Gutters are an important aspect of most home’s roofing systems. But some homeowners notice, sometimes after years of living there, that their home doesn’t have gutters. Whether you’re just moving into a new home that doesn’t have gutters, or if you just realized that your home has no gutters, and hasn’t for a while yet, here’s what you need to know. From understanding what rain gutters do to deciding if you need to have gutters installed, we’ve got answers to all of your gutter questions:
Understanding Rain Gutters
Before you can decide whether you need to install gutters right away, or just leave your home the way it is, it’s important to understand why rain gutters exist, and what they do.
The most basic explanation is that gutters direct rain away from your home. A gutter system catches water from rain and melting snow as it runs down the side of your roof. Then, the gutters direct that collected water into a downspout or drain, where it can be safely directed away from your home.
Gutters work to:
- Keep your foundation from eroding
- Keep your landscaping intact
- Avoid water damage to your siding and exterior
Why Your House Might Not Have Gutters
Now that we know why rain gutters exist, let’s figure out why your house doesn’t have them.
- Steep Slope Roof — If your home’s roof has a very steep slope and a long overhang, it might already be working to direct rainwater away from your house. Steep roofs allow rain and snow to slide right off very easily, and if your overhang extends more than a foot past the side of your home, you’re unlikely to experience much damage from the displaced rainwater, except maybe to your landscaping.
- Arid Environment — Homes in places like Arizona and Utah often don’t have gutters because there isn’t that much rain to protect against. While these climates might get a few heavy rains a season, it’s not enough to warrant the installation and upkeep that gutters require.
- Very Old Home — Gutters weren’t always as common as they are now. If your home is pretty old, say 75-100 years at least, it’s possible that they just weren’t installed because that wasn’t what builders did. Gutters, as we think of them today, weren’t installed commonly on residential homes until the early to mid-1900s. If your home is older than that, it’s possible that gutters were just never installed after your home was built.
There are actually plenty of reasons that your house might not have gutters. If you’re worried about it, your best bet is to first talk to a roofer you trust, who can give you their honest, professional opinion about whether you need gutters or not. In the meantime, here are a few key signs it might be time to install gutters on your home:
Signs It’s Time to Install Gutters
If you’re noticing water problems in your home that you suspect are due to your roof’s lack of gutters, you’re probably right. Here are a few of the most common signs that gutters could improve the functionality and lifespan of your home:
If your home gets a lot of basement flooding when it rains, gutters could help. Depending on how your home is built, gutters could put a stop to much of that flooding. While some basement flooding is just a result of a bad slope that your home is built into, a home without gutters can allow water to pour directly down from your roof and onto your foundation.
Small cracks and pores in the foundation of your home can then let that water into your basement, which causes the flooding. With gutters, the rainwater can be safely directed into a downspout and out away from your home, minimizing the amount of water that can seep into your basement.
Rotted or Moldy Siding
This is a clear sign that gutters are in your future. If your roof doesn’t have much of an overhang, and no gutters, moldy or rotting siding is a key sign that water isn’t getting far enough away from your house. Instead, it’s rolling down your roof and onto the sides of your home. Then, that water becomes trapped behind the siding of your house, causing mold and rot that are bad for your home’s structure, appearance, and possibly even the health of your family.
Installing gutters can almost entirely eliminate this problem. Most of today’s siding was meant to take water head-on, not from above. When gutters are catching the water that would otherwise be falling down on siding, and redirecting it away from your home, those rot and mold issues should stop. The gutters stop water from seeping into the cracks of the siding and allow your house to do the best possible job of keeping your family safe and dry.
Troughs in your Landscaping or Next to Your Foundation
If you notice huge or deep divets in the ground next to your home, or in your landscaping, that’s a sign that you’re getting enough water to warrant gutters. These troughs or divets are caused by the constant pour of rain onto the ground from the height of your roof, and usually, they’re impossible to fill. Even if you do put dirt in them, over time, the rain will just wash it away.
This can also be a serious problem for your foundation if your roof doesn’t have much of an overhang. Constant pounding from rain can erode your foundation, causing structural issues for your home down the road.
By installing gutters, you can eliminate those troughs and divets from your landscaping, leaving you with a better looking front yard, and a better quality foundation holding up your home.
Is your house missing gutters? No problem — Werner Roofing offers a variety of gutter installation options to make sure your home gets the gutters it needs before the bad weather rolls back around. Get in touch via phone at 616-844-5382, or leave us a message online, and we’ll get back to you with a free, no-obligation quote.