Understanding The Different Parts of Your Gutter System

Understanding The Different Parts of Your Gutter System

While you may only see one gutter, there are several gutter parts working around the clock to protect your home. The gutters run around your roof to form a system that prevents water damage to your home.

Without the gutter system, rain water will drain down the side of your home or run off the roof and gather at the foundation — creating unruly water marks, washing away landscaping and eventually possibly  flood out your basement.

If you’re like most people, you never think about the different gutter parts — until there’s a problem and you need a new gutter installation or expert gutter repair. In either case, you can use the following simple glossary to dissect the different gutter parts silently working to protect your home.  You can also browse our visual glossary of gutter components.

Types of Gutters

Before we dive into the different gutter parts, let’s talk about two different types of gutters: sectional gutters and seamless gutters.

Sectional Gutters

As the name suggests, individual sections make up the entire gutter system. Each gutter is held in place by spikes and ferrules or by hidden hangers. Although these gutters are easier to install, the vast number of parts means it’s more likely to install them improperly. The sections are also more likely to fall apart, causing gutters to leak and have sags and come off pitch.

Seamless Gutters

In contrast, seamless gutters are a much more reliable solution. Without cumbersome sections, seamless gutters are custom fitted to your home. Each length of the gutter is a solid, reliable piece, which mitigates the likelihood of failures — leaving no room for pieces to come apart or  fall off. All seamless gutters are individually measured, professionally installed, and you’ll save time and money by not having to replace or repair them because of broken sections.

Dissecting the Different Gutter Parts – Glossary

Now that you understand the two different categories of gutters, let’s take a deep dive into the most common terms and gutter parts.


The downspout is an enclosed, vertical pipe attached to the side of your home. Downspouts allow runoff water and melted snow from your gutters to drain safely away from your foundation and home. You can find downspouts in either rectangular or even round shapes.


The elbow is a bent piece of pipe situated on the end of the downspout to channel water away from your home. Or elbows can be placed at the top of the downspout to join the downspout opening to the gutter opening.

End Caps

End caps are the gutter parts tasked with preventing stray water and debris from prematurely exiting the gutter. In most instances, the end caps are flat pieces of metal (shaped similar to the gutters) attached to the end of the sections or when the gutter runs into the side of the home.


The ferrule is a cylindrical, small piece of metal that offers an alternate way to attach the gutter section to your house. A long spike passes through a hole opening situated in the front edge of the gutter. The spike goes through the front of the gutter and into the ferrule and then through the back of the gutter and into the fascia board.

Hidden Hangers

Hidden hangers are types of hangers that are located inside the gutter section toward the open mouth, which is why it cannot be see in front or from below. The hidden hanger is made up of a bent piece of metal with an opening on one side.  The alternate side of the hidden hanger is braced alongside the front edge of the gutter section — providing additional support. A long screw then runs through the hidden hanger, through the back of the gutter and at least 1” into the fascia board.

Gutter Sections

Just as you would assume, the gutter sections are parts of the gutters. Most gutters are either 5” or 6” wide.  These horizontal sections are designed to attach to your home and gather the runoff water. If your home has seamless gutters, the entire gutter on each side of your home is the gutter sections. Whether it’s seamless or sectional gutters, gutter sections can be made from vinyl, aluminum, zinc, copper and even stainless steel.


The miter is an essential gutter part that connects two sections of your gutters on a corner.

Pipe Cleats

Pipe cleats are fasteners that attach your downspout to the side of your house. This bent piece of metal looks like a clip placed on the exterior of the downspout. It’s screwed into the brick or vinyl siding of your home on the side of your downspout pipe.

Contact Ned Stevens Gutter Cleaning of Long Island

As a homeowner, it’s important to understand as much as possible about your home and gutters. While your gutters may seem like a simple feature, there are several parts you should know. Fortunately, the experts at Ned Stevens Gutter Cleaning of Long Island are here to help. We offer a wide range of gutter and home maintenance services, including:

Ned Stevens Gutter Cleaning of Long Island today.

Contact Ned Stevens Gutter Cleaning of Long Island today.

Erika Cruz

Erika began her career at Ned Stevens in September 2009 after 4 years of managing investment portfolios for banks and credit unions. She graduated with her business degree in Management in May of 2016 while working Full-time at Ned Stevens. With 11 years of gutter expertise, as office manager she is in charge of the day to day operation and is fully dedicated to her staff and customers.