Understanding Gutters

Gutters that work properly safeguard the integral structure of the roof, interior and exterior walls, and the foundation from potential water damage. Many homeowners overlook the gutter system until something goes wrong. Understanding gutters and how they function can help you better protect your home.

A standard gutter system is typically attached to the fascia boards of the roof. They can be attached by hangers, straps or spikes and ferrules. Common gutter profiles, or the shape of the gutters, are K-style, half-round and box. The gutter profile can play a role in how freely rainwater flows through the system – half-round gutters are smooth on the inside while K-style gutters have edges that can snag debris.

Measured at the top of the gutter, gutters are available in 4”, 5” or 6” widths; the wider they are, the higher the volume of water they are able to handle. Popular metals and materials gutters are made from include aluminum, vinyl, copper and stainless steel. Manufacturers often apply a type of finish to the gutter system – this will prevent peeling, chipping or blistering in the future.

The downpipe is an integral part of the gutter system. It directs the water collected by the gutters to the ground or drainage area. Proper downspout placement is crucial to protecting the foundation from water damage.

In order to function well, they should be installed correctly, with a ¼” slope for ever 10 feet of gutter. If they are to continue protecting your home throughout the years, they should be maintained on a regular basis. It is recommended that a gutter system be cleared of all debris at least once a year. If the house is surrounded by trees, gutters should be cleaned at least twice a year and if needed, at the turn of each season.