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Are Gutters Actually Necessary? Pros, Cons, Types, & FAQ

man installing roof gutter

Most people have a basic understanding of what gutters are, but have you ever thought about why they exist? They’re not just an aesthetic piece. In fact, gutters are there for preventative purposes and can help prevent tens of thousands of dollars of damage.

So, the short answer is yes, gutters are necessary, but why? We answer that question for you here and dive into everything else that you need to know about gutters.

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How Do Gutters Work?

Gutters have a simple design, so it’s easy to understand how they work. The roof of a house slopes downward to direct water, rain, and debris off it. Without gutters, rain and debris will fall right down the side of your home and land around the foundation.

Gutters are installed at the edge of the roof and gently slope in one direction. They direct the water down and away from your home, which helps protect the foundation.

man cleaning gutter
Image By: Rob Bayer, Shutterstock

What Are the Different Types of Gutters?

Gutters seem quite simple: They divert rain away from your home, and your roof needs them.

But there are many different types of gutters out there, with three main options to pick from: K-style, half-round, and box. Furthermore, you can find all three types of gutters in a variety of materials.

K-style gutters look more like trim and molding from the outside, so they nicely accent many homes. They’re also the most affordable options, but they do clog easier and often don’t last as long as other gutter options.

Half-round gutters look just like a semi-circle. But while it’s a simple-looking design, since there are no flat edges anywhere, these gutters can be more challenging to install. However, the shape helps prevent clogging.

Finally, box gutters are the most common gutters. They’re extremely affordable, lightweight, and simple to install. But they can warp over time.

house exterior showing the gutter and downspout
Image By: Zachary Keimig, Unsplash

Where Are They Used?

You can find gutters near the roof’s edge on many homes and buildings. They’re a common accessory on most homes because of how much protection they offer and how effective they are at diverting rainwater away from the houses’ foundations.

In fact, if your home doesn’t have gutters, you should get them installed as soon as possible. They’re relatively inexpensive but go a long way in preventing long-term damage around your home.

Advantages of Gutters

Most houses have gutters for protection. These small devices direct rainwater to a select location where it’s diverted even farther away from the home.

This helps protect the foundation and siding from major structural damage over time. While you might not want to deal with the cost of gutter installation now, foundation work later will cost far more.

gutter installation
Image Credit: ronstik, Shutterstock

Disadvantages of Gutters

The primary disadvantage of gutters is that they can clog up over time from various debris. This is especially common if you have large trees on your property, but even if you don’t, you should clean out the gutters every year.

If you don’t clean out the gutters when they clog up, it’s much like not having gutters in the first place.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are the answers to frequently asked questions about gutters.

What Happens If You Don’t Install Gutters?

The short-term answer to this question is that not much is likely to happen right away. However, over the long term, excessive amounts of rainwater will leak into the siding of your house and down into the foundation, and this can lead to expensive-to-repair damage.

Do You Need Gutters Around Your Entire Home?

Most of the time, you do not need gutters around the entire house. You just need them wherever the roof slopes, which means you typically only need gutters on two sides of your home, not all four.

installing plastic roof gutter
Image Credit: Radovan1, Shutterstock

Do Gutters Increase Your Home’s Value?

While you might hope that adding gutters to your home will increase its value, it unfortunately won’t. However, not having gutters on the home will hurt the value by the same amount that it costs to install them. Potential homebuyers expect the house to already have functioning gutters.

How Much Do New Gutters Cost?

It depends on the style, material, and how large your house is, but you can expect to spend anywhere between $10 to $25 per foot on average for a gutter system.

For instance, if your home is 20 feet across and you need gutters on two sides, you can expect to spend between $400 and $1,000, depending on the gutter style and material that you go with.

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A Quick Reference Guide

When You Need Gutters:
  • When it rains
  • If you have a basement
  • If you live near a slope
  • If the surrounding soil readily absorbs water
When Might Not Need Gutters:
  • If your home has a large overhang
  • If you don’t get much precipitation
  • If there’s concrete around your entire home
rainwater leaking out from the gutter
Image Credit: sandid, Pixabay

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Now that you know more about gutters, it’s time for you to take a look at the gutters around your house — you might need to clean them out! If your home doesn’t have gutters, you should consider getting them as soon as possible so you won’t need to spend thousands of dollars in repairs down the road. They might not look like much, but they do so much for your home!

Featured Image Credit: Jasmine Sahin, Shutterstock


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