Though you’ve likely heard the terms ‘eavestroughs’ and ‘gutters’ used interchangeably over the years, you may have wondered whether they actually do mean the same thing. Though they both refer to very similar features of a home, there are a couple slight differences between the two.

When it comes time in your exterior renovation schedule to choose a new gutter or eavestrough system there are many options available to you. While appearance might be a factor in your choice, ultimately it should come down to more of the function of each model.

Differences Between Eavestroughs and Gutters

At Total Aluminum, we love helping customers think through their exact home exterior needs. From repairs to complete installations. We’ll show you the difference between eaves/gutters, siding options, and roofing. Cosmetic upgrades to total home protection from the elements to repairs. We have Burlington, Oakville, Milton and Hamilton covered!

While both of these terms refer to the rainwater drainage system used to remove water from your roof, there are a couple differences in what each word actually mean.


One of the most common differences in these terms is where they are used. Often the term gutter is used more in the US, while eavestrough is more commonly used in Canada.

Size of system

While nowadays the terms are used to refer to the same thing on a house or building, it used to be more common to use gutter when referring to the larger system that connects a number of houses and buildings together to drain all of them in the same connected system.

An eavestrough, on the other hand, was thought to be used on a single house or building to drain the waste and water from that individual location.

Different systems to choose from

Eavestrough or gutter systems cam be made from a variety of materials, but most commonly will be plastic or metal. When choosing which material to use for your home there are a few factors to consider. How much rain your area gets, the size of your roof and the average temperature of the area can all factor in to your decision.

  • Vinyl eavestroughs – These plastic-based systems are popular largely because of their budget-friendly status. They are also lightweight and easy to install for DIYers, however in colder climates they can often crack, and if not installed properly they can result in water pooling in areas where it shouldn’t.
  • Stainless steel eavestroughs – Though these ones are considered the sturdiest material you can choose for your eavestrough, they come with a higher investment as well. If you’re in the market for a long lasting and sturdy choice and can afford the heftier price tag, stainless steel eavestroughs are a great move.
  • Aluminum eavestroughs –These are relatively easy to install, rust proof and can easily withstand cold temperatures. If you don’t plan to pop your ladder up against your eaves often- risking denting the softer metal, this is an excellent choice for most situations.

Benefits of Aluminum eavestroughs

Though there are several different materials that you can use for your eavestroughs, aluminum is increasingly thought of as one of the better choices for several reasons.

  • Better capacity to hold water – They hold more water than other types of systems
  • Aluminum is lightweight – makes it easier to install and will sag less over time
  • They are durableAluminum stands up to weather like snow and hail well and won’t thin over time
  • They are less likely to leak – with the availability of seamless systems, aluminum gutters can stand up against leaks well
  • Aluminum doesn’t rust – unlike steel, aluminum won’t rust after time

Maintaining Your Eavestroughs

The most important thing you can do to care for the investment you make on your eavestrough system is to maintain it. Often overlooked during spring and fall yard maintenance season, eaves can easily become cluttered and clogged. This can also happen after a big storm.

When eaves become clogged, the water they are meant to drain can’t get through resulting in overflow, pooling and flooding. If the pooling or overflow gets too bad or sits at the wrong spot it can lead to some serious issues with your roof and foundation.

DIY or Professional?

Though it may seem like a simple job to take on yourself, if you’re not adapt at working at the top of a ladder you may find it a safer bet to call in some reinforcements. Hiring a professional to help you get your eavestroughs in top shape can take a load off your mind and ensure that they are installed in a way to provide the best drainage for your property.