By directing rainfall away from a building’s roofing and foundation, guttering is absolutely essential to protect any property, however when purchasing gutters for a building project you shouldn’t simply choose whichever colour or style you personally prefer – it is important that you select a material and shape that’s specifically fit for purpose to ensure that it delivers in terms of aesthetic, functionality and longevity.
To help you make the right decision depending on the type and location of the property you’re working on as well as your purchasing budget, we’ve put together this handy information guide on the different materials and gutter profiles that are available for use on both commercial and residential buildings:
When choosing a material for your guttering, there are a few key things that you need to consider – the finished look that you want to achieve, the type of building that you’re adding the guttering to, the size of the roof and the location of the property in terms of weather conditions and the average rainfall levels. Beyond the visual qualities of each material type, each of the options offer pros and cons which we’ve detailed below to give you a better idea of which material could be the best option:
Favoured for centuries in the UK due to its robustness and timeless look, cast iron guttering has an intrinsic strength which means that when it is correctly installed, it can last for several decades and eliminates the need for frequent and potentially costly replacements. Cast iron also deadens the sound of flowing water which is a key benefit for a drainage solution, and it is fully recyclable too, making it a much more sustainable option than some other gutter materials which is why it is recommended by environmental organisations such as Greenpeace.
In terms of appearance, cast iron guttering works particularly well when it is used on heritage homes and buildings as it can help to enhance the period charm of a property, however cast iron gutters can be equally as attractive on contemporary buildings too depending on the overall style and finish that you’re looking to achieve. Although it is quite expensive to buy and more difficult to install due to the weight, it is still a common seller in the UK. Cast Iron guttering needs to be maintained with regular repainting too.
Copper guttering is not only highly durable and resistant to corrosion making it a sound investment, it also offers an incredibly striking and unique aesthetic that over the course of five to 20 years – depending on the local weather conditions – develops a lasting patina. This natural oxidation process lengthens the lifetime of copper gutters, delivering excellent value on a per-year cost basis, and it causes them to gradually change colour over time, ranging from golden and deep browns to soft jade greens, as seen on the Statue of Liberty which is famously coated in thin copper.
As a guttering material, copper also provides a relatively low maintenance solution as it reduces growth of lichens and moss which subsequently means it requires less cleaning. The only downsides being a high cost and that it can potentially be a target for thieves!
Incredibly lightweight and very easy to install, plastic guttering is widely used across the UK as it is an extremely low cost option which can still offer the reliability and durability that you need to protect any property, withstanding many weather conditions and lasting for years to come. Unlike other material types for guttering, it also doesn’t rust or blemish easily, and it won’t freeze or corrode, so it does the job without incurring a huge amount of expense or potential damage. Most plastic guttering is manufactured from uPVC and will not need to be painted to protect it from fading, however if you wish to change the colour of your guttering it can be painted.
The versatility of plastic means it also comes in an extensive variety of colours, sizes, length, and gutter profiles too, so you can find the right shape and style for the building you’re working on. As a popular choice that’s widely available on the market, it is also usually very straightforward to replace uPVC gutters when needed, making it a cost and time effective choice for homeowners and merchants alike.
PVC guttering stands for polyvinyl chloride and uPVC (unplasticised polyvinyl chloride) is quite similar. The only differences are that uPVC has been treated during the manufacturing process to be UV resistant and does not contain toxic products such as Phthalates and BPA, making it a much more environmentally friendly. This essentially means that it is a far more rigid and tough kind of plastic, which would explain why it has become so popular in recent times. It has become so popular that it is used across a variety of gutter systems, including all of our plastic guttering!
Galvanised to give you additional strength, steel guttering is an affordable, long-lasting and eco-friendly option and as it is lighter than other types of metal gutters, it can be much easier to install too. Steel guttering is particularly popular for European buildings as it isn’t prone to heat expansion, making it suitable for locations where the temperature can vary a great deal throughout the year. As well as increased impact resistance and a lifespan of decades, steel guttering also offers visual appeal and is available in a variety of colour coats to help you choose the finish that best suits the design and age of a house or building.
