As a gutter and roofing contractor, we receive a surprising number of questions about oversized downspouts and gutters. After servicing thousands of homes per year in Colorado, here’s what we have found. When our customers inquire about larger downspouts, we have found they are actually just trying to solve two basic and irritating problems.
Gutter Problem 1:
Home gutters and downspouts clogged by leaves and pine needles.
We will often get calls from homeowners because their gutters and downspouts keep getting clogged. Understandably, homeowners believe that if the downspouts were bigger, all of the junk in the gutters would simply flush through the larger downspout when it rained. Then they wouldn’t have to clean out their gutters and clogged downspouts as frequently. Because everyone passionately hates cleaning their gutters.
Gutter Problem 2:
Water is overflowing the gutter because the downspouts cannot drain fast enough.
During a heavy rain, homeowners will watch as their gutter is overwhelmed by the volume of water coming off the roof. They believe that larger or oversized downspouts would allow all the excess water to drain more quickly out of the gutter, through the downspout, and out into the yard where the water belongs. Homeowners want to avoid water overflowing gutters and entering window wells, eroding foundations, and flooding basements. Because everyone passionately hates getting water in their basement. Also fair.
Solutions to Overflowing Gutters, Clogged Downspouts, and other Gutter Problems.
Oversized downspouts, when combined with the right design and gutter components can solve, or improve both gutter problems described above. However, larger downspouts by themselves will not solve these problems unless they are connected to the gutter using a larger 3”x4” Drop outlet. This larger drop outlet allows larger debris to more easily pass through the gutter and into the downspout, reducing the likelihood of clogs. Additionally, if the volume of water shedding off the roof is so significant that it easily spills over the gutter, then an oversized gutter with a 6” tray is necessary. The 6” gutter tray extends further from the roof eave or ‘fascia’ and catches the fast moving rain water, and keeps the larger volume of water in the gutter before it drains. This larger gutter system, connected to an oversized downspout would be the best gutter solution for homes experiencing this gutter problem.
What is an “Oversized” Downspout? How do oversized downspouts work?
An oversized downspout for homes is a 3”x4” downspout connected to the gutter system. This downspout size is larger than a standard 2”x3” downspout on most homes. When combined with a larger gutter drop outlet, oversized downspouts can be very effective. If a 3”x4” oversized downspout is not connected to a larger 3”x4” drop outlet, then the size of the downspout counts for nothing.
Unfortunately, this is a myopic shortcut that can be common if the installation has not been performed by a professional gutter installation company.
Standards Downspouts vs Oversized Downspouts and Gutters for Homes.
For residential home applications, a standard gutter system is a 5” gutter and a standard downspout has a 2”x 3” profile. This means as water sheds off the roof, it enters the 5” gutter “tray” which is fastened along the eave of the roof. The water then travels down the gutter tray in the direction of the tray angle to the drop outlet. The drop outlet is a hidden piece in the gutter that provides the opening where the downspout can be attached. This drop outlet in a standard gutter and downspout system is typically a round 2 ⅜” in diameter.
All of the water in the standard gutters must travel through this critical drop outlet in order to enter the downspout. In very basic terms, the drop outlet is the hole that lets the water into the downspout. If this hole is small, less water gets through regardless of the size of the gutters. The drop outlet is the narrowest point in the gutter system, so this is where we always find the clog in the gutter. As a busy home improvement contractor, we service thousands of homes per year. We’ve seen downspouts clogged by rotten leaves, lost Nerf footballs, pines needles, fireworks, slimy tennis balls, ancient raccoon poop, dead squirrels‒you get it. If it can’t pass through the drop outlet, it’s going to clog the gutter system.
Costs of oversized downspouts and gutters for homes
Generally, oversized downspouts and gutters cost about 30%-40% more than a standard 5” seamless gutter system. The increased cost is due to the amount aluminum gutter coil and larger installation hangers or brackets needed to install the oversized downspout and gutter system. When compared to expensive foundation damage or other problems, a properly designed and small sized gutter system is a great investment for any responsible homeowner.
Will oversized downspouts and gutters fit on any house?
Yes. Oversized gutters and oversized downspouts will fit on most homes that can accommodate a standard seamless gutter system. They can be fitted with the correct attachment mechanisms to accommodate almost any residential home.
Downspouts and Gutter Systems Recommended by Contractors.
We don’t want to speak for every seamless gutter installation company, but most professionals would agree that a properly designed 6” Gutter system, combined with oversized downspouts, and quality gutter guards or leaf protection would help homeowners avoid the vast majority of common gutter issues.
Gutter guards and leaf protection for gutters.
As a gutter contractor and professional home services company, WestPro recommends regular inspections of your gutter and roof system. Most gutter clogs can be easily avoided with a properly designed 6” Gutter system and the addition of a quality leaf protection system.
After experimenting with different types of gutter guards for years, we are proud to offer LeafPro by WestPro. LeafPro is a durable, cost effective leaf protection system for your gutters that will keep your gutters clog free. Plus, every installation of LeafPro is proudly backed by a Lifetime Warranty.
Get a free inspection of your gutter and roof system today. Give us a call or fill out the form below!
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