Using Stone at the Roofs Drip Zone vs. gutters

clagaJune 27, 2011


I recently bought a new home in Massachusetts and it has no gutters or downspouts.

I was wondering what the pro's and con's of not using gutters and downspouts verus putting 3/4" to 1" stone around the house were the rain comes off the roofs and hits the ground. Using the stome to eliminate the mud from splashing up on the houses foundation and siding.

We have had a pretty wet spring and early summer and the basement has remained dry.


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Gutters and downspouts will route the water away from the house.
Depending on how long you run the downspout and whether or not you bury a pipe to run them even farther, you can move the water quite a distance.
Rocks would not move water away from the house and IMO getting water away is important.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2011 at 7:02AM
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It's a valid installation.

While I have gutters on my house, I don't have gutters on my front porch, which is about 16' wide and 14' deep. I just installed crushed bluestone (roughly 3/4" stone) over landscape fabric in the raised planting beds that surround the porch.

Just like you wrote, the stone prevents mud splattering.

I do recommend fabric underneath the stone to prevent the stone from migrating down into the soil below and a couple of inches depth of stone on top of the fabric.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2011 at 11:39AM
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No gutters/downspouts is, in my opinion, often a recipe for foundation damage and/or leaks at some time. If it were my house, I'd put in gutters and downspouts, and install perimeter drainage if it didn't already exist. I would also correct any problems with improper grading (i.e., with the lot sloping toward the house).

    Bookmark   June 28, 2011 at 1:54PM
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If you have a basement you are inviting problems.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 7:32AM
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A lot of houses in New England are built without gutters, often times it's a design consideration, going for a more authentic look. Sometimes it's simply a cost-cutting omission.

With no gutters, special care is given to grading around the foundation and for water removal around the same; perimeter drains just below the surface of the soil, perimeter footing drains down deeper, as well as foundation wall treatments.

Or this builder might have dumped all the construction debris around the foundation and back-filled over it.

Did this homeowner get a well-detailed new house? Maybe yes, maybe no. But they've written that it's been a wet year and to date there have been no problems.

If you don't want gutters and you've had no water issues, I say try the stone. If you have water issues down the road you can address the ideas of adding gutters then.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 4:34PM
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Thanks for all the follow-up and opinions.
If I decide not to install gutters can I damage the concrete foundation walls?
Thanks again

    Bookmark   July 2, 2011 at 7:51AM
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