Aluminium or aluminum guttering is ideal for a number of applications including housing developments and refurbishments, which is the reason it is often chosen by homeowners and merchants. It is also known for its high flow capacity, high strength and extremely low weight which can speed up the installation process. In addition, it is a very durable and weatherproof material, ensuring that it delivers great performance over a long lifespan – usually an impressive minimum of 60 years – to give you excellent value for money and a very low per-year cost.
Visually, it can help to create a timeless aesthetic, and aluminum gutters come ready made in a wide variety of colours so you can choose the shade that best compliments a property, removing the need for painting. Aluminium gutters also aren’t impacted by thermal expansion, nor are they prone to cracks caused by sudden weather changes, making them an ideal drainage solution for geographical areas where the temperature can sometimes vary from one month to the next. They are aso full recyclable. Aluminium does come at a premium price however when compared to plastic guttering.
Gutter Profile Types
In addition to selecting the right material for your guttering system, it is also important that you choose the appropriate gutter profile for a specific home or commercial building as there are a lot of gutter types available that offer different benefits and are suitable for varied aesthetics and needs. Guttering profiles types that are most often used include:
One of the most commonly used guttering profile is known as half round guttering – sometimes referred to a half circle guttering – which has a symmetrical U shape, like a cylinder that’s been sliced in half, with curled-top edges. The simple shape allows rainwater to flow freely down into the centre of gutter channels, and half-round gutters are fairly easy to maintain and remove debris from too, making them an extremely popular choice. The universal design of half round gutters also means it is usually straightforward to replace sections if needed too, and it can suit both modern or traditional buildings. It is the most commonly sold profile in the UK.
Inspired by the gothic revival architecture that was championed during the Victorian era across the 19th and early 20th century, ogee guttering (which is short for original gothic) has a distinctive aesthetic and features several curves often described as an S curve. This design detail makes it a popular choice for guttering for traditional buildings with period features, or for adding an element of heritage design to more modern properties. It is also worth noting that not all types of ogee gutters are interchangeable due to variations in the S curve, so if you’re looking to partially replace ogee guttering on a property, check the brand logo, curve measurements and type before making a purchase to ensure compatibility as all manufacturers tend to have a different shape.
Deep or deep flow guttering is usually around 20mm deeper than standard guttering, hence the name, and subsequently provides much greater capacity and a faster flow rate. This means that although it is visually more noticeable on a property, it is ideal for use in areas where there’s higher than average rainfall or water runoff, or where it may be prudent to prepare for significant weather events that standard guttering is unable to efficiently handle. Deep flow guttering is also often used for buildings with large roof areas to avoid overflow.
In terms of aesthetic, it is very similar in design and shape to half round guttering, with greater depth to allow for increased rainwater.
Sometimes referred to as trough or square guttering due to its design, box guttering has a three-sided rectangular shape which allows it to be neatly fitted between parallel roof sections as well as around the perimeter of a building. Its robust design also offers increased rainwater capacity when compared to some other guttering types, providing a highly viable gutter system for areas with higher than average rainfall intensity or buildings with very large roof areas, which is why it is usually selected for commercial properties such as modern apartments and warehouses. Box gutters are also a commonly used drainage solution for buildings that have predominantly angular features.
Industrial guttering is designed to hold an increased water capacity and is used on commercial buildings such as barns, warehouses, agricultural buildings – etc. It comes in three common sizes 160mm, which is similar to a half round profile, although it is not fully half round. 170mm which is more of an elliptical profile (more of a U shape) and 200mm which again is almost half round, but not fully half round. 200mm is the largest plastic guttering size available on the market.
The perfect guttering for every job
Here at EasyMerchant we offer a wide range of robust plastic, steel, aluminium and cast iron guttering, all at incredibly competitive prices and with fast delivery too. We exclusively stock guttering that’s produced by leading manufacturers and companies to give you peace of mind when it comes to the extremely high quality of our products, and our selection includes varied gutter styles and colours, enabling you to choose the perfect gutter type for your building or DIY project, whether you’re a homeowner looking to replace existing guttering or a merchant working on a much larger commercial development. Where needed, we can also offer installation advice to help you create the most effective drainage system.