Gutters are complicated systems with many moving pieces that work together to keep water away from your roof and foundation. They are more than just half-pipes made of metal. Unless something goes wrong with your gutter system, you probably don’t give it much of a thought. While a guttering system may appear to be a simple arrangement of a few plastic pipes connected, it actually contains a number of different components that work together to ensure that it works to its maximum capability.

Gutters and downspouts are meant to divert rainfall away from your home or structure without causing damage to the foundation, basement, landscaping, or other construction materials. Splash guards, leaf guards, end caps, miters, outlet tubes, fasteners, straps, and sealant are just a few of the accessories that go into a good gutter system and downspout.


The gutters are the long, rounded components that collect rainwater and garbage and transport it to the pipeline. They are available in a variety of colors, forms, materials, and styles. Guttering can also be seamless or regular, which means it can be one long piece or multiple short parts that need to be connected.

Seamless gutters can be custom-fabricated to any length to fit your home’s features. Seamless gutters drain water significantly better than those available in large box retailers with seams every 10 feet. Prepainted aluminum with a thickness of.032 aluminum is a useful material for gutters.


The rain may accumulate in the gutters, but the water must be channeled somewhere. The routes that run from the roof’s higher eaves to the ground are known as downspouts. It’s essentially the gutter’s vertical equivalent. Downpipes are installed against the outer wall and go down to the ground, diverting water away from the property or directly into a drain. They make sure that water is channeled away from the property. These vertical pipes are normally spaced every few feet along a gutter to allow water to flow freely.

Downspouts are also made of.032 prepainted aluminum and come in a variety of colors. The downspouts, unlike the gutters, are not seamless and come in 10-foot lengths. Seams every 10 feet are not a concern for downspouts because they drain water vertically rather than horizontally like gutters. In terms of how much water it can carry, the size of the downspouts is critical. Rectangular downspouts that are 3″ x 4″ in size may drain almost twice as much water as 2″ x 3″ downspouts and are typically preferred.

Gutter Guards

Gutter guards should be installed on some gutters that have trees close to prevent clogging of the downspouts. This is not integrated with the roof system and is mounted directly on the gutters system. Because the roof and gutters have separate life periods, this has a number of advantages.

Throughout the year, gutters collect a variety of materials. Twigs, vegetation, mud, and bird nests are just some of the things that can block your gutters and prevent water from flowing freely. Gutter guards act as a cage to keep debris out of the gutters. They usually lie on top of the gutters, preventing debris from entering. While some material may eventually flow through, when gutter guards are installed, the majority of the substance in the gutters is rainwater or snow runoff.


A simple angled part for connecting your gutter and channeling water around corners. On the inside of the gutter, the best-looking miters are hand-cut, pop riveted, and sealed. This style is recommended over store-bought inner and outside miters because it creates a watertight seal.  At angle changes, miters hold the gutters in place. When a valley drains into the gutters, inside gutter miters are built, and outside gutter miters are put when a gutter has to turn a corner on your house.


The type of fastener used is critical for the long-term performance of gutters and downspouts, as well as an aesthetic consideration. To support the gutter even when it is full of water or debris, gutter screws should be utilized and placed through the fascia boards and into the structural components. In gutter miters, aluminum rivets are also recommended for a corrosion-free look. Since stainless steel zip screws are corrosion resistant, they should be utilized to secure downspout components.

Gutter installers typically use screws and bolts to secure the gutters, but there are alternative ways for securing these hanging metal pipes. Fasteners are one of the simplest solutions because they’re both secure and attractive. For a seamless connection, these pieces link directly to the fascia in the gutter.

Outlet Tubes

This connects the downpipe to the guttering above it. The downspout is connected to a hole in your gutter, and outlet tubes are fitted into that hole. When installing rectangular downspouts, it’s critical to use rectangular outlet tubes to maximize the downspouts’ drainage capacity. An oval or round exit tube.

Splash Guards

Splash guards are normally made of prepainted aluminum and are painted to match the gutters. At the point where a valley drains into a gutter, splash barriers should be constructed. If splash guards are not placed, water in the valley, which moves more faster than water in the roof’s field, may overflow the gutter and drain down the side of your house.

End Caps

End Caps are put in a similar look to the gutter and varies depending on whether they are needed on the left or right side of the gutter. End caps keep water from draining out the gutter’s side. They should be fastened to the gutter by securely folding the metal or using aluminum pop rivets. Endcaps are sealed with sealant to prevent leaks.

A stop end locks off the open end of the gutter run, ensuring run-off water is collected and treated properly. It is installed at the extreme end of the gutter, transmitting past the roof surface. Because gutters are simply long and hollow tubes, they require stoppers at both ends. End caps act as a barrier on the sides of gutter pieces, forcing water to flow down the only available channels, which are downspouts.

Downspout Traps

Each 10 foot segment of downspout should be secured to your house or structure with downspout straps. When a storm strikes, proper attaching to the building is essential to keep the downspout in place. The straps can be pre-fabricated or field-fabricated to match the downspout color. The straps should be somewhat thicker than the metal they are securing.


Sealant is hidden on the inside of the gutter and can’t be seen from the ground. Since the paint coating on aluminum gutters prevents soldering, the best practice is to use an elastomeric sealant to prevent leaks at gutter attachments such outlet tubes, miters, and endcaps. Elastomeric sealants are more resistant to UV degradation than conventional sealants, making them a better choice.


Used to send the downpipe back towards the property’s outer wall by steering the guttering over angles – such as roof eaves. In the human arm, the elbow is a vital joint. It connects adjacent gutter pieces around a corner in a gutter protection system, and it has a similar purpose. Elbows assist straight gutters in flowing around irregular angles or bends.

Downpipe Shoes

The bottom of the downpipe is angled to ensure that water is diverted away from the foundation of the house.

Gutter System

EcoShield Roofing specializes in roof replacements and repair for metal and shingle roofs. We are a roofing business with all the correct credentials and the required local and state licenses to get your job done right. 

We also offer roof repair and gutter installation to ensure that your roof continues to work properly for years to come. To get started on your new roof, schedule a free estimate now!

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Author: William Sessions

William Sessions started a roofing business in 2018 with a mission to create high-quality roofs for Winston-Salem and surrounding areas. He did jobs for Safeco, Liberty Mutual, All-State, and Nationwide for two years. In that experience, he learned how to properly inspect for Hail, Wind and other damages to shingles that would impact insurance claims. After that, he started his own family business and proudly served roofing service in North Carolina. He leverages his roofing knowledge and provides useful insights through blogs on