What You Need to Know About Gutters and Downspouts

Many of you might think that now is the best time to clear out your gutters for the coming winter rains. You know, those troughs attached to the under edge of your roof meant to carry off rainwater.

Whether they are made of aluminum, steel, vinyl or copper, gutters and downspouts catch more than the rain that pours off your roof.

Now is not the best time to clear out gutters and downspouts, especially if you live near trees that will shed their leaves during the coming months.

5 Things About Gutters and Downspouts

Number 1: Best time for Maintenance

Wait until after the first heavy rain or windstorm to clear your gutters. If you do them now, they will only fill up with leaves, pine needles and grit again. If you live in a Wildlife Urban Interface  (WUI) area in Marin County, like parts of Novato, Mill Valley, Fairfax and some unincorporated areas, gutter guards on new construction are required. Fear of wildfires spurred the regulations.

Number 2: Damage Prevention for Foundations and Basements

Gutters and downspouts are designed to ensure that the water pouring off your roof is carried along the edge of your roof, to a downspout and then away from the ground immediately surrounding your home. They help to keep standing water from building up too fast near your foundation or seeping into your basement.

Number 3: Helps to Protect Paint and Siding

Another thing you don’t want water to do is splash back against your painted surfaces, or run behind your siding. That can cause unsightly moldy patches on paint or rot the wood behind your siding.

Number 4: Prevents Soil Erosion

If you value your landscaping, gutters and properly placed downspouts help to protect your topsoil from eroding. This protects your plants.

Number 5: Not All Gutters Are Alike

Aside from material differences, such as vinyl vs. metal, the construction techniques have changed over the years. Seamless gutters are increasing in popularity. Galvanized metal gutters come in different gauges and are limited by length to 20 and 26 linear feet. They must be soldered at all the joints to provide a continuous gutter of say 36 or 40 feet. Those soldered sections are weakest at the solder points.

A seamless gutter can be crafted onsite and is one long continuous piece of metal.


Want to guess at the number of feet of the longest seamless gutter ever hung? M&M Seamless Gutters in Essexville, MI hung one 456 feet long on a building in Saginaw Township.

If you have more unanswered questions about the value, use or material recommendations for gutters and downspouts, one of our team will be happy to provide you advice. Contact us today.