The History of Gutters

If anyone has ever told you to get your mind out of the gutter, you can safely tell them no—it’s a historical place to be! While the history of rain gutters and why they were made probably isn’t everyone’s forte, there are plenty of interesting facts to rain down upon unsuspecting parties. Read on to find out who invented rain gutters, and why they’re so important.

How old are rain gutters?

The earliest rain gutters—at least in the historical record—are from about 3,000 to 1,500 BCE. That means rain gutters have been used for at least 5,000 years. The earliest ones were spotted in the Indus Valley Civilization, which spanned parts of South Asia and the Near East. Its roots were largely upon the Indus River, which moves through Pakistan and other, smaller rivers.

If you’re looking at the metal or vinyl gutters on your home’s roof, wondering how that became a major architectural feature, wonder no more.

Why were gutters made, and what do they do?

Rain gutters are designed to keep water away from your home’s foundation. In other words, it might rain buckets down on your roof, but your gutters will help divert that water away from where the foundation is built. This performs a number of different purposes, like preventing cracking and shifting, flooding and more.

How have rain gutters developed over time?

In medieval times, rain gutters were incorporated into architecture—especially gothic cathedrals—by way of gargoyles and other water features. The gutters would feed water out through the gargoyles’ mouths, which helped keep the roof and other structural features free from excessive moisture. It also kept the foundations safe.

Once Henry VIII’s reign was over, noblemen used lead (a valuable asset for most monasteries) to create gutters and other water features. By the 1700s, most people used cast iron for gutters—it was more readily available, thanks to the industrial revolution, and it wouldn’t poison people. During the Victorian era, gutters became far more commonplace.

Steel was the most popular gutter material up until World War II. At that point, aluminum was a much more affordable material—and steel was being used to outfit planes and artillery. Luckily, aluminum is one of the best materials for gutters. It’s corrosion resistant, lightweight and easily formed.

By the 1960s, aluminum gutters were the most common type available. That’s a good thing: builders use a roll-forming machine to create custom gutters. That means your home, no matter how big or small, or how oddly-shaped, can get the rain gutters it needs. You won’t have to worry about your gutters leaking at the joints.

When the 1980s rolled around, seamless gutters were the most popular gutter type available—and today, why would you go back? Seamless gutters, especially those with gutter covers, are great for preventing leaks as well as blockages.

Don’t hesitate to get seamless gutters with built-in covers. If you never want to clean your gutters again, this is the way to go. Call Long Island LeafGuard Gutter Company today to schedule installation or learn more.