Those who are new to home maintenance and ownership may wonder if gutters are really necessary in a typical single-family home or if they are just there for decoration. But while professionally installed gutters create a clean, crisp edge around your home’s roofline, their primary purpose is much more than just to serve as a decorative element.
Gutter systems are installed on every new home and are built as a way to divert rainwater away from your home’s foundation and siding. When you keep your gutters free of debris, this is your home’s best line of defense against water intrusion. But that’s not all, so today, we’ll discuss if your home actually needs gutters.
Rain gutters are generally made from plastic, copper, or aluminum and function to channel water away from your home. They are specially designed to reduce erosion by diverting water to a safer area such as a drain. Gutters do have a limited capacity and can overflow, but they still work to remove large amounts of water from your roof.
Gutters are placed around your home’s roof to catch stormwater as it washes down your structure. The system works to channel the water into downspouts where it exits away from the house. Redirecting this water helps to reduce or prevent the ground around your home from eroding, which lowers your risk of foundation damage and basement flooding.
Now that you understand how gutters work, let’s discuss why they should be installed in every home.
1. Prevent Erosion
Houses built to code are constructed on a slight slope that helps guide the water away from the foundation. As we mentioned, when water flows off your home without the help of gutters, the water begins washing away the soil, taking more and more each time it rains.
If not fixed, this will cause your slightly sloped landscaping to wear down, allowing the water to run off toward your home rather than away from it. Erosion will cause the foundation to settle, and you may begin noticing uneven floors and cracked chimneys and walls.
2. Protects Your Home’s Siding
When storm runoff flows down your siding, it’s also carrying small asphalt shingle particles, dirt, leaves, and other debris, which can result in unsightly stains. This will make your home appear unkempt and dreary, thus negatively impacting its curb appeal.
However, it’s not all about aesthetics, though. Throughout the years, water streams can rot your siding, particularly if it’s made from wood. Rotten siding is not only unsightly to look at, but it also creates holes that allow pests to enter your home over time. What’s worse is that after enough water has seeped into the siding; your home’s structural integrity may be affected, leading to costly repairs and a challenging fix.
3. Prevent Basement Flooding
Soil that is saturated with water is extremely heavy. This means water that runs off the roof and pools near your home puts your foundation under immense pressure. If left unrepaired, it can lead to the basement walls pushing inward or even cracking.
Cracks in foundation walls allow water to seep in, and with enough rain, it will flood your basement. And even if not large amounts of water enter, the excessive moisture promotes mold growth and could pose health risks.
4. Protect Landscaping
The majority of homeowners plant flowers and shrubs next to their homes, creating pretty aesthetics and a guard against winter’s blustery winds. If your home is not outfitted with gutters, your gorgeous garden beds may eventually wash away.
Even with minimal erosion, water will begin to pool in your garden bed and can drown your plants. In the winter, melting snow drips down and freezes overnight, turning into solid sheets of ice that can even kill evergreen shrubs.
5. The Bottom Line
Ultimately, gutters are your home’s best defense against water intrusion and erosion. And if you decide to install gutters on your single-family home, you also need to ensure that you maintain them with regular cleanings. The good news is that investing in a gutter system is an easy way to save yourself many headaches and costly repairs in the future. So, don’t wait! Call a professional gutter company today and get an estimate!