What is The Best Material For Gutters - Aluminium Benefits

Gutters are made in different kinds of materials such as PVC plastic, Aluminium, Cast Iron and Steel. However, there are several reasons why some materials are more popular than others. Let’s drill into why some guttering types are more popular and also which type is more cost-effective and which gutter lasts longest?

Here are the 4 types of Gutters:

  • PVC Plastic Gutters: Readily available, this low-cost option has may save costs initially, but Plastic Gutters tend to discolour, become brittle and leak. The common colours are black, white, brown and grey, but after 3 years they can look very faded, which can devalue the property value and overall look.
  • Aluminium Gutters: An increasingly popular option, Aluminium Gutters are now becoming the most common solution/ Readily available in black and grey colours, plus with the added advantage of being available in any bespoke RAL colour, Aluminium Gutters are the most robust and long-lasting gutter solution, as they don’t rust, fade or become brittle, and last around 4 times as long as other Gutter options.
  • Cast Iron Gutters: This original type of gutter system, is used on many heritage properties, however, Cast Iron Guttering often has problems with rust, and flaking paint, making it unsightly within a few years.
  • Steel Gutters: These Gutters are generally used for commercial applications where bespoke styles and adaptions are required. Steel gutters often look very commercial with exposed rivet fixings and box-style finishes, but are ideal for high-capacity commercial or industrial environments where aesthetically pleasing finishes are not a high priority.

    Why some gutter types are more popular?

    Aluminium is the most popular type of gutter today, but it hasn’t always been. In the early days of gutters, they were usually made from Cast Iron as that was the only raw material that was readily available. However, issues with high costs, maintenance and rusting meant people were looking for a better solution.

    With modern manufacturing methods, plastic gutters made from PVC were created which created a lower-cost option. Due to the cost savings plastic gutters became increasingly popular, however, issues with PVC Gutter have continued, so a new solution was needed.

    What are the Problems with PVC Gutter and Downpipes?

    • Fading or Discolouration
    • Cracking of Gutter
    • Brittle Gutter Joints & Brackets
    • Leaking Gutter Connectors
    • Creaking noises from the Gutter during natural expansion and contraction

    Today, aluminium gutters are becoming by far the most popular gutter due to the huge benefits of relatively low cost, super lightweight, excellent finish and amazing lifespan.

    Are Aluminium Gutters Better than Plastic Gutters?

    Aluminium Gutters are so much better than PVC Gutters because they don’t break and last so much longer, which saves so much time and money avoiding expensive repairs and replacements. PVC Gutters also fade and go brittle, whereas powder coated Aluminium Gutters will stay looking great for many years, and are very unlikely to break, as aluminium doesn’t go brittle.

    Aluminium Gutters and Downpipes do not rust like cast iron gutters or steel gutters, and are much lighter weight, meaning they are a lot easier to install.  Aluminium Gutters can be powder coated to any RAL Colour to match any choice of colour scheme.

    Top 8 Advantages of Aluminium Gutters & Downpipes

    1. Aluminium Gutters are 45% lower in cost over the lifetime of the property
    2. PVC Gutters can easily Crack or Break, whereas Aluminium Gutters remain strong
    3. Aluminium Gutters don’t Rust
    4. Most Aluminium Gutters are strong enough to lean Ladders against for Access & Cleaning
    5. No issues with Fading on Aluminium Gutters
    6. Aluminium Gutters don’t creak as PVC do
    7. Compared to PVC Gutter Aluminium Gutters have a much greater strength against Snow load
    8. Powder Coatings we can manufacture Aluminium Gutter in any colour

    What Colours do Aluminium Gutters come in?

    Black or Anthracite Grey colours are the most popular colours for Aluminium Gutters. Both of these colours are usually available for immediate delivery. However, you can also get Aluminium Gutters and Downpipes in any RAL Colour to suit your specific project. Simply choose a RAL Colour from a RAL Colour chart and choose a RAL Coloured option when ordering and just not the RAL colour on the order.

    How long do PVC Gutters last?

    Plastic Gutters and Downpipes are made from PVC and last around 5 years maximum. Often PVC Gutters will discolour and become brittle within around 3 years. As well as the disappointment of faded gutters which is not ideal for the look of the property, the brittle joints and brackets become weak and tend to break and leak, which is a bigger problem.

    How long do Aluminium Gutters Last?

    Aluminium Gutter Systems last for around 20 years minimum. Aluminium is the ideal material to manufacture Rainwater Gutter Systems from as it doesn’t rust, rot, or become brittle like Plastic Gutter Systems. Aluminium Gutters are lightweight and robust, making them the perfect solution.

    Is Aluminium Gutter Expensive?

    No, Aluminium Guttering is relatively inexpensive and will outlast any other type of Gutter in longevity. However, what is also important is looking at the cost of the product and labour over the life of the project. You can see below that in this typical example of pricing, Aluminium Guttering is only 75.00 extra but lasts 15 years more than PVC Guttering – that’s 4 times longer-lasting, making the project lifespan so much more cost-effective with Aluminium guttering than PVC Gutters.



    Material Cost

    Labour Cost


    Est. Lifespan

    Typical Cost of Plastic Guttering:




    5 Years

    Typical Cost of Aluminium Guttering:




    30 Years

    Typical Cost of Cast Iron Guttering:




    10 Years


    Can Aluminium Gutter Rust?

    No, Aluminium will not normally rust – it’s extremely rare to see any rust occur even after 20 years. This is because Aluminium Gutter is made from aluminium alloys which have the naturally perfect protection against rust as a raw material. Even if the product became was to become scratched for some reason, the scratched area itself would not rust as the aluminium have an inherent oxidising process preventing any further corrosion.

    Do Aluminium Gutters Get Hot?

    No, Aluminium is a great thermal conductor so any heat that is gained through solar energy would normally be quickly dispersed which keeps the aluminium Gutter and Downpipes cool. In some rare situations where air becomes trapped inside a profile for example then the temperature could rise slightly, however, we have often been surprised how incredibly cool Aluminium Gutters stay even with a dark colour on a hot day in direct sunlight.

    What Styles of Gutter Are There?

    • Half Round Gutter Style: This was the first style of gutter to be made, but it lacked capacity due to its shallow depth
    • Square Gutter Style: made to create a more modern look, this gutter style is becoming less popular as the square shape cause increased dirt build-up, issues with leaks, and reduced flow rates.
    • Deep Flow Style (Most Popular): This no-brainer style took the benefits of the original half-round gutter and increased the flow and capacity with the same great look. Over the years Deep flow Guttering has become the most popular option combining simplicity with high capacity.
    • Classic Gutter Style: New fancier styles have been created; however, the only advantages are for where a more shaped style is preferred, and this has to be balanced with increased cost and also increased possibility of leaks occurring.

    Need further Advice on Your Guttering Project?

    Our Teams are very happy to assist on our Live Chat or you can email shop@clearamber.com where our super friendly Teams will provide you with all the advice and support you require for your projects.

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