Gutter Alternatives

If you don't like the look of traditional gutters, you may want to consider gutter alternatives. Several reasonable alternatives to traditional gutters will keep water from entering under the eaves of your roof or collecting around your foundation.

Gutter Alternatives To Keep Your Home Dry

The primary purpose for gutters is to move the water from your roof away from your home. Roof runoff can splash back on walls leaving stains, causing basement flooding and seepage into eaves and vents, causing interior water damage. If you'd like to protect your home, while giving it a clean, uncluttered look, here are some gutter alternatives to consider:

  • Start with grading. Begin the process of protecting your home from roof runoff by inspecting the grading around your house. Your yard should slope away from your home on all sides, with no low spots to collect water and no high spots to hold water back. Proper grading can have a major impact on the amount of standing water around your house.
  • Dispersal systems. There are several runoff dispersal systems on the market that scatter runoff, diffusing it like raindrops. Runoff dispersal systems typically use a series of louvers or screens to spread the water over a larger area, reducing its impact on the ground below. These systems install along the roof edge like gutters, but are much less obtrusive than traditional gutters.
  • The French connection. A French drain is typically constructed by creating a 2' by 2' trench under the roof edge around the house. A perforated drainage pipe is laid along the bottom of the trench and the trench is backfilled with gravel. French drains are an excellent way to carry away rainwater, but the gravel trench around the house can pose a landscaping challenge.
  • Down the waterspout. If you're drawn to gutters, but would like to dress them up a bit, consider replacing the downspouts with rain chains. Know as "kusari doi" in Japan, rain chains connect to the downspout of a traditional gutter. The links of chain (sometimes replaced with decorative cups) allow water drops to trickle down in a controlled manner. By slowing the water down, there is less erosion (and need for erosion control) around the base of the rain chain.
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Gutter cleaning, care and maintenance are necessary if you hope to keep water damage at bay. Metal gutters should be cleaned several times a year and should be painted as needed. Plastic gutters can crack if ice develops in them during colder months. If you take proper care of your gutters, they will provide water protection for your home for many years.

Although water is a necessary part of sustaining life, when it arrives in large quantities and is allowed to build-up, this vital element can quickly become menacing.

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