Gutters 101: Intro to Gutters Systems

Gutter Systems 101:  Introduction to Gutter Systems

The Origin of Gutter Systems

For thousands of years, gutters have been a practical addition to buildings. All gutter systems have a single purpose: to capture rainwater flowing from the roof and deliver it safely to the ground through downspouts, sparing the building and its foundation from water damage.

A precursor to the development of modern gutters, troughs were placed at the bottom edges of roofs. The trough was placed at a downward angle above the door of the home. There it would capture some of the rainwater pouring off the roof and channel it into a waiting rain barrel.

The rain barrel idea was developed into extensive systems of troughs leading to cisterns holding fresh water for drinking, cooking and bathing, as have been discovered in the ruins of homes in Europe. (This idea is once again gaining in popularity as Rainwater Harvesting has become an important piece of environmental conservation programs.)

Today’s Gutter Systems

A "gutter system" refers to the arrangement of gutters and downspouts on your home to channel water safely away from your roof to the ground. The style and size of your house dictate the placement of the gutters and downspouts to form a "gutter system."

Today, the most used residential gutter system is the seamless aluminum gutter. Other rain gutter systems available today, though not as popular or resilient as aluminum gutters, are wood, copper, steel and vinyl. There are also specialty gutters used on older homes, custom homes and in certain geographic areas, known as half-round, quarter-round, fascia and integral gutters.

Aluminum gutters are strong and lightweight, come in a variety of colors and are formed and cut to length at your home by a professional installer. Most seamless gutter systems are open troughs that can easily collect leaves, twigs and other debris, impeding the flow of water, causing leaks, sagging, and damage to your home's structure. To avoid these problems, many homeowners purchase screens, filters and hoods to cover open gutters.

Purchasing New Gutter Systems

When a homeowner notices loose, damaged leaking gutters, it is usually time to replace those old gutters with a new gutter system. Purchasing a new gutter system can be made easier by considering the following:

  • What are the requirements of your home?
  • What's the style of your home?
  • How many feet of gutter will your home require?
  • What is the slope of your roof?
  • Do you have large trees near your home or overhanging your roof?
  • What size gutters will your home require?
  • What color will look best on your home?
  • How many levels do you have on your home?
  • Do you have dormers or gables?
  • How many areas would be considered “valleys” where greater volumes of water would run off?
  • Does the style of your home require copper or other specialty gutters?

The best way to select a new gutter system is to choose LeafGuard gutters. It's unique patented design prevents clogs from forming in your gutters; keeping you off ladders forever. LeafGuard® gutters are 20% stronger than ordinary aluminum, have 30% larger downspouts, and are attached with sturdy internal hangers at two-foot intervals.

Different Gutter Sizes

Most residential gutter systems come in two sizes, 5 and 6 inches, and are made of either aluminum, galvanized steel or copper in a standard "K" style. The typical 5-inch K-style gutter comes with 2-inch x 3-inch downspouts. A larger 6-inch residential rain gutter system would consist of a 6-inch K-style gutter, using a 3-inch x 4-inch downspout.

The Best Gutter System Available

The best rain gutter system on the market today is LeafGuard, the only seamless one-piece covered gutter. Rather than an added-on cover, a LeafGuard gutter is formed from a single piece of aluminum with a built-in hood designed to keep leaves and debris out, while allowing water to flow freely through the gutter bottom. Its hood is an integral part of the gutter itself and is not an add-on. LeafGuard gutters have an unobtrusive, sleek design that compliments the style of any house. They come in a wide variety of colors and feature an exclusive ScratchGuard® paint finish that won´t chip, peel or crack.

Learn more about how the LeafGuard gutter system works and how LeafGuard compares to other gutter systems.