Home > The differences between concealed and surface mounted gutters and downpipes

The differences between concealed and surface mounted gutters and downpipes

By: Oli Birch Category: CanopiesExternal Solutions

Gutters and downpipes are crucial elements of a canopy when it comes to rainwater management.

And one of the many aspects to consider when specifying a canopy is whether to have these concealed within the frame or surface mounted.

Traditionally, both features are attached externally, but there are additional benefits to having these concealed.


The reliability of a canopy is increased through integral gutters and downpipes, as they’re nigh on impossible to break and therefore have the upper hand with regards to durability.

Surface mounted gutters and downpipes meanwhile, are exposed to the elements and likely to degrade more quickly. Heavy snow loads or torrential rain can have a damaging effect over time if the gutters are not maintained.

Furthermore, day-to-day activities around the frame could lead to accidental damage. If a canopy was installed in a school playground, for example, the surface mounted features could be damaged by ball games or lessons outside, whereas there is no risk of this with concealed gutters and downpipes.


An aluminium canopy with these features does have a larger initial outlay.

However, it could prove to be more cost-effective in the long run once regular maintenance and replacement costs are taken into consideration.

Fixing screws also need to be used for surface mounted gutters and downpipes, causing a potential issue with rust. The solution for this would be to use stainless steel screws, though this is an expensive alternative.


One of the main plus points to having the gutters and downpipes concealed within the frame is how it improves the finish.

Aluminium canopies with concealed gutters and downpipes simply look smarter as a result, and Business Development Manager at Waverley Exteriors, Michael Denyer, concurs:

The reason we get a lot of compliments on our canopy is because it looks smart and it’s sleek, with clean lines. This is due to the fact that the gutter is an integral, structural part of the canopy, concealed behind a fascia. The downpipe is hidden inside the post and either exits the post just above ground level, so all you see is a round hole at the bottom of the post, or is completely concealed and connected to drainage pipes underground.


One slight disadvantage to using integral gutters and downpipes is it restricts the framework material options quite significantly.

As steel frame canopies are standardised and made to meet industry requirements, there is no option to create the structure with these features concealed. The gutters and downpipes therefore, are surface mounted to steel frames.

Similarly, timber frames cannot be made with internal features, leaving aluminium as the only material that can accommodate this design.


Integrated rain water management is definitely worth considering when selecting a canopy for your next outdoor project. It doesn’t just improve the overall look, longevity and practicality of the canopy, their total cost of ownership is likely to be equal, if not less than the alternative options.

If you’d like to discuss canopies in greater detail with us then please feel free to contact one of our expert team here!

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