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Gutters are an important part of a healthy home and a great investment in curb appeal. Serious
problems such as erosion, cracked foundations, dry rot, and water damage often begin above
you in the rain gutters.

Moisture can be a devastating enemy to your home causing thousands of dollars in repairs. A
properly installed gutter system will protect your home by diverting water away from the
foundation, preventing erosion, basement leaks, and icy sidewalks and driveways.

Gutters and downspouts are constructed of many separate parts and pieces. Metal
guttering pieces are usually fastened together with sheet metal screws or pop rivets.

The basic gutter pieces are commonly offered in standard 10' lengths and are usually
made of aluminum, plastic or galvanized metal. These are the basic gutter materials used
for most gutter and downspout installations.

Spikes and ferrules hold the gutter to the wall of the house. The ferrule is inserted inside
the gutter and the spike is driven through the rim of the gutter and through the ferrule to
hold the gutter in place.

The slip connector is used to connect two pieces of guttering in the run. The connecting
joint is sealed with mastic or caulk to prevent leakage. Some brands of downspouts and
gutters slip snugly together and need no mastic or caulk.

The strap hanger is attached under the shingles or other roofing material and then to the
outside edge of the gutter, providing support for the run.

The end piece is available with an outlet for the downspout or for simply ending a gutter

The end cap ends the run of guttering and is available for left- or right-hand use. Some
styles must be sealed with either caulk or mastic.

The downspout takes the water out of the gutter and down to the drainage pipe or splash
block on the ground. It is attached to the gutter at the outlet in the end piece.

The conductor pipe band, or clincher, is a strap used to hold the downspout in place. It
is nailed or screwed to the outside wall to hold the downspout securely wherever
necessary. This piece is available in various styles and types.

Ball strainers can be inserted in the end piece to prevent leaves and other bulky material
from clogging the downspout or drainage pipes. Several other types of gutter covers are
available as well. While not absolutely necessary, strainers and gutter covers can be

In some cases, strap hangers are the wraparound type. The style of strap hanger you use
is more a matter of choice or manufacturer's design than of function.

An inside miter is used when it becomes necessary to make an inside turn in a gutter.

You can make outside turns in the guttering system by inserting an outside miter. Use
mastic or caulk for sealing the joint where either inside or outside miters are jointed to the

Some downspouts and elbows are round instead of square.

It sometimes becomes necessary to make turns in downspouts. When a turn is required
to pull the downspout toward or away from the house, use square elbows. Two of these
elbows used together, make an offset of several inches in the downspout. The crimp in
downspouts and elbows usually makes mastic or caulk unnecessary at the joints.

To make a turn in the downspout either to the left or right, use the square elbows. Two
of these elbows mounted together divert the direction of the downspout to the left or
right by several inches.

A square shoe is used at the bottom of the downspout. This turns the flow of water onto
a splash block where the downspout ends.