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WOOD GUTTERS It may be tempting to just rip them off, but wooden gutters are usually worth saving Downspouts and drainage lines prevent water buildup in the ground next to the foundation, which can cause frost damage in the winter. The importance of this should not be underestimated. I know of a building in Portland, Maine, with a foundation wall that has buckled inward 3 1/2 inches since the gutters were removed just four years ago. Water drainage. Gutters are a key element in the drainage system that extends from the ridge of the roof, down the side of the building, and across the grounds. They protect siding and windows from the slow but steady damage caused by rain. Aesthetics.