How necessary are gutters?

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Old 08-26-15, 01:58 PM
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How necessary are gutters?

I've never had a house withOUT gutters, so it's weird to ask this question. We just bought an older house in Northern AZ - it's apparently very common here for houses, especially old ones, not to have gutters. While we don't get as much rain as Florida or Washington say, we DO get a fair amount of monsoon rain in the summer. The storms move in usually midday, rain very hard and very fast, and move out again within an hour or two max.

The house is built on a hill and has a lower "half-basement" level. See my very crude drawing below...there is a rock "drainage" area that line the dirt sides of the house, to the left of the garage and all along the backside of the house, and up around the front of the house opposite the garage. Everywhere else is concrete. I'm not sure if this is a French drain system or not, I think it's just rock put there to divert the water coming off the roof. Not 100% sure.

The biggest problem area for us right now is the front of the house - there is a concrete step up before the front door, right where the roof angles, and because there are no gutters, water just pours down on that concrete, right where we go in the front door. My husband is thinking of installing gutters just on the front section of the house mostly to get the water away from the front door. We'd like to avoid spending the money on doing the entire house, but I'm not sure if that will cause problems over time. Thoughts?

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  #2  
Old 08-26-15, 04:42 PM
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Gutters are a common and inexpensive way to get water away from the house but they are not the only method. If you don't have gutters it is common to put a diverter or short section of gutter above entrances so you're not walking through a shower when it rains. If your house does not have gutters now then adding them should not cause a problem other than to lighten your wallet a bit.
 
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Old 08-26-15, 07:14 PM
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Go on the search funtion on this or any DIY website and and see 1000's of people dealing with moisture issues in crawl spaces and basements, fungus or mold eaten floor joist, all caused from lack of a slope around the foundation, no gutters, mulch or flower beds against the foundation.
 
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Old 08-26-15, 08:52 PM
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I wouldn't do without gutters anywhere I live as they help protect both the back and front of the house. As Joecaption stated so well mold and fungus can get into your house and actually start eating your house. After the fungus and mold come the vermin and bugs so definitely gutters are needed. Besides protecting your house though in your area you will find water restrictions so having gutters and a rain collection system will help you in your watering efforts. If you have a big enough tank you could use that water all summer long to water your plants.
 
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Old 08-26-15, 10:28 PM
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I have a home built in 1920 with a full basement in MN. No gutters, no problems. I permanently removed the only gutter when I bought the place and replaced some fascia boards. The home is built on a hill, has flowerbeds, and somewhat sandy soil in the area. Basement stays dry and no mold or mildew issues present due to lack of gutters.

This is a very situational subject IMO...
 
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Old 08-27-15, 02:41 AM
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Personally, I would probably install gutters all around to be on the safe side. Having said that, if the house has no issues at all until now with mold or mildew I guess just using a diverter as Dane suggested is a valid option.
 
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Old 08-27-15, 05:00 AM
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My house is on a hill and I don't have a basement. The ground is mostly slate rock. My house doesn't have gutters other than a short 5' section over the steps going to the front porch. My crawlspace stays bone dry. As xjfish stated a lot depends on the property the house sits on. I'm inclined to agree if there are no issues present from not having gutters there shouldn't be any worries. If you do install gutters be sure the downspout is directed far enough away so the concentrated amount of water doesn't start an issue.
 
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Old 08-27-15, 07:52 AM
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I think that the other posters have covered many of the serious aspects of gutters.
However, regarding "necessary" gutters:
Years ago, a buddy of mine had a lake house-located over the water, built on pilings. Rain would run off the edge of the roof and fall directly into the lake.His wife wanted gutters. So, he installed gutters, and downspouts, which directed the rain....into the lake.

When I asked him why, he replied "she's a great cook".......
 
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Old 08-27-15, 08:14 AM
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I don't have gutters but the grading around my house is excellent to the extent that I don't even have a pump in the sump pit because there's never any water in it. That said, I would like to put a gutter over the front of the garage as it makes a mess of the driveway when snow and ice are melting.
 
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Old 08-27-15, 10:40 AM
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Thanks for all of the thoughts and opinions. I never noticed until we bought this house, but 95% of the homes in my neighborhood (or even the entire town for that matter) do not have gutters. The only neighborhoods where all the house have gutters are the newer tract homes, built within the last 5 years or so. Majority of the homes in our neighborhood were built before 1990. I can't imagine that every home without gutters in the town has mold/foundation issues.

That being said, we are probably going to install gutters across the front of the house and the side where we have a wood deck. There's a lower level below the decking, and when it rains (as we discovered yesterday) the water pours down off of the eave above our bay window, through the decking (where it's actually taking off some of the paint) and splashes up toward the window directly below on the second level. We have dual pane windows and can see some condensation building up in between, which leads us to believe there is a small leak on the outside of the window somewhere, impacted by the flow of water down from our upper level.

Next question - who has installed gutters themselves and would you recommend it? My husband saw 10 ft sections of gutter at Home Depot for $4 and is now convinced it will be cheap and easy to DIY. I'm mildly afraid of it not being that easy, and perhaps looking crappy when he's done. We know a contractor with a seamless gutter machine that could give us a quote...we've already sunk quite a bit of our savings into this house and I hate to spend much more than $500 on something like this. Should I expect to pay more or less either way?? Thanks in advance to anyone who can speculate.
 
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Old 08-27-15, 11:23 AM
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How long are the runs? I bought/installed gutters from Lowes for my shop but having seamless gutters is really nice!
 
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Old 08-27-15, 11:31 AM
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I would install those gutters only if you needed runs of less than 10', otherwise have seamless gutters installed for you.

Sometimes DIY makes sense but gutters are one time where you generally come out better having someone do it for you, as you get gutters without leak-prone joints that way.
 
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Old 08-29-15, 08:00 PM
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I think there are a couple 10 ft runs, and a few that are longer. We got a rough estimate on seamless gutters - $300. I would be okay paying that but my husband feels like he's wanting to do it himself to save $$. I'm concerned mostly about it looking crappy, especially since it's the front of our house.
 
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Old 08-30-15, 04:41 AM
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A decent looking job can be done diy, the biggest drawback is having seems that might leak later on. The other thing is hanging them correctly. The gutter needs to be tilted toward the downspout so it will drain but not so much that it looks strange. It is a lot easier to hang a gutter with help than solo!
 
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