Gutter System Overview: Exploring the Parts of Your Gutter System

May 22, 2023Blog, Gutter System Parts, How Gutter Works, Minneapolis

Gutters are complex systems comprised of various parts that all work in tandem to keep water away from your roof and foundation. Learning about these components is essential to maintaining, repairing, and replacing your gutters. While there are variations in construction and material, many gutter systems have similar parts that perform key functions, which you can read more about below.\

gutter system parts, how gutters work, Minneapolis


Sometimes referred to as a rain gutter, this is a trough designed to catch rainwater, snowmelt, and debris, and channel it down a pipeline so it doesn’t collect in one area and stagnate. Most come in sections that fit together to form long channels for water and debris. However, some homes have seamless gutters created from a single piece of material. In addition, gutters come fabricated with several different materials, with aluminum gutters being the most common because they’re lightweight and corrosion-resistant.

End Caps

Gutters are shaped like hollow tubes or troughs, so there is the potential for water to slosh out either side of them. End caps are fittings placed on the ends of gutters with rivets to close them off and keep the water in the gutter running where it belongs.


If you have a corner of your roof where two gutters meet, a miter acts as a joint to connect those gutters and reinforce the seam where they connect. Box miters are pre-manufactured pieces that are attached to the two gutter runs at a corner, using sealant and fasteners to close the two seams. Strip miters are custom-fabricated with a single-seam design, meaning you would only need to seal one side of the miter.


An enclosed vertical tube that runs perpendicular to your gutter, downspouts carry water away from the gutter. They connect to the gutter along the edge of the roof via a section called a drop outlet that contains a drain-like hole leading to the downspout. Generally, there should be one downspout per 20 feet of gutter. Even if you have gutter guards to keep debris from clogging the system, you should check and clean the downspout to truly ensure that it remains clear of debris.


An elbow is a section of bent metal, usually aluminum, that helps direct the flow of water from the downspout around the contour of your roof to a pipe that runs vertically along a wall of your home. One end of the elbow is typically crimped so it can fit into another elbow or the downspout.

how gutters work in Minneapolis

Pipe Cleats

Also called “downspout straps” or “downspout brackets,” these are specially designed brackets that secure the downspout to a wall of your home. Composed of a bent piece of metal that wraps around the outside of the downspout, pipe cleats look like clips that attach to the side of your house through brick, concrete, and siding via heavy-duty screws or bolts.

Gutter Hangers

Modern gutters are secured to your roof by hangers, which consist of two pieces. One piece is a metal bracket that attaches directly to the fascia board via an angled screw inside the gutter. The other piece is a metal hanger that attaches to the front edge of your gutter and clips into the fascia piece. The screws and fasteners for gutter hangers are hidden from view. In addition, these hidden hangers make it easier to remove and reattach your gutters for home maintenance.

Splash Blocks

When the water your gutters direct away from the roof reaches the end of its journey, it needs somewhere to go. A splash block is a rectangular piece of concrete, metal, or plastic that is placed at the end of a downspout. It has an open-ended side that directs water as far away from your home as possible. Splash blocks can be as broad or narrow as you need them to be. A splash block can even be decorative if you want to add some personality to your gutter system.

Call Gutter Professionals

Your gutters are an essential part of maintaining your home. Whether you have old or new gutters, you should give them the care and attention that they deserve. So, if you’re in the market for professional gutter maintenance, gutter repair, or gutter installation, please get in touch with the Gutter Maids today.