It takes its name from the gutter’s profile, made up of short straight line starting from the bottom of the gutter; then a double curve that forms the “arms” of the K; completed by another short straight line creating the lip or outer edge. Of the several types of gutters available for residential homes, the K-style gutter is the most popular: it is used on over 85% of houses built in North America. Popularity of K-style rain gutters can be attributed to the fact that they hold more water than other types of gutters of the same size, making them suitable for geographic areas that experience medium to substantial rainfall.
Common materials for K-style gutters include vinyl, aluminum, copper and galvanized steel. Vinyl and aluminum K-style gutters are more economical per linear foot than are gutter systems made of other types of metal and come in a variety of colours. Because copper and galvanized steel are generally chosen for their intrinsic properties, manufacturers typically do not offer them in other colour options.
Referring to the diameter of the gutter, K-style gutters are available in 5-inch and 6-inch sizes, but custom 7-inch and 8-inch are also available for commercial and industrial applications. While they tend to be harder to clean because they are not smooth inside like half-round rain gutters, a K-style gutter can hold more water. One foot of 5-inch K-style gutter handles 4.5 litres (1.2 gallons) of water, while a 6-inch K-style gutter holds 7.5 litres (2 gallons) per foot. The angled curves of K-style gutters make them stronger and more stable when channeling water.