Gutter systems are an extremely helpful invention that protects homes against leaky roofs. By catching rainwater and snowmelt, they help direct them away from your home’s walls and foundation.
On top of that, they add a decorative touch to the roofline, which makes houses look more visually appealing. However, you might wonder: are gutters necessary? The short answer is that they’re a vital part of most homes.
Yet, how do you know if they’re necessary for your home? There are quite a few factors to consider. In this article, we’ll review all of these factors and other common questions about gutters.
To understand what makes gutters important, we have to talk about the benefits they offer.
A gutter system’s key purpose is to add a layer of protection to the structure of your house by keeping it safe from moisture damage. Water in small quantities might not seem detrimental, but it can lead to considerable problems in the long run.
Rainwater and snowmelt can cause structural damage and mold. They can also cause basement flooding and erosion of your home’s foundation.
On the other hand, they work to direct water sources toward downspouts and drainage systems. Professional installers can even build gutter systems that direct the flowing water right to your garden.
Aside from functionality, homeowners can also install gutter systems to add a bit of aesthetic flair.
There are many types of gutter material available, from vinyl to aluminum. They can also come in different styles, like half-round or box-type gutters.
These drainage slash protection systems can add character to your home. Whether you’re going for a more modern, industrial aesthetic or a more classic and homey feel, we’re sure you can find the perfect gutter style and type for you.
Building codes vary from area to area. Although, in most cases, gutters aren’t a building code requirement.
However, in some areas, gutters are mandatory per regulations set by homeowners’ associations—even if they aren’t technically required by code. If you choose to add a gutter system to your home, there are also regulations for gutter installation.
That said, you should do your part and research specific regulations in your area.
It’s true that building codes may not require gutters, they’re generally a welcome addition because of their ability to protect your home. While you can still build or buy a house without one, you can end up spending more in the future when uncontrolled water damage has taken its toll on your foundation.
To answer this question, homeowners must first assess their home’s roof type and the climate in their area.
For pitched roofs and homes exposed to many slopes, you may need more extensive gutter systems that wrap around the entire house. On the other hand, in areas that get little to no rain, you could get away with only installing gutters in certain areas.
To help you make the best decision for your home, we recommend consulting with professionals.
According to Forbes, the average cost of installing a new gutter is about $2000. That’s a sizable sum, so it’s important to ensure that your home really needs them before you commit.
While they’re usually a necessity for most homes, there are some exceptions.
Weather conditions are among the biggest reasons gutters may not be required for any building.
If you live in an area where the weather is mostly dry and doesn’t rain often, like parts of Arizona and California, you may not need gutter systems at all. After all, there’s not a lot of water running off the roof, so you won’t benefit much from gutters.
Sometimes, natural landscaping does a good job of directing water away from your home. That’s why you should also check the slope of your yard.
Pair that natural slope with roofing that has an overhang of more than 6 inches, and it’s likely that you won’t need any gutters.
To be 100% certain, ask a professional roofing company whether your home actually needs gutters. You want to ensure you can reap all the benefits a gutter system can offer before making such a big investment.
No, most homes with metal roofing don’t require gutters.
This is because metal roofs are typically designed to funnel rainwater toward drainage systems. In addition, they’re specifically built to withstand rain, snow, and sleet.
However, some homeowners still opt to install gutter systems to protect the surrounding foundation. While metal roofs are made to resist water damage, other parts of your house might not be.
Many people believe that slab homes don’t need gutters, particularly because there isn’t a basement to look after. However, gutters don’t just keep basements dry; they also keep your slab foundation intact.
A slab foundation is made of solid concrete or any other similar material. There’s no space under the floor, which considerably reduces the risk of flooding.
Unfortunately, this type of foundation is still vulnerable to soil erosion, which is a common problem that comes with unattended pooling rainwater.
Luckily, gutters can protect your slab home’s concrete foundation. They help minimize the accumulation of water, so the chances of any cracks on the concrete are significantly smaller.
Technically, if you want to protect the shed itself and its surrounding area, you can install a separate gutter system for it.
Strictly speaking, small sheds with downward roofing don’t need gutters. Hence, you can order or build these sheds without a gutter system.
However, homeowners will typically still go for one with gutters because it tends to increase the shed’s lifespan. These drainage systems help protect your shed’s integrity and the ground directly below the shed’s roofing. In the long run, it’ll save you tons of time and money.
It usually depends on the type and style of dormers you have in your home. Some types, like gabled dormers, require a properly installed gutter system because of how they’re sloped.
In spite of that, most homeowners still opt for gutters regardless of the type of dormer they have. This is mainly because these systems help avoid water runoff moving toward the windows.
Without gutters, the areas underneath dormers are exposed to a significant level of water damage. Thus, rainwater can run directly toward those areas and cause serious issues like mold and mildew.
Definitely! Detached garages, in particular, are more inclined to need protection from water damage.
When you don’t have a gutter system in place, rainwater can pool at the entrance of garage doors. Then, it’ll either become puddles of standing water or seep under the doors, causing extensive damage to your stored items, such as vehicles, tools, and others.
As with any part of your home, the constant splashing of water can wear down the foundation and the surrounding concrete over time.
Unfortunately, the answer to this question isn’t as straightforward as some of the others. Some argue that mobile homes don’t need gutters because of how their roofs are designed.
Moreover, there isn’t exactly a foundation to protect, so why install gutters? While this is a good point, many homeowners still believe that every house, including mobile homes, is better off taking advantage of the protection that gutter systems offer.
Even if a mobile home doesn’t necessarily have a basement or a traditional foundation, other parts can still get damaged by excessive water exposure. For example, rainwater from the roof can drip directly into windows and cause exterior and interior structural damage.
However, the best step is still to consult a professional. Have them assess your mobile home and see if the benefits of having a gutter system installed outweigh the potential cost.
Generally speaking, pergolas usually don’t need gutters, especially those with flat roofs.
Those with sloping roofs, on the other hand, are a different story. They require a gutter system to help keep the structure dry during the rainy season.
A good idea to take advantage of a pergola gutter system is to redirect rainwater to a nearby collection bin. Then, you can repurpose it for watering plants and cleaning the driveway.
In general, pergolas don’t require gutters, but these systems offer numerous benefits. That’s why we recommend adding them if you have the resources to do so.
So, are gutters necessary? Because of the extra layer of protection these systems offer, they’re considered a vital addition to most homes!
Gutters add to a house’s main defense, saving homeowners lots of money in structural damages. They keep water from directly eroding the soil around the house, which helps protect the foundation.
Even though gutter systems are known for providing many benefits, they can be a sizable investment. So, to make sure they’re right for you and your home, make sure you check first with professional installers.
Ben has a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering. When not constructing or remodeling X-Ray Rooms, Cardiovascular Labs, and Pharmacies, you can find him at home with wife and two daughters. Outside of family, He loves grilling and barbequing on his Big Green Egg and Blackstone Griddle, as well as working on projects around the house.
If you want more backyard tips including recipes, how-tos and more, make sure you subscribe to my youtube channel