Which drain is better: plastic or metal? Select the drainage system

One of the most important choices you will have to make when selecting the ideal drainage system for your roof is whether to use metal or plastic drains. Making an informed decision is essential to guaranteeing efficient water management and the longevity of your roof, as each type has unique benefits and factors to take into account.

Plastic drains are preferred because they are corrosion-resistant and lightweight. Usually, they are constructed from sturdy PVC or related materials, which are renowned for their resistance to rusting or deteriorating under a variety of weather circumstances. Because of this, plastic drains are a dependable option in locations with high levels of moisture and humidity because they won’t rust over time.

Conversely, metal drains provide strength and a classic aesthetic appeal. Metal drains are made of materials such as stainless steel or galvanized steel and are renowned for their robustness and longevity. They are appropriate for locations vulnerable to severe weather or a lot of debris because they can withstand intense rain and are less likely to warp or crack under pressure.

A few things to think about when choosing between plastic and metal drains are the climate, upkeep needs, and financial constraints. Plastic drains are a practical option for many homeowners because they are frequently less expensive and simpler to install. In comparison to metal drains, which might require recurring inspections and corrosion-prevention treatments, they also require less maintenance.

On the other hand, metal drains have a classic appearance and might be chosen due to their robustness and endurance in challenging environments. For homes that value long-term durability and aesthetics, they might be a wise investment. The decision between plastic and metal drains ultimately comes down to your particular requirements, financial limitations, and the environmental elements affecting the drainage system on your roof.

Plastic Drainage Systems Metal Drainage Systems
Lightweight and easy to install. Durable and can withstand heavy loads.
Resistant to corrosion and rust. Long lifespan and can be more aesthetically pleasing.
Generally more affordable. Higher initial cost but potential cost savings over time.

Advantages and disadvantages of plastic drains

PVC drains are becoming more and more common because of the mass manufacturing of low-cost, high-quality polymers. Strong vinyl and stabilizers that boost resistance to UV rays and temperature effects are components of the material.

This class of materials has a service life of 10 to 15 years (some manufacturers guarantee up to 25 years). Granted, polymer gutters aren’t indestructible, but their exceptional performance, coupled with their affordability and extensive color palette, have won over many developers.

The plastic design of the drains includes several parts in addition to the gutter and pipes directly: elbows, plugs, corners, funnels, and adapters. They assist in the installation of a system that is put together like a designer. Soldering is required and nothing is cut at the same time.

Plastic grooves can be assembled on cornice overhangs of any complexity, length, or configuration because fasteners and components come in a variety of forms. Depending on the system manufacturer, rubber seals can be used for flameless or adhesive part connection.

The brackets holding the gutters will need to be installed carefully because plastic cannot support heavy loads.

Since plastic drains are made and painted according to the RAL scale, they can be any color that complements the primary roofing color scheme. However, systems painted in silver, brown, or "under cop" are the most in demand.

The best plastic drainage systems combine bitumen and ceramic tile roofing. Can be applied to other contemporary coatings, though.

First, let’s discuss the advantages of plastic:

  • Light weight. Plastic is much lighter than any metal (even aluminum), it is almost a business. The PVC drain does not load the rafter system of the roof, respectively, it does not need special strengthening. This also explains the recommendations of specialists to use plastic drainage during repairs of old roofs with dilapidated rafters.
  • Absolute anti -corrosion properties. Plastic is not able to rust and rot, even with constant contact with water and violations of the surface layer. This is his huge advantage over the metal.
  • The ability to "work" in a wide range of temperatures: from -50 ° C to +70 ° C.
  • Resistance to aggressive environments. Plastic does not respond to most chemical stimuli. Therefore, it is better to use drains from PVC if the house, for example, is located on the sea coast (air is saturated with salt) or there are factories nearby.
  • Simple installation. The plastic drain can be assembled even independently, since all the components necessary for this are in free sale.
  • Smooth surface. On plastic walls, dirt and small garbage do not linger. Accordingly, plastic retains a well -groomed look for a long time, even without regular care. Brilling gutters does not take much time and consists in washing them with water from the hose.
  • Smallness. During rain, plastic drainage does not produce such noise as metal.
  • A wide range of colors.
  • Low price. High -quality plastic drainage is about 2 times cheaper than a metal analogue with a polymer coating.

