Gutters & Downs

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I'm going to have my house painted. The last guy who gave me a quote looked at my gutters and called them an anachronism.
He said that in times when buildings were set on the ground without a proper foundation, gutters were necessary so that the ground would not become saturated with water, allowing the building to sink into it. However, with a proper foundation, this was not necessary and the gutters could be removed. One of my fascia boards needs to be replaced due to rot, and he says it's because the gutters have been creating ice dams in the winter, and that if they weren't there, that board would not have rotted.
This is the first time I've ever heard a recommendation for removing the gutters as unnecessary, and I'm a bit skeptical. Note that this is a well respected painter who has been doing this work since 1962, so his opinion carries some weight.
But still . . .
So, I'm wondering. Can I take them off and leave them off?
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Steve Daniels wrote:

Do what you want. I only put them where I don't want water dripping like door entrances on the house and garage doors. You should have drip edges though to keep the water from getting under the shingles from capillary or wicking action.
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Van Chocstraw wrote:

Also need to think about landscaping damage from water falling on it. If no landscaping, then potential for a "rut" forming from water drop and the mud splashing onto side of house. Large ice formations hanging from edge of roof?
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snipped-for-privacy@earthlink.net wrote:

That's why they make crushed rock.
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That's fine if you want a crushed rock moat ringing your house instead of landscape\\plantings.
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Steve Daniels wrote: ...

Of course, you can... :)
How good it will be will depend on how much actual rain there is where you are and terrain and how good the drainage is around the house. If you don't have red clay to splash up and stain, moderate amounts of rainfall and excellent drainage and non-saturating soils prone to excessive movement between saturated and dry, it may be fine. Then again, why change what works?
There really shouldn't be a fascia problem even w/ the gutters as the shingles should overlap sufficiently to prevent frequent water/ice intrusion that doesn't dry.
And, there's the question others raise of the inconvenience over entrances, etc.
The house here doesn't, but it's fairly dry here. In TN/VA, wouldn't have wanted to do w/o...
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I was going to add to remember who's making the recommendation -- he undoubtedly finds it much easier/faster to simply paint flat fascia than the gutters... :)
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If you have a basement, he is wrong.
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Don't take gutter advice from a painter. If you have two intersecting roof planes, the valley at the intersection will turn into a small river during heavy rains. I doubt you'd want something like that pouring off the side of your house.
If you really don't want gutters on your house, you should move them to the ground in the form of a plastic-lined gravel moat with a drainage pipe inside that leads to a safe area for water.
I guarantee you this painter will not foot the bill for foundation problems should they arise because of his advice of allowing thousands of gallons of water to pool around a structure.
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The painter should not be trusted in anything, even painting, he is full of hockey
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On Thu, 5 Mar 2009 15:23:40 -0800 (PST), against all advice,

He's Canadian?
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I wouldn't trust that guy. He just doesn't want to have to put them back up.
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Steve Daniels wrote:

Also, in most jurisdictions, having gutters is required by code before receiving a final inspection. Not that i'm a code hound, actually the opposite, but when you do happen to be bound by code, you have to follow the rules.
steve
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"Steve Barker" wrote

He's a painter, not a foundation expert. He probably did not check your footer for example to see if you have a nice wide one.

Correct and I have never seen a house near me without them. Could be code spec requires them here.
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wrote:

    He knows from nothing. While there may be some areas of the country where that may be true, most areas do need them to protect your home. Many areas require them in the building code.
    I would not consider a house painter as an authority on the subject, and the fact that he would say that would disqualify him from my list of possible contractors, even for painting, which he might know something about.
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On Mar 5, 7:38pm, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

I didn't want gutters on my house for aesthetic reasons, so I didn't put them on. I paid special attention to basement waterproofing and grade around the house, and now after 23 years, no basement water problems yet. There are a few other downsides, though: There can be some erosion where the water falls if it hits unprotected soil. You can get a little wetter entering and leaving. For me, it's been worth it.
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ed_h wrote:

Agreed. When I win the lotto and build my dream house (like I often muse about on here), the plan is for a standing-seam roof, and broad overhangs, and suitable yard grading and soil composition, so that basement flooding is not an issue. Not a fan of gutters, since they are a pain to clean and usually look pretty ugly. But I do recognize that on a typical house on a typical almost-flat lot, there are few practical alternatives.
Wonder why it got written into code in some areas? Public health issue, trying to avoid creating mosquito breeders below open windows to sleeping rooms? The perception that gutterless houses were not as civilized looking? Any historians out there have any actual knowledge, as opposed to my guesses?
-- aem sends...
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aemeijers wrote:

Hi, My cabin has standing seam steel panel roof which supposes to last 100 years. I don't have gutter on this one. Being high pitch and heavy snow area. sliding chunk of snow/ice will knock them down in no time. In this case gutter is a big no, no. My house in the city has gutter for sure. After having 5 houses, a cabin built, still don't have dream house yet. I think dream house only lives in my head, LOL!
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I'd be as concerned with mosquitos breeding in the gutters.
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ed_h wrote:

Unless the gutters are installed wrong, or never cleaned, that isn't a problem. Self draining by definition.
-- aem sends...
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