Rain Gutter

A rain gutter is a narrow channel, or trough, forming the component of a roof system which collects and diverts rainwater shed by the roof. It is also known as an eavestrough (especially in Canada), eaves channel[1] guttering or simply as a gutter.


The main purpose of a rain gutter is to protect a building’s [3] and provides a means to collect rainwater for later use.

Rain gutters can be made from a variety of materials such as cast iron, lead, zinc, galvanised steel, painted steel, copper, painted aluminium, PVC (and other plastics), concrete, stone, and wood. More information on copper rain gutters is available.

Water collected by a rain gutter is fed, usually via a citation needed]

Types of gutters

A rain gutter may be a:

  • Roof integral trough along the lower edge of the roof slope which is fashioned from the roof covering and flashing materials.
  • Discrete trough of metal, or other material that is suspended beyond the roof edge and below the projected slope of the roof.
  • Wall integral structure beneath the roof edge, traditionally constructed of masonry, fashioned as the crowning element of a wall.[6]

A Box gutter is a deep gutter which is concealed within the structure of the roof.[5]

Cold forming technology exists to allow continuous gutters to be created, on site, in long individual lengths suitable to roof edge conditions, thereby reducing joints along the length of the gutter. These mostly joint free gutters are referred to as “seamless”, and available in various shapes, sizes, and finishes.[8]

Rain gutters can be equipped with gutter screens, louvers or solid hoods to allow water from the roof to flow through, while reducing passage of roof debris into the gutter.[9]


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 allows grasses and weeds to grow in the gutter.[10]

Gutters must be maintained regularly to remove leaves and other debris to keep them from clogging. Gutters that are filled with debris can overflow and soak the foundation, damage the roof structure, and exacerbate ice dams in cold climates.

Effective gutter guards that keep debris out but allow water to enter are a good alternative to regular cleaning.[11]

Gutter protection devices include strainers, snap-in metal and plastic gutter guards, filtered gutter guards, stainless steel gutter guards, hinged gutter guards, plastic and metal total gutter covers, and even gutter brushes that look like hairy caterpillars.

Regardless of the gutter guard protection used, all gutter systems should be examined for cleaning and repair twice every year.[12]


  1. http://books.google.com/books?id=RdkjAAAAMAAJ&printsec=titlepage#PRA6-PA843,M1.
  2. ^ Truini, Joseph. “How to Install Rain Gutters”. This Old House Magazine. http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/how-to/intro/0,,442134,00.html.
  3. ^ Abrams, Gary (November 19, 2000). “How to Make Sure Your Rain Gutters Do Their Job Properly”. Los Angeles Times. http://articles.latimes.com/2000/nov/19/realestate/re-54226.
  4. ^ “Architectural Graphic Standards,” First Edition, 1932, ISBN 0-471-51940-5, p. 77, ‘Parts of a gutter’ illustration
  5. ^ ISBN 0-442-02462-2.
  6. ^ Sturgis’ Illustrated Dictionary of Architecture and Building: An Unabridged Reprint of the 1901-2 Edition, Vol. II: F-N, p.340, ISBN 0-486-26026-7
  7. ^ “Commercial Box Gutters Image”. http://coasttocoastgutters.com/commercial-gutter-installation/.
  8. ^ “Architectural Graphic Standards,” Ninth Edition, 1994, p. 390, ISBN 0-471-53369-6.
  9. ^ “Gutter Guard: The Three Types”. http://www.gutterhelmet.com/gutter-guard.cfm. Retrieved 4 October 2012.
  10. ^ “Mosquitoes and West Nile Virus in Delaware”, dema.delaware.gov
  11. http://books.google.com/books?id=_YM6TOKEEwgC&pg=PA515&lpg=PA515&dq=gutter+guard+define&source=bl&ots=fCdgafZ1Xg&sig=7w-mlvwZmHLXvyj02qcBoT89OkI&hl=en&sa=X&ei=eBgYULO4FYW68ATv3oHQDg&ved=0CD0Q6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=gutter%20guard%20define&f=false.
  12. http://books.google.com/books?id=SP5BF1gA02YC&lpg=PA233&ots=ND7A_hZCCG&dq=gutter%20guard&pg=PA233#v=onepage&q=gutter%20guard&f=false.

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article rain gutter, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

Be Sociable, Share!