What is a Rain Gutter?

What is a Rain Gutter?

Rain gutters, or rainguard gutters as they are sometimes known as, are part of the roofing system on a building. They are designed to collect water and direct it away to a drain. Without a suitable system, rainwater will flow off the roof and could cause damage to the walls or enter the building through the crawlspace or basement, damaging the foundations and ultimately weakening the entire building. The folks at Global Gutter Systems explain that the importance of a gutter system is often overlooked until the damage has led to costly repairs. 

Are Gutters Always Necessary in a Building? 

Most buildings require a good gutter system but, in some cases, you may not need to install them. For example, if your home is built above the landscape, it is unlikely that water from the roof will pool along the foundations. Alternatively, if you live in an area that does not get a lot of rain, you may deem a guttering system as surplus to requirements. 

Another exception is when the roof has a sharp peak and overhangs by more than twelve inches. In this case, the rainwater would naturally flow off the roof and out away from the foundations. 

Even in the above circumstances though, a rain gutter system is usually recommended as it provides peace of mind and will mitigate water damage to the home. 

Are All Gutters the Same? 

As with most things, there are a few choices when it comes to guttering for the home. Not every gutter system is the same, with assorted styles, colors, and materials to choose from. In terms of materials, there is vinyl, PVC, copper, aluminum, zinc, and steel to consider. In terms of color, you will find something you like as there are lots of shades to choose from. 

PVC and vinyl gutter systems are the most popular for those who want to install guttering themselves because of their affordability and easy maintenance. Metal guttering does look great, but it can be expensive and difficult for DIYers to install. 

The type of guttering system you choose will usually depend on the exterior design of your home, your budget, and your tastes. 

When it comes to shape, most basic guttering systems will be either half-round or K-style (named because the system looks like the letter K from the side). Half-round guttering tends to be found on older properties. They can be prone to getting clogged because they are open at the top and because they do not sit flush against the fascia. In some areas that have older homes, there are stipulations in place that require any replacement gutters to be half-round style. If these requirements are not in place, the gutters can be replaced with the K-style. 

K-style gutters have become the most common type of guttering and are typically found in homes that have been built in the past fifty years. These brackets have a flat back to allow them to sit neatly against the fascia board. They are more decorative than half-round gutters, with a variety of designs available. 


A rain gutter is an essential part of any roofing system and is designed to allow rainwater to flow from the roof of a home and carried away to a drain in the ground. Rain gutters are essential in most homes with a few exceptions, although they are generally always recommended. Without an adequate gutter system, rain would either collect on the roof or flow down the side of the house and into the foundations, causing damage over time. 

There are a few different types of gutter system available in various shapes and colors and made from different materials.

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