Gutter Terminology 101: 8 Terms To Know Before Getting New Gutters

Gutter Terminology 101: 8 Terms To Know Before Getting New Gutters

Gutter Terminology 101: 8 Terms To Know Before Getting New Gutters

Every business has its unique vocabulary. Homebuilding and construction are thick with weird words, like birdsmouth, stick-built, and GFCI. The gutter terminology below will help keep you in the know. 

1. Downspout

Gutters do not hang horizontally. What you think is a straight, flat strip of gutter is actually tilted very slightly, so water can drain down to a downspout. A downspout is the vertical part of your gutter (and it really is vertical) that escorts runoff away from your home. 

A gutter system without downspouts deposits water at your Twin Cities home’s foundations; over time, that water can weaken those foundations. Downspouts can save your house, preserve its value, and boost curb appeal. 

2. Endcap

Custom-built, seamless gutters are made at your home specifically for your home. Skilled technicians form a run of the gutter material and then place an endcap over one end of the gutter, preventing water from sloshing out in the wrong direction. 

To work flawlessly, these endcaps must be precisely fitted, firmly attached, and completely sealed against water leaks. 

3. Fascia

Behind every great gutter is a good fascia strip. The horizontal wood molding that covers the ends of your home’s rafters is fascia, and it is a convenient place to attach gutters. Fascia molding is susceptible to rot, so before custom-fitted, new seamless gutters can be fitted to your home, your local gutter installer will inspect and replace fascia boards as needed. 

4. Gauge

Gauge refers to the thickness of metal used in forming seamless gutters. It’s an old, old word related to measurement, but the weird thing about this word is, the higher the number, the thinner the metal. 

For substantial, long-lasting seamless gutters, you want a gauge of metal far thicker than the flimsy product you can find in big-box home improvement stores catering to the do-it-yourselfer. Work with a local, reliable gutter contractor to get the correct gauge of aluminum for your Twin Cities home. 

5. Gutters

This list is arranged alphabetically, not by relevance. Otherwise, this all-important word would start us off. Gutters are the metal troughs and channels directing rainwater off your roof and away from your house. Without gutters:

  • Your home’s foundations would weaken.
  • Your landscaping would be ruined.
  • Flowers and bushes would be drenched.
  • Hardscaping close to your home would become discolored from stains.

A complete, efficient gutter system consists of nearly horizontal gutters emptying into vertical downspouts. 

6. Hangers

Gutters are seldom attached directly to your home’s fascia strips. They are attached with gutter hangers, gutter screws, or even very long gutter spikes. The strongest, best method of attaching gutters is with sturdy gutter hangers that are unobtrusive and allow leaf guards to be installed on top of the gutters. 

7. Pitch

Pitch is one of those nouns with so many meanings; you need context to understand it. Pitch in homebuilding refers to two concepts:

  1. Your roof’s pitch is the angle the rafters are set so that snow, water, and ice can slide or roll off the roof, helping your roof dry faster and improving its energy efficiency.
  2. Your gutters’ pitch is the angle they tip down toward the downspouts, usually about ¼-inch per 10 feet (very slight, but enough).

Incorrectly pitched gutters can result in water sitting and stagnating in the gutters or, if too steeply pitched, overwhelming the downspout and causing the gutters to overflow. 

8. Ice Dams

Water exists naturally on our green earth in three states: solid, liquid, and gas. Water becomes solid as it turns to ice and expands. When freeze-and-thaw cycles on the roof of your Twin Cities-area home allow meltwater to refreeze close to the roof’s lower edge, ice dams form. 

Ice dams can cause water to leak into your attic, leading to roof leaks that can ruin your home’s interior. 

Ice dams can also form from the gutter upward when the gutters are clogged in winter. Each successive snowfall causes more water to build up as ice on the already-full gutter, then back up onto the roof. Again, roof leaks can result. 

So Many Parts!

Ideally, you will never notice all those features and parts of your home’s gutter system. They simply do their job, reliably removing water from your home, so your foundations stay strong and your landscaping remains beautiful. 

Whenever you see problems with your gutters, you need the professional, experienced services of a local gutter contractor. Whether inspecting and diagnosing issues with your current gutters or providing completely new, seamless gutters in your choice of colors, your contractor is ready to solve your gutter issues. Your Twin Cities home deserves to be in expert hands. Contact us today at Midwest Roofing Siding & Windows to learn how we can protect your home, provide complete gutter installation and leaf protection services, and help preserve your home’s value.

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