10 Jan What is the Difference Between Steel and Aluminium Gutter Guards?
What is the Difference Between Steel and Aluminium Gutter Guards?
Gutter guards can be made from various materials, such as plastic, aluminium and steel. They can also come in different styles, qualities and colours so you need to choose carefully to get the guards that will be best and most effective for your property.
To be really effective, guards need to:
- prevent leaves and other debris from entering gutters while letting rainwater run freely, so your gutters don’t overflow
- be durable and long-lasting, not rusting, cracking or deteriorating in any way
- require only minor maintenance at relatively infrequent intervals
- be reasonably priced, so they fit in with your budget
- blend in with the roof design and materials and with the colour of your gutters
- be suitable for the location of your property, such as coastal areas where there may be high rainfall levels and salt build-up from seawater spray
- be strong enough to resist animal intrusion.
Comparing Gutter Guard Materials
The key to getting effective gutter guards is to some extent, based on the materials they’re made from. This can determine how the guards perform over a long period, their durability and how they blend in with the roof and gutters. After all, the gutter guards need to look good as well as performing well.
Polyethylene gutter guards aren’t fireproof and this may be a consideration in areas at risk from bush fires. However, they are reasonably resilient, lightweight, easy to install, relatively cheap and particularly useful in coastal areas where they’re not affected by salt in the atmosphere.
The other alternative is metal gutter guards, with steel and aluminium being the main choices. Of the former, there’s the option of stainless or galvanised steel and all metals will tend to be stronger, non-flammable and generally heavier than polyethylene.
Although aluminium isn’t as tough as steel and can be dented if hit hard, it is a durable and flexible material. It is quite resistant to rust, helped by a powder coating that is available in several colour choices to match your existing roof and gutters. It’s also totally fire resistant and conforms to bushfire standards, which may be necessary for local authority approval.
Aluminium is extremely lightweight, easy to cut and shape, and so is ideal for forming customised guards to fit any gutters. It’s also relatively low priced and offers consistent performance, with a lifespan of over twenty years in the right environment, making it a popular choice as a material for gutter guards.
With a similar price to aluminium, galvanised steel gutter guards have a life expectancy of fifteen to twenty years and, being harder than aluminium, are less prone to damage from knocks. However, their increased heaviness means they’re more difficult to install, and variations in colour are not available.
They are prone to rust if the external zinc layer is damaged, meaning that regular inspection of the protective layer is necessary and maintenance may be needed if holes are found, which aren’t always easily apparent. The material is nevertheless immune to thermal warping and so is suitable for very hot environments or where the temperature is prone to sudden changes.
This is the most expensive of the materials, often two to three times the price of aluminium, although it does tend to have a longer lifespan. It’s extremely resistant to rust and will retain its shine for a long time without maintenance and will look even better for longer if cleaned periodically.
Stainless steel can be used in the harshest of environments and won’t warp or crack. But it is a heavier metal and more difficult to work, making installation more of a challenge although the results can be extremely attractive, albeit without any colour choices.
Choosing the Most Suitable Material
Making a choice between the different materials isn’t always easy, although, on balance, aluminium usually wins out. That’s due to its lower price, greater flexibility, ease of installation and choice of colours that make it suitable for many different projects.
Whatever material you do choose, make sure the quality is the best you can get. Cheap versions tend to be poor quality that will warp, crack and rust due to the effects of rain and sun. They may also not do the job properly and any saving you make on the initial purchase will be lost if you have to replace the gutters and guards sooner than you expected due to their deterioration or failure to perform.
At Aussie Gutter Protection, all our gutter guards are made from premium grade commercial materials and benefit from extended warranties. All metal guards are non-flammable and aluminium versions are available in a choice of colours. Buying from us ensures your property is protected from water and animal damage for many years to come while requiring minimum maintenance of your gutters.