First appearing on homes, churches and public buildings as early as the eighteenth century, built-in gutters were integrated into the roof line often behind an architectural feature such as a cornice. Today hidden gutters are used on modern and contemporary buildings for both esthetic and functional reasons.
Traditionally, they were made from mostly wood. Hidden gutters or built-in gutters installed for contemporary homes and commercial buildings are typically constructed from wood (as an “extension” of the roof) and a lining of some kind. A lining made of metal like copper or stainless can last anywhere from 50 to 75 plus years. Alternative lining materials such as rubber (wears out quickly) or aluminum (can’t be soldered and is prone to leaking) might be cheaper. but are ultimately not as cost-effective.
Hidden gutters are esthetically very attractive. They do the job they were created for – collecting and channeling rainwater from the roof and away from the foundation – without detracting from the building’s exterior. Especially regarding residential applications, built-in gutters give a home an “uncluttered” appearance, since they are not fastened to the edge of the roof or the side of the house.
In addition to the esthetic appeal of built-in gutters, well-maintained hidden gutters can last for many years and require a minimum amount of attention. Although they are designed to be out of sight, it doesn’t mean they are inaccessible. Hidden gutters can be readily maintained and repaired from the roof and/or a ladder. Properly installed built-in gutters can provide a homeowner with many years of trouble-free use.