Are gutters absolutely necessary?

sjh53June 19, 2009

We live in a 50s ranch house with a hip roof. The overhangs are at about 30" all around, with the exception of an 8' section where a porch was enclosed. The house sits on sloping land. My plan is to only replace the gutters on the front side of the house, and not replace on the remaining sides, which slope away from the foundation. Am I asking for trouble if I do this? Our soil is red clay, but the sides that wouldn't get new gutters have mature shrubs, ground cover and a long pressure treated deck.

Also, what is the best cover for gutters?

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Even a pressure treated deck will suffer from lack of gutters. I'd go with the gutters.

Gutter covers are not an option for us we have way too many trees around our house so no cover will block all that biomass and they will clog faster with any kind of cover vs without cover.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2009 at 6:18PM
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One thing about red clay..once water finds a path to your foundation through it, it's like having a pipe installed to direct all future water right to the foundation. You'd have to dig out and refill to correct the problem. If you ever worked with red clay, you know it's like concrete when dry and pudding when wet. Save yourself a lot of future heartache...add the gutters.

As for the best covers, opinions are as wide as the number of products that are out there. Of all the products I have experience with, I think the sections of screen mesh....I think it's called Gutter Guard, seems to be the best. No matter what you put there, things still get in the gutter, especially wasp nests. It may take years but you may have to get in there and do some sort of clean out at the down tube. The Gutter Guard is 4 foot sections that are hinged. You just lift them up, do your work and drop them back down. I can say that everyone I know that has Gutter Helmet and similar products are not happy at all with them.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2009 at 9:49PM
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I have the cheap homedepot plastic gutter guards with diamond holes in them,,, Lots of oak trees and some kind of huge soft red_wood like christmass tree. They work fine ! I can even blow the leaves off the roof right across them. Heavy rain will wash out the small stuff that fits in the diamond holes.

Run off water splashing up on your porch walls, or any wall for that matter, isnt too good of a thing.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2009 at 12:06AM
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Gutters are not required by building codes provided that water on roofs can generally run-off over the edged without gutters.

Gutters are not normally required nor beneficial in cold, snowy climates where gutters can hep create ice-dams that can cause more damage than if gutters were never installed.

Gutters are not necessary in warmer climates and where buildings are constructed on slabs or crawlspaces above grade and where water runoff from roofs will not have any deleterious effect upon the crawl or basement space.


    Bookmark   June 20, 2009 at 12:26AM
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I forgot to mention that I live in North Georgia; and that our house sits on a partial basement with majority crawl space. The deck is about 8' above the ground.

The gutters on the house are 30 years old, are leaky, and need to be replaced. I'm just trying to save money since we have married off two daughters recently and our savings has taken a hit! I'm tempted to try the gutters only on the front and keep a close eye on the remaining three sides of the house..... against popular opinion here...

Guess it would be wise to get quotes and then decide.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2009 at 5:59PM
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I'd get prices since most ranchers are easy access for gutter work and therefor are innexpensive to have replaced. Rainwater pouring off the roof acts like a waterjet on the plants and soil directly underneath the overhang and can do considerable damage. I say get those sons (inlaws) over with a couple of ladders and a screwgun and have them earn those weddings. As a contractor I've learned that when I married my wife I married her entire family"for better or for worse" and if your house falls apart the next thing will be an INLAW suite at thier house.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2009 at 9:18AM
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Silent1pa, love your advice. I'll be forwarding a link to this discussion for both sons-in-law to read!

    Bookmark   July 6, 2009 at 2:52PM
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Brad Edwards

Georgia has been under considerable drought over the last couple of years. Here is what I am planning as we are building and have a pretty elaborate front "would look like crap with cutters" having raised beds on a pad in front of the house, I am planning on using the gutter concrete run off things that are fancy on the ground, then waiting for a rain and putting them directly underneath them, that should devoid the waterjet effect, shoot cinderblock squares would have the same effect I would think. Everybody tries to get rain off their homes/foundation, but right now in most places of the south we really need it.

I removed the gutters that were falling down from our rental ranch in East texas and the beds have improved, I just added pine straw to help with "The jet effect" "free" and my beds in the front stayed amazing with sweetpotato vine all summer "IN THE worst drought in Texas history".


    Bookmark   February 27, 2012 at 10:25AM
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If you have a basement they are.
Code or not, a basement is a swimming pool waiting to get filled.

Keep & direct the water away, or face the consequences.

'Code' is also the LEAST you can do.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2012 at 8:22PM
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