Are Gutters Really Necessary?

Whether you just bought your first home or you’re a longtime homeowner, you might be wondering if you really need those bulky gutters on the [...]

Are Gutters Really Necessary?

Whether you just bought your first home or you’re a longtime homeowner, you might be wondering if you really need those bulky gutters on the edge of your roof!

Photos By: Stock Images

They just get clogged with debris anyways – why not just ditch them entirely? Aren’t they just for aesthetic purposes anyways?

While it’s true that gutters do add a nice decorative element to your home, they also perform an incredibly important task. Believe it or not, gutters are almost always necessary for your home’s structural well-being and foundational integrity. Keep reading to learn why having gutters, and maintaining them, is essential for your home. 

So, What do Gutters Even do?

The most basic function of gutters and downspouts (the vertical pipes connected to the gutter) is to redirect water away from your home’s exterior and foundation. But, you may be asking, why is water such a bad thing? Aren’t homes built with an exterior for the purpose of withstanding the elements?

The short answer is yes and no. Roofs are created with shingles and other materials to protect your home from rain, snow, and ice on the top; however, foundation is typically built with concrete as it is sturdy enough to support an entire home. 

When concrete is constantly soaking in water, it can create a breeding ground for mold and mildew, while also leading to foundational cracking and structural decay over time. When foundation begins to crack, the building becomes uneven, producing even more cracks throughout walls and ceiling structures. Gutters also help prevent flooding from occurring when heavy precipitation is expected, especially in homes with basements. 

Gutter systems divert water to another location, keeping your home’s foundation dry and intact for years to come. Plus, installing and maintaining your gutters is fairly easy and inexpensive with the right company. But, as you probably assumed, structural issues are almost never a quick fix and can cost an arm and a leg to repair.

You can avoid this entirely by contacting professionals to take care of the job for you. 

Are There Any Exceptions? 

While most modern homes require gutter systems for longevity and property value purposes, there are a few exceptions to the rule. You might be able to avoid gutters entirely if:

  • Your home has a steep sloping roof. Some homes are built with an incredibly long, steep slope. When combined with an overhang of at least one foot, these features may be enough to effectively divert water from pooling around your home’s base. 
  • Your home is situated on a large incline. Similarly to steep roof slopes, a home situated on a large incline could also direct water away from your home’s foundation. This is common near rivers and streams. 
  • You live in an area with very little precipitation. This one typically only applies to people who live in places like Nevada, Arizona, or Utah that get on average less than 15 inches of precipitation per year. It is rare for water damage to occur in such a dry climate.

Any of the above situations may be cause for not needing a gutter system. However, if you are uncertain, please contact a local company for a professional opinion.

Gutter Maintenance is Key

If you’ve made it this far, you’ve probably determined that gutters are essential to the health of your home and the safety of your family. But, installing gutters is just the first step. Gutter systems won’t be able to perform their important task without functioning properly, and functionality stems from sufficient maintenance. 

Now, you may be asking, how do you maintain a gutter system? Luckily for you, the answer is pretty simple, but it does require some manual labor: regular cleanings. 

Without room for the water to drain and redirect from your home, the gutter systems are completely pointless. Naturally, leaves, dirt, and other debris will collect in your gutters over time and eventually clog your downspouts. This can create pools of standing water which leads to unwanted pests and mold. Plus, the extra weight can warp the gutter pipes, requiring repairs or even replacements. 

To avoid issues like this, bi-annual cleanings are recommended for most home gutter systems. In areas with more foliage or heavier precipitation, more cleanings may be required. 

You have a couple of options. You can take the time to scale a large ladder, spend hours upon hours scraping gunk out of your gutters and downspouts, and discard all of the debris upon completion, OR you can hire a professional gutter maintenance company to handle the hassle for you.

Either way, prevention is key to protecting your home from water or structural damage, and gutter systems are a relatively cheap and easy way to do so. Don’t ignore these important home features, even if they seem unimportant. Gutters could save you a lot of time and money down the road.