The need for housebuilders to reduce costs continues, and home owners are striving to keep repair bills down. Small trades and DIY’ers are also seeking to keep home improvement costs as low as possible.
So, PVC Gutters and Downpipes could be an obvious choice. For many years plastic guttering has been the lowest cost gutter option, but now as new aluminium gutter is being manufactured at a much lower cost, you should definitely consider stopping buying plastic guttering and consider another option. In this article we expose 7 problems with Plastic Gutters and why you should probably not buy them. We also explain the benefits of a great alternative for what you should use instead:
7 Reasons Why You Should Not Buy Plastic Gutters:
- Plastic Gutters fade and discolour making properties look tired
- Sunlight causes annoying creaking noises on Plastic Gutters
- The Plastic Gutter goes brittle causing breakages & leaks
- Plastic Gutter Brackets Not Strong Enough for Snow
- Plastic Gutters Break when Leaning Ladders against for Access
- Repair & Maintenance Costs are Higher with Plastic Gutters
- Plastic Gutter & Downpipe have very Limited Colour Choice
So, you can see from the list above that it’s well worth learning and understanding how you can avoid all these costly issues. We explain each of these problems with Plastic Gutters in more detail below:
Plastic Gutters fade and discolour making properties look tired
Before PVC Gutters were created people used cast iron gutters, but these were prone to rusting and paint flaking as well as being heavy and expensive. The newer plastic gutters are made from PVC which doesn’t need to be painted and will not rust.
However, plastic gutters are made from PVC and the colour of the PVC Guttering fades in sunlight relatively quickly creating a tired or shabby look to a property. What’s worse then is that you can’t easily paint PVC gutters like you can re-paint cast iron ones, so the only solution for faded plastic gutters is to replace them which is expensive.
So, you’re stuck between choosing from cast iron gutters which are expensive and have ongoing maintenance problems, or choosing Plastic PVC Guttering which quickly fades, becomes brittle and then you have to replace it. So, there must a solution that beats both these issues, you ask? – Yes, there is; aluminium guttering, and here’s why…
Aluminium guttering used to be expensive, but increasing demand and rapid developments in manufacturing processes has made it much more affordable. With aluminium guttering it will never rust, because aluminium has a natural defence barrier against rust. Aluminium gutters normally come with a coloured powder coated surface which doesn’t fade like plastic gutters do. Because aluminium gutters and downpipes don’t rust, the powder coating lasts in perfect condition for many years, which means your property also stays looking great for a long time too.
Sunlight causes annoying creaking noises on Plastic Gutters
PVC Gutters often make a loud and annoying creaking and cracking noise in hotter or colder weather. This is caused by a change in the temperature of the gutter causing rapid expansion or contraction and the gutter connections pulling apart or pushing together.
On a typical day when there is some Sun with some clouds, the direct sunlight will warm up the plastic gutters and downpipes, causing them to creak with expansion, and then when a cloud blocks the sunlight the plastic gutter starts to cool back down again, causing creaking again as everything contracts back again. On some days this can sound like a continuous clicking and creaking sound throughout the day which can be frustrating and disturbing.
Aluminium gutters tend to overcome creaking noises in three ways:
- Firstly, the expansion rate of the aluminium gutters and gutter fittings is lower than that of PVC, meaning that there is less expansion and contraction actually occurring.
- Secondly, as aluminium expands much less the connections are often fixed firmer and has less reason to move, so that with very little actual movement there will be almost no noise.
- Thirdly, for any movement there is with aluminium gutters and downpipes the naturally slide against each other with almost no noise at all. This means when significant expansion does occur in very extreme temperatures, any necessary movement is basically silent by comparison to PVC Gutters which click, crack and creak.
The Plastic Gutter Goes Brittle Causing Breakages & Leaks
The problem with plastic gutters is that they are made from coloured PVC plastic which will go brittle fairly quickly. This is caused by UV rays from the sunlight which degrades the PVC gutters. Also, plastic gutters are very thin and this means that when they become brittle, they easily break or leak and fittings can fall off.
This also means unwelcomed maintenance and repair costs. Not only do you have the costs of the replacement gutters and downpipe, but as gutter are often installed on the 1st floor or above, the cost of scaffolding for safe access to replace them can add significant costs.
So, the phrase ‘do it right, doing it once’ is very pertinent here; if you want to ‘fix and forget’ then it’s common sense to consider buying powder-coated aluminium guttering which doesn’t become brittle. Aluminium guttering is very reasonably priced in today’s market and robust and long-lasting properties of aluminium guttering will likely save you significant costs in the medium and long term.
Plastic Gutter Brackets Not Strong Enough for Snow
Depending where your property is located snow fall may be something you should consider. Understandably plastic gutters and the plastic gutter brackets that support them are designed to take the weight of the rainwater that runs off the roof above. This rainwater flows quickly in to the gutter and flows along and down in to the downpipe, dispersing the weight on the plastic gutter. – Afterall this is what the plastic gutters are designed to do, right.
However, when it comes to snow, it will tend to settle and thicken on and above the plastic gutter without flowing away. Sometimes the snow building up on to PVC gutters can increase to quite a height, compacting with increasing weight as it continues to fall. Then sometimes at night it freezes and more snow can fall on top. The weight of this compacted snow and ice could be several times more than plastic gutters and plastic gutter brackets are designed to take.
In addition, sometimes the snow from the roof above starts to melt and slides down the roof, compacting itself as it goes and then impacting the plastic gutter with a force and speed that is many multiples of the snow that fell on the plastic gutter area itself.
So, what happens? – you guessed it; the plastic gutters get snapped, and the gutter brackets are sheared off be the massive force of the impact and weight of the snow and ice. For many years now we’ve seen almost annual wave of occurrences of plastic gutters being destroyed by snow and ice, even in areas that generally don’t get a particularly high snow fall.
The cost every time is a complete replacement gutter, plus all the costs to access at a height safely to remove what is left of the old one and install a new gutter system.
So, what can you do instead? Well, no gutter system is indestructible, however by using an aluminium gutter system with snow-grade brackets you can significantly reduce the risk of having the cost of replacing your gutters when it snows.
Aluminium gutters themselves are designed to be significant stronger than plastic gutters and withstand a much great load. Most designs of aluminium gutters and fittings are designed to not warp or bend under pressure of winter weather conditions or summer heat, which means they will last much longer.
Plastic Gutters Break when Leaning Ladders against for Access
If you need to access your gutters in order to clean them out once a year the you will need to think about how you will do this safely. The same applies to if you ever need to access the roof; it has to be done safely.
If your gutters are on the 2nd floor or above you definitely should use a scaffold tower and ensure you have the necessary training. However, in many ground floor or 1st floor situations access to gutters or the roof can be made from ladders, provided you take the necessary safety precautions.
When trying to find somewhere safe to lean your ladders against sometimes its hard to avoid using the gutter as a place to rest them against. The problem with this is that if you have use Plastic Guttering then there is a real risk of the gutter breaking.
As mentioned above, PVC Gutters will tend to go brittle and as you climb the ladder the force against the plastic gutter will increase, and is likely to snap the thin PVC Gutter. Not only is this a risk to your property which will cost money to repair, but the more concerning thing is that the sudden possible jolt from the gutter breaking and the ladder moving sharply to a new position is enough to unsettle the climber and could cause a serious fall.
By choosing an aluminium gutter you are significantly reducing the risk to your property and your safety for accessing the gutters or roof with ladders. You should always take care and check the specific gutter installation as whilst the gutter may be much stronger, there are a number of other factors such as the gutter fixings that you need to ensure are secure and safe. However, aluminium gutters are usually much stronger and far less likely to break than plastic gutters.
Repair & Maintenance Costs are Higher with Plastic Gutters
When you choose a Gutter and Downpipe system you want to ‘fit and forget’ without costs of repair. The problems with plastic guttering, including breakage, fading, brittleness and creaking are likely to increase your repair and maintenance costs significantly over time.
So, choosing a more durable option such as aluminium gutter, will not add much cost to the project and will save you so much in the longer run. All the natural strength and durability of aluminium gutters will save you significant time and money and give much greater peace of mind that the gutters on your property will perform for many years.
Plastic Gutter & Downpipe have very Limited Colour Choice
Plastic guttering is made in a limited range of colours which are, white, brown, black and grey. These colours are in the plastic itself and tend to fade as mentioned earlier in this article. However, the range of colours is very limited and the plastic gutter cannot be successfully painted.
So, if you are looking for a brighter or more specific colour to match your chosen colour scheme then you need to choose an aluminium gutter and downpipe system which is available in any RAL Colour that suits your needs. Afterall, the overall look of a property can be significantly enhanced (or otherwise) by having the right colour of gutters and downpipes.
We have seen some recent trends where colours like Pebble Grey aluminium gutters (RAL 7032) give a touch of modern class, or Emerald Green aluminium gutters (RAL 6001) are installed as a completely stylish contrast to the masonry. Other popular colours for aluminium gutters and downpipes include Steel Blue (RAL 5011) suited to modern designs or Traffic Red aluminium gutters (RAL 3020) which look very classy on older stone built properties.
Final Thoughts and Conclusions on Plastic Gutters
In the past, the initial costs of Aluminium Gutter Systems have tended to be too expensive. Everyone knows that Aluminium Gutters and Downpipes last at least 3 times as long as Plastic Gutters, but the price point has always been a challenge.
So, will the lower cost designs of modern aluminium gutter systems be the death of plastic guttering? Well, I doubt everyone will stop buying plastic gutters overnight as it takes time for people change. However, there has been an increasing and ongoing shift away from plastic gutters and towards aluminium guttering supplies, as more and more people realise how they can now afford vastly superior powder-coated aluminium gutters, and move away from all the inherent problems with plastic gutters and downpipes.
So, what does the future for gutters look like? - What if an Aluminium Gutter could be manufactured at the same price as PVC? – Would that be the death of the PVC Gutter? – It has to be. With all the benefits of aluminium gutters the only reason anyone would choose PVC gutters has to be solely down to the price. Therefore, if it was possible to make the price of aluminium guttering the same as plastic guttering, then any demand for Plastic Gutters and Downpipes would disappear.
So, you may be asking, are there any of these aluminium gutter systems currently available, that are as low cost as the plastic gutter options? – the answer is, ‘almost’. – There’s a new system which is being designed which should be available very soon where the cost of the aluminium gutter will be comparable to the cost of plastic gutters.
Register Your Interest : Get 15% Discount Off Your First Aluflow Order:
Be among the first to hear more about when Aluflow becomes available,
Simply follow these steps and you will received a 15% discount off your first order:
- Go to our Live Chat
- Message our Live Chat Team with this message "Register My Aluflow Discount"
- Make sure you share your best contact email in the chat so we can let you know when Aluflow is available
Our Team will then send you a Discount Code as soon as Aluflow is launched.
That's it - you're sorted!
From its inception, Aluflow® has been innovated and manufactured with four fundamental requirements in mind. One of these requirements is to make the aluminium gutter the same price as plastic gutter.
Designed and manufactured by a UK Manufacturer this extruded aluminium gutter will be available in any ral colour. Unlike traditional gutter such as cast iron gutters, this modern aluminium Aluflow® guttering system is easy to install and will be sold at very competitive prices. It also will come with a wider range of aluminium gutter fittings to suit almost any application. Interestingly the other requirements are strength, longevity and fast delivery.
Whether you are considering buying guttering for the first time, or if you are a regular trade installer, you should keep looking out for further developments for aluminium gutters and look to trial the Aluflow system when it is launched in the not-too-distant future.
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