Of all gutter materials, aluminum is the most popular and most commonly used. And aluminum comes in several grades of thickness. It’s important to know about the various grades of aluminum gutters in order to maximize water protection for your home. You’ll want to choose a grade that will withstand:
- Your Climate – Aluminum contracts and expands in cold and heat. If you live in a climate with extreme temperature fluctuations, you’ll want to choose a heavier grade because lightweight aluminum will tend to split and crack.
- Specific Weather Conditions – Maybe your home is exposed to heavy winds, intense downpours, or frequent hail. If so, a heavier grade aluminum gutter will stand up better.
- Your Home’s Surroundings – Is your home surrounded by lots of trees? If so, a heavier grade aluminum gutter will serve you well. If not, a lighter grade may be able to do the job.
Lighter thicknesses of aluminum gutter are fine for regions of the country that have mild weather, light rainfall, and no snow. But you’ll want a heavier grade if you live in areas that get heavy snow, intense downpours, or extreme temperature fluctuations.
What Are the Specific Grades of Aluminum Gutters?
Aluminum is measured in thousandths of an inch, unlike copper and steel which are measured in gauges. Aluminum gutters are typically available in four grades or thicknesses:
- .032 (32 thousandths of an inch) is the heaviest thickness and is recommended for heavy snow regions or areas of the country that get heavy, intense downpours.
- .027 is a medium thickness.
- .025 is a lightweight thickness.
- .019 is the thinnest or lightest grade.
Which Grades Are Available for DIY Installation?
Most home improvement centers or big-box stores typically carry the lightest grade of aluminum gutters – .025 or even very thin .019 grades. These lightweight gutters are easy to cut and install and only available in sectioned 10- and 20-foot lengths.
- The downside to installing thin-grade aluminum gutters is that they won’t last as long, will be susceptible to sagging and denting, and will bend under heavy water or snow loads.
- A DIYer will need to be able to install the gutters at the right drainage pitch and make sure the connectors are firm and secure to prevent leaks.
- For long-lasting aluminum gutters that provide premium protection for your home, you’ll be far better off going with a professional contractor who can install a heavier grade.
Which Grades Are Available for Professional Installation?
Although they can work with any grade, the majority of gutter professionals work with the medium thickness .027 aluminum gutter. As you’re choosing the right thickness for your gutter system, make sure your contractor takes into consideration specific aspects of your particular home:
- Is your home surrounded by trees?
- Is there heavy winter snowfall and ice?
- Do you get frequent and intense downpours during the rainy season?
The heavier the grade, the better the gutter will perform. After all, you’re looking for the best protection against water damage and expensive repairs. Although the thicker grades cost a bit more, they’ll last longer and be able to out-perform thinner grades.
Another benefit to professional installation is that you can choose seamless gutters. Only a professional contractor has the machinery and skill to manufacture seamless aluminum gutters.
Seamless or Sectioned Aluminum Gutters?
Over 70% of rain gutters in the U.S. are seamless. As you’re exploring the different grades of aluminum gutters, you’ll want to be aware that they’re available in both seamless and sectioned types.
- Seamless – Seamless aluminum gutters are popular because they have fewer stress points, fewer joints, far fewer leaks, less clogging from debris, less water overflow, and offer your home more protection from water damage.
- Sectioned – Sectioned aluminum gutters are somewhat less expensive than seamless. They come in 10- and 20-foot sections that require adhesives and connectors at the seams. There is more opportunity for leaks and clogs with sectioned gutters, and because of this, they offer less protection against water damage than seamless aluminum gutters.
Characteristics That Can Help Determine the Thickness to Choose
Understanding aluminum’s properties will help you decide on which thickness will best protect your home. Aluminum gutters . . .
- Don’t rust
- Can corrode if exposed to salt air or other metals such as tin, steel, or copper.
- Can last up to 25 years if they’re well-maintained and you don’t live near the ocean.
- Are not particularly strong and durable, especially the lighter, thinner grades. Aluminum gutters can bend and lose their shape if a ladder leans on them or if a branch falls on them.
- Don’t need their joints soldered if sectioned gutters are chosen. This keeps installation costs lower than steel, zinc, or copper.
- Are easier to install than steel, zinc, or copper because they’re not as heavy and cumbersome.
- Are available in a wide range of colors and their clean lines are aesthetically pleasing.
Because aluminum gutters aren’t recommended for DIY installation, you’ll want to talk with a professional gutter contractor. But how do you find a trustworthy contractor? Where do you start? Will the contractor install the right grade of aluminum gutter?
When you get a free quote from Spout Gutter Pros, your worries are over. SGP will connect you with reputable and reliable aluminum gutter contractors near you. At Spout, we’ve already vetted each contractor in our network. That’s why we can join you up with a fully licensed and insured expert who will advise you on the correct grade and thickness of aluminum gutter that will maximize water protection for your home. When it’s time to install aluminum rain gutters, count on Spout Gutter Pros to connect you with the best.
Trust Spout Gutter Pros to find the best professional contractor who understands which grade of aluminum gutter will provide maximum protection for your home. Ask for a fast, free quote now!