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  • Writer's pictureColorado Gutter Professionals

Gutter Elbows: Routing Water Away from Your Denver Home

When it comes to protecting your home from water damage, gutter elbows play a crucial role that's often overlooked. These small but mighty components are the unsung heroes of your gutter system, guiding rainwater safely away from your home's foundation.


Let's dive into the world of gutter elbows and discover why they're so important for Denver homeowners.


What is a Gutter Elbow?


As the rainwater flows down your roof and into your eaves troughs or gutters, it needs to drain down from the roof through a downspout or downpipe. The gutter elbow is a fitting that changes the direction of water flow as it drains down the downspout in your gutter system. Think of it as the traffic cop of your gutters, directing water where it needs to go.


A-Elbows

A-Elbows Photo by Colorado Gutter Professionals
A-Elbows Photo

The Rectangular A Style Elbow is designed for use at the top and bottom of the downspout. This elbow is most commonly a 75° angle. It is designed to direct water straight away from the building. This elbow attaches with screws or rivets and can be used to guide the runoff water away from the wall and foundation. The elbow is crimped at one end for easy assembly to downspouts, other elbows, extensions, or offsets.


B-Elbows

B-Elbows Photo by Colorado Gutter Professionals
B-Elbows Photo

The Rectangular B Style Elbow is designed for use at the top or the bottom of the downspout, but it is more often used at the bottom.. This elbow is a 75-80° angle and attaches with screws or rivets. The B elbow is used to guide the runoff to the side left or the side right. The elbow is crimped at one end for easy assembly to downspouts, other elbows, extensions or offsets.


The primary function of an elbow is to ensure smooth water flow from the gutter into the downspout and then out of the downspout to the ground or drain. Without them, water would splash and spill, potentially causing damage to your home's exterior or foundation.


Materials for Gutter Elbows


Gutter elbows come in various materials, each with its own set of pros and cons:


  • Aluminum: This is the most common material for a residential gutter system and all its parts, including the elbows. Aluminum is lightweight, durable, and resistant to rust. For many Colorado homes, aluminum is the go-to choice due to its ability to withstand the vast variety of temperatures the front range experiences through the year and  within 24-hours.

  • Copper: If you're looking for a touch of elegance, a copper gutter system with all its pieces is the way to go. They're long-lasting, beautiful, and develop a patina over time that only adds to the beauty. However, they come with a heftier price tag.

  • Steel: A  steel gutter and downspout system is heavier and more durable. However, steel is prone to erode and rust leading to leaks. 

  • Plastic: These are the budget-friendly option. While they're less durable than metal alternatives, they can be a good choice for temporary fixes.


It's crucial to match your elbow material to your gutter material. Mixing metals can lead to galvanic corrosion, which can shorten the lifespan of your gutter system.


Choosing the Right Gutter Elbow


Selecting the perfect gutter elbow isn't just about picking a material. You need to consider:


  1. Your Gutter Type and Size:

  • K-style gutters traditionally have rectangular downspouts and elbows, but can have square or round downspouts too. Of course, if you have rectangular downspouts you must have a rectangular elbows. A round elbow would never fit on a square or rectangular downspout.

  • Generally a 5-inch gutter has a 2x3 downspout and elbows, but if you need water to exit quicker then a 3x4 downspout and elbows can do that. Likewise, most 6-inch gutters have 3x4 downspouts .

  1. The Angle Needed:

  • Measure the angle where your gutter meets the downspout. This will determine whether you need an A-elbow or a B-elbow.

  1. Style and Aesthetics:

  • Some homeowners prefer the classic look of copper, while others opt for elbows that blend seamlessly with their existing gutters or with the trim or siding on the home. There are also downspout elbows that show your artistic designer style like the one below.


Aesthetic Gutter Elbow Fish Photo by Colorado Gutter Professionals
Aesthetic Gutter Elbow Fish Photo

Remember, the right elbow ensures efficient water flow and complements your home's exterior.