Here is a list of drawbacks now:

  • Small resistance to loads. Convergence of snow or ice from the roof can become fatal for plastic drainage. There is a great probability of their deformations, cracking and faults. In order to strengthen the design, an accurate calculation of the number of brackets is needed and their installation with a small step of 0.5-0.6 m. When compared with metal systems, then for them hooks can be mounted after 0.7-0.9 m.
  • When temperature changes, plastic changes linear dimensions. That is, when cooling, it is compressed, when heated, it expands. The same thing happens with drainage pipes. So that such a drain does not burst during frosts, its parts are collected (connected) using special expansion compensators and rubber seals.
  • In the cold, the plastic drain becomes fragile, so under pressure from the snow, its walls can burst.
  • Inconsistency of color, its gradual burnout in the sun. This is especially the problem of drainage made of low -quality plastic, on which the color "does not hold".

Regarding the characteristics of plastic drains, using Docke systems as an example, the information story states:

Metal gutters – durable classics

The metal is still a widely used material for drainage system manufacturing, even though plastic is breaking new ground in the construction industry. Some builders even believe that metal is the only material that can ensure the long-term, continuous removal of melting water and rain. They are undoubtedly correct in certain aspects. The majority of metal systems, excluding the common galvanized ones, are still more durable than plastic—often times more so.

However, metal is unique. When drainage is manufactured, various metals are used, and the quality of these metals influences the final product’s dependability, appearance, and cost. Gutter types vary depending on the kind of metal used.

  • steel galvanized;
  • steel galvanized with a polymer layer (metal -plastic);
  • steel coating Aluzink;
  • aluminum;
  • Titan-zinc;
  • copper.

All of them are ideal for the majority of contemporary roofs, particularly those with metal coatings. We are discussing corrugated board, metal tiles, and folding roofs.

We’ll give a quick rundown of the various kinds of metal gutters.

Galled gutters

Galvanized steel designs have good operating characteristics that enable you to provide dependable service for ten to fifteen years. Because of their low cost (10–12% less than plastic), replacing or repairing them after this time won’t put a big dent in your pocketbook.

This kind of drain is prone to corrosion even with the galvanizing layer. The galvanized surface will rust in the event of scratches and other damage. The comparatively short life is the cause of this. A less appealing appearance than comparable products made of other types of metal is another disadvantage. Consequently, galvanized gutters are currently regarded as an outdated choice.

Steel drains with polymers coated

These are identical galvanized gutters that have a layer of polyester, plastisol, or polyurethane (also known as purple polymer paint) applied to the top. The system that was created has a plastic surface on top of a metal base, hence the name "metal-plastic." Approximately 50–60 years is a far longer lifespan than that of galvanized products.

The metal system’s plastic layer can be painted in any color from the RAL catalog because of its high absorption capacity. Not only does the color coating provide drainage, it also addresses the issue of corrosion that common galvanized products face. The polymer layer totally obstructs moisture’s ability to reach the metal’s surface, preventing rust.

The type of polymer used to cover directly affects the quality (and cost) of metal-plastic gutters. The least expensive material is polyester, which is prone to scratches and mechanical damage. Usually hidden beneath the polyester layer is 0.5 mm thick steel. However, 0.6 mm thick pural or plastisol-coated steel is present underneath. More somber designs already! Furthermore, gutters and pipes are typically coated on both sides with a polymer, meaning that the products are coated from the inside as well as the outside.

Although metal-plastic drainage has excellent operational qualities, it is relatively inexpensive, differing slightly (but not significantly) from galvanized analogues in price.

Alucing gutters

Products from Alucing are likewise constructed from a variety of materials. ALUZINK, an alloy of zinc and aluminum, forms a protective layer over a steel sheet that serves as the base. Compared to its constituent parts alone, aluzink has more consistent positive attributes.

Distributions with an alucine surface are resistant to UV light and corrosion (mainly because of the aluminum). Different color solutions are used to produce the products, and the shade remains constant over time. This differs from regular galvanized gutters and is comparable to metal-plastic gutters.

Aluminum gutters

In many aspects, aluminum outperforms steel materials—both coated and uncoated. One of the primary advantages is its light weight, which permits thicker gutter and pipe walls without putting too much strain on the mounting system. The average wall thickness of aluminum drains is 1-1.6 mm, whereas the wall thickness of steel drains is no more than 0.5-0.7 mm. Because of this big difference, aluminum drains can support heavier loads without buckling under the pressure of ice and snow layers that are thinning. The gutters’ light weight makes installation easier and lowers the possibility of material damage during fastening.

The greatest corrosion resistance of aluminum is another benefit. When aluminum comes into contact with air, an oxide film forms to protect the metal and prevent rusting. Unlike artificial coatings, the film can be restored on its own in the event of damage.

Aluminum gutters are typically made with a bilateral polymer powder paint coating. As a result, extra corrosion protection can be achieved, and the metal can be colored in line with the RAL directory’s color solutions.

Titan-tohy gutters

Belong to the high-price group and are roughly four to five times more expensive than products made of metal and plastic.

Zinc makes up 99 percent of the material, along with titanium and a tiny amount of copper. Copper improves a product’s malleability, while titanium prevents corrosion. The Titan-ZINC drains have a lifespan of almost 100–120 years.

Similar to aluminum systems, titan-toy gutters are more flexible. This enables them to be mounted on any kind of facade and resolve challenging architectural issues.

Titan-toy gutters have a naturally occurring patina film on their surface, so they don’t require any protective coating. The products get stained first in a matte gray color and then in a matte anthracite color.

The Titan-Tsink is susceptible to electrocorrosion when it comes into contact with iron and copper, despite the patina. As a result, this kind of drain needs to be kept apart from the metals mentioned above.

Copper drains

Copper drains are another elegant design. Moisture, cold temperatures, and UV radiation—factors that could be harmful—don’t harm them. As a result, it is estimated that this kind of drainage will last for at least 100 years.

Although copper does not corrode, it does oxidize and get patina over time. A reddish or greenish tint appears on the surface, highlighting the noble quality of metal. Furthermore, the patin film lengthens the drains’ lifespan by strengthening copper’s resistance to wear.

Copper drains don’t require any extra security. Their surface acts as a barrier that is impervious to harm.

The only drawback is that their price is comparable to that of tannic analogs.

Advantages and disadvantages of metal gutters

Notwithstanding their variations, all varieties of metal drains share the following advantageous characteristics:

  • Durability. The service life of metal gutters starts from 10 years (if we are talking about galvanizing) and reaches the centuries-old line (for copper and titanium-tohy products).
  • Strength. Metal gutters have increased strength, they are not deformed, not cracking and not destroyed during mechanical loads, for example, when the layers of snow or ice from the roof.
  • Resistance to extreme temperatures and their jumps. The metal is not subject to thermal expansion and freely withstands the temperature range from -50 ° C to +120 ° C. This allows the use of metal gutters in any climatic zones. They will not melt in the hottest summer and do not crack with fierce frost.

There are drawbacks to metal drains as well. And these are:

  • Weight. This is not to say that it is too large, but still higher than that of plastic analogues (even in light aluminum products). Therefore, the designs holding the drainage system should be originally designed for the necessary load. And this applies not only to the brackets, but also the rafter frame of the roof, which can easily be deformed under the weight of metal drainage.
  • High thermal conductivity. In winter, metal gutters can completely freeze, after which their work will stop. To prevent this from happening, use special heating of gutters and funnels.
  • Noisiness. Metal walls rattle under the drops of rain, this is a significant drawback that you will have to put up with, especially during the rain period.
  • The appearance of rust in the places of damage to the protective layer (refers to zinc, metal -plastic, alucinc gutters).

We recommend watching this video, which describes the features of metal gutters using MP systems as an example:

There are a few things to consider when choosing between metal and plastic drainage systems for your roofing. In general, plastic drains are less expensive than their metal equivalents and are lightweight and corrosion-resistant. They require less upkeep over time and are simpler to install. Furthermore, plastic drains are adaptable and simple to modify to fit different roof configurations.

On the other hand, metal drains are strong and durable enough to handle heavy loads and inclement weather. Because of their durability and visual appeal, they are frequently chosen, particularly in architectural designs where aesthetics are important. Although they may cost more up front and need ongoing care to keep them from rusting and corroding, metal drains offer a strong long-term reliable solution.

In the end, your particular needs and financial situation will determine which drainage material—plastic or metal. Plastic drains might be a better choice if affordability, simplicity of installation, and low maintenance are your top priorities. Despite the higher initial cost and upkeep required, metal drains are a worthwhile option for individuals looking for strength, durability, and a classic appearance.

Whichever option you select, making sure the job is done correctly and by trained experts is essential to the efficiency and durability of your drainage system. Maintaining your roof in top condition for many years to come can help your chosen drain last longer with routine inspections and maintenance.

The selection of plastic or metal roof drains is contingent upon factors such as longevity, affordability, and upkeep requirements. Plastic drains are inexpensive to install, lightweight, and corrosion-resistant. They are perfect for areas of the world where rust is not an issue. Conversely, metal drains are more resilient to physical harm and have a longer lifespan, which makes them appropriate for more severe weather. To guarantee that the drainage solution you choose for your roof is efficient, it is important to consider your unique environmental circumstances, financial limitations, and expectations for long-term upkeep.

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Denis Shcherbakov

Professional roofer with 20 years of experience. I know everything about the installation, repair and maintenance of various types of roofs. I will be happy to share my knowledge and experience with you.

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