Where to Use Gutters

  • Gutters do the most good in heavy rainfall areas and on buildings with little or no overhang.
  • Gutters should always be used where houses are built on clay and other frost-susceptible soils (some expansive clays can crack a foundation without freezing; they need only be wet).
  • Use gutters wherever roof run-off creates a splashback problem that might accelerate the deterioration of entry steps, decks, and siding.
  • Gutters go a long way toward solving basement water problems. For this reason they are required by code in some places.

Without Gutters

If you don’t use gutters, it’s best to cap the backfill with an impermeable soil layer around the house and slope the grade away from the house at least one inch per foot. Rectangular flagstones laid below the roof’s drip line are another option: they’ll prevent erosion and cause most of the water to splash away from the foundation.

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