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. The downspouts are the vertical pieces of the gutters that direct water from the gutters to the ground. The gutters are responsible for the initial collection of water, but all that water has to go somewhere.
Most of the gutters are slightly tilted, so the water runs down the downspouts. You may not notice the slope when you look at the gutters, but this ensures that water doesn't pool in the middle of the gutters. Rain gutter systems extend horizontally along the edge of the roof and their downspouts run vertically to bring water to ground level. In some homes, the downspout drains into a drainage system that draws water 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. However, a gutter system is not just based on gutters. To be effective, it 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.
Gutters on their own are less effective if all they do is carry water to a well, from where it falls directly to the ground. The downspouts complete the process that prevents rainwater from causing damage. 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. While most people know what gutters and downspouts are, few people know that there are other accessories that can be installed in a gutter system to make it more effective.
A gutter system works with gravity, so the main thing to consider is whether the gutters are well tilted so that the water doesn't end up affecting the cladding, walls, basement, foundations and other parts of the property. Even if the gutters are properly angled and the downspouts are in the right position, overflow could still be a problem due to leaves, twigs, bird nests, and other debris reaching the gutters and downspouts. 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.
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). 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.