NC State Extension Publications

Gutter Management Systems

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A gutter management system helps protect against excessive moisture, but only if it is properly designed and maintained. The following are suggestions for proper gutter management:

  • Overhangs should be at least 12 inches, with a preference of 18 inches wide. Drip edge flashing should be installed at the roof edge.
  • Gutters should be cleaned, inspected, and repaired regularly.
  • Downspout to drainpipe systems are preferred for removing rainwater from the gutters. Downspouts and downspout elbows should be clear of debris. Splash blocks are not recommended as they release water too close to the home (Figure 2).
  • Clay tile or flexible pipe should be used to conduct gutter water underground to a suitable release outlet at least 10 feet downhill and away from the house.
  • Suitable release sites from downspout to drainage systems include stormwater drains, dry wells, or surface outlets.
  • Consider adding a guard or strainer to help keep debris from clogging your gutters.
  • Inspect your gutters yearly and after major weather events to ensure that they are clear of debris and working properly (Figure 1).
gutters clogged with leaves

Figure 1. Remove debris from gutters


downspout with splash block

Figure 2. Poor gutter management: downspout to splash block

Sarah Kirby


FCS Program Leader
Agricultural and Human Sciences

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Publication date: April 20, 2022

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