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All Rain Gutter Configurations

Posted by Kevin Leahy on November 20, 2020

all rain gutter configurations

Most Rain Gutter Configurations…  Learn What Rain Gutter Is Best For YOUR Home

The following is meant to describe the most common rain gutter configurations you could have on your home.  We will describe size and types of gutters and downspouts, outlets, gutter covers, etc.

Full Disclosure:  We are the Inventor, Developer and Seller of The SpoutOff.  We will express our opinion/experience with each description.  Because we know how rain gutters work and why rain gutters don’t work, our intention in providing the following information is to help YOU make sure YOUR rain gutters work!  Our “Rain Gutter Passion” is that YOUR rain gutters work!

Feel free to contact me directly at 610-420-0378 with questions, comments and suggestions.

Kevin Leahy  The SpoutOff Rain Gutter Company  www.thespoutoff.com  Kevin@thespoutoff.com

A chain is only as good as its weakest link…  The weakest link in all rain gutters is the outlet – the component that creates the hole in a gutter at the top of the downspout.

Present rain gutter outlets are a terrible design – they are so small they clog easily and often AND they have a lip around their top that actually catches debris and STARTS THE CLOGGING!   So, either YOU have to climb up there too often to clean your small outlets or you have to pay someone.  Not good!

For Houses, the most common rain gutter and downspout configuration (downspouts are also called leaders) is

5” K-Style Gutters with 2×3 Downspouts.

These will serve you well with an average size roof and very little trees around your home.  Because they are open (no covers), debris will get into them.  So, depending on how heavily treed you are, these gutters will have to be cleaned from time to time.

  • If gutters are not cleaned, your present small outlets will get clogged from very little debris. Once your outlets are clogged, water cannot get out of the gutter.  That water will back up, overflow your gutter and, over time, cause water damage to your home – not good.
  • If you keep your outlets clean you will still have to clean the gutters from time to time. When an open gutter gets too much debris in it, clogging will occur upstream of your outlets in the gutter.  When this gutter clogging occurs, water will overflow your gutter at this clogging point.

5” and 6” K-Style Gutters with 3×4 Downspouts. 

The larger 3×4 Downspout helps because the outlet for a 3×4 Downspout is bigger than a 2×3 Downspout.  However, this is still not a very large outlet, still has a lip around its top, and like the 2×3, it will also clog from very little debris.

  • Basically the same maintenance as described above for 5”K with 2×3.

5” K-Style Gutters with 2×3 or 3×4 Downspouts with Gutter Covers*. 

*Important information about Gutter Covers: 

Although there are many gutter covers out there, basically there are only 3 types of gutter covers: 

  • Flat screen covers that essentially sit flat on top of the gutter,
  • Gutter Inserts that actually fill the gutter to keep debris out, and

(3) Helmet-type covers that  extend your roofline to the outer edge of the gutter with a  rounded front that, due to water adhesion (also called capillary action), directs water into the gutter. 

  • If you install flat gutter covers or inserts, most will keep debris out of the gutter. However, debris that would have gotten into the gutter will now sit on top of the cover or insert.  That debris at some point in time will have to be cleaned off the cover or insert or it will eventually clog the cover or insert.
    • Some gutter cover literature says that a 6 mile an hour wind will blow debris off. That is true IF THE DEBRIS NEVER GETS WET.  But because debris on top of gutter covers does get wet, that debris will sit on a flat cover or insert until it is cleaned off.
    • If wet debris is never cleaned off a flat cover or insert, that debris will begin to disintegrate and will clog flat covers making them useless. Water will flow right over.
  • If you install Helmet-type covers, most (but not all) debris will be kept out of the gutter. However, some wet debris will also adhere to the rounded front edge of the cover and will get into the gutter.  Because you have a small outlet, this accumulating debris will eventually clog your small outlet.
    • The problem here is that you will not know your small outlet is clogged until you have an overflowing water problem… and then it is too late.
    • Also, the helmet and front rounded nose of a helmet-type cover will eventually get dirty. Dirt will interfere with water adherence and allow water to flow off the helmet and not into the gutter.  This means from time to time the helmet and the front nose will need to be cleaned for the water adhesion to continue to work.

5” K-Style Gutters with 3×4 Downspouts and The SpoutOff very large rain gutter outlet.

  • If you install The SpoutOff Outlets with open 5” K-Style gutters and 3×4 Downspouts, The SpoutOff Outlets will not clog. Water and debris that reach The SpoutOff Outlet will fall out of the gutter through The SpoutOff Outlet and down of the downspout.
  • However, depending on how heavily treed you are, these open gutters will have to be cleaned from time to time because if an open gutter gets too much debris in it, clogging will occur upstream of your SpoutOff Outlets. When this gutter clogging occurs, water will overflow your gutter at this clogging point.

6” K-Style Gutters with 3×4 Downspouts and The SpoutOff very large rain gutter outlet.

  • If you install The SpoutOff Outlets with open 6” K-Style gutters and 3×4 Downspouts, The SpoutOff Outlets will not clog. Water and debris that reach The SpoutOff Outlet will fall out of the gutter through The SpoutOff Outlet and down of the downspout.
  • However, depending on how heavily treed you are, these open gutters will have to be cleaned from time to time because if an open gutter gets too much debris in it, clogging will occur upstream of your SpoutOff Outlets. When this gutter clogging occurs, water will overflow your gutter at this clogging point.

As you have learned, there is no such thing as maintenance free rain gutters.  The closest we think you can get to maintenance free rain gutters is installing a gutter helmet-type cover with The SpoutOff on all your outlets.

The helmet-type cover will keep most debris out of the gutter.  Because The SpoutOff Outlet is so large, any debris that does get into the gutter will flow out of your gutters down through The SpoutOff Outlet.

Also, because The SpoutOff has been engineered and designed to be a Removable Downspout (1, 2 even 3-story), you have the ability to remove the downspout while standing safely down on the ground, look up and see that your outlets are clear.  It is almost like being able to see into your covered gutters.

Hope this helps… but any questions, comments or suggestions, just call or Email.  Thanks!!! Kevin

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