Mind In The Gutter: Choosing The Right Materials For Guttering Projects

Even in a country with a climate as hot and dry as Australia's, guttering is still an essential part of any well built building. Without a properly fitted series of gutters to catch moisture and rainwater and draw it away from the roof, a great deal of long-term damage can be inflicted on your roof by the corrosive effects of rain. This damage can be especially severe if your roof as metal flashing.

With that in mind, it's important to take stock of your needs before beginning a guttering project - how much you will need, how it will be attached to the eaves, how many downspouts you'll require, and so on. One of the most important considerations is what you want your gutters to be made of, as each material comes with its own set of strengths and weaknesses:


Vinyl is one of the most popular choices when it comes to modern gutters, and for good reason. Vinyl is by far the lightest material you're likely to find a gutter made from, making it easy to fit, and much less likely to collapse or spring from its mountings over time. Combine this with its modular construction, allowing pieces to be attached quickly and easily, and vinyl becomes a very attractive option for DIY jobs. Vinyl is also generally the cheapest option, although prices can be steeper for particularly thick, heavy duty pipes.

Unfortunately, vinyl comes with a couple of drawbacks, chief among which is its propensity to perish over time. While vinyl gutters are reasonably strong and able to weather environmental damage very well, they tend to become brittle and 'crumbly' over time - this process is hastened by damage from UV rays in particularly sunny regions, and also by extreme cold in high-altitude areas. It is also rather unsightly when compared to, say, copper guttering, and does not add any distinctive flair to your home.


Copper is rarely seen on modern builds, but a quick glance at a copper guttering system will leave you wondering why. Copper guttering can make for some genuinely beautiful architectural flourishes. And it's not all style and no substance - copper is one of the least reactive metals around, and will stand up to decades of rain and storms with minimal maintenance.

You've probably already guessed that you'll be paying a premium for such performance, and copper guttering is almost always the most expensive option around. It is also quite soft as far as metals go, and will dent and buckle when contending with misplaced ladders or scaffolding, and falling tree branches. You should also bear in mind that copper's beautiful distinctiveness is a double edged sword, as it will pose a prime target for roving scrap metal thieves.


Steel gutters can take a hell of a beating, and they are still used extensively in commercial and industrial building projects. They are also very reasonably prices - however, their less desirable properties include heavy weight, difficulty in fitting, and their relatively short shelf life due to rust (steel gutters can be coated to preserve them, but it's high maintenance work) make them largely unsuitable for residential buildings.

Stainless steel is a more viable option, as it is much more resistance to rust. Unfortunately, stainless steel is many times more expensive than standard steel guttering, to the point where prices can rival copper.


Aluminium is still a common choice in many residential areas. Boasting the rustproof nature of copper at a fraction of copper's price, aluminium can be an attractive option for builders looking for an option sturdier than vinyl without breaking the bank. It is also relatively lightweight, and unlike other materials it can hold paint well, giving you a range of aesthetic choices.

On the other hand, aluminium is rather fragile and easily dented or warped - this can be mitigated by buying 'primary' aluminium gutters, which are tougher than recycled, 'secondary' gutters. To learn more, contact a company for help with building supplies to learn more.