Jul 26, 2022

9 Types Of Gutter Systems You Should Know

Tim Shepel
Greater Seattle Gutters rated 5/5 based on 17 reviews.

Prolonged exposure to rainwater can cause various issues for a home. Structural damage and mold growth are just a few examples. For that reason, homeowners strive to prevent water from even entering their house, and they do so by installing gutter systems. These systems control water flow, so it moves away from the house instead of towards it.

While that's the basic idea of gutter systems, there are different types of these systems. Each type has different pros and cons and can be the perfect option under the right circumstances.

To choose the ideal type for your purposes, you should know what they offer and how they work. In that regard, here's a brief guide on each of the nine types of gutter systems.

Types of gutter systems by shape

Gutters can come in various shapes but most typically fall under three categories. The shape has much to do with the gutter system's capacity, installation, and appearance.

1. K-style gutter systems

Aluminum K-Style Gutter system
Image: https://www.kmsheetmetal.com/shop/0-027-Aluminum-K-Style-Gutter-p55207717

K-style gutters are the most popular choice on the market at the moment. The name comes from the fact that it vaguely resembles the shape of the letter K when viewed from the side.

However, it'd be more accurate to say it mimics the appearance of the crown molding that most ceilings have. The main idea behind k-style gutters is to blend with the existing aesthetic of the house. It doesn't have the highest capacity for rainwater, but it doesn't have the least capacity. Simply put, its efficiency is mid-range, but it boasts excellent aesthetics.

K-style gutters have a flat back and are therefore easy to install. In fact, due to their shape, they're easiest to install because the two other shapes are relatively tricky to install.

2. Box style gutter systems

Aluminum box style gutter system
Image: https://www.kmsheetmetal.com/shop/0-032-Aluminum-Kynar-Commercial-Box-Gutter-p188159038

As the name implies, this gutter system has a box-like shape. It doesn't contain curvatures that tend to decrease the volume of the shape. This, added to the fact that it typically comes in larger sizes, makes it the highest-capacity gutter system by shape. One thing to remember is that box-style gutter systems aren't placed on top of the fascia board but instead tucked under the roof's shingles. Hence, you can only install it during the building's construction.

3. Half-round gutter systems

Copper Half Round Gutter system
Image: https://www.kmsheetmetal.com/shop/Reverse-Bead-Copper-Half-Round-Gutter-p56180591/?gclid=Cj0KCQjwidSWBhDdARIsAIoTVb0Nm3q0A4_iFEL-KSntwmKAZpStxdOcIP-N2RjOogDMO4qnCzakjmYaAqxMEALw_wcB

Half-round gutters are exactly as the name suggests, gutters that have a half-circle shape. Unfortunately, its shape brings about numerous disadvantages. One, since it doesn't have a flat back, unlike k-style gutters, it's not as easy to install on top of the fascia board. Two, since circles inherently cover much less area than a square, half-round gutters have the lowest capacity of the three shapes.

It can offer a lower possibility of debris forming a clog in the gutters. This is because there are no creases inside the gutter, so the debris has a clear path to flow into.

Types of gutter systems by material

Manufacturers use all sorts of materials to create gutters, but there are four that stand out from the rest. The material greatly influences the gutter system's longevity and affordability.

1. Aluminum gutters

Aluminum is the go-to option if you want affordable quality gutter systems. The material is relatively cheap, with an average price of USD$2 to USD$3 per linear foot, despite its decent longevity, lasting up to 25 years. It also has excellent resistance against corrosion and weathering. Perhaps its main downside is it can bend or dent rather easily.

2. Copper gutters

copper gutter

Copper gutters are the priciest option, costing up to USD$25 per foot. But one may argue that the price is reasonable, as the material can last up to 100 years and withstand extreme temperatures. It also boosts your roof's aesthetics due to its unique glow and color.

3. Steel gutters

Steel gutter

Steel is the closest alternative material to aluminum. Though the material is generally more expensive than aluminum, costing around USD$9 per foot, it's also more durable. However, it's not an upgrade in terms of longevity as steel can only last up to 15 years due to its susceptibility to rust. It's also not do-it-yourself (DIY)-friendly since the material is much heavier than aluminum.

4. Vinyl gutters

Vinyl gutters

Vinyl is the least expensive and durable material you can choose. Vinyl gutters cost USD$1 to USD$2 per foot, but they cannot withstand severe climates. But in the ideal environment, the system can last up to 20 years, longer than steel.

Types of gutter systems by construction

Finally, there are two types of gutter systems in terms of construction or manufacturing process. This mainly affects the system's ease of installation, rigidity, and strength.

1. Seamless gutters

House with New Seamless Aluminum Rain Gutters.

A seamless gutter is a single continuous piece of metal with a length of over 50 feet. Its main idea is to minimize the number of gutter pieces needed to create a gutter system.

By doing so, there'd also be fewer gaps where water can leak. This also results in greater overall strength and rigidity since the gutter system is more connected or secured than being cut into multiple sections, which is what sectional gutters are.

2. Sectional gutters

Installation of gutter system

Sectional gutters are gutters that are cut into multiple sections with lengths of 10 to 20 feet, hence the name. Though it has lower rigidity and strength, it's much easier to install since you only need to attach the gutter pieces. Meanwhile, with seamless gutters, you must slide the entire 50-foot piece into the fascia board, which can be difficult if you have no helper.

Wrapping up

As you may have realized, there are specific merits to choosing one type over the other. Also, remember that you must select a combination of the three factors: shape, material, and construction. You must decide according to your specific needs, not based on which is more popular among homeowners. This article only serves to make you aware of what your options are.


Michelle Ullman and Bob Vila, “Types of Gutters to Consider for Your Home,” Bob Vila, June 19, 2021, https://www.bobvila.com/articles/types-of-rain-gutters/

My Gutter Pro, “What Types of Gutters Are There?” My Gutter Pro, April 22, 2020,  https://mygutterpro.com/types-of-gutters/

TC Backer, “Seamless Gutters vs Sectional Gutters: Which is the Better Gutter?” TC Backer, January 26, 2020, https://321gutterdone.com/seamless-gutters-vs-sectional-gutters-which-is-the-better-gutter