Your roof is designed to move water off the roof and away from your building’s foundation. This is usually accomplished with flashing, gutters and eavestroughs. So, what is an eavestrough, and how is it different than a gutter? Read on for some clarification.
What is an eavestrough?
The easiest way to understand an eavestrough is to understand eaves. Eaves are a section of the roof that extends past the wall. This creates a separate “drip line,” which directs water away from the walls. An eavestrough, therefore, is a small trough that collects rainwater at the base of the eaves.
The difference between eavestroughs and gutters
If that description sounded an awful lot like rain gutters, you’re not far off. They are more or less the same thing—gutters are simply a catch-all term for anything performing a similar function. That’s why you have gutters near sidewalks and in bowling alleys. They collect water (or bowling balls) and move it elsewhere.
In short, “eavestroughs” is just a word for a very specific type of gutter: the ones on your building’s eaves. The reason people get confused is because many contractors and laypeople use the terms interchangeably, without ever explaining that they’re virtually the same thing.
Why do I need eavestroughs or gutters?
Rainwater and melting snow can cause a lot of damage if they’re left to penetrate your roof, walls or foundation. Rain gutters are designed to collect any water on your roof, then safely divert it a distance away from your walls and foundation. The water soaks into your yard and eventually becomes part of the groundwater system.
If you didn’t have gutters—or if the gutters become clogged—the water will collect on the roof, then run down the walls and into the foundation. Your roof may experience leaks. The water might also soak into the walls, which can stain the interior, compromise the wall’s structural integrity and cause mold and mildew to develop. Finally, when too much water pools around a building’s foundation, the foundation can crack and shift. When your foundation fails, it can cost tens of thousands of dollars to repair.
Ultimately, it’s better to install gutters or eavestroughs and clean them out regularly. You’ll save more money by preventing the damage than you would if you simply let the water penetrate the building.
Caring for your eavestroughs and gutters
Rain gutters are fairly simple to care for. There are two things you need to look for: dirt and debris, which can clog your gutters, and sagging. Every month, make sure no plant debris has made its way into the gutters. If it has, scoop it out and dispose of it. (Alternatively, install gutters with a leaf shield.) You should also check after any major wind or rainstorms, as those will send more plant debris flying through the air.
Finally, watch your gutters carefully. If they appear to be sagging or cracked, the water will leak out and cause damage. Have a contractor repair them right away.
When you need gutters, or for more information about how gutters and eavestroughs differ from each other, call Rhino Exteriors today.