Okay, okay, gutters are not that shocking, but it got you to take a look at this article right? At Dynamic Gutters we pretty much eat, drink and sleep “gutters”, which naturally makes us interested in the history of our industry and how the cutting edge technologies we use every day came about. In our research we found some “riveting things” (sorry – that was a gutter joke) about gutters and their evolution to the modern product.
You might not know it, but until the 1960s galvanized gutters were all the rage. Most residential and commercial rain gutters were made of galvanized steel, since they were inexpensive to purchase at the time, very durable, and typically lasted between 40 to 50 years. The galvanizing process coats the steel with a layer of zinc in order to resist rusting. Nevertheless, this does not fully prevent rusting, and in time the steel would leak.
Where we may put up with leaking gutters, we would never put up with cosmetic issues. Turns out 50 years may be just too long for that coat of paint and paint peel became synonymous with galvanized gutters! For those who wanted their gutters a particular colour, they almost always had to re-paint (although much of this problem had to do with the painter and type of paint used). The heaviness of the steel was another problem. They were sold in 10-foot sections, the ends had to be soldered together before being placed on the house, and the weight was sometimes overbearing.
Once the 60s hit, PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and aluminum started to appear on homes. Vinyl gutters were made of plastic and were light enough to allow homeowners to easily install them. They were also quite inexpensive, so people could go out and buy them without having to break the bank. However, with inexpensive materials also comes cheap quality. Since they were made from plastic, they would easily crack, sag, or become damaged. Over time, homeowners were realizing that the plastic was actually costing them more time and money than they thought.
On the other hand, aluminum seemed to resist corrosion and damage. Moreover, these gutters came in many different colours, and no one seemed to have a problem with the paint pealing.
Today, galvanized and PVC gutters are basically obsolete. The heaviness of galvanized steel is often not worth the effort, and the brittleness of PVC is a waste of materials, time, and money in the long run. The advantages of aluminum have become apparent, and as such they have become the ultimate gutter of choice.
Nevertheless, copper and zinc have also become popular materials. Copper is very resilient, and can handle extreme changes to the weather even better than aluminum but tend to cost a lot more. Zinc is also highly resistant to damage and corrosion and can last up to 30 years. Both types also have the added benefit of being aesthetically pleasing to the eye, and their added resilience certainly doesn’t hurt.
So there you have it; a brief history, shocking or not, of gutters. If you’re thinking of having yours replaced, give us a shout, we sure love some gutter talk.
Call Dynamic Gutters for more information!