If you just bought a house, you may be shocked to discover it doesn’t have gutters. How did you overlook this during the inspection? Now you’re left with the task of installing gutters and downspouts. Depending on the size of your house, a full-blown gutter installation could cost several thousand dollars. But since clogged rain gutters can cause serious damage, should you even bother installing them? Why does a house need gutters, anyway?
Your gutters are responsible for water management. During a storm, they effectively channel water flow from your roof, through the downspouts, and direct it to appropriate areas outside the home. Without a gutter system or without proper maintenance from a gutter cleaning company, your roof can pick up a bunch of leaves and other debris, causing water to stagnate and overflow. This can make your home vulnerable to rotting, rusting, and other damage.
In addition, gutters prevent water from settling around your basement. When water overflows from your roof, it can seep into your foundation and slowly weaken everything that supports your structure.
This seems like a logical train of thought, but the reason clogged gutters cause damage is because they let water flow over the sides, where it pools all around the foundation. If you don’t have gutters and downspouts to direct runoff away from your home, this will happen every time it rains. Here are four reasons to install gutters on your new house.
#1 – Prevent Erosion
Homes built to code are situated on a slight slope to guide runoff away from the foundation. If rain flows off your roof because you have no gutters, the water causes massive erosion, washing away more and more soil each time it rains. This causes your carefully sloped landscape to wear down, allowing runoff to flow toward your home instead of away from it.
Erosion also causes the foundation to settle. Eventually, you may start to notice uneven floors and cracked walls and chimneys as a result.
#2 – Protect Garden Beds
Many homeowners enjoy planting flowers and shrubs right next to the house. This creates a pleasing aesthetic and can act as a windbreaker to guard against blustery winter weather. If soil erosion occurs because you don’t have gutters, your garden could literally wash away.
Even if erosion is minimal, puddles of water will form in your garden bed and drown your plants. Melting snow will also drip down and freeze overnight into solid sheets of ice that could kill evergreen shrubs.
#3 – Prevent Basement Flooding
When soil is saturated with water, it becomes incredibly heavy. This means the water running off your roof and pooling around the house places tremendous pressure on the foundation. Over time, this may cause basement walls to push inward or crack.
Tiny cracks in your foundation walls allow water to flow in and flood your basement. Even if the amount of water entering doesn’t appear substantial, this excessive moisture promotes mold growth, which could become a health hazard.
#4 – Protect the Siding
When rainwater carries leaves, dirt, and tiny asphalt shingle particles down the siding, this results in unsightly staining. Your home looks dreary and unkempt when this happens, negatively impacting your curb appeal.
The effects aren’t purely aesthetic, either. Over time, streams of rainwater can begin to rot your siding, especially if it’s made of wood. Rotten siding looks unappealing, but more importantly, it creates holes that invite pests into your home. If enough water seeps through the siding, it could affect your home’s structural integrity and become extremely expensive and difficult to fix.