A gutter system is designed to safely channel water runoff from your roof away from the house and safely down the storm drain. Although installing gutters for an average-sized home could easily cost a few thousand dollars, you should never skimp on it because it helps keep your home safe in more ways than one, as explained below.
Without a gutter system, water runoff from the roof will just trickle down around the house and along the roof edge. Most of it will splash back into your walls and through openings such as windows, doorways, and roof eaves. This, in turn, creates moist spots in different parts of the home which, in turn, encourage mold growth.
Mold growth is well-known for creating ugly dark patches on surfaces and emitting a foul odor. Even worse, mold growth can be a possible health hazard, as mold spores can trigger allergies and other respiratory issues.
A gutter system greatly reduces the amount of water that can accumulate into moisture spots. As long as the gutter trough is free of debris that can clog the downspout, there will be less water splashing around the house every time it rains. This means there will be fewer spots where mold can grow.
A house’s foundation carries the entire weight of the structure, and is responsible for keeping the house structurally stable. Though it's incredibly durable, it can still slowly sustain damage and weaken over time because of soil liquefaction.
Soil liquefaction occurs when the soil is saturated by water. The water causes the soil’s particles to loosen up. Unfortunately, the sheer weight of the home’s foundation (plus the weight it’s carrying) could cause it to sink further down. Because the foundation’s columns are sitting on soil of varying degrees of liquefaction, it could mean that some portions of the foundation sink more than others, causing unequal loads that later lead to cracking.
A gutter system prevents this problem by significantly reducing the amount of rainwater that falls straight off the edge of the roof and into the soil close to the home’s foundations. Water channeled by the gutter ends up in the storm drain, which is appropriately lined to keep most of the water from seeping into the ground.
If your home has a basement, then you may have seen it flooded after rain at least once. If doors, windows, and walls could take some water in because the home lacks a gutter, imagine how much more water a basement would take in after a series of strong rains.
Flooded basements are not just unsightly, but can also be dangerous for multiple reasons. Aside from serving as a breeding ground for bacteria and pests, it could also increase the risk of foundation damage, not to mention the water can seep through the walls and end up causing short circuits as wires and outlets in the walls are exposed to moisture.
Although the gutter is primarily meant to channel water runoff safely, they also serve as an immediate physical barrier. If a house doesn’t have a gutter system installed, rainwater could easily seep into the roof’s fascia and soffit. If left unchecked, the moisture might also seep into the trusses and deck, bypassing the shingles and sheathing that protect the roof from water coming from above. This could lead to the roof being severely weakened, making it more likely to collapse because of strong winds or heavy snow buildup.
A gutter system runs along the lip of the roof’s edge, secured to the fascia. This means that instead of seeping along the edge of the roof, water runoff will harmlessly flow into the gutter’s non-porous walls.
Keep in mind that although gutters do prevent rainwater from damaging parts of your house, they are also susceptible to corrosion and general wear and tear. If not maintained properly, there's a good chance the gutters themselves would rot and eventually lose their effectiveness. For that reason, make sure you perform regular maintenance on your gutters. It's also an excellent idea to choose a durable gutter to begin with and incorporate gutter guards to maximize the system's efficiency.
The gutter system may not be as prominent as the roof and the siding, but it’s still an important part of your home’s protection against the elements. Make sure you have a high-quality gutter installed, keep it well-maintained and clog-free, and you can expect your home to experience much fewer moisture-related issues for years.