals are recyclable, while plastics are not.

Furthermore, plastics are non-biodegradable, which is bound to have negative effects on the environment.

Which Is the Most Recommendable Gutter (Vinyl Vs. Aluminum Gutters)

Although both aluminum and vinyl gutters have both advantages and disadvantages, the advantages of aluminum gutters outweigh those of vinyl.

Aluminum gutters have most of the positives of vinyl without the negatives.

In most cases, contractors recommend aluminum gutters instead of vinyl. This is because aluminum performs better and is more effective than vinyl.

Cleaning copper gutters step by step guide

Aluminum is cost-effective, sturdy, durable, seamless, and does a better job of protecting your home, especially in areas that experience heavy rainfall and hailstorms.

The structure of vinyl gutters is relatively weak and cannot support heavy loads for a prolonged period. So, these gutters will crack in areas that experience heavy rainfalls.

The seams also contribute to the weak structure in that they may pop under pressure and cause leakage.

You can opt for seamless vinyl gutters, but they’d still be weaker than aluminum gutters. Generally, aluminum gutters are more common in united states homes than vinyl gutters.

Final Words

Both vinyl and aluminum gutters are popular in many American homes.

While they bear some similarities, such as being affordable, lightweight, and easy to install, aluminum is more popular than vinyl gutters.

Also, most contractors recommend aluminum gutters instead of vinyl.

Aluminum gutters have many strong points that give them an edge over vinyl gutters.

They are sturdy, cost-effective, and easy to repair and maintain.

Most importantly, they are structurally suited for areas that experience heavy rainfalls and other equally harsh weather conditions.

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