Gutter Terminology

Gutter Terminology


 Aluminum gutters

are attached to the home either with the spike (long nail) and ferrule method or with a hidden hanger with screw anchoring method. Some plastic gutters and half-round gutters may use a bracket attached to the fascia board. A channel around the eaves of a roof used to collect and carry away rainwater. Installing gutters around the eaves of your home could save you a lot of time and money in the long run by preventing water damage to your house.


(or downpipe) is a vertical pipe for carrying rainwater from a rain gutter to ground level. There the water is directed to a sewer, rainwater harvesting, or let into the ground through seepage.


The part of a roof that projects beyond the wall that support it. The soffit and the fasica make up the two main parts to an eave.

Exterior Drains

Remove all leaves and other debris from exterior patio drains on a regular basis.


is a term which generally describes any vertical surface which spans across the top of columns or across the top of a wall. Specifically, used to describe the vertical (fascia board) which caps the end of rafters outside a building, which can be used to hold the rain gutter. The finished surface below the fascia and rafters is called the soffit or eave. A soffit is also often installed between the ceiling and the top of wall cabinets in a kitchen, set at a 90 degree angle to the horizontal soffit which projects out from the wall. In steep-slope roofing, a board that is nailed to the ends of a roof rafter; sometimes supports a gutter. In low-slope roofing, the horizontal trim located at the perimeter of a building. Typically, it is a border for the low-slope roof system.


are designed to do one thing--channel water away from the foundation--and they're critical to protecting the structural integrity of your house. But in order for gutters to do their job properly, they have to be kept in shape and free of clogs, holes, and sags.

Gutter hangers

is the most common method of gutter attachment to a building. It supplies external support for both gutters and downspouts. Gutter hangers come in a variety of materials, such as aluminum, copper, steel, and vinyl. Matching colors typically are available for aluminum, steel, and vinyl, although color-matching is subjective if the hanger is hidden. Copper gutter hangers are generally unfinished since designers typically value the patina the metal eventually develops. On older buildings, gutter hangers were generally visible since they bracketed the outside of the gutter and were nailed to either the fascia or the roof surface. The fastened portion of the hanger was usually hidden by the shingles or other surface that covered the roof deck. While this style of gutter hanger remains commonly available, it has generally fallen out of favor with designers.

Gutter Guards

Add to gutter system to prevent clogs and make sure rain and snow-melt runs freely.

Gutter Spike and Ferrule

method involves a metal cylinder or tube that is placed inside the gutter to strengthen it and keep it from bending. The spike is driven through the face of the gutter at the top, through the ferrule and into the wood fascia board. Spike-and-ferrule hangers tend to pull out of the wood over time. This can cause the gutters to sag. For the spike to hold the gutter securely, the spike must be driven into solid wood. In normal modern construction the roof system consists of a 2x4 truss system, which creates the pitch of the roof and supports the roof decking. These trusses are generally spaced every 24 inches. The fascia board is the trim board the gutter sits on and is attached to the tail ends of the trusses. Using the spike and ferrule method of gutter attachment, the spike is driven through the gutter, through the fascia trim board and into the solid 2x4 wood truss. If the installer missed the 2x4 when driving the gutter spike, the spike is simply floating in air once it passes through the fascia board and has nothing to grip to. No matter how many times the spike is hammered back in, with only air to grip - it will soon pull out again. While the spike and ferrule method was the standard for years, most gutter installation companies have changed to some form of the hidden hanger with screw anchoring method.

Ice Damming

In order to prevent ice from forming under snow and accumulating on the roof and overhangs causing water to backup and leak into your attic and home, be sure there is adequate ventilation in all attic and overhang areas. Also try to clear heavy accumulations of snow from the roof. An ice dam is a build up of ice and water that works its way under shingles/shakes. The causes of ice dams can vary depending on who you may talk to. Many homeowners point to frozen or clogged gutters, dark shingles that absorb heat, or low roof pitch.


in architecture, describes the underside of any construction element. Examples of soffits include: the underside of an arch or architrave (whether supported by piers or columns), the underside of a flight of stairs, under the classical entablature, the underside of a projecting cornice, or side of chimney the underside of a ceiling to fill the space above the kitchen cabinets, at the corner of the ceiling and wall, the exposed undersurface of any exterior overhanging section of a roof eave. In popular use, soffit most often refers to the material forming a ceiling from the top of an exterior house wall to the outer edge of the roof, i.e., bridging the gap between a home's siding and the roofline, otherwise known as the eaves. When so constructed, the soffit material is typically screwed or nailed to rafters known as lookout rafters or lookouts for short. Soffit exposure profile (from wall to fascia) on a building's exterior can vary from a few inches to 3 feet or more, depending on construction. It can be non-ventilated or ventilated for cooling non livable attic space.

Splash blocks and Flexible Downspout Extensions

Add to existing gutter system to direct rain and snow-melt even further away from the foundation.


The edge of a roof that projects out over the building wall.

Water harvesting

is the accumulating and storing, of rainwater. Rainwater collected from the roofs of houses, tents and local institutions, can make an important contribution to the availability of drinking water

Valley Splash Guards

that fit on inside corners. Designed to keep the water from over shooting the gutter during a heavy rain.