Gutter accessories are used for a variety of reasons, including increasing the efficiency of a gutter system; protecting the eavestrough from accumulating debris; and preventing damage that could result in costly repairs. Popular accessories for gutter systems are leaf guards, flexible downspouts and splash guards. Most types of gutter accessories can easily be found in local home renovation stores.
One of the most popular gutter accessories is some kind of leaf guard that keeps debris like leaves and twigs from entering the eavestrough in the first place. There are a number of different types of leaf guard protection. Leaf guard systems that act as a shield are typically made of vinyl or galvanized steel and fit over the length of the gutter or a particular section of the gutter system. This type of leaf guard covers the gutters, keeping out leaves and twigs, and preventing birds from building nests, but they do have drawback – in heavy rainfall, they can cause water to overflow rather than allowing the gutters to redirect the flow toward the downspout. The best kind of leaf guard is one made of wire mesh, allowing water to flow freely while blocking out debris.
A flexible downspout is often used to extend the downspout outward and away from one area to another where draining the water would be less harmful to a driveway, sidewalk or the foundation of the house. It typically attaches easily to the end of the existing downpipe. Most types of flexible downspouts cannot be damaged by walking or even driving on it.
An underground downspout is a clever way to divert water from places where the ground might become too saturated such as a section of lawn or a flower bed. Most types of underground downspouts are designed to be installed in a way that will not obstruct foot traffic or lawn mowers.
A rain barrel situated beneath a downspout collects and saves the water that would normally be drained away. This allows the homeowner to utilize rain water for landscaping purposes.
A splash block is generally made of concrete or plastic and is installed below the elbow of the downspout. Splash blocks help prevent erosion because disperse and direct the water away from areas where it can do damage.