Eavestroughs and Gutters
Gutters includes any narrow passage for water, such as eave gutters, parapet gutters, and valley gutters. The term is commonly used as a synonym for eavestrough.
Eavestroughs come in seamless and sectional form and are available in several different materials.
London Eavestrough and Siding installs seamless aluminum eavestroughs but are able to repair, inspect, maintain and clean most eavestroughs and gutters.
These are available in many different materials, but the most common is aluminum. Installation is done by professional installers as a large expensive machine is required to form the gutter on site. For more information on seamless eavestroughs see our seamless eavestrough page.
These are available in standard pieces from your local hardware store or big box home improvement centre. They are usually available in the 5inch size and in 10 foot lengths. Sectional gutters are available in lengths up to 36 feet, however shipping these may make them more expensive than seamless.
Numerous accessories are required for their installation including corners, joiners and end-caps. The material is usually vinyl or aluminum.
Common Eavestrough Materials
Eavestroughs in Canada are usually made of vinyl plastic or metals such as aluminum, steel and copper. Vinyl is rarely used by professionals, all the metals are available in seamless form from professional installers.
These are the cheapest and easiest for DIY installation. They are available in sectional form at home improvement centres. Although the plastic is light and easy to work with, it does not hold up in our extremes of hot and cold weather. Vinyl becomes brittle in the cold and is prone to breakage and leaking.
These are available in both seamless and sectional form.
Sectional aluminum eavestroughs are available at home improvement centres for DIY installation. Sectional aluminum eavestroughs work well for small roofs and share many of the advantages of the seamless aluminum eavestroughs. They are harder to work with than vinyl and cost about twice as much. On large roofs, the joints between the pieces provide more opportunities for leaking, collect debris and are more difficult to clean.
Very heavy, strong and permanent, but almost as expensive as copper. These are available in seamless form and come unpainted.
The high end! These are three times the price of aluminum. Used when price is no issue and a custom look is required, or if you have a copper roof. They develop a beautiful green coloured patina over time. They are available in both seamless and sectional form. Care should be taken in repair as copper and steel are not compatible.
Other Eavestrough Materials
Very heavy and prone to rusting. Cast iron was used on 19th century buildings, it is rarely used now and repair and replacement is done using cast aluminum.
These are very strong and heavy, but can be prone to rusting. They are still available but rarely used any more, having been replaced by aluminum.
Used in Europe. Not used in North America.
You may find these on older homes and out-buildings. These are built in place and are prone to all the issues of exterior wooden construction including rot and animal damage. They require routine maintenance and painting. Many older wooden gutters were painted with lead paint and lined with lead or tar, so care must be taken in any repair or demolition.
Used in the 1950’s on some buildings, usage was discontinued due to cracking and leaking.
These are found on very old buildings, they are usually lined with tar to prevent leakage.
Downspouts, Rain Chains, etc.
The water that collects in an eavestrough or gutter needs to find its way to the ground. This is usually accomplished using a square pipe called a downspout made of the the same material as the gutter or eavestrough. The downspout may also be a standard round pipe.
An alternative to the downspout is a rain chain. This is a Japanese solution to directing the water to the ground. These do not plug up, but do get covered in ice in the winter, often looking quite spectacular. Some rain chains have small cups along them to provide an interesting sound and appearance.
Downspouts often end at a boot or diverter to direct the water away from the foundation. These are available in a variety of styles ranging from the downspout material to large plastic pipes and concrete or stone sculpted boots.
At one time downspouts were connected to the sewer system, most municipalities no longer permit this.
A traditional alternative is to connect the downspout to a rain barrel to recycle the water. This has come back into favour recently. Care should be taken to account for rain barrel overflow and to prevent mosquitos from breeding in the rain barrel.
Other Types of Gutters
In a home rain water management system The other common types of gutters are parapet gutters and valley gutters.
A gutter that is behind a parapet wall or at any place where a flat roof or floor meets a wall. These have passages to allow the water to drain off the flat surface into a downspout.
A gutter where two sloping roofs meet. This is usually covered with shingles or flashing although a rectangular gutter is installed in some cases.