Round Vs. Rectangular Downspouts

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Gutters and downspouts are an important heritage restoration detail.
Gutters and downspouts are an important heritage restoration detail. (Image: NA/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

Half-round gutters and round downspouts are gaining popularity for upscale homes to add architectural interest. They're also used to replicate original gutter and downspout systems for restoration projects. This style was replaced several decades ago with a rectangular type of system that coordinates with the construction details of modern homes. The round style requires customized work and more expensive materials. When the concern is appearance, a well-designed modern system may be as aesthetically appealing with less fuss.

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Gutters and Downspouts

Gutters and downspouts can be aesthetically challenging, but they perform an essential function for the building. They collect storm water from the roof and discharge it to the ground, directing the runoff away from the foundation. When gutters are overloaded, iced up or damaged, they won't function properly, leading to building materials being damaged by water. Water collecting near the foundation can leak into the basement and undermine the foundation.

Half-Round Gutters and Round Downspouts

Gutters were made of wood or metal in a half-round shape before 1960. Half-round gutters and round downspouts are associated with period and retro-style architecture, and there is a resurgence of interest in them for traditional and upscale homes. They're usually chosen for architectural appeal or historical authenticity. They cost more than the more common K-style, or rectangular, gutter and downspout and often take more time to install.

Round Downspouts Vs. Rectangular Downspouts

Round downspouts were made from thinner metal than the type used now and was smooth rather than corrugated, which increased its strength. The round downspouts are now available corrugated or smooth, in steel and copper. They are more difficult to mount on the house compared to the rectangular downspouts. Half-round gutter systems should be sized an inch larger than the size of the rectangular downspout collecting storm water from the same roof area.

Choosing Round Downspouts

The gutter and downspout system is an integral part of the storm water management system of the house and a prominent part of its appearance. The traditional half-round gutters were installed with hangers and not fastened to the house. Rectangular gutters are attached to the fascia of the house; the traditional round style may not fit as well visually or practically. Most important is that the system is functional. Ensure that the desired appearance of the round downspout is matched with an effective performance.

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