Wednesday, June 4, 2014


Outside water (rain) has to be taken away from the building and one way to do that is with gutters and downspouts. The most important thing, though, is that the ground the water lands on slopes away from the building. Good designers and builders have to "think like a water drop" when detailing exteriors, and bulk water run-off is no exception.

White box gutters being installed to the fascia

 The NHND has standard, white aluminum box gutters and rectangular downspouts - this is the most common and most economical choice and the right choice for this building. Like other "working" items on a house, gutters can be unsightly, (sorry gutter guys! it's true!) and one should plan well in advance for how they will appear, rather than just leave it to chance.

Metal half-round gutter

Other projects I've worked on have half-round galvanized gutters with curved brackets connecting to angled fascias. Decorative rain chains can be used in lieu of downspouts. Of course, rain barrels can be at the receiving end of all this water so you can water your garden without turning on your hose and increase your sustainability.

Detail: gutter returns around to the gable end

Another option to improve the look of plain gutters is to return the gutter around the corner, so the downspout can be less obtrusive as it comes down against the side of the building, without sticking out to "angle back" to the wall. Still another option is to design larger roof overhangs and forgo gutters altogether.

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