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Gutter System Elements, Parts & Supplies

Gutter Runs

Gutters are horizontal structures affixed to the roof’s edges, intended to collect and direct rainwater to the downspouts. Their effectiveness depends on their ability to manage the water volume from the roof during heavy rainfall, preventing any overflow.

Downspouts or Leaders

A leader, commonly known as a downspout, connects the gutter to the ground, guiding water away from the home. Leaders come in various sizes to suit different home requirements.


The 2×3″ leader is standard for residential homes with 5″ gutters, while the larger 3×4″ leader is typically used with 6″ gutters, which handle greater water flow.


3″ & 4″ round leaders: Corrugated leaders offer added strength and a distinctive look, often preferred for homes with copper gutters. Smooth round leaders are aesthetically pleasing but may dent more easily than corrugated leaders if impacted. They are only available in copper, not aluminum.


Both round and rectangular leaders handle water and debris similarly; there are no significant advantages of one shape over the other in this regard.


Hangers securely fasten your rain gutters to the fascia, ensuring they remain stable and in place. Stern Gutters procures top-quality gutter hangers, including hidden ones made from aluminum and brass, along with roof apron hangers, also known as toboggans.

End Caps

End caps are used to seal the ends of your gutters, preventing water and debris from escaping. At Stern Gutters, we offer pre-finished aluminum end caps for both 5” and 6” K-Style gutters. It’s important to properly seal your end caps using gutter sealant applied from inside the gutter.

Miter Strips or Box Miters

Miters are used to connect corners in your gutter system, which are prone to potential leaks. Box miters, also known as pre-manufactured corners, come as a single piece and effortlessly attach to your gutter runs. Miter strips are narrow aluminum pieces that fit snugly over gutter seams and are secured with screws into both gutters for a seamless appearance.


Downspout elbows redirect water flow from your gutter system away from your home. Stern Gutters custom-selects aluminum gutter elbows in various styles: A-style, B-style, and offset elbows (also known as ledge jumpers). These elbows are available in a range of colors and sizes to suit the requirements of your gutter system.

Pipe Clips or Pipe Straps

Pipe clips and pipe straps are essential for securely fastening your downspouts. Pipe clips attach to the building, holding the downspout securely in a saddle clamp. On the other hand, pipe straps are flat bands that wrap around the downspout and secure it to the building by fastening around its sides. Both options ensure stable and reliable placement of your downspouts.

Soffits and Fascias

Soffits and fascias play a crucial role in supporting the gutter system by providing a stable base for installation. Properly installed soffits and fascias enhance the durability and functionality of gutters, ensuring they remain securely fastened and aligned with the roofline over time.


Gutter outlets serve as the connection point linking your gutters to the downspouts. Stern Gutters provides a diverse selection of drop outlets in various shapes and materials. Our inventory includes aluminum and plastic options, available in both round and rectangle configurations, ensuring compatibility with different gutter systems.

Downspout Adapters

Downspout tile adapters facilitate the connection between rectangular or square downspouts and underground drain tiles. These adapters are designed to seamlessly integrate into your downspout system, ensuring a cohesive and aesthetic match.

Gutter Sealants

Sealants are essential for gutter installation projects, used to secure end caps, seal corners and gaps, and create a waterproof barrier to prevent leaks.

Other Considerations

Optimal Gutter Slope

A slope of 1″ to 2″ per 40 feet is recommended for gutters. Installing gutters level allows water to self-level, but it prevents effective self-cleaning of debris. Excessive slope diminishes holding capacity and aesthetics; for instance, a gutter sloping 3 1/2″ over its run loses half its capacity. During heavy rain, water at the higher end may be near the gutter bottom, while at the downspout end, it can overflow due to water’s self-leveling nature.

Downspout Capacity

2×3 Downspout will drain 600 sq. ft of roof area.
3×4 Downspout will drain 1200 sq. ft. of roof area.

These data points were sourced from

Gutter Capacity

One foot of 5″ K-Style gutter holds 1.2 gallons of water.
One foot of 6″ K-Style gutter holds 2.0 gallons of water.

These data points were sourced from