What Are K-Style Gutters?

The letter K means many different things depending on the context. On a baseball scorecard, it represents a strikeout. On a stock sticker, it’s the abbreviation for the Kellogg Company. But what does it mean in terms of gutters?

Why Are They Called K-Gutters?

The term K-style gutters is derived from the profile of this type of guttering when viewed from the side. The outer shape of the gutter is supposed to (very vaguely) represent the letter K, as opposed to a perfectly-rounded, half-circle-shaped gutter. In other words, the outer edge consists of a short, straight line from the bottom of the gutter, then two opposing curves, followed by another short straight line. These gutters are also known as ogee gutters (interestingly, the word “ogee” means “double curve,” which looks more like the letter S.)

Diagram of a K-Style Gutter
“Yeah, that does look like the letter K…that I drew when I was five years old!”

Like other types of gutters, K-style gutters are available in different sizes. The two most common sizes, as measured by gutter diameter, are five-inch and six-inch; though seven-inch, eight-inch, and custom sizes are obtainable from certain places. K-gutters are most often made with aluminum, though it is not uncommon to find materials such as vinyl, copper, and galvanized steel, which make up these products.

How They Differ from Rounded Gutters

K-gutters provide some distinct advantages over rounded gutters. First, K-gutters will hold more water than a rounded gutter with an equivalent diameter. Also, because of their unique shape, K-gutters are less likely to bend or protrude when impacted by force, which makes them stronger, even when lighter materials are used to produce them. However, K-gutters have more sharp edges on which debris can catch or accumulate, and they are also harder to clean than their rounded counterparts.

K-gutters are commonly found in 10-foot sections in hardware and home improvement stores for do-it-yourselfers.

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Why Are They Popular?

There’s another reason why K-style gutters are the most widely-used gutters in America. That’s because when you look at K-gutters on a house or structure, they somewhat resemble the stylish crown molding that is found on interior ceilings. Therefore, builders tend to select K-gutters because their profiles blend better with modern architectural trends.

Because of their popularity, most gutter manufacturers have standardized the K-style profile in their gutter-making machines. Many contractors have portable gutter-making machines which enable them to feed in aluminum sheets to be fashioned into seamless K-gutters of a predetermined length. On the other hand, K-gutters are commonly found in 10-foot sections in hardware and home improvement stores for do-it-yourselfers who want to purchase their own materials.

The price of K-gutters largely depends on their base material and their length. But because they are found on the majority of buildings in the U.S., K-style guttering is usually the default choice for contractors and building suppliers. However, many different gutter styles will transport runoff water just as well—so homeowners need to decide whether K-gutters are right for them.

Funny Cat in Rain Gutter
Although cats prefer rounded gutters.

Images: mctechguys.com, no-ip.org