Does a House Need Gutters?

by Team HomeServe
replacing gutters

Does a house need gutters? If you're building a new home or your current home doesn't have gutters, it's probably a question that’s crossed your mind — and definitely something you might want to ask yourself before shelling out the money to install gutters.

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While most homes do need gutters, some can get away without them. Find out if your home should have them.

Are Gutters Necessary?

In most cases, gutters are necessary. Gutters help control and direct rainfall and melting snow off the room and away from your house. If you don't have gutters, that water goes wherever it naturally falls, usually into your landscaping and along your foundation. Excess water there can cause major issues and damage that can cost more to repair than gutter installation would have.

However, some houses don't actually need gutters. Some of those situations include:

  • Arid conditions where heavy rainfall isn't common
  • Large roof overhang of more than 1 foot (30 centimeters), which naturally directs water away from your house
  • Landscaping that slopes away from your home and helps direct the water away from the foundation

If none of these apply to your home, it's a good idea to have gutters installed right away.

What Happens If You Don't Have Gutters?

Gutters exist to direct water and protect your home. Moisture and water can cause serious damage to your home. If you don't have gutters, you could experience the following problems:

  • Erosion of the soil near your home
  • Landscape damage
  • Water staining on brick or stone
  • Exterior door rotting
  • Siding damage
  • Standing water along your foundation
  • Mold or mildew growth in and on your house
  • Damage to the foundation
  • Dampness or flooding in your basement

If your home doesn't have gutters, look around the foundation and exterior to look for signs of these problems. Have gutters installed and repair any existing damage to prevent more serious issues from developing.

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Why Doesn't My House Have Gutters?

Your home might have never had gutters, or they could have become damaged and removed without being replaced. In that case, you get out of cleaning the gutters, but you could be causing damage to your home without knowing it. While gutters are usually recommended, there are some situations that might make gutters less necessary:

Dry Location

If you live in a climate where rain is sparse, your home might not need gutters. Some builders in those areas skip the gutters because they're an added expense and require ongoing maintenance.

Roof Features

Another situation in which the builder might skip gutters is if you have a very steep roof with a lot of overhang. Because of the steep slope, rain and snow tend to come off the roof easily. When you have a large overhang, you have less worry about the water damaging or seeping into your foundation.

Old House

It wasn't until the early to mid-1900s when gutters became a common feature on homes. If you have a home built before that time, it might not have had gutters originally. Previous owners might not have ever added gutters.

Having Gutters Installed

If none of these situations apply, it's time to add gutters to your home. Even if you don't have damage yet, it'll likely develop over time. Investing money up front into adding gutters can save you a lot more in the future on the damage.

If you decide you need gutters, you can install them yourself or have them professionally installed. Vinyl gutter systems are a common DIY option, while aluminum gutters offer more color options. Seamless gutters that are custom made for your home cut down on leakage that can happen at the seams of other gutter types.