Gutter accessories are used for a number of reasons such as increasing functionality and protecting a home’s exterior from water damage. Gutter guards, splash blocks and flexible downspouts are just a few accessories for the gutters that are popular with homeowners. But if you purchase a gutter accessory and use it incorrectly, it’s going to defeat the purpose of installing it. Here is a brief guide on when and where to install gutter accessories.
Gutter accessories for downspouts are designed to direct water away from one place or direction to another.
Downspout extensions are used when downpipes deposit water too close to the foundation. Different types of downpipe extenders are intended for specific uses.
- A standard extender resembles a downspout installed horizontally instead of vertically, then fastened into place.
- A flexible downspout has an “accordion” section that allows the downspout extender to be positioned around obstructions and areas where water shouldn’t be deposited.
- A hinged downpipe resembles a standard extender except for the hinge mechanism that allows the downspout to be folded up when not in use.
Diverters for downpipes are available in a variety of types and styles. Some types of diverters direct rainwater from a gutter system into a rain barrel. Other types of diverters, often resembling a “Y” direct water from one downspout into two different places, such as around a sidewalk in one direction and into a landscaped area in the opposite direction. Some manufacturers use the term “diverter” interchangeably with “downspout extender/extension.” Make sure that the diverter is intended for the function you’re purchasing it for.
Many homeowners find some type of leaf protection handy in cutting down the time and cost of gutter maintenance. There are several different types of gutter protectors including all-in-one systems and leaf screens for downspouts and gutters.
If you’re considering purchasing a gutter guard system for your home, keep the following in mind:
- be able to handle the volume of annual rainfall in your area
- be compatible with your home’s exterior and/or roof
- openings of screens or covers should match the type of trees growing on the property (wider for deciduous, narrower for pines)
Made of vinyl or metal mesh, leaf screens are placed over the top of the gutter. When buying a leaf strainer for a downspout, ensure it fits properly over the gutter outlet.
Since a splash block typically resembles a long narrow tray, it’s sometimes used as a directional downspout accessory. While it does move water away from a foundation where the downspout is too close to the wall, a splash block helps prevent soil erosion. This maintains the landscape design and prevents the foundation from shifting.