Scuppers and Drains on Flat Roofs

Scuppers are drain outlets on the edge of a roof.

Installing a scupper from a flat roof to the gutter

The outlet can be just a deep channel with a spout like an outlet or can go through a wall section. Most of the time a scupper will lead water into a leader header. The best draining system is to have a wide scupper and water-free fall to the ground.

Scuppers and Drains on Flat Roofs 1
Some scuppers are tied into a downpipe like this one in the picture. This type is not very effective because they clog easily with debris. It has a hole instead of an open mouth.

Benefits of a scupper:

The best draining system is to have scuppers along the edge of the roof that let the water free fall to the ground.

  • If it is wide enough, the scupper will not get clogged with leaves.
  • With rainstorm debris and leaves get washed off the roof
  • Low maintenance
  • Inexpensive
  • A roof will not get flooded as in a drain or gutter

When a scupper is connected with a down-pipe, the chances are it will freeze during winter and not drain any water.

Open end scupper
Scuppers are roof drains on the edge of the roof. The best draining system for a flat roof.
Scuppers and Drains on Flat Roofs 2
This is a Small flat roof with a wide mouth scupper. This will never clog up with leaves. This is the best type of scuppers because it has a wide opening to allow debris to wash off during a good rain.

These types of scuppers are not very practical because they get clogged with leaves and debris easily.

The copper scupper on this small flat roof is very efficient. It is full and water shoots over the edge of the roof.

Scuppers and Drains on Flat Roofs 3
Wide mouth scuppers are the best for draining water off a flat roof. Debris and small objects will not get stuck.

Flat roofs that are designed to have scuppers as a drainage system are almost maintenance-free. Open-end scuppers allow for debris to be washed off the roof, unlike a drain or gutter that gets full of debris.

Scuppers and Drains on Flat Roofs 4
Decorative scuppers may have some appeal but are not always practical.

Notice the scupper we installed is twice as wide as the supper in the top picture. Leaves and debris will be washed off the roof in a rainstorm.

Decorative Scuppers

Some architects want to show off and request coppersmiths to make decorative scuppers

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