Do I need Gutters in my home?

Posted in Home Improvement on June 19, 2018

Are gutters required?

Some people say gutters are a must, others say you can get by without them. Even though sometimes keeping clean gutters is a year-round chore, sometimes gutters are 100% necessary.

I asked a home inspector friend, and he’d always choose having gutters whenever having the option. Here’s why.

Wet basements are a common problem in many areas of the country. A great majority of the problems can be cured by controlling the rain water, starting at the gutters, continuing to the downspouts with splashblocks under them to carry the water away from the house and finally, followed by grading, so the earth slopes away from the house for several feet.

The illustration on the left shows a house where gutters may not be needed. The slope, or grade, is designed to carry water away from the foundation. If the water isn't allowed to pool and stay near the house, the basement will almost always stay dry.

The illustration on the right may seem extreme, but there are homes out there with just this type of “reverse” grade or slope. The grade runs toward the house, which would allow water to pool next to the foundation. Here, gutters are a must.

You should also check some other homes in the area. Find homes with gutters and without. Talk to the owners and ask them if they have experienced any water problems.

If you do go with gutters, I’d recommend installing gutter screens to keep debris out and probably use one of the new plastic types, which have self-cleaning downspouts. If you doesn't, I’d suggest you build in a way so you can install them later, if you change your mind.