The gutter is the main component of a roof system that diverts rainwater, which rolls off the roof toward underlying areas such as the foundation, walkways, landscaping, eaves, and soffit. Gutters are narrow channels attached to the fascia, which runs along the roof edge. Rainwater enters the gutter as it rolls off the roofing material and is carried to downspouts—the other main component of a gutter system—which then channels the water down to or underneath the ground.
Gutters are typically made from coated aluminum sheet metal or a similar alloy. Modern gutter installers have special trucks, which are able take long pieces of sheet metal and extrude them into the shape of a gutter onsite and cut each piece to the desired length, thus enabling fast and custom installation. Gutters are typically fastened directly to the fascia board with nails or gutter spikes. Joints are typically joined with fasteners and some form of silicone caulk.
Regular maintenance and timely repair of gutters is essential to the proper functioning of the overall roof system. Clogged and ill-maintained gutters allow water to pool within the gutter itself. This not only causes dripping onto, and potential damage to, concrete surfaces or decks, but may also allow water to rot or damage fascia, eaves, and roofing. In colder climates, pooled water may freeze, adding unwanted weight and stress on sections of gutter and joints.
In greywater systems, rainwater funneled off the roof by the gutters is collected and then reused for irrigation, landscaping, toilets, and other non-potable uses for water. Such systems have been proven to save significantly on home water consumption, subsequently saving homeowners money in utility payments and limiting local water shortages.
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