Installing Gutter Elbows


Installing down elbows isn't rocket science, but it does require some know-how and the right tools. Here's what you'll need:


  • Hacksaw or snips

  • Ladder 

  • Drill with both drill bits and driver bits

  • Screws 

  • Sealant(optional)

  • Gutter Outlet (optional)


Now, let's walk through the installation process:


  1. Choose the location on the gutter for your downspout.

  2. Drill or cut a hole in the gutter the size of a gutter outlet making sure to leave room for the outlet flange.

  3. Position the outlet through the hole.

  4. Secure the elbow using screws.

  5. If desired, apply sealant to seal the connections.

  6. After the next rainfall, check for any leaks and address them promptly.


While this might sound straightforward, remember that working on ladders can be dangerous.0 If you're not comfortable with heights or DIY projects, it's best to call in the gutter professionals in Denver.


Where to Buy Gutter Elbows in Denver


You've got several options when it comes to purchasing gutter elbows:


  • Hardware Stores: Places like Ace Hardware or True Value often stock a variety of gutter components.

  • Home Improvement Centers: Larger stores like Home Depot or Lowe's typically offer a wide selection and can provide advice.

  • Online Retailers: Amazon and specialty gutter supply websites can be convenient for comparing prices and reading reviews.

  • Denver-based Gutter Companies like Colorado Gutter Professionals.


When shopping, look for reputable brands known for quality. Cheaper isn't always better when it comes to protecting your home from water damage.


Gutter Elbows and Your Home


Properly installed gutter elbows do more than just direct water. They're a key player in:


  • Preventing Water Damage: By guiding water away from your home's foundation, elbows help prevent leaks, cracks, and soil erosion. This is especially important in Denver, where our clay-heavy soils can expand when wet, putting pressure on foundations.

  • Rainwater Harvesting: If you're environmentally conscious, gutter elbows can direct water to rain barrels or tanks. This collected water is perfect for gardening or lawn care, helping you conserve water during our dry spells.


Maintenance Tips


To keep your gutter elbows functioning properly:


  • Clean your gutters regularly. In Denver, this is especially important in the fall when leaves from our beautiful trees can clog gutters.

  • Inspect elbows for damage after storms. Our hail can be particularly hard on gutters.

  • Paint or replace elbows as needed to maintain your home's curb appeal.


Troubleshooting Common Elbow Issues


Even the best gutter elbows can develop problems. Here's how to address common issues:


  • Leaks: Apply additional sealant to stop minor leaks. Possibly adjust the angle or length of the downspout.

  • Loose Connections: Tighten any loose screws or rivets.

  • Damaged Elbows: If an elbow is cracked or severely damaged, it's best to replace it entirely.


Frequently Asked Questions About Gutter Elbows


How often should I replace my gutter elbows?

With proper maintenance, gutter elbows can last as long as your gutters - typically 20 years or more.

Can I mix and match elbow materials?

Do I need gutter elbows if I have a straight run of gutters?

How do I know if my gutter elbows are the right size?

Can gutter elbows help with ice dams in winter?


Conclusion: Don't Elbow Your Rainwater the Wrong Way!


Gutter elbows might seem like a small part of your home's exterior, but they play a big role in protecting your property from water damage. By choosing the right elbows, installing them correctly, and maintaining them properly, you're making a smart investment in your home's longevity.


For Denver homeowners, proper water management is crucial. Our unique climate, with its sudden downpours and heavy snowmelt, puts extra stress on our gutter systems. That's why it's essential to work with experts who understand our local conditions.


If you're looking to upgrade your gutter system or need help with installation or maintenance, don't hesitate to reach out to Colorado Gutter Professionals. Our team of local experts understands the unique challenges Denver homes face and can ensure your gutter system, from elbows to downspouts, is up to the task. Give us a call today, and let's keep your Denver home dry and protected for years to come!

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