In light of the seemingly endless rain, here is a question I've been
wondering. Do we need gutters? We don't have them, nor do we have
problems with leaking in the house. I've heard differing opinions - Gutters
are good because they redirect water from the foundation, and gutters are
bad because they contribute to ice dams in the winter. What is the general
Gutters dont make ice dams, warm attics do, gutters keep the roof water
from dumping excessive water at the buildings edge, leaking into the
basement, or even just raising humidity in the basement, I finaly fixed
a gutter last fall that never drained from a sag, this is the first year
I have not used my dehumidifier in the basement, Excessive water will
damage a foundation over time. Figure if it rains an inch maybe an
equivilant of 10 inches or whatever may be dumped at the foundation from
the roofs area .
Ice dams can happen in cold climates under the right conditions, i.e.
warm attics, sagging or poorly installed gutters.
Gutters mean that visitors to the house do not have to walk thru a sheet
of water falling off the roof.
Gutters mean that you do not get an erosion line in the soil where the
water falls off in sheets to the soil.
Gutters mean that spots do not develop in the mold that grows on
concrete walks and driveways (all climates)
Front of house:
Planting beds, front door/porch
Sides of house: Grass
Back of house: Grass, brick patio
Except for the front bed, the rain doesn't disturb the grass. It does make
the mulch in the front bed look untidy, but that seems like a small reason
to invest in gutters, if there isn't a larger one.
Any valleys in the roof? That is where two sections of roof come
together? This will concentrate the falling rain, and make a problem
If you have a simple roof, and enough drainage then no.
The problem of water falling over doorways can be fixed by putting a
small guard in the shingles at an angle, over the doorway. This
re-directs the sheet of water from falling on someone standing at the
door. I saw this one on TOH, for a house that didn't have gutters.
If I had something to say, this is where I'd say it.
John, I appreciate all the help you're offering me.
The house has grown over the last 70-odd years, so we have a bedroom
addition, a dormer on the second floor, a breezeway-cum-office.... all kinds
of odd additions where the roofs of the various parts have joined. What
should I be watching for in these areas? What would be a problem area?
Oh, what a good idea. We have siding, so I'm assuming that adding this
would be even easier with siding. Thanks.
If there's no splattered soil or mulch in the garden beds, then you're all
set. However, when I go into a commercial establishment during a downpour,
and get soaked because they didn't care enough about their customers to
install gutters by the entrance, it pisses me off in a big way. It's a
stupid thing to overlook.
When I hit the lotto and build my dream house, it won't have gutters. It
will gave bigass overhangs, and about a 10 degree grade for the 10 yards
surrounding the house. I <hate> cleaning gutters.
But, having said that- it depends on your roof slope, your overhangs, the
number of valleys, and most importantly the grade and pitch and type of soil
and surfaces in your yard. If you don't get ponding close to the foundation
in heavy rain, and if the yard doesn't stay wet, you may not need them. In
this subdivision of 40-some 1960s cookie cutters, about half have gutters,
and half do not. A lot of no gutter houses do have some sort of water
diverter over the doors and front walk, so people don't have to walk through
a waterfall getting in and out.
Gutters etc. also keep water (and dirt) from splashing up against the
house. Think "wood being regularly soaked."
Back when, metal gutters were simply not available. They are now, and
cost very little.
in buffalo ny some thoughts:
WHO will be doing the work?
WHAT is the ordinance requirement for your town? what does your roofer
WHERE: for what climate? not so many roof gutters in the desert climate
of las vegas, for example. how much rain/snow will help with your
WHEN you install the roofing and/or gutters consider automatic heaters
if icing is a problem. the quantity of attic insulation directly
affects the icing.
WHY not check with the neighbors similar homes and see how they deal
with rain and icing successfully.
My first house was a 1905 with some additions, small but very high,
with rather steeply pitched main roof. No gutters. Over time, a cut
line had developed on the porch roof where rain fell from that main
roof. I also had minor moisture problems in the basement. After
patching the porch roof a couple times, I re-roofed it. Never did
install gutters, but in retrospect think I should have. The main roof
was really due for replacement- but the buyers and their inspector
never mentioned it.
Re: cleaning gutters- first thing I did in my new house was
clean out clogged gutters/downspouts. Next thing was install gutter
guards- no problem since.
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