All You Need to Know about Gutters & Downspouts Gutters and downspouts catch and direct rainwater away from your home to prevent water-related damage to your roof, walls, foundation and landscape. The Basics A gutter is a channel installed at or just below the roofline at the edges of the home where the roof slopes downward. It is usually made of vinyl, aluminum, copper or stainless steel. Gutter systems have a slight downward pitch toward the corners of the home, encouraging rainwater or snowmelt to flow “downhill” through the gutters and into the downspouts. A downspout is a pipe that runs vertically along the side of the home. It is connected at the top to a hole in the gutter channel. The other end bends outward and usually sits several inches above the ground. This allows the water flow away from the home as it exits the pipe. How Many Downspouts Do I Need? A general rule of thumb is one downspout per 20 feet of guttering, but more may be necessary depending on the local weather, the size of the drainage area and the design of the gutter system. Poorly designed or installed gutters and downspouts can cause rainwater to pool around the base of the home or back up into the gutters. This can lead to serious damage to the roof, siding, fascia boards and foundation, and even lead to basement flooding and damage to the home’s interior. Gutter & Downspout Maintenance Most homeowners should have gutters and downspouts inspected and cleaned twice a year. This will help you spot leaks and drainage problems before they have a chance to worsen and cause further damage. To repair leaks or cracks in gutters, use a generous amount of caulk or sealant. To solve drainage issues, install splash blocks and downspout extensions. The best way to keep gutters and downspouts in good shape all year round is to have a gutter protection system installed. Gutter covers make your gutter system less vulnerable to clogs and ice dams by keeping leaves, debris and pests out of your gutters without obstructing the flow of water. Contact Us Today Call your local Gutter Helmet dealer for more information on gutters, downspouts and gutter protection. To request a free, no-obligation quote from one of our sales representatives, call (800) 824-3772 or fill out our online contact form.