Why have gutters?

wantoretire_didJuly 4, 2014

Can anyone tell me what the benefit of gutters is? They have to be cleaned out often of leaves and various tree debris, and if not then they overflow. We have a completely covered front porch for entry. Are on a slab. Why do we have this nuisance?

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Many houses don't have gutters. Our house in FL (slab) didn't have them, and other than a noticeable drip line, it was fine. Where we are now in SC, between the clay soil and the sloping yard, the rain washed a huge gully in front of the house. I had to cover it until we finish building the house and hang the gutters.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2014 at 6:45AM
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Good question. I have read that for every one inch of rain on your roof that the runoff is 650 gallons of water. I guess it depends on how your land gets rid of that water to prevent it from damaging your foundation.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2014 at 1:13PM
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They can also allow you to enter and exit the house while it it raining without having sheets of rain falling on you.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2014 at 5:44PM
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If you have a porch roof, you have to enter and exit from the gable end if it's raining.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2014 at 6:00PM
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I don't have them. little rain here.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2014 at 7:51PM
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    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 8:56PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

We have them on the front of our house as that's where the foundation is and it's to protect the foundation. We don't have them on the backside as we have a full walkout in the rear so the water won't build up around the foundation. We also added them over the deck so it doesn't drip and splash on us when it's raining. If you have a basement or crawl space, you definitely want a way of draining the water away from your foundation rather than having it seep through it.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 1:22AM
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Please correct me if I am wrong, folks. My understanding is that the gutter is the top of the rainwater management system of a house. The downspouts are another visible part and we all know they need to direct the rain away from the house. But in most, many, some? homes, there is also a drainage system built along the outside of the foundation. Underground, where you can't see it. This system catches the rain that runs down the sides of the house and that the sump (if you have one) brings up, and directs it to flow around the house to the downhill side of the house and away. In the old days, these rainwater drains were sometimes attached to the city sewerage system. In the 1960s through 1990s, as the municipalities improved the water treatment they gave the sewage they collected, they decided to separate the rainwater collection systems of these old houses from the sewage system, thereby greatly decreasing the volume of sewage they had to treat. You still sometimes see a city doing "sewage separation" projects, and that is what they are doing - directing that rainwater in their systems go one place, that sewage be kept separate so that they can be treated without all that extra rainwater swelling the volume.

By managing the rainwater on the outside of your foundation, the drain system not only keeps your basement dry, but it maintains a more steady and predictable pressure on the basement walls. If the ground outside is saturated, it exerts enormous pressure on the walls of the basement. That is why the area around a home's basement walls is filled with materials with predictable drain-ability. If it were clay, it would sit there absorbing water more and more until it moved your basement wall and collapsed it. Pea gravel or sand or whatever they use drains well.

Am I right about all of this?

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 3:48PM
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Thank you for your informed replies. We are in a doublewide mobile home which is on a slab.

I spoke with a neighbor yesterday about it and he said that with no gutters, winter thaw rain would freeze on steps where it falls, which I hadn't even thought of. We do have a covered front door/deck so that visitors don't have to stand in the rain, but I guess the gutters are a necessary evil in any event.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 5:31AM
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