Gutters fulfill a simple but important task of collecting and diverting water away from rooftops to avoid damage to a home, so choosing the right types of gutters is an important decision. The damage an improper drainage system can cause ranges from discoloration of roof and siding all the way creating a faulty foundation.
When deciding what type of gutter to put on your house there are a two types that dominate the market, the half round style and the K style. The difference between the two styles boils down to looks, costs, and efficiency. Prior to 1950, The half round gutter was the go-to style for most homes and are still thought of as more stylistically appealing today, especially on older homes. Unfortunately, the half round system has its pitfalls too. It tends to be more expensive and less efficient.
The other option, K style gutters, offer a less expensive and more efficient drainage system which typically comes in two sizes, "5 inch gutters with 2x3 inch downspouts can handle 600 square feet of roof per downspout while the 6 inch gutters with 3x4 inch downspouts can handle 1200 square feet of roof per downspout." The design of K style gutters allows for a greater volume of water to flow using less materials, part of the lower cost. In comparison, a half round gutter requires roughly an extra inch in diameter to carry the same volume of water a smaller K style gutter would.
When choosing the type of gutter for your house, it is important to consider the number of downspouts you would like and the maintenance of them. The 3x4 inch downspouts that come with 6 inch gutters are easier to clean. The larger spout it is easier to reach in and clear out the debris, and allows for more debris to flow through without becoming trapped. A good rule of thumb to follow for cleaning out gutters is to do it 4 times a year, once for every season.