All about Gutters

tan seamless gutter

Gutters are not something that you typically think of until they are malfunctioning.  They are very important though because when they are not working properly this can cause damage to your foundation or water intrusion in your basement.

What is the Standard gutter size?

 The standard K-Style gutter size for a residential house is five-inch.  You can also get this style gutter in six-inch size.  

In most cases five-inch should be sufficient, however, if you are having overflow problems six-inch may be a better option to move more water. 

On the left side is a larger 6 inch gutter and on the right side is a 5 inch gutter.
6″ gutter profile (left) 5″gutter profile (right)

What are Splash Guards used for?

Splash guards are typically installed on inside corners of gutters or in an area where water is coming from an upper roofline.  These will help prevent water from spilling over the gutter in areas of high water flow. 

Inside Miter with Splash Guard and Outside Miter with Splash Guard
Inside Miter with Splash Guard and Outside Miter with Splash Guard

What size downspout should you use?

We offer downspouts that are 2×3 inch in size and 3×4 inch in size.  If six-inch gutters are installed, 3×4 inch downspouts must be used.  You can also install the larger 3×4 inch downspouts on your 5-inch gutters.  It would be beneficial to use the larger 3×4 inch downspouts in all situations, these can handle more water flow. 

For proper drainage, a downspout she be placed about every 40 linear feet. 

3x4 spouts (left) 2x3 spouts (right)
3×4 spouts (left) 2×3 spouts (right)

Should you have Leaf Protection installed?

Some benefits to using Leaf Protection are that you are guaranteed you will not have a downspout clog and that it is easier to clean your gutters with Leaf Protection. 

A common misconception about Leaf Protection is that it will make your gutters maintenance free.  Even when you have Leaf Protection installed, there will still be some maintenance.  They will need to be wiped off periodically.  Just keep this in mind when deciding if Leaf Protection is for you. 

At Carlson Exteriors, we use Shur FloX Leaf Protection. This is a product that is put on top of your gutter, it does not go underneath shingles.  It will not void any roof warranty you may have. 

Shur FloX only attaches to the gutter – not the roof.
Shur FloX leaf protection has ridges so no leaves get stuck and cannot blow off.JPG
Shur FloX leaf protection has ridges so no leaves get stuck and cannot blow off.JPG

Customer Reviews vs Customer References

Customer testimonials and customer references seem like the same thing on the surface but they are very different and serve different purposes. They are equally important.

So what’s the difference?

Let’s start with the more familiar: Customer Reviews. You can find these on the contractor’s website, Facebook, and any Third Party website (like Google, BBB, Yelp, Home Advisor, etc.). When you start the hunt for the best roofer or perfect siding repair company, you should start by looking up reviews from previous customers. Click here to be taken to Carlson Exteriors’ page of testimonials.

Things to take note of to help you gauge the contractor’s professionalism:

  1. How recent are these reviews/ testimonials? How frequent do they occur? How many are there? You want to see a lot of recent and frequent reviews. Take in to consideration any off-seasons for exterior contractors; they will have less reviews during winter.
  2. Do they talk about their experience working with the sales person/ Project Manager? A sales person or a Project Manager will likely be your first and main contact to the company. They should not apply any sales pressures or gimmicks – only treating you respect. They should be easy to communicate with and happy to answer any questions you may have.
  3. Is Customer Service a common theme in reviews? For some reason, it’s easy to forget that contractors need to provide a high level of customer service. Remember you are paying them for their services.
  4. Are there repeat customers? The true testament to a contractor is if you can find evidence of returning customers. If a homeowner was truly satisfied with a contractor’s work, that contractor will be the first one that homeowner calls.
  5. How did the contractor handle mistakes? Even the best contractor is still human; they make mistakes. What separates the good contractors from the bad is how the mistakes are handled. Can you find evidence that problems were handled in a timely manner and to the customer’s satisfaction?



Now let’s talk about customer references! When you meet with your potential contractors ask them for a list of previous customers you can call. This way you can ask previous customers how the whole working experience was like.  Perhaps you are shy and are not interested in calling a handful of strangers. Ultimately, customer references are more meatier, more detailed than customer reviews. Look to see if your contractor has any Customer Spotlights on their website. Examples of that are:

Click here to Meet the Pound’s

Click here to Meet the Gualazzi’s

If you click those links you will find a before and after pictures, detailed descriptions of the job, and videos of interviews with the homeowners talking about their experience.

When Should You Replace Your Gutters?

Gutters aren’t a big item most homeowners keep an eye on. If gutters are mostly doing their job, homeowners usually ignore them. So how to you know if your gutters need replaced or just repaired? Below are a few situations where your gutters should be replaced.

leaf protection on tan house with white gutters
5″ White  Leaf Protection on home in Normal IL

After a roof replacement – The best rule of thumb is to replace your gutters right after your roof has been replaced. When your old gutters are removed all the seals are broken. It’s hard to reseal old gutters once that’s been broken. If you keep up with the pattern of replacing your gutters everytime your roof has been replaced, you should not have any problems with your gutters.

Large Quantity of Rust Spots or Holes – Sometimes this can be repaired by sealant or a new section of gutters. But if rust or holes are consistent on every run of gutter, replacing your gutters will be better a choice to spend money on.

Sagging gutters are caused from improper pitch on gutters.
Sagging gutters are caused from improper pitch on gutters.

Sagging or Bowed Out Gutters – Sagging and bowing is caused by improperly pitched gutters. Water begins to pool and be held at sections of gutters; without being able to drain out the gutter sags at the weight of water over time. Once a couple sections are sagging, it’s best just to replace your gutters and make sure all runs have proper pitch to allow for drainage.

Flooded Basement – What a nightmare! And an expensive nightmare if you have a furnished basement. If your gutters are old and just aren’t making the cut your basement can flood. When your gutters aren’t channeling water away from your home’s perimeter, all that water seeps into your basement. Over time this can cause foundation damages too!

Wrong Size Gutters This can be hard for the average homeowner to decipher, but any contractor should be able to stop by (at no charge) to verify if your home has the proper sized gutters. Most homes come with the standard 5” gutter; however, if your home has a really steep pitch the water flow can amplify and overwhelm the 5” gutter system. Click here to visit our other article on 5” vs 6” Gutters.