Are Gutters Necessary On A House - What You Should Know

Written by Ivy

Jan 06 2023

Are Gutters Necessary On A House - What You Should Know

If you notice that you don't have rain gutters and you haven't notice any water problems in your home, you may be wondering, are gutters really necessary?

You might not realize how crucial rain gutters are. In spite of the fact that they can be a lovely decorative addition to your house, their main function is to stop water damage such as mildew, mold, and other types. Rainwater is diverted away from your siding and foundation by gutters, which help keep your home upright.

A gutter system is not necessary for every home, to start. It might not be necessary if you live in an area with arid weather and don't frequently experience downpours. However, most houses do require a good rain gutter system to collect stormwater that accumulates on the roof and direct it away from the house to avoid structural damage and to safeguard your foundation, driveway, and sidewalk from standing water on the sides of your house.

Are Gutters for the Whole House Necessary?

The size of your house and the number of slopes that divide it will both play a significant role in determining whether you need gutters all around it. It is not always necessary for gutters to run the entire length of a structure because properly installed rain gutters are very effective. So, it depends on your house. Some important things to consider include:

  • Every slope on your roof that has a gutter at the edge is required. Every slope will divert water away from it in the opposite direction when it rains, so you need a gutter and downspout to collect the water on each side.
  • Numerous houses have roofs with two slopes. In this instance, you must omit the sections where the slopes meet and install gutters on the two sides that correspond to the slopes.
  • A low-pitch roof will make it easier for water to flow toward gutters, but if water is still standing after a storm, you might need to call for a roof inspection to make sure the water is draining properly.
  • Depending on the overall size of the roof, flat roofs may not need gutters on every side. Since there are no slopes, you may need to install "scuppers" that channel the water from the roof to the edges where the gutters are. To prevent water from collecting on the roof of a large house, several downspouts might be necessary.

How much rain falls in your area is another factor to take into account. Even if your roof doesn't require gutters to completely encircle it, it may still be necessary to modify your gutters and install extras like Rhino Gutter Guards, downspout extensions, and Rhino Miters to safeguard your house.

Understanding Rain Gutters

A gutter's primary purpose is to act as a channel for water to be directed. By directing water to a drain or other safe area, they are specifically made to lessen erosion. Gutters can only hold so much water before they overflow, but they still remove a lot of water. Rain gutters are typically made of aluminum, copper, or plastic and attached to your roof.

How They Work

Rainwater that runs off your roof and down its sides is collected by gutters. Downspouts are used to direct the water so that it exits your home in a different direction. The gutter reduces erosion of the ground up against your home by diverting rainwater, which may also greatly reduce the risk of basement flooding and foundation damage. In some cases, the downspout drains into a tank or a barrel so that it can be used in the garden during dry weather.

When Are They Necessary?

A gutter system is frequently required to protect your foundation. Some of these instances are:

  1. Red clay – When water finds its way to your foundation, the clay will act as a pipeline to keep delivering water to the same location, making clay-rich ground very difficult to work with. You can direct the water away from your home in a safe manner by using gutters that have a drainpipe and a ground-based gutter line.
  2. The surrounding landscape slopes upwards – Water will collect along the foundation, both above and below ground, if your home is at the bottom of a slope on at least one side. You can direct the water toward a side that slopes downward by installing gutters on that side of the house. If there is any runoff from the landscaping, a small gutter along the ground will help.
  3. Little or no overhang – Closely fitting roofs allow water to leak from the roof to within a foot of the foundation, posing a number of issues. Trenches will develop where the water collects after a lot of rain. After being absorbed by the ground, rainwater that stays close to the foundation eventually causes significant harm. During a storm, you might also have to cross a waterfall to get into or out of your house.

When Are They Optional?

Sometimes the functions of rain gutters are already carried out by your property, making them unnecessary. In such situations, gutters increase maintenance costs without providing any benefits. Your home does not require gutters if:

  • The landscaping around your home slopes downwards – especially when other factors are present.
  • Your home is surrounded by concrete – be it sidewalks, driveway, or patio. In this instance, your foundation's water barrier is already provided by the concrete.
  • You live in an arid location – where there is little annual rainfall.
  • Your roof has an extension or long overhang – which allows water to run off a safe distance from the foundation.

Why Do Some Roofers Advise Against Gutters?

You should enquire as to why a roofer recommends against installing a gutter. Many roofers assert that installing a gutter will damage your roof's facial boards. These one-by-six-inch boards serve to support the overhang of the roof. These boards may get wet during downpours from improperly installed gutters, which will make them rot.

This is yet another fallacious defense because gutters will not be damaged if they are installed properly and facial boards are relatively inexpensive to replace in comparison to having to lift or replace a foundation.

Some roofers will simply want to avoid the labor because gutters require a lot of extra work. The aforementioned arguments for not including gutters are valid, and a good roofer will mention them to you if they advise against adding or replacing gutters. In some circumstances, the roofer might advise extending the roof rather than including a gutter. The roof seam for a first floor expansion has started to leak, which is especially true in older homes.

16. Are Gutters Necessary On A House

Why Are Rain Gutters So Important?

Rain gutters not only keep the roof and the rest of the house safe, but they also keep the soil from eroding and safeguard your garden beds. In the absence of rain gutters, rain simply runs off your roof, washing away soil and causing soil erosion every time it rains. In addition, if you have raised garden beds next to your house, soil erosion will result in water pooling and drowning your plants and flowers.

There is a real problem with soil erosion. Your foundation may also settle as a result, resulting in uneven floors, cracked walls, and chimney cracks.

Two Common Complaints and Solutions

There are a few common justifications offered by homeowners for wanting to have their gutters removed. Both times, the issue can be resolved.

Gutter Clogs

This is presumably the most frequent gutter complaint, especially when it comes to homes with lots of trees. Gutter covers, which are reasonably priced, could be added to address the problem. Some covers have tiny diamond-shaped openings that permit the entry of tiny debris but obstruct the passage of leaves. When it rains, any debris that enters the gutter is easily flushed away, and leaves can easily be swept or blown over the gutter's surface. Gutter covers also stop birds from building their nests inside the gutter. (Also Read: Gutter Helmet vs. Leaf Guard)

Ice Dams

Gutter-induced ice dams during the winter are a common misconception. Ice dams unfortunately indicate that there is a problem with your attic or crawl space. Whether or not a gutter is installed, you still run the risk of roof damage because this is typically a problem with inadequate ventilation or insulation. To have a professional inspect your attic and take care of the underlying problem, dial their number.

Maintaining Your Rain Gutters is Also Important

It's crucial to keep up with gutter maintenance. You must regularly maintain the gutters and downspouts to keep leaves and other debris out of them so they can function properly. Either you have to climb the ladder and do it yourself, or you have to hire a professional gutter cleaning company to do it for you. As a general rule, you should clean your gutters twice a year, but more frequently if you live in an area with frequent storms or have a lot of trees hanging over your home.

The best course of action is to hire a reputable cleaning company if you have any concerns about using the ladder safely. If you plan to do it yourself, use a sturdy ladder and never ever stand on the top two rungs.

Ways to clean your gutters:

  • a leaf blower or a hose, but be sure to wear safety glasses, a dust mask, and thick work gloves.
  • Buy a gutter cleaning kit that can be connected to your leaf blower.
  • To manually clean it out, use a gutter scoop or garden trowel. Start at the drain outlet located close to the low end of the gutter for best results. When you are finished, simply dump everything into a bucket for disposal. The best time to do it is when the leaves are barely damp but not completely drenched.

In addition to concentrating on what is just in the gutters, be sure to use the leaf blower to remove any leaves or other debris from the roof itself so that it doesn't all end up in the gutters the next time it rains.

Our Recommendation

Most often, gutters are necessary. However, if you want to know if your new building or home improvement project needs gutters, take into account the landscaping features on the property, the climate, the overhang, and the type of foundation. If it turns out that you do need gutters, we advise getting at least three quotes from gutter installers so you can compare costs and services. The purchase of a gutter guard system is another suggestion we would like to make. Debris is pushed out of your gutters by gutter guards, which prevent it from getting in.


What Happens If You Don't Have Gutters

If rain flows off your roof because you have no gutters, the water causes massive erosion, washing away more and more soil each time it rains. This damages your carefully sloped landscape, causing runoff to move toward your house rather than away from it. The foundation also shifts due to erosion.

Do You Need Gutters on Second Story

Your gutter system should be placed on your main roof on the top story of your house. This is done in order to start directing rainwater to the downspout at the highest point and catch it there.

How Much Do Gutters Cost

Aluminum gutters and downspouts—the most frequently installed type of gutter system—cost about $3,000 per home, on a national average, translating to about $20 per linear foot. Costs can start as low as $1,000 for the entire project, or $7 per linear foot, and can reach a high of $5,000, or $33 per linear foot.

Do You Need Gutters on a Flat Roof

Gutters are the most commonly used, and most cost-effective drainage solution for flat roofs. They catch rainwater as it cascades off the edge of the roof and direct it into a downspout that discharges it far enough away from the building's foundation to be safe.