Why Are Some Houses Built Without Gutters? (Explained)

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Gutters play a critical role in maintaining the functionality of a house. Unfortunately, some homeowners do not care about this and may only realize that their houses do not have gutters after many years or when the foundation is weak.

So whether you are moving to a newly constructed home or you have just realized that the home you have inhabited has no gutters, you may need to consider installing them.

Houses in areas that don’t experience too much rainfall may not need gutters. Even where the climate experiences heavy downpours, the rain may not be sufficient to warrant the installation of gutters. Also, some types of houses situated in areas that receive minimal rainfall may not need gutters.

Therefore, it is upon you to decide whether to install gutters or not. This is only possible after you understand why gutters exist in the first place. For your information, the main reason why you may need gutters is to help direct the rain away from home.

The system will collect water from the melting snow and rains and direct it to the drain or downspout. It helps to keep the landscape intact and reduce foundation erosion. Also, it reduces damage to the siding and exterior.

This notwithstanding, you will still find some houses that are built without gutters. Read on to understand more about gutters.

gutter (1)

Are Gutters Really Necessary On The House?

Steep over slope roof -houses with a steep over the slope and long overhang might not need gutters.

They already have a way via which water flows away from the house. Typically, the steep roofs allow the snow and the rain to slide off easily.

If the overhang extends, the displaced water may not cause much damage to the foundation and surrounding landscape.

Old homes- some homes between 50-100 years old may not have gutters because there were no builders to build the gutters at that time. It is the reason why most homes built in 1900 do not have gutters.

There are also plenty of other reasons why homes may not have gutters. The design of your home could also determine whether the builder includes the gutters or not. If it pours water away from the foundation, then there is no point in building gutters.

The landscape is also another critical thing that may determine whether you install gutters or not. Installation of gutters may be unnecessary if the terrain allows the water to flow and find its drainage.

When you notice diverts from the landscaping surrounding your home, it tells you that the home needs gutters. If left unattended for a long time, it can erode your foundation and weaken the structure of your house.

Gutters make up an important system for your house, and they are even more useful in areas where the ground slopes towards the house. So unless the roofer expressly says that there is no need for a gutter, it may be necessary that you install the gutters.

Some homes have no gutters depending on the location and whether the area receives plenty of rainfall and experiences water-related problems. So gutters are important and will help you to deal with the following issues:

Basement flooding – when you discover that your basement experiences regular flooding when it rains, it tells you that the building needs gutters. Gutters will help stop too much flooding and direct the water to the right collection point. In most cases, when water is allowed to pour into the foundation, it collects in the basement resulting in flooding.

There are always small pores and cracks in the foundation, allowing the water to get in and flood the basement. So installing gutters will direct the water into the downspout and reduce the amount of water likely to seep into the basement.

Rotting and moldy siding – when you see some rotting or mold on the wall, it is a sign that water is getting into your house from the roof.

The water gets trapped on the house’s siding that causes rot, which will eventually weaken the structure of your home. Also, if allowed to go on unchecked, it may compromise the health of people who live in the house.

Installing gutters can therefore help to solve the problem once and for all. They collect water and direct it to the drainage, which helps to stop the rot and eliminate molds. Gutters will prevent water from seeping into cracks and enable the house to keep the family safe and dry.

When rainwater from the roof falls directly on the ground, it will find its way out of the home through the nearest drainage.

The water may form troughs just next to your foundation. This tells you that gutters are necessary and could help collect water and direct it to appropriate drainage. But if you ignore them, they will pose a bigger problem for the foundation.

If you allow the pounding to continue, it may erode the foundation and cause the structures to weaken.

Installing gutters is, therefore, necessary and will help you maintain a better-looking yard. Also, it will help to maintain the quality of your foundation and make your house look better.

Regular snow and rainfall- if you live in an area that experiences regular rain and snow melting, you will need to install gutters to help protect your house from water damage.

house no gutters (1)

Why Are Houses Built Without Gutters?

There are many cases where the house may not need gutters. For instance, if your property is built with gutters’ function in mind, installing additional gutters increases your cost and may not add value to your house. Such a home may not require gutters.

Also, the landscape around your home may help to determine if it is necessary to erect gutters.

Suppose your home has plenty of concrete, patio, driveway, and even sidewalk. In such a case, they may provide the foundation that will protect it from the effect of rain and so it may not be necessary to install gutters.

For people living in arid areas that receive very little rainfall, installing gutters on their roofs may be unnecessary.

By the time it rains, the soil will be too dry to allow any collected water to run off. If you have a roof that overhangs that allows water to run off the ground from a safe distance, you may not need to install gutters.

In some cases, the roofers may advise against gutters. In such cases, you may not install the gutters. For instance, if the roofer feels that the gutter may ruin the facial board, which is 6 inches and supporting overhang, installing gutters on these roofs may only make the facial board rot.

However, before you decide that you need gutters, you must ascertain that no water will get into the foundation and damage it.

Of course, it is better for the facial board to rot than allowing water to seep into your foundation. It is easier to replace the facial board than to fix the foundation.

If the gutters experience regular clogging, they may not be meaningful to the house and will not be serving any purpose.

In such a case, the builder may consider avoiding the gutters. They may also decide to remove the existing gutters so that you don’t experience the clogging that may give you nightmares when it rains.

Some types of roofs do not need gutters. For instance, those that feature valleys where water collects before it flows to the drainage spot may not need gutters. Also, if your house has a hip roof with good drainage and a proper overhang, it may not need a roof.

Ranch houses do not need gutters because they feature shallow roofs that allow water to flow slowly. Such roofs feature valleys that produce streams of water. If the roofs feature an overhang of at least 10 inches, it allows water to drip slowly to the ground and to the drainage without causing any major damage to the basement.

Can Gutters Be Installed Afterward?

The best time to install the gutter is after constructing the roof. When you install a roof first, you reduce the risk of damaging the gutters when roofing. It also saves you from the need to uninstall and reinstall the gutters, and it greatly reduces the cost of painting or repainting.

It may be difficult to choose between installing the gutters first and replacing the existing roof during remodeling. But if resources allow, the first thing you may need to do is to replace the roof before the gutters.

This way, you do not need to uninstall the gutters when you finally decide to fix the roof. Also, fixing the roof first saves you from the headache of needing to repaint the gutters once again.

But when your gutters get damaged while you are still planning to install a new roof, you will have no option other than trying to install them before you consider installing a new roof.

If you are running a tight budget, you can install the gutters as a DIY task. All you need are the right materials and the tools to help you do the job.

Some of the tools you may need for the job include pop rivet, crimpers, offset tin snips, hax head driver, cordless drill, extension ladder, duckbill tin snips, and extension ladder, among others.

You also need special materials to help you carry out the job. They include:

  • Gutters
  • Downspouts
  • Elbows
  • Gutter sealant
  • Downspout
  • Gutter flashing
  • Hex screws
  • Rivets

Once you have collected the materials and the tools to use, you can immediately embark on the project. But first, you must inspect the fascia board so that if there are signs of rotting, you replace them before installing the gutter.

If the house has a crown molding or a trim board nailed to the fascia board before the shingles, consider removing them and add a strip of wood that can hold the gutters.

You can then locate and mark areas where your gutters will run. As you do this, ensure to mark the downspout spots. Measure the height of the downspout and guarantee to have a few feet of extension depending on where you want to direct the water.

For each downspout, you must put three elbows. Also, you will need both the front and side elbows.

Check out for locations with obstacles. The obstacles include electric meters, sidewalks, and hose bibs. Also, ensure that you place downspouts in a conspicuous location so that they can drain large areas of the roof. Ensure that the long gutters slope at 40 feet down in both directions. Here are the steps to follow to help you mount your gutter

Cut the gutters as per the measurements and join the parts on the ground. Ensure to cover the joints with a seam cover as the manufacturer recommends.

Use a tin snip to cut the front and the back sides and bend the gutters at the bottom. Notch the gutter by cutting a two-inch notch in front of the gutter.

Then using a tin snip and join the inside and the outside corner piece. Cutting a four-inch notch will ensure that it overlaps and notch the gutter appropriately.  Rivet the sections and install the gutters by screwing them on the facia board.

Raindrops falling beside a water chain, with a park in the background.

Can I Use A Rain Chain Without A Gutter?

Indeed, too much rain could a big challenge to your roof. So while roofing, you must install some mechanism that can direct water to the correct drain.

The use of a rain chain has therefore become important in helping to protect your house. However, it may not be possible to use a rain chain without a gutter. Besides, the rain chains can only replace the downspouts.

Notice that a rain chain can help to beautify the house while keeping water run-off from the roof. They are ornamental and will enhance the beauty of the home or garden. Rain chains are easy to install and do not require that you hire an expert to do the job for you.

They are reasonably priced and affordable. When installed in the garden, they help in watering the crops.

Also, rain chains are less susceptible to clogs, and they have no spaces for debris and leaves. Therefore, you may combine them with gutters to help keep the water off your foundation.

Rains chains are not just colorful but help to reduce the clogging problem commonly associated with gutters. They have no space for leaves and debris, and thus, they only allow water to move through to the drain.

So when you install them, you will worry less about clogging and blocked the system.

Such rain chains come with an added advantage: they enhance the home’s beauty and produce great sound when rain moves through them. Water will cascade through them and create a very good sound effect you will love to listen to.

Also, rain chains age gracefully. Therefore, once in a while, you will need to repair and repaint to make them sparkle and shine. They even become more attractive with time and may increase the value of your home. Most of them feature copper, which forms a unique green patina as it ages.

So other than serving as a downspout, they make the home look gorgeous. Also, they add beauty and function to your outdoor spaces and can make them unique and charismatic.

But to get the best out of the rain chains, you must install them correctly. Here is the way you can install the chains:

Firstly, you must identify the right spot to install them. Measure the distance from the ground to the gutter. It enables you to know the exact length of the chain to buy.

You may also need to make a hook on the gutter where you can hook your rain chain. Once attached, you will need to set up the chain to drain the water successfully.

Ensure to stake the end of the chain to the ground because it sometimes becomes susceptible to high wind.

Adding a rain chain receptacle or copper barrel, or even a basin at the end will allow you to harvest and reuse the water. If you can decorate the receptacle with plants, stones, or even rocks, it will beautify the place and add value to your house.

Is it possible to use rain chains without gutters? Yes, it is, unfortunately, such a rain chain will not get enough water to allow it to function well. Also, you can choose the cup-style rain chain, which will handle more water than link chains.

Once you have installed your rain chain, you need to test and see how it handles water. You can do the testing by running a hose on the roof for about 15 minutes to help you see how water is pooling. If your roof slopes well, it will tell you where to place the rain chain.

The best way is to attach the rain chain to the gutter’s downspouts, making great and well-looking drainage.

Attaching the rain chain to the downspout ensures that water moves to the rain chain before moving to the designated drainage.

Rain gutters system  on new house with chimney, red clay tiled r


At this point, you know why some houses do not have gutters. Therefore, if you have one that does not have gutters and you experience some of the problems we have mentioned here, know that your foundation is at risk, and so you’ll need to do something to help avert a crisis.

For that reason, let a competent builder assess and advise on whether or not it is necessary to install gutters.