Proper storm drainage is more critical than you might realize. And the types of gutters on your property can play an important role in making sure your roof helps drain storm water quickly and effectively to prevent leaks or foundation failures. However, different types of buildings can have many different types of rain gutters and drains installed to suit the drainage needs of the property. So what are those different types, and which type is right for your property?
How Different Types of Gutters Compare to Each Other
There are multiple different rain gutter shapes that can be found on homes and buildings. Some of those different shapes are:
These are the most common gutters found on homes in today’s age. K-style gutters have a flat back to connect to the home’s fascia, and a decorative step-and-curve design on the front to give the appearance of dimensionality. New K-style gutters can be installed in either 5 or 6 inch sizes (width of gutter opening), and in past decades used to be available in 4-inch sizing. Nowadays they are made mostly from aluminum material.
Half-round gutter style is considered by many to be an upscale gutter option. The design of the gutter is a half-cylinder where water drainage fills, which gives a very classic appearance. Half-round gutters are almost all 6-inch sizes and typically made of steel although some can be found in copper material.
Custom box gutters
Box gutters are more common on commercial properties and can be custom-fabricated to nearly any size to accommodate drainage and design needs. They are usually a square shape, so the name “box gutters” suits this style well.
Some properties have guttering built-into the roof structure. This is also more common on commercial buildings, although this style of gutter can also be found on certain single-family homes. The gutter is designed to be part of the roof so water drainage runs behind the fascia with drains located on the interior walls.
Different Types of Gutters for Commercial and Residential Buildings
Rain Gutters for Commercial Buildings
Gutters for commercial properties are usually different than those found on most homes and residential structures. For commercial buildings with flat roofs, the roof will often be designed to drain into scupper boxes with down spout drains, or roof-mounted drains with internal drain pipes to allow water removal from the roof. For properties with sloped roofs, you may see more traditional gutters at the bottom of the slope. Those gutters, however, are more likely to be custom “box” style gutters made from steel material as opposed to the gutters you may find on homes in your neighborhood. Keep in mind many commercial roofing and guttering components are custom fabricated and may need extra care and precision to repair.
Rain Gutters for Residential Properties
As compared to commercial properties, gutters on residential buildings are almost always going to be K-style gutters. This type of gutter is very effective at draining water, and also compliments the decorative design of a home’s exterior. K-style gutters are typically made with non-corroding aluminum in 0.27 gauge thickness, and are available pre-coated in hundreds of color options. Most homes are equipped with 5-inch gutters, although 6-inch K-style gutters are common on homes with tile roofs as well as multifamily/apartment roofs.
How to Repair Leaking Gutters?
If you have gutters that aren’t draining properly and may be in need of repair, you’ll want to quickly address the problem before it becomes a major property dilemma. Some common issues for different types of gutters, along with their repair requirements are:
Corroded Gutter Corners or Seams
For older gutters, you may notice some corrosion at the corners or seams connecting two “runs” of gutter. If you see corrosion with water leaking from the area, you might be able to extend the life of these gutters with some simple gutter sealant applied on the INSIDE of the gutter seam (not underneath). Gutter sealant is available at most home improvement stores. If this repair does not stop the leak for at least 6 months before needing to be redone, you probably need to consider new gutters in that section.
Clogged Gutters or Downspouts
If you see water pouring over the top of the gutters, it could be because the gutters aren’t being allowed to drain because of a clog. A simple gutter cleaning will often do the trick to improve drainage and remove gutter leaks. In some cases, it might be worth exploring whether gutter guards would be appropriate to prevent clogging.
Incorrectly Pitched Gutters
You may not realize, but your gutters are installed with a slight pitch angled towards drain locations to make sure water does not collect or sit in the gutter after rain. If water is pouring over the top, or not draining out of downspouts after rain, you may need to have your gutters detached, then reinstalled with a better pitch towards the drains. Any and all types of gutters should have the slightest slope that prevents standing water from remaining for more than 48 hours after a storm event.
Worn Flashing at Roof Eaves
Sometimes when a property owner feels they have a gutter problem, the problem actually stems from the roof and has very little to do with the gutters or drains. The drip edge flashing installed at roof eaves has the critical job of carrying storm drainage from the roof system and directing it into the gutter system. If the roof is not adhered well to the drip edge, or if the drip edge is corroded or damaged, water can be allowed under the roof and create a leak. These issues require a roof repair before the gutter functionality can be judged.
Need Diverter Flashing Installed
If you notice water draining off the roof and dripping down your structure instead of draining through your gutters, it might be caused by a lack of diverter flashing at a critical area. At the bottom of a sloped roof-to-wall joint, for example, a special piece of flashing should be installed to direct water drainage away from the wall, and into the gutter. This is true for all types of gutters. Without the diverter flashing, the drainage can escape along the wall in between the small space next to the end of the gutter cap. Diverter flashings are simple repairs for most roof and gutter repair teams to make.