What Does a Gutter Lead To? A Comprehensive Guide

Gutters are an essential part of any home's roofing system, as they are responsible for collecting and directing rainwater away from the house. The gutters are open at the top to catch rainwater that comes out of the roof and direct it towards the downspouts. Downspouts are the vertical, closed sections of the gutter system that direct water from the roof to ground level. Most gutters are slightly tilted, so the water runs down the downspouts and away from the house.

In some areas, it flows into the street and then travels downhill, eventually finding its way back to the ocean. In other areas, it flows into an underground sewer system. To be effective, a gutter system is based on downspouts, the thick pipes through which the gutters conduct water and which then move the water away from the house and take it to the drain or patio. If all they do is carry water to a well, from where it falls directly to the ground, gutters on their own are less effective. The accumulation of water also causes additional stress on the gutters, which can cause cracks or leaks in the gutters or that they separate from the roof line. To prevent rainwater from causing damage, there are other accessories that can be installed in a gutter system to make it more effective.

A house with multiple peaks and valleys is more of a challenge than a straight line of roof, but a professional gutter contractor can ensure that the gutters and downspouts are installed correctly. Parapet gutters and valley gutters are discharged into internal rainwater pipes or directly into external downpipes at the end of the route. If your gutters sink or overflow with water when it rains, you may need new gutters or additional downspouts to manage the volume of water. This can be the result of a branch that falls into a gutter during a storm or of a ladder leaning against the gutter. During the 1960s, rainwater pipes, gutters and downpipes were introduced with plastic materials, followed by PVC floor systems, which became viable with the introduction of annular seals. To extend the interval between cleanings and still prevent clogging, invest in an effective gutter protection system or gutter covers.

The most common gutter shape is called “K-style” (so called because that's where the shape appears alphabetically in the list of gutter profiles in the National Association of Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Manual).