The Different Parts of a Gutter System post

The Different Parts of a Gutter System

When investing in a gutter system for your home, there are many important considerations to be made. Depending on your budget, geographic location, house style, and appearance you’re trying to achieve, it can become overwhelming and flat-out confusing trying to decide what to buy. Here at The RHINO, we care about getting you the protection and safety your house needs…without compromising its appearance. We’ve put together a guide to rain gutters so that you can be well-informed as to how they work and how different types compare so you can design your gutter system with confidence.

Rain Gutter Anatomy- Vocab You Need to Know

  • Brackets: Brackets are installed to keep gutters connected and prevent them from breaking. The weight of rainfall water can range from 8-10 pounds—rain gutters need brackets to keep the gutter lines and downspouts secured.
  • Downspouts: These are an integral part of any gutter system. They are enclosed tubes that run vertically down a house, collecting and carrying water from the roof away from the building’s foundation.
  • Downspout Elbow: An angled piece of the downspout that adheres to the bottom and directs water away from the home’s foundation.
  • Pipe Cleats: A pipe cleat fastens the downspout to the house. It resembles a large metal clip and is screwed to the side of your house.
  • End Cap: End caps adhere to the end of a gutter shaft and seal it off. Seamless gutters rely on these to redirect rain to a lower downspout.
  • Hangers: Hangers are pieces of metal that support the gutter’s bottom, preventing it from sinking.
  • Hidden Hangers: This is a type of hanger that is located inside the gutter section near the open mouth, which prevents it from being seen.
  • Ferrule: Ferrules are long, cylindrical shafts that attach a long screw in the gutter to your house. The screw passes through a hole opening located in the front edge of the gutter and then through the back of the gutter and into the fascia board.
  • Mitered Corner: This is a corner piece of gutter that connects two sections together.

Types of Gutter Materials:

When deciding on your home’s gutter system, the material chosen plays a critical role in the longevity of your gutters and protection of your roof. Adding downspouts, gutter guards, and leaf filters can help improve the lifetime of your gutter system by supporting your gutters in transporting water away from your house efficiently and without breakage.


This is the most widely-used material for all types of rain gutters, seamed or seamless. In fact, they make up nearly 80% of all gutters installed. If you live in an area with prevalent storms and downpour, you’ll want to install a thicker aluminum gutter system (.032 inch) to mitigate the chances of it bending. For the most part, it is a very durable and long-lasting material that doesn’t rust and is likely to prevail through any storm. This material is also extremely customizable and can be painted or altered to your liking. They typically last 20-30 years.

Stainless steel

Typically galvanized, steel gutters begin to rust within 12-15 years (and even quicker if not properly taken care of). They are a stronger alternative to aluminum and can take on more severe weather conditions. Having leaf filters helps to prevent wet foliage from getting trapped on the gutters and promoting rust. They typically last 25-30 years.


They say you “get what you pay for,” and being the cheapest choice, vinyl is also the least durable. It is lightweight and easy to assemble, but is also likely to fade in color and buckle under any severe storm. While they won’t rust, they will likely become brittle and weak if subjected to high temperatures or weight of any sort. They typically last 20-25 years.


This is definitely the most expensive gutter material, but is also the most reliable. Due to their composition (the joints are welded), they must be professionally installed. Zinc gutters won’t warp, tarnish, or decolorize, but rather will adopt an attractive sheen over time. They typically last 60-80 years.


For the sake of aesthetics, copper is often a popular choice for gutter material. However, that creamy luster eventually fades into a green patina. These are usually used on luxury homes and require professional installation. They typically last 60-100 years, more likely the latter if installed with downspouts.

At The RHINO, we’re here to answer all your gutter questions and keep you and your house safe from water damage. Give us a call today at (813) 592-7233 to find a dealer near you!