Are Gutters Considered Part of the Roof?

October 08, 2021

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Gray House With Rain Gutters on Roof
If you're familiar with rain gutters, you probably know that your roof plays a huge part during the entire installation process. Rain gutter installation contractors will build the gutters following the roof's measurements, including its area and pitch. The overall look and effectiveness of your gutters are determined by how well they fit under your roof, so many people see them as a single unit despite the fact that they're usually built at different times. What do you think, are gutters considered part of the roof? If you don't have a definite answer, we are here to study the topic in detail.

What Are the Parts of a Roof?

There's no denying that rain gutters are essential but it's best to start by looking at all the pieces that make up a roof from the moment its built into a house. After all, rain gutters are not a requirement for a roof to be deemed completed during the construction process, and they can be removed without having to replace the whole roof unless there's major structural damage. With this in mind, let's look at the main parts of a roof to then see how rain gutters fit into the equation.
  • Decking: The decking or sheathing comprises a series of boards that frame the roof and serve as baseline to install the shingles and other components. It can be built in many formats, including planks, plywood, sheet, etc, usually depending on how much protection your home needs against the elements in your local area.

  • Man Installing Rain Gutters in a House
  • Shingles: Probably the most visible part of your roof. They cover the roof while remaining attached to the decking, usually through overlapping pieces. They're usually made of fiberglass and asphalt; their placement does a lot to boost a house's esthetic appeal.

  • Ridge: It's the horizontal line at the very top separating each slope of the roof.

  • Attic: It's the space under the roof, usually covering its entire vertical length. It's one of the parts of a house that's first affected by leaks and moisture buildup when there are no gutters in place.

  • Fascia: Another recognizable part of a roof, and one you must be familiar with if you have rain gutters in place. The fascia is the long board situated at the very edge of the roof and running along it's length. It can be made out of a number of different materials, like fiber cement, wood, aluminum, and vinyl (this is something you must look into before installing a gutter in case the fascia board isn't stable enough to support it).
Most suburban homes only need gutters on two sides, rather than a large seamless rain gutter system cycling the whole building. This is because the roofs on these houses usually slope in two directions, driving all the rainwater from the roof to two opposing sides of the house. Some roofs, however, have what is known as valleys: v-cut angles that makes way for two new slopes on one of the roof's main sides. These angle changes should be brought into consideration when manufacturing the gutters, since the rule of thumb is that there is a guttering system controlling the flow of rainwater under each slope.

It goes without saying that the process vastly changes from one property to the next. Apartment buildings and commercial establishments, for instance, tend to be built into flat, horizontal roofs. This doesn't make rain gutter installation any easier, as these buildings are usually larger than most homes, but it rules out many of the measurements that make the process so intricate when dealing with suburban roofs.

Are Gutters Part of the Roof?

Not in the most literal sense. As we mentioned earlier, gutters are not built along with the roof unless it is specified by the homeowner, and some houses fare well enough without a rain guttering system in place. Once they are installed, However, once installed, their effectiveness is so intertwined with the overall condition of the roof that many often consider it part of the roof.

Rain Gutters on a White HouseEven without gutters in place, a home's drainage system is defined right along with the roof's structure. Upon building a home, the area and slope of the roof will determine the location of all the home's drains. The process takes place after considering various factors, from the homeowner's esthetic preferences to the amount of rain that can be expected given the local climate.

The gutters preserve the structural integrity of your roof, preventing deterioration, leaks, rotting, pest infestation, and other issues. If your roof requires major repairs or replacements, you may have to reassemble your gutters along with it, even if the gutter system is in perfect shape. While most of the time, the gutters can be replaced without affecting the fascia or any other part of the roof.

Many homes that were built without gutters in the last few decades have suffered from pools of water around their foundations until homeowners decided to have gutters installed. This is a recurring scenario in many parts of the country, to the point that gutters have become a basic requirement in areas where the rainy season is particularly unpredictable. The fact that a home manages to go for years without rain gutters should not be taken as confirmation that rain gutters are not needed, especially when you consider that many instances of foundation damage occur in the span of several years.

You can always reach out to Rain Gutters Solution to make your rain gutters match your home's structural demands. We guarantee a smooth installation process with the best equipment in the industry. Just call (305) 270-7779 or fill out the contact form on this website, and schedule an appointment with our specialists to get started.

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