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The Devolution of the Gutter

Gutters aren’t given a lot of thought in home design these days, but that wasn’t always the case. Today they are seen as necessary evils- functional elements there to do a job and hopefully not look too bad. Yet as recently as forty years ago, they were key parts of the vocabulary of exterior trim.


The gutters on these homes are an important piece of the exterior finish

Gutters used to be fully integrated into the overall trim scheme of a home. From modest Bungalows to extravagant Victorians, gutters were a key architectural element. They were treated as moldings that defined the roof line and seamlessly intersected other trim pieces. Well, actually there were seams, and that was partially the cause for their demise.

Until the 1950’s or so, most gutters were made of wood, usually rot-resistant species like redwood or cypress. The joints were made by carving out a recess on the inside, where a lead or copper flashing was nailed. Given the movement of wood, these joints would fail over time leading to leaks and rot. Wood gutter joints required skill to repair, so when aluminum gutters came on the scene most wood gutters were replaced by aluminum.


Wood rot at joints leads to replacement. Aluminum replacement gutter ruins the appearance

There was one big problem, architecturally speaking- the profiles of aluminum gutters were different than wood gutters, so the new gutter could no longer integrate into the trim scheme of the original architecture. This led to some hideous hacking away of original details and compromising the integrity of many fine homes.


An abruptly terminated aluminum gutter

Over time, many architects and builders forgot the original details, and developed new, “bastardized” versions that could be executed with available materials. A few diehards still insist on using authentic wood gutters, but the gutter material itself has been compromised, as redwood and cypress have been replaced by less durable cedar and fir.


This was the sorry state of affairs until fiberglass gutters came along about ten years ago. They promised to provide the authentic look of wood in a maintenance-free product. And while they work for some installations, their difficulty of installation, high installed cost, and inability to integrate with other trim elements limit their appeal.


Duragutter was invented by an architect to provide an architecturally correct, maintenance-free gutter that could be fully integrated into both Classic and Modern house designs. It is a highly engineered, patented gutter system that uses internal connectors to provide a seamless look. Duragutter "extruded aluminum" is ten times thicker than flimsy "roll formed" aluminum. It comes with a full complement of accessories to address every architectural detail from rake miters to curves.

Duragutter replicates the beauty of wood in heavy gauge, powder-coated aluminum

The OG shape is an exact copy of a traditional 4”x5” wood gutter, yet holds twice the volume. Simple straight runs are achieved with end caps, or self-returns. But where Duragutter really shines is the ability to miter into the rake cornice. This beautiful detail provides a seamless outline of the roof, from the eave up the rake, and was standard on all quality homes before the aluminum gutter era.


Duragutter enables architects, builders, and homeowners to improve the appearance and functionality of the homes they design, build, and live in with a maintenance -free line of architecturally-correct gutters and accessories.



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