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How Long can a House go Without Gutters?

A house should have gutters to protect it from water damage, so the question of how long a house can go without gutters is dependent on how much water damage you are willing to sustain to the structure.

Some houses don’t have gutters and don’t need gutters installed.

Homes older than 75 years rarely have gutters since gutters first appeared in home construction in the mid-1900s. These homes could be fitted with gutters if rainwater management is proving necessary.

Homes in largely sunny and dry areas are seldom constructed with gutters. The sporadic nature of rainfall in these areas makes it unnecessary to install gutters. There are, however, other strategies used in such areas that are more efficient in managing floods and heavy rain the few times they occur.

If your roof has a sufficient enough allowance that rainwater does not pool around the house or leech directly into the ground on which the house is constructed. Even this allowance does not sufficiently protect the house from water damage.

In other words, if you live in an area where rainfall is reliable, consistent, and at times heavy and destructive, you must install gutters if you do not have them. Gutters protect the integrity of your home and the surrounding environment from the following;

  • Basement flooding
  • Damage to the foundation
  • Water damage to the exterior of your home
  • Formation of standing pools and troughs
  • Damage to the landscaping around your home

Basement flooding

This is a major concern for anyone who owns a home. If the basement floods, removing all that water is an expensive affair not to mention the damage left behind by water to all the property stored there that may have to be discarded.

In the absence of any structural or architectural issues that may cause the basement to flood, gutters do an excellent job at preventing this by directing massive volumes of rainwater away from the house and depositing the water down a spout that may collect the water for use or lead the water through to a dedicated drainage channel.

Depending on the size and slope of your roof and the efficiency of the gutters, up to 80% of rainwater can be directed away from your house which is monumental protection from water damage.

Damage to the foundation

When rainwater falls to the ground, a substantial amount leeches into the ground and it is only after the ground is saturated and cannot absorb more, does the place begin to flood.

If this much water leeches into the ground that directly supports your home, it will reach and soak into the foundation.

It will only be a matter of time before your home is structurally compromised and this kind of damage puts you and your family in mortal danger.

Gutters direct water away from the ground on which your home rests protecting the foundation from water damage.

Water damage to the exterior of your home

Flowing rainwater that is not trapped and redirected by a gutter system will have to flow against the sides and walls of your home and over time, the paint will peel, mold and mildew will grow and the general look of the exterior will deteriorate.

Once the weather changes and hotter months come, the walls will begin to dry and cracks will form. Altogether, the exterior of your house will begin to fall apart, and if this is not stemmed, may progress deeper creating weaknesses that will cause the walls to crumble.

Gutters prevent this and water damage of this kind is very rare even in areas where rainfall is common and at times heavy. A properly installed gutter system is essential to prevent damage to your house.

Formation of standing pools and troughs

As rainwater falls to the ground from the roof of your home, it erodes the soil around the house and with time creates a depression or a trough around your house.

Even if you fill this trough with gravel, soil, and other materials, subsequent pours will dig this trench anew every time.

As unsightly as it is, it is the standing water that will eventually collect there that is the problem. This water creates a dirty, damp environment and attracts the breeding of mosquitoes.

Around the compound, uncontrolled water will pool wherever there is a depression creating little pools of muddy water all over.

A gutter system coupled with proper planning to allow rainwater to drain appropriately will prevent this from happening to begin with.

Damage to the landscaping around your home

All the work you have put in to make your home look lovely and inviting could go to waste if you do not install gutters.

By directing water away from the perimeter of the house, gutters will protect all that beautiful gardening that graces the exterior of the house.

It would not take much to destroy landscaping and rainwater will easily wash away all the plants, trees, and other decor surrounding your house in one afternoon of heavy downpour.

An ancillary benefit of landscaping outside the house is the protection that it offers against floods forming outside your house but in the event of a powerful downpour, it is the landscaping that bears the brunt of all the force of the water falling from the roof directly onto it.

Once it is washed away or destroyed, not only do you end up with an ugly front yard but even the protection that the greenery offered is gone. This in turn exposes the exterior of your home to water damage and water stagnation.


You cannot go too long without installing gutters if you reside in an area that experiences rainfall regularly or heavily.

The cost of installing gutters is minimal compared to the cost of attending to the damage caused by uncontrolled rainwater. In the case of basement flooding, the cost could be phenomenal.

If the foundations of your house prove to be too weak to sustain the structural integrity of the house then the cost is a new house. The best thing to do is to install gutters presently.