Gutter Parts & The Anatomy of Your Gutter System

gutter parts

Looking for gutter parts information?

Dissecting the different gutter parts that make up your rain gutter system is pretty straight forward… if you’re a gutter guru!

However, we understand that an informed homeowner is the best kind of homeowner, that is why today we will break down the anatomy of your rain gutter system and all the different gutter parts!

In this article we will share with you the:

  • Types of gutters,
  • Different gutter parts
  • Possible gutter solutions if a gutter part is in distress!

First, let’s start with the types of gutters!

Types of Gutters:

Most Popular: Seamless Gutters

Seamless gutters are the most common gutters and preferred choice of both installers and homeowners. As the name states, seamless gutters come in once piece and are custom made on site to fit each area of your home.

This does not mean you only have one gutter, but instead, each run of horizontal gutter trough is custom measured and made for that specific area.

The pro behind seamless gutters is that in addition to looking better, the perform much better because they have no areas of possible leaking within the middle of the run.

Types of seamless gutter materials include:

  • Aluminum – most popular, least expensive
  • Copper gutters
  • Galvanized steel gutters
  • Stainless steel gutters

Least Popular: Sectional Gutters

The other type of gutters are sectional gutters and like the name states, they come in sections. These are gutters typically found at your local hardware stores like Home Depot or Lowes and are often made of vinyl.

Vinyl is the cheapest in price, but also in quality. You can read our review of vinyl vs. aluminum gutters here. Sectional gutters are easy for the DIY gang, but they’re not ideal for performance and often lead to many issues.

Different Gutter Parts:

50+ Gutters & Downspouts ideas | downspout, gutters, architectural elements
Source of Photo

Downspout

A downspout is the fully enclosed vertical pipe that runs along the vertical edges of your home and meets the end of a gutter section. The role of a downspout is to channel the water collected by your gutters and dispose of it on the ground level away from your home’s foundation.

The downspout strap secures the downspout to the side of your home. This is also called a “Pipe Cleat.” Pipe cleats are fasteners that attach your downspout to the side of your house. The bent metal fits snug around your downspout and is fastened with screws to your siding/brick on each side of your downspout.

Elbow

The last part of your gutter system from top to bottom is the “Elbow,” which is the bent metal (typically aluminum) attached do the end of your downspout.

Your elbow connects to the vertical downspout and channels water away from your home’s foundation on to a splash block.

End Cap

Your seamless gutter runs are shaped like a trough that come in 5″ and 6″ sizes. However, at the end of a run, where the water exits using the downspout, there are end caps made of metal to seal the gutter run. These end caps are also caulked with gutter caulk.

Fascia Boards

While your fascia boards are not part of the gutter parts per se, they are a vital component to your home’s rain gutter system. Fascia boards are the boards at the edge of your roof and they’re also where your gutters are mounted.

Keeping your fascia boards in tip-top shape is vital because a wood fascia board that has rotten over the years cannot have new gutters placed on it. Gutters that are installed correctly and maintained correctly are also key to preserving your fascia boards.

Fascia boards can be wrapped in aluminum to help prevent wood rot!

Ferrule

There are no longer recommended or commonly used, but the ferrule is the small piece of cylindrical shaped metal that a gutter spike goes through. The old fashioned way of using a gutter spike and ferrule to mount gutters has been replaced by a more efficient and stronger process – the hidden gutter hanger.

If you see a gutter spike, which looks like a nail, sticking out of your gutter that means your gutter spike is loosening off your fascia board.

Hidden Gutter Hanger (Screw-in)

Old school gutter spikes have been replaced with screw-in hidden hangers that clip to the front of your gutter (often K-style aluminum gutters) and then are screwed into your fascia board along the back side of your gutter runs.

Quick Screw 5" 50 Pack Premium Hidden Rain Gutter Bracket Hook Hangers with  screw clip style - - Amazon.com
Photo source, Amazon.

The screw-in hangers are hidden as in you can’t see them from the ground and they’re much stronger because of the screw element since old gutter spikes loosen easily.

Miter

In the event you have a hip roof, a wrap around porch or a corner where two gutters meet, you will need a miter. While these used to be custom cut to fit, miters come ready made and are installed to connect two seamless rain gutter runs and caulked to prevent leaks!

Slip Connector

A slip connector is like a small piece of gutter that is used to connect two sections of a gutter run. These are typically used with sectional gutters. On a very rare occasion, someone might use a gutter slip connector on a gutter repair.

Splash block

The last and perhaps your least favorite part of your gutters (if you’re like me and constantly hit these with your lawn mower) is the splash block.

The splash block is something you can get for cheap at your local Home Depot or hardware store and for under $5 usually! You can purchase a decorative steel splash block, but then again now you run the risk of damaging your mower!

A splash block is VITAL because it prevents erosion, just look at this photo of the ground where a splash block is missing:

missing splash block

Gutter Problems & Solutions

There is a chance that if one or more of these different gutter parts are in disarray or not functioning, you could run into some issues.

Your best bet is to make sure you do the following:

  1. Check your gutters annually from the ground, several times per year ideally
  2. Look at your gutters and make sure they’re cleaned, especially if you live in a heavily wooded area
  3. Consider getting gutter guards that are self-cleaning and come with a lifetime warranty like Raindrop
  4. Call a gutter company if you have any questions.

To help, if you think you’re in need of a total gutter renovation, we have put together a free pricing tool here with our gutter calctulator:

DIY Gutter Calculator

Figure out how much to pay for new aluminum gutters & gutter guards for your home!

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5" gutters come with 2"x3" downspouts, 6" gutters come with 3"x4" downspouts and drain 400% faster than 5" gutters

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Lifetime No Clog Warranty

Raindrop Gutter Guards are an absolutely fantastic way to save time and extend the life of your gutters, roof, and home. By adding Raindrop Gutter Protection System to your order, we guarantee a lifetime of free flowing gutters.

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Choose Your Color

Please select a color that best works for your home.

Wicker

Dark Green

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Eggshell

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Ivory

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Musket Brown

Red

Cream

Clay

Brown

Bronze

Black

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Estimate Footage for 6" Gutters

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Lifetime No Clog Warranty

Raindrop Gutter Guards are an absolutely fantastic way to save time and extend the life of your gutters, roof, and home. By adding Raindrop Gutter Protection System to your order, we guarantee a lifetime of free flowing gutters.

Please slide to equal total footage needed for gutter guards on your home.

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Final Word:

The elements that compromise your home’s stormwater management system – aka your gutters and roof – are straightforward in appearance.

And while you might know more about gutters (now) than most homeowners, one thing to keep in mind is that a small gutter issue can potentially compromise your entire gutter system.

So while it might not seem overly vital to know everything about your home’s gutters, being mindful of problem areas, what to keep your eye out for, and knowing how to maintain your gutters is key to saving you money!

For more gutter information, be sure to check out the following: