Five Important Basics to Know About Your Gutters

HomeBlogFive Important Basics to Know About Your Gutters

Think you know it all about gutters? Think again! Here are five important things every homeowner should know about their gutters.

Five Important Basics to Know About Your Gutters

  1. The Anatomy of your Roof’s Drainage System:

A gutter system typically contains the following parts:

  • Gutters (original catch along the edges/eaves of your roofing; or refer to system as a whole)
  • Downspouts (drainpipes for upper gutter system; for draining away from structures)
  • Corner Joints (seal critical connections from gutter to gutter or gutter to downspout)
  • End Caps (seal ends of gutters – very critical that they don’t overflow here)
  • Hanging Brackets (provide support and stability to keep gutters and downspouts flowing properly)
  • Splash Block (assists with directing water flowing from a downspout away from your foundation)
  • Ground Drains (aligned with downspouts to drain water away more easily from vertical downspouts and using piping underground)
  1.  What are common materials are used to make gutters and why? 

These are the most popular gutter materials because they are rust-resistant:

  • Aluminum (popular; economical and durable)
  • Steel (galvanized or stainless, the latter of which is uncommon because it is so expensive)
  • Vinyl (popular; economical and durable)
  • Copper (stylized, very long-lasting)
  • Wood (stylized, rust resistant)
  1.  Why do gutter widths and styles matter?

The gutter width chosen must be able to handle the amount of water expected to run off from your roof. The important factors in determining runoff are:

  • How sloped your roof is will determine the speed at which runoff collects in the gutters.
  • How much rainfall you get and how quickly it comes down – which also affects how quickly your gutters will receive water.
  • How quickly the water can drain out of the gutter system, freeing up capacity for more water drainage up above.
  1.  What are signs that gutters are clogged?
  • Water overflowing at the top of downspout connections or at end caps.
  • Poor water drainage out of downspouts (lower-than-expected water flow).
  1.   What are signs that water drainage may cause or be causing property damage?
  • Watch for eroded soil.
  • Watch for puddling and standing water near the structure.
  • Watch for stain, paint, and other building materials peeling, fading, showing water marks, or bearing superficial ice or water in in climate weather.