Which Types of Gutters Are Best?

Types of Gutters and Gutter Guards for homes in Arnold, Oakville, Imperial, Fenton, and St. Louis

What type of gutters and gutter guards are best for my home or business? Like many homeowners or business owners, this is a common question when considering the needs of your next roofing project.  After all there is more to consider than you might first realize, including what style compliments your home’s features and what types are best to meet your building’s environmental needs.

Rain gutters and guards sit along the base of a roof to channel water out and away from the building’s foundation. They are essential for reducing the occurrence of erosion, damage to the surrounding landscaping and siding, and basement flooding. While it may seem like any type of gutter and gutter guards will do the job, there are several considerations and advantages to think about when it comes to replacing old and rusted gutters or for initial installation.

To help you understand the different types and styles of gutters and gutter guards that are best for the roof of your home or business, particularly throughout the Missouri and Illinois areas, here’s what you need to know to make the best decision.

Types of Gutters

The main styles of gutters are K-Style, Half-Round, and Box gutters that are each available in Aluminum, Vinyl, Copper, Galvanized Steel, and other material varieties. The type of gutter you choose may be based on style, weather, price, and the age of your home or office space.

K- Style Rain Gutters

If your home was built in the last five-decades, this is likely the type of rain gutters your home currently has. This may be a great option when installing new ones, particularly if you live in an area that experiences greater flooding. Their name comes from the shape they resemble when seen from the side and due to their flat back shape, they can simply be nailed onto the fascia board without the need for brackets. Unlike the plain look of other gutter types, the K-style gutter comes with a decorative front side that can add additional curb appeal. Surprisingly, this appeal does not come at an additional cost, with K-style gutters being the cheapest option available while also offering strong performance and durability.

While these gutters can carry more water compared to half-round gutters, the inner angles of the gutters make it more difficult to clean out debris. Since this can be a year-round hassle throughout their 20+ year lifespan, depending on the foliage around your home or business, it can be a good idea to leave this potentially dangerous task to a professional contractor that offers gutter protection and leaf relief protection.

Half-Round Gutters

This style of gutter is very popular for homeowners, particularly for those that own older or historic homes that are looking for a more traditional, rustic look. While slightly more expensive than K-style gutters, averaging between $9.25 to $16.90 per linear foot, with proper maintenance they can last up to 25 years. Their half-tubed shape helps flush water effectively off a home’s roof and foundation and its metal material makes them less likely to rust or corrode. However, they can be prone to leaf and debris clogs that can be alleviated with the installation of leaf guards. Unlike the K-style’s flat back, the half-round gutter’s sides do not sit level against the fascia boards and will require brackets to hold their place.

Box Gutters

A popular option for commercial buildings and industrial complexes is these oversized gutters that are specifically designed to drain excessive amounts of water from bigger roofs. Unlike traditional K-style and Half-round gutters, box gutters have a high back section that discreetly sits under the shingles of the roof. Due to this, it is best for these to be installed with the development of new buildings but can be done on older buildings when re-shingling the roof. Their mainly commercial use means that box gutters are more expensive than standard gutters, today ranging from $15 to $30 per linear foot, but have a lifespan of 20 to 50 years depending on if they are made of aluminum or copper.

Types of Gutter Guards

Just as gutters are meant to protect your home from water damage, gutter guards can be beneficial and convenient for reducing the likelihood of sagging gutters, structural damage, mold growth, and rot. There are five primary types of gutter guards, including screen reverse curve, brush, mesh, and foam. Like the gutters themselves, each type of gutter guard has its own unique qualities that should be considered for your roofing needs. 

Reverse Curve Gutter Guards

Also known as surface tension gutter guards, reverse curve gutter guards are one of the best options when looking to effectively move rainwater and reduce the debris that collects in the gutters. It is important to keep in mind that these have the potential to lift roof shingles, so regular inspection and maintenance is essential, and they tend to have a short lifespan. Due to their location on the gutters, the curb appeal of these gutter guards is not as high, and it is important to keep an eye out for collected debris and bees or wasps nesting in the gutters.

Brush Gutter Guards

Relatively easy to install, brush gutter guards are made of bristles that fit nicely inside the gutters. Due to their upright positioning, they can keep leaves and other debris on the top while water may easily flow through the gutters. The downside is that not all types of debris, such as pine needles, may get caught within the bristles and can clog easily. However, this is a great option during the winter months, as they help snow from compacting into the gutters and improve melting runoff. To clean the guards effectively, it may be best to hire a professional contractor once or twice per year that can remove the gutter guards completely.

Mesh or Screen Gutter Guards

Another great option, mesh-screen gutter guards keep debris and shingle granule runoff from collecting in the gutters, due to being made with superfine metal mesh material. They fit tightly along the top of the gutter and are easy to remove to clean out collecting debris. These gutter guards should be professionally installed to ensure a secure fit and eliminate potential gaps or bending along the gutters. With proper cleaning and maintenance once or twice a year, these gutter guards can last on your home’s roof and help reduce the occurrence of erosion and rust.

Foam Gutter Guards

Like brush gutter guards, foam gutter guards are easy to install and fit inside your gutters to prevent debris from piling up inside the gutters. While inexpensive, like brush gutter guards, they are more prone to gathering small debris on top of the guards and they must be removed completely to be properly cleaned. Regular maintenance is essential to prevent potential gutter damage, as it is common for seedlings to get caught inside the foam guards and grow tree saplings. These guards may not work as effectively in the winter since they can disrupt water flow and only last for up to three years.

To get started on replacing your home’s gutters and gutter guards to prepare for the fall and winter seasons, you will want a trustworthy, experienced, and qualified company to help. Shelby Roofing & Exteriors has been a trusted roofing contractor for 40 years and proudly serves the St. Louis metropolitan area, including Illinois. We offer gutter replacements, repairs, and installations in a wide variety of colors, styles, and sizes with affordability and the protection of your home in mind. For a free estimate and to answer any questions you may have about your next roofing project, contact us today for peace of mind.