Definitions

box gutter

Rain gutter

A rain gutter (also known as eaves trough, guttering or simply as a gutter) is a narrow channel, or trough, forming the component of a roof system which collects and diverts rainwater shed by the roof. In many buildings, the purpose of this diversion is to prevent water from falling off the roof edges. This uncontrolled water can cause structural damage to the outside walls and/or the foundation of a building over time. Another purpose of rain gutter is to harvest rainwater for household or garden use.

Rain gutter can be constructed from a variety of materials, including galvanised steel, painted steel, copper, painted aluminium (also known as Seamless Aluminium), PVC (and other plastics), concrete, stone and wood.

Water collected by a rain gutter is fed, usually via a downspout, into a collection system. A collection system can be either a rainwater tank, a storm water main, or a sewer main (depending upon local codes). In some locations where collection to a main is not feasible, the water is dispersed into a storm water pit or cistern.

Different styles of gutter are available to suit the design of the roof and house. Exterior rain gutter is available in a variety of profiles to suit the appearance of the building. Exterior rain gutter is fixed to the fascia board, which in turn is fixed to the ends of the rafters. A fascia gutter incorporates a rain gutter with a fascia. Box gutter is a deep gutter which is concealed within the structure of the roof. A box gutter is usually applied when the rainwater is to be collected from points within the boundary walls of the building. Water collected by a box gutter is fed to the downpipe via a rainhead.

One of the most popular forms of rain gutter is "Seamless". This is a method by which long lengths of gutter can be made on site and therefore avoiding seaming of sectional gutters. Seamless gutters are available in a variety of metals, shapes, sizes, and finishes.

Rain gutters can be equipped with gutter screens, louvres or solid hoods to allow water from the roof to flow through, but block leaves and other debris from entering and building up in the gutter.

Rain gutters can have their drains directed to rain collection systems that allows the saving of the rain water for use later, or into an underground pipe system the leads to the street or other collection areas.

A possible origin of the word "gutter" can be traced to the latin word gutta, which means drop or droplet.

Benefits

  • Directs water away from basements, walks and patios.
  • Keeps the outside of your home clean by preventing mud and sand from splashing up onto siding and windows.
  • Protects the color of brick and concrete. No drip lines or discoloring.
  • Protects concrete slabs from sinking and cracking.
  • Inhibits moisture from entering directly inside open front entries and backsliders.
  • Preserves stained wood decks, doors and garage doors from splash-ups.
  • Stops landscape erosion. Plant without the concern for flooding.
  • Water is directed to the sewage system where damage from run-off is not a concern.
  • When used with aluminum flashing across fascia board, you can reduce and eliminate fascia rotting

Precautions

The rain gutter on houses that have overhanging trees can become blocked with leaves over time and can cause a fire hazard, particularly in wildfire prone areas. Various styles of mesh and other perforated materials have been applied as leaf guard to help prevent this problem from occurring. In some areas with high bushfire danger, some type of leaf guard is mandated by the building code.

Clogged gutters can cause water leakage into the house as the water backs up. Clogged gutters can also lead to stagnant water build up which allows mosquitoes to breed and also allow grasses and weeds to grow in the gutter. However, there are many different gutter leaf guards, or trays to keep leaves out of your gutters. Be careful though not all of them work. Check with your gutter installer for the truth about leaf guards.

Gutters in colder climates also suffer the effects of freezing. However this can be mitigated through the use of heating cables placed in the trays that become activated in freezing weather.

See also

External links

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