Gutters should be simple. Architects should envision them when they design and take care straighten and lengthen overhangs so that fewer downspouts or chains are needed.
Generous overhangs are more important than gutters. Lacking overhangs, make gutters more important. Shoot for 3′ overhangs! The dryer you can keep your “structural soils” the better. Ideally, overhangs will keep the structural soils around the home dry even without gutters. 6″ gutters allow for 4″ outlets big enough for large pine-cones and squirrels to flow through. Gutters themselves naturally increase the overhang and provide the opportunity to convey roof water far away from the site, so 6″ gutters overhang more and catch more water when it rains hard. Over hangs that are 2 1/2 feet deep often extend past the excavations made when the builder dug the footings. Builders usually fail to effectively compact or protect the disturbed soils, when back-filling foundations. The result is that the excavation becomes muddy ditch even if the back-fill is “generous” and “pitched away” from the house. The “superficial grade” is irrelevant unless it involves concrete or a geo-textile layer. Water will continue to follow the contour of the “subgrade” in the downhill direction and the building’s footings will stay wet
Gutters need to be serviced 1-3 times annually depending on the environment and the design/install of the gutters. This means that installing them right, so they are easily detached, cleaned, inspected, and re-attached is the key to longevity. Intelligent gutters need about 1/10th of the maintenance because debris flows through them and you can install them so the painters love them.
Boycott Corrugated Black Piping. If you have corrugated downspout extensions or corrugated conveyance piping then you should keep 100% of the roof debris out of the down-spouts. They make little baskets for this purpose. If you have corrugated conveyance piping you should clean or check your gutters monthly.
USE PVC for conveyance. Gutters, downspouts and conveyance piping should all be SMOOTH WALLED PIPE with generous CLEANOUTS FOR EACH LINEAGE OF PIPE!!!
RELY ON GRAVITY TO KEEP DOWNSPOUTS IN PLACE. Once you get the initial gutter outlet, and back to back elbows installed, install an 8 to 12 inch tapered male gutter section sticking down, secured with a spacer or block, ready to have the long downspout section inserted around it securely from below. If this is done right, the painters can remove the gutters easily (every 4 years) and paint the trim, without even needing a ladder in most cases. All they would need to do is remove 2 screws at eye level and shove the piping up a few inches and tilt it out at the bottom. On the lower attachment end of the downspout we prefer to install a single strap made from the same material as the gutter so that other than the screws it disappears. This strap holds the gutter while a workman collapses or extends the PVC conveyance adapter / transition.
ROUTE GUTTER THROUGH YOUR CRAWLSPACE. By upgrading to PVC you allow yourself to work route the conveyance through crawlspaces and basements to the low point of the foundation. Each lineage of pipe should have a clean-out. Each lineage of buried pipe should have a clean-out at grade, and the lower this pipe the more things we can tie into it, such as yard drains. When you install all these parts logically and provide helpful clues, simply looking around for a moment affords people a complete understand of the strategy and layout. All buried piping is understood and serviceable.
Once you get all the chickens in their pen, you would have to be crazy to let them all out again.
For Lennar Homes, this is how splash blocks are commonly installed:
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