Need advice on where to put gutters and downspouts

ellessebeeJune 8, 2013

We are about to have gutters and downspouts installed on our new house. It is being done by the contractor - he has a gutter subcontractor who uses the typical K-style gutters. It's not what I wanted but the GC says that's all he included in the contract (and the architect never specified anything nicer.) I have no money left at this point to upgrade gutters. The big question is which roof edges should get gutters and if there should be downspouts - and where. The roof is steep and complex. It is an L-shaped cape style house with 8 different dormers in the attic/second story, gable and shed dormers. They overhang the first story roof eaves. There also a small tower with a hip roof. The architect dislikes gutters because they "ruin" the look of the house. The contractor is proposing very minimal gutters - only on the lower roof and the shed dormers on the upper story and downspouts only on the lower roof. The upper gutters would empty onto the lower roof and the water would run down and collect into the lower gutters where it would flow out those downspouts. I think his minimal approach is primarily to save himself money but he says putting gutters on the second floor gable dormers and downspouts along the roof surface directly into the lower gutters rather than just letting the water run down the roof would look better. He says the downspouts on the roof are ugly. I was assuming we would have gutters on all the roof edges and downspouts to channel the water from level to level - what my contractor would call ugly. I am partly afraid of damage to the roof over time by the streaming water but my contractor says that's what a roofing warranty is for. I am also concerned about water going where it's not supposed to - under shingles, freezing in winter, even finding its way into the joints where the dormer wall meets the lower portion of the roof etc. Somehow I am just more comfortable with containing and controlling the flow. My contractor says it's better to let the water flow on its own and it won't clog the gutters or downspouts that don't exist. What's the best advice for deciding how to approach this? Thanks.

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My contractor also said another reason to leave the gutters off the upper roof sections would make gutter cleaning easy. He said it would be difficult and expensive to get up gutters on the upper sections. I still think I'd rather pay a little more to clean the gutters than have to shell out a lot to find and fix water penetration, but clearly, I'm no expert. Thanks for any advice.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2013 at 11:30PM
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Pictures may help, but where the architect specified gutters and where you contract calls for them will probably be the only places you will get gutters.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2013 at 10:36AM
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