A Guide To Gutters and Downspouts

For a roofing system to be most effective, it must be equipped with a functional rain gutter and downspout system that channels runoff from the roof surfaces away from the foundation below. When gutters become clogged with leaves or dislodged from the eaves, they no longer function as they should, and damage to the home’s siding and foundation may result.

Therefore, the responsible homeowner should have a working knowledge of these roofing components and check them periodically to make sure they work. When a gutter system needs to be repaired or replaced, the professionals at a Voorhees roofing company are prepared to help.

Gutter systems come in materials such as aluminum, vinyl, stainless or galvanized steel, and copper. Aluminum units are the most common types of gutters and come in a range of colors to match or complement the color of the home. Vinyl gutters resist rust and install easily. Galvanized steel systems are cost-efficient and long-lasting while stainless steel units offer both strength and visual appeal. Copper gutters are attractive, easy to care for and impervious to rust. However, copper is the most expensive of these gutter materials.

Two basic types of gutter systems are available. The first kind is a sectional system constructed of separate pieces in lengths up to 20 feet. The pieces connect with clips. This style of gutter is easier to transport and install for the do-it-yourselfer because the sections are manageable for just a couple of installers.

While sectional gutters may develop leaks at the junctures, they are fairly easy to repair.

The second type of system is called seamless. It is created to order and must be installed by a professional, who will bring the necessary trimming equipment on site. Seamless gutters are composed primarily of one continuous piece, but they do have a limited number of small seams at the corners and the drain outlets that could become sources of leakage.

Cleaning out the gutters should be a regular entry on any homeowner’s to-do list. When the drainage system becomes clogged with pine needles or leaves, it overflows onto the siding or foundation, causing deterioration over time. Simply getting up on a ladder and removing any debris a few times per year keeps the system in good working order.

If the system is defective but not damaged, homeowners should check that it has been installed correctly. The gutters should descend one-quarter inch over each 25-foot length to ensure good drainage to downspouts. The gutters must be pitched away from front roof valleys toward corner outlets. For longer continuous lengths, the gutter should slope gradually from the center of the run to opposite ends where downspouts runoff toward the ground. Each downspout should have an elbow at the end that diverts runoff from the home’s perimeter.

While many consider gutter installation and repair to be the domain of the do-it-yourselfer, roofing contractors can professionally install the system during reroofing at a minimally additional cost. Expert installation is the best way to prevent water damage to the home. Fortified Roofing of Voorhees NJ would be happy to answer any question you have about roofing, skylight installation or new gutters.

Term & definition explained by Fortified Roofing, Voorhees NJ:


A downspout, also called a diverter, is a pipe that transports water runoff from a home’s gutters to the ground below. It is the same shape and color as the gutter system. A splash guard at the foot of the downspout prevents runoff from carving a divot in the ground.

Voorhees roofing FAQ of the day:

What are some alternatives to downspouts?

One alternative way to direct runoff from the home’s gutters is the rain chain, a series of copper cups on a chain that extends from the gutter to just above ground-level. It is more decorative than a downspout and provides a water source for birds. Rain barrels can also replace downspouts, catching roof runoff for household use.

View All Articles

Ask A Question

If you would like to ask a question regarding roofers, a new roof installation, roof leak repairs, skylight options or gutters and downspouts please contact Fortified Roofing today!

FREE Quick Estimate Request
Contact GAF Master Elite Roofer: Fortified Roofing

    Rated 4.7 out of 5 stars based on 8 customer reviews.

    Oh My! People say such nice things!