Metal vs. Vinyl Gutters

Metal vs. Vinyl Gutters

Gutters are good for your house (and many businesses). They control the flow of water from your roof. That can protect your foundation, provide water for thirsty plants, and generally help the aesthetic of the whole place.

You need good gutters, but in order to find them, you need to understand your options. That’s why today, we’re looking at vinyl and metal gutters to help you understand the pros and cons of each choice.

Vinyl Gutters

Vinyl gutters, also referred to as PVC gutters or plastic gutters, are immensely popular. They offer a competitive option for controlling water on your roof and around the foundation of your home or building.

They really started rising in popularity in the ’90s and since, and they represent a viable option for putting good gutters on your roof. 


There are a few reasons why so many people choose vinyl.

The first is cost. Vinyl gutters typically cost less in raw materials than any other type of gutter. So you’re looking at less money out of pocket when you make this selection.

Vinyl gutters are also great for the DIY approach. They are so light, and they tend to snap together so easily that it’s not unreasonable to buy a gutter kit and install them yourself.

On top of those benefits, vinyl is a waterproof, weather-resistant option, and vinyl gutters typically last 8 to 10 years.


On the other hand, there are downsides to choosing vinyl. Many contractors won’t recommend them as readily as metal, and that’s for a few key reasons.

The first is that they don’t last as long. A lifespan of 8 to 10 years sounds good until you realize that other gutters can last a full lifetime (50+ years). When you factor in longevity, vinyl gutters are actually not the most cost-effective option. Since you are almost guaranteed to have to replace them more often than metal gutters, the long-term costs of vinyl are relatively high.

The other problem is durability. Even though vinyl gutters are fairly tough, they struggle with heavy or extreme weather, and they grow brittle over time from UV exposure. In short, vinyl gutters can’t hang with metal when it comes to overall toughness, and that does matter.

Metal Gutters

Metal gutters can be made from any number of different materials. Copper and zinc provide extraordinarily durable and beautiful options for homeowners. Steel is super tough and unlikely to ever break.

But it is aluminum that gets the most attention. As a very light metal, aluminum gutters are easier to install than other metal gutters, and aluminum is pretty much weatherproof. That’s why aluminum is the most common metal choice for gutters, and it works great in that capacity. Let’s review the pros and cons of aluminum gutters to see if they’re right for you.


Aluminum is extremely resistant to rust, and it can even stand up to salty conditions for anyone near the coast. Add to that the strong tensile strength of the metal, and you have a gutter material that is made to last. Aluminum is also more or less impervious to UV damage.

For those reasons, aluminum gutters are going to outlast vinyl gutters by leaps and bounds. That longevity ultimately makes aluminum the more cost-effective material option as well.

That’s not the end of the benefits though. Aluminum gutters are very customizable, and you can get them made as a special order directly from the metal fabricators.

Aluminum is also good at holding different colors, so you can match your colors to the aesthetics of your building.


For all of those pros, aluminum isn’t perfect. It does have a much higher initial cost when compared to vinyl. It’s also heavier than vinyl. While aluminum may be lighter and easier to install than other metal gutters, it’s more of a challenge than vinyl. If you choose aluminum, you’ll need to pay for professional installation, further raising the startup cost.

On a completely different note, aluminum gutters are considerably louder than vinyl. Aluminum gutters aren’t large enough that they turn rainstorms into a cacophony, but you will hear the rain on aluminum more than on vinyl.

Custom Metal Gutters With Alpine Sheet Metal Systems

The truth is that in the majority of cases, aluminum is a better option than vinyl. The durability and reliability of the material, combined with cost-effectiveness, make it an easy recommendation in almost every situation.

If you want to look into custom aluminum gutters for your home or business, contact Alpine Sheet Metal Systems today. We fabricate metals right here in Texas, so you don’t have to wait for international shipping or any related problems.

If you want to explore metals beyond aluminum, we can help you with that too.

ASMS Sheet Metal Fabrication

About Jeff Folsom

Jeff Folsom is the founder and president of Alpine Sheet Metal Systems, a key player in North Texas’s commercial construction sector, specializing in roofing and architectural design. He also leads Alpine Roofing Construction and Alpine Thermal Imaging Systems, expanding his influence across the U.S. Residing in Dallas, Jeff enjoys travel, auto racing, and boating in his free time.

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