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Guttering - What to look for when making your purchase

Replacing your gutter system on your house or installing a new one involves a bit of research and window shopping to get the best deal possible. You don't want to just purchase any gutter system available; many are made from materials and parts that won't last more than two or three years. A good gutter system should serve you at least ten years of weathering, rainfall and use at a minimum.

The price of gutter channels and parts depends significantly on the durability of the materials and the warranties on those parts. As a result, there can be significant difference from brand to brand. Costs usually range from 3 to 15 per foot.

The most basic type of gutters available is known as vinyl gutters. Vinyl doesn't rust but it doesn't do well under elements either. Basically a form of plastic, Vinyl dries out or cracks under sun or cold. Add a bit of weight to the mix, and the whole gutter line typically tears apart within a year or two. Given its cheaper material, Vinyl gutters can be bought for as little as 1 or 3 a foot.

The most common type of gutters is made from what is known as galvanised steel. This steel product is treated so that even when exposed to the elements, it won't rust. Normal cost of galvanised steel gutters can run approximately 3 to 7 per foot. On long pieces, steel can be heavy and awkward to work with, but it is durable enough to last for a long time.

Aluminium gutters are the next step up and have the added advantage of not rusting at all. However, aluminium is a softer metal so it is more prone to damage during installation and bending under strain. Aluminium gutters typically run about the same price as galvanised steel if not slightly higher per foot.

Copper represents the upper end of gutter materials available. The metal can provide a very decorative look to a house, particularly along the roof line, and while it does corrode slightly, the metal turns a recognisable green frequently seen on older style buildings. Copper is not cheap. A foot of copper gutter can cost a buyer anywhere from 11 to 16.

Wood, elements and water don't mix as the material tends to rot and fall apart quickly in the elements. However, some people still like the use of the material for gutters, especially on older style buildings.

Wood material specifically carved and fabricated for gutters can run as much as copper in cost simply because of the work involved in preparing the pieces plus the markup for sale.

Whatever gutter material is chosen, a buyer should make sure to get a brand that has a decent warranty behind it. What good is a new guttering system if it falls apart in a year or two when out in the elements? A good brand will offer a warranty that lasts 20 years or more, backing up their materials with replacement should they fail.



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