Gutters, Gutters, Gutters Part 1:

Residential Gutters

Parts of the Gutter System:

I bet you didn’t know that there are so many different parts to your gutter system at home. Gutters have a very important job of keeping the rain water away from your homes foundation during rain storms. Each part of the gutter system has its own job at helping keep water away from your foundation after heavy rain.


Downspouts are the vertical pipes that run down the side of your home and are normally on the corners of your home, depending on your homes style or layout. These downspouts can be either 1-4 stories, again depending on your home. These can range from what we call a 2×3 or 3×4 downspout. The size of the downspout depends on the size of the gutters you install.


These are the horizontal pipes that run along the bottom ledge of your roof. These will make up the majority of your gutter system. These can range in size from 4″- 8″. Although most people are not using 4″ gutters anymore, you can install them as long as your roof plan is small, like on a shed or small garage. And on the other size 8″ might be too big for your home. Talk to a professional to learn what is right for you.

End Caps-

You will find these at the end of the “run” of gutters if they do not need to go around a corner. They stop the water from running out the of the gutters and not down a downspout.


Elbows help the water to go around a corner of the house if needed. These could also be called corners. They are also named as an A or B depending on the angle of the corner.

Splash Block STL
Splash Block underneath downspout

Splash Blocks & Conductor Heads-

These are not always needed on your gutter system. Splash blocks are placed underneath the bottom of your downspout to help direct the flow of water away from your home. Conductor heads are used in areas that get a lot of rain. They are placed around a downspout to help the downspout not overflow or get clogged.

Gutter Materials:

Aluminum Gutters-

This materials is quite possibly the most used and popular material on the market. Aluminum is durable and possibly the least expensive material that you can use. Another great thing about aluminum gutters is that they come in a variety of colors. The price per linear foot for aluminum gutters can depend on the size and color of your gutters.


Oh, Copper, how I love thee. Copper is one of the most beloved gutter option. Copper is one of the most expensive options out there as well. One thing to think about when installing gutters is that they will not stay that beautiful copper color forever. Actually they will only stay shiny for about awhile. If you do not like the “patina” look, cooper is not the best option for you.


Steel is probably the best option for places that have extreme weather, heavy snow and rainfall. Although, it is very durable but would need to be replaced every 20-25 years. Most steel gutters come in galvanized. In addition they also can come in stainless steel. Stainless steel will not rust as fast as galvanized steel gutters. Steel is more expensive than aluminum gutters, but not as expensive as cooper.


This is going to be the cheapest option available. Vinyl can come in many different lengths and sizes. Therefore it is a very easy DIY for any homeowner. If you have a one story home and aren’t afraid of heights you might be able to complete this project on your own. Vinyl gutters are not good for colder climates and tend to become more brittle than the metal counterparts. Vinyl gutters need to be checked frequently. Furthermore, they will need to be replaced more often. These are the last option that we suggest for new gutters.

Shape, Size, Seamless:

1/2 round gutter on curved roof
1/2 Round Gutter


The two main type of gutter shapes are K-Style and 1/2 Round (Or U-Shaped). The U-shaped or 1/2 round gutters are normally called the original gutter style. K-Style did not come into play until about the 1950’s. K-style gutters are easier to install and tend to look better on more modern homes. 1/2 round gutters are a little harder to install and look better on older homes with a more rounded shape home.


Gutters can come in many sizes, but the most common are 5″-6″. Most homeowners want to know what size would work best for their home. The first and simplest way to decide is to see what you have and wether it is working properly or not. Did you know that 6″ gutter can carry more than 45% more water than the 5″ ones? If your current gutters are not holding up to the amount of rainfall in your area then you should go to a larger gutter. Have a professional come out and take a look at your gutters today.

Seamless Gutters-

I personally believe that if you have the ability to have seamless gutters, then there really should be no other option. If they have seams, they will need to be sealed. The sealant that is used will not hold up for the lifetime of your gutters. Therefore more maintenance. There are just some things that you should spend money on to save yourself time and money down the road.


Gutter Guards-

Probably the most common and widely used accessory for gutters. There are many types of gutter guards out there. They can range in price, size, color and so much more. Although are also so many gutter guard companies with their own gutter systems out there, there is only 5 main types of gutters. Foam, Brush, Reverse Curve, Screen and Micro-mesh are the main types.

rain chain gutter stl
Rain Chain into pot

Rain Chains-

These chains are exactly what you are thinking of. A chain that catches the rain water and redirects it to a flower pot or a flower bed. Some people claim that rain chains are better than downspouts. The are decorative and can work just as well as downspouts. Equally important you need to make sure that the water drains away from your foundation.

gutter rain barrel stl
Rain barrel to catch rain water

Rain Barrels-

These barrels are a great way to capture rain water and recycle for better use. The only problem with rain barrels is that they do tend to fill up quickly. Therefore, if you live in an area that gets a lot of rain you will need to keep your eye on the barrel. If you do not, then the barrel can overflow and over time cause damage to your foundation.

Decorative Boots for gutters-

Decorative boots are used at the bottom of the downspouts to connect the gutter system to the drain in the ground. There are many different types, sizes, styles and colors. These can also be used to attach to a french drain. These boots make sure that the rain water is completely removed and redirected away from your foundation.