Do I Need Gutters Around My Entire House?

Photo of gutters going around an entire house. Do I Need Gutters Around My Entire House?

Despite popular belief, gutter systems are very specific and require equally specific recommendations to help take proper care of your home. But do you really need gutters around your entire house? Here’s what you need to know!

Your gutter coverage will depend on the type of roof and house design and your climate. Gutters are installed in areas where runoff drips down, and the gutters can transfer it away from your home. Your house design and roof slope will determine how to install your gutters. This is part of why hiring a professional to come and assess your home is so important! I discuss gutter placement below and recommend alternatives to those who want them.

What are gutters, and what do they do

First, let’s take a look at what gutters are used for and why you need them. As you likely already know, gutters will collect water as it falls and disperse it through the gutter system and out the downspouts to push it away from home. Gutters allow your house’s roof to shed as much as possