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  1. #1
    stuball48 is offline Stainless
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    Default OT: Are gutters necessary on houses?

    I have thought about this and cannot convince myself gutters are a plus or serve a valuable purpose on a house. I would like to have members volley this around and see if I am more or less convinced to replace the ones I have. My wife is talking replacement and before I express my "Don't need them" to her--I want opinions. Thanks

  2. #2
    Jim Shaper's Avatar
    Jim Shaper is offline Stainless
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    Gutters prevent water from seeping into your foundation by channeling it away from the house.

    Keep in mind, you're directing a large amount of water (the roof's displacement) onto a very small area at the edge of the roof's eaves. It has the effect of a pressure washer on the soil after heavy rains.

  3. #3
    teejay is offline Plastic
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    I took mine down 2 yrs ago when I painted the house now I've got to put them back.Started noticing when it rained heavy that it pooled next to the foundation causing the block stemwall to settle some .Now I get to learn how to tape and bed sheetrock where the wall cracked in 2 places. So I would replace or paint them

  4. #4
    Mike C. is offline Diamond
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    Yup, I'm with the gotta have them group. My house has no gutters, but will as soon as I get a new roof on it. Basement seepage during heavy rain, as well as a fairly deep drip trench on both sides. If you are on a slope, you might be able to use the Japanese gravel drain trick, but as flat as my overall slope is, I'll have to go gutters and corrugated pipe to get it away from the house. If you live in Tuscon, you can probably live without them, but not here in the southeast.

  5. #5
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    I have gutters on the front of my house, none on the back.

    Eventually I will have them on the back.

    The "closure" of the crawlspace in my case is wooden without proper siding and the splash saturates it very effectively. That also needs attention.

    In related news, I was also planning to use my new gutters when they are ready to fill a rain-tank for supplying garden irrigation during dry times.

  6. #6
    Sea Farmer is offline Titanium
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    I'm with the "gutters are good" group. I just built a new barn, and it took about one month after the roof was completed to get the trim finished, painted, and gutters installed. We had some heavy rains, and the brand-new, well made concrete floor had seepage at the floor-wall join every time. After the gutters went on the problem went away despite more heavy rain (boy we had crummy weather here last fall!)

    Jim Shaper's explanation is the most concise I've seen.

  7. #7
    stuball48 is offline Stainless
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    We are going to put a new roof on in the next two years and wife says gutters need to be replaced with good ones. From looking at our 32 year old guttters, she is correct. I'm thinking there will be much more to this new roof and gutters than just "new roof and gutters."
    I guess I had regressed to my childhood on the farm and the tin roof spilling water on mama's flower bed in the front of the house and the gutters taking water to the cistern in the back--different times and houses.

  8. #8
    richtes is offline Aluminum
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    I put some leafguard type on call waterfall or something that went on top of the old gutters. Cost more than those cheap ones at HD, but haven't had any clogging problems.

    I saw one house once without gutters, but I think there were some sort of shrub below the end and the eves were very long keeping the water further from the house.

    Also, one piece gutters would be nice. All the seams on my 50 year old ones leak.
    Rich

  9. #9
    CalG is online now Titanium
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    Default gutters hold ice

    and fall down

    long overhangs are good

    still, I wish the drip would shed to a gutter and just go away.

    Yep, gutters are good

    CalG

  10. #10
    PeteM is offline Diamond
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    I'm with the gutters are good crew as well, BUT some architects will dispense with them. That typically requires a large roof overhang, careful grading, a gravel filled catch basin, and drainage pipe in that basin away from the house. Costs more than gutters, but some modern houses benefit from the "look."

  11. #11
    Sea Farmer is offline Titanium
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    i have seamless aluminum gutters on both house and barn. Prices vary widely according to size of gutter and gauge of aluminum. I paid about $400 10 years ago to have thin-gauge aluminum gutters installed on the house, no leafguards, smallest size gutter. Leafguards would have doubled the cost. Probably around 150' or so total length, but broken up into 5 separate gutters.

    I paid $1500 to have large, heavy-duty gutters, with leafguards and kind of fancy round down spouts installed on the barn this fall. Total run is 100" with 5 downspouts. The lafguards and downspouts were about $500 of that amount. I did get a quote of $660 from another vendor for the small, thin-gauge gutters with no leafguards.

    I went with the higher-priced installation for several reasons. First, you can lean a ladder against the heavier gauge without damaging it or worrying about it pulling loose. Second, the roof is 10-pitch, and water splashes over smaller gutters, large size is better. Third, the barn is next to, and shaded by, a line of trees on the neighboring property, and the leafguards are practical. Finally, the fancy round downspouts, for $65 extra, just look cool. I'm in a historic district and things like that, while not required, get noticed and appreciated. Which gives me a little credit to fall back on if anyone complains about the milling noises

  12. #12
    jim rozen is online now Diamond
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    The south side of my slate roof would always have huge snowslides each winter,
    that would rip the gutter off. About five years ago I got fed up and stopped
    replacing them.

    There's a valley where a lot of water comes down, and I put a cricket there
    to push heavy rainfall off to the driveway. There's a bit of a concrete apron
    for the rest but I really do want to put in an in-ground trough catch basin
    to take care of smaller rainfalls which do leave a damp spot in the basement if
    they go on for more than a couple of days.

    The rest of the house has gutters and they aren't a problem. But the south
    side does not have them and there seems to be no ill effect.

    Jim

  13. #13
    John Madarasz's Avatar
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    Default Variables to consider

    1) Projection of eaves and bottom edge overhangs from foundation walls

    2) Grade and type of landscape away from foundation wall

    3) Geographic location

    4) Foundation type...Basement or crawlspace vs. slab foundation

    If you have a typical bottom edge eave detail with a soffit of 24" or less, and any kind of basement foundation then properly sized and installed gutters are a good idea. (based on many years of designing, fabricating and installing all types of custom gutter systems in the Phila. and eastern seaboard area)

    Jim Rozen, if snow and ice slides are a problem off your slate roof, and you want a gutter in that area or safety down below, then you might consider installing some snow guards on that section of roof and replacing the gutter...

  14. #14
    Jim Shaper's Avatar
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    John, wouldn't a section of the smooth leaf covers deflect the snow slides over the edge of the gutters rather than allowing them to be ripped off?


    I had originally not intended to put gutters on the shop (floating slab, decent grade running away from the house), but as others have mentioned - it was blatantly obvious that they were needed as soon as I experienced some heavy rain. The water splashing back up on the foundation is enough to warrant the minimal trouble and expense of installing them.

  15. #15
    John Madarasz's Avatar
    John Madarasz is offline Stainless
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Shaper View Post
    John, wouldn't a section of the smooth leaf covers deflect the snow slides over the edge of the gutters rather than allowing them to be ripped off?


    I had originally not intended to put gutters on the shop (floating slab, decent grade running away from the house), but as others have mentioned - it was blatantly obvious that they were needed as soon as I experienced some heavy rain. The water splashing back up on the foundation is enough to warrant the minimal trouble and expense of installing them.
    Jim, If you're having splashing up against the foundation and it's a concern...then that's reason enough for a well installed gutter. Gutter guards really aren't structural...and a good ice slide would tend to rip them off too...but everything is subjective based on the site conditions. And it's important to remember that even with gutter guards your gutters can fill with ice from freeze/thaw cycles, and ice dams can occur along bottom edges that will catch sliding snow and ice. The weight from ice in gutters is tremendous and often discounted. Snow and ice slides can be dangerous to pedestrian traffic below, and parked cars. Everything depends on the individual application, exposure to weather etc. Slate and smooth tile roofs, and metal roofs, are most susceptible to snow and ice slides...other types not so much.

    Heat tape in gutters is a nice solution in colder climates to prevent ice dams...Raychem makes a great product fwiw

  16. #16
    Jim Shaper's Avatar
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    I know, I installed them shortly there after.

    As for the guards; I was thinking it would help if the issue was sliding snow like an avalanche rather than ice building up as a result of meltoff.

  17. #17
    piniongear's Avatar
    piniongear is offline Stainless
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    Gutters on your house? Boo........not for me.
    Gutters require maintenance.
    Gutters rot out the soffit wood very quickly.
    Gutters fill with leaves, small twigs and pine needles.
    Gutters are not good things to put your ladder against when you need to get on the roof.
    Gutters always hold a small (or more) amount of water and this increases the mosquito population down here in the south.

    For the above reasons and more not listed, I tore the gutters off my house 3 years back, replaced the rotted wood and have not regretted doing it.
    I seem to be in the minority here, so I gotta ask all of you guys........Don't you all have the same problems I have with gutters?
    pg

  18. #18
    Jim Shaper's Avatar
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    The fascia on my soffits is cedar on the house, and green treated on the shop covered with the vinyl to go with the siding/gutters.

    The shop gutters are remarkably resilient, as they took a hit from a pretty big (14' long, 7" dia) limb that came down in a storm last summer - it only took out 3 of the clips (and the clips seem flimsy to me). Granted, it wasn't a guillotine shot on the gutter, but it did scrub down it on it's way off the roof (I could see the stripe on the shingles).

    The house was done with heavy gauge AL or galvanized seamless gutters before we got it. Those are nice as they wrap up and tuck under the shingles and act as the flashing and are bonded to the weatherguard (you southern folk probably aren't required to use weatherguard - but it's a rubber membrane to prevent ice dams from bypassing the shingles). So there's cedar under them, and then below them again to extend the height of the fascia. Eventually, the house will be redone with vinyl as well (it's hardy siding and brick now) and if I get my way, I'll be adding another story when we do that.

  19. #19
    Clive Hugh is offline Aluminum
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    Where I live nobody has gutters. It rarely rains but when it does there ain't a gutter built that takes that kind of volume, I'm talking cyclonic rain that fills the ditches which are about 12 foot deep like a flash flood. Then no more for another year.

  20. #20
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    rimcanyon is offline Titanium
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    We have no gutters, we have a Santa Fe style flat roof (well not really flat, it has a pitch of 6" in 10'). Instead we have openings in the cripple wall above the roof that are flashed and tarred along with the roof, and which have scuppers on the outside connected to downspouts. The openings through the wall are large, so keeping them clean is a lot easier than with gutters. They are spaced about 20' apart.

    The strange thing is that the building code required us to make the opening be double. i.e., we had to have an "overflow", which meant that we divided the hole in the wall in half with the upper half being called the overflow. It still flows into the same scupper, so I have no idea what advantage that code requirement produced.

    At any rate, keeping the water away from the foundation is an excellent idea.

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