Red gutter and downspout in Snohomish or King County

How Do Gutters Work?

Rain gutters have been used to reroute water since at least 2600 BCE. Since then, the basic concept of how gutters work has stayed the same. In short, the purpose of installing gutters is to divert runoff from the roof so it doesn’t over-saturate the soil near the foundation. To work correctly, gutters must be installed at a gentle slope so water flows toward the downspout. Learn more about what components comprise a gutter system and how to choose the right gutter style and material for your Washington home.

Understanding the Parts of a Residential Gutter System

While the finer details vary, every gutter system contains the following:

  • Gutter troughs usually come to mind first when you picture a gutter system.
  • Hanging hardware—including gutter spikes, ferrules, and pipe cleats—mount the gutter troughs to the fascia and soffits that border the roofline.
  • Downspouts carry rainwater to the ground so it doesn’t splash against the siding.
  • End caps are fitted to the end of each gutter length, sealing it off to prevent water spillage.
  • Mitered corners connect two perpendicular gutter troughs.
  • Downspout extensions are optional but highly recommended fittings that go on the end of downspouts. They come in numerous styles and materials, but the goal is always the same—to route water to a specific location at least 4 to 6 feet from the foundation.
  • Gutter covers are another optional component. They cover the top of the gutter troughs to filter out debris while still allowing water to flow.

Choosing a Gutter Style & Material

While gutters come in many forms, seamless aluminum is the most durable, rust-resistant, leak-proof option. Seamless gutters require professional installation from a gutter specialist because they are custom-extruded onsite. Here are the shapes you have to choose from:

  • Half-round or U-style gutters are shaped like a cylinder cut in half. They are vulnerable to clogging, so they have lost popularity in recent years. Still, half-round gutters may be the only choice that looks right on a historic home.
  • K-style gutters have been popular since the 1950s. They are shaped to resemble crown molding from the ground and come in two sizes. 5K gutters are the standard size and the most popular type of residential gutter. 6K gutters can handle larger water volumes, making them appropriate for large homes, light commercial buildings, and homes with high-pitched roofs.
  • Fascia gutters install directly onto the framing, creating a smooth face that hides the edge of the roof’s rafter tails for a clean, modern look.

Now that you understand the purpose of gutters and how they work, you may be ready to clean, repair, or replace your gutters. Turn to High Point Gutter for the job. We love what we do, and we’re proud of our work! To ensure your satisfaction, every team member receives hands-on training before performing fieldwork. Call our reliable gutter company at (425) 449-6622 or contact us online to request gutter services in Snohomish or King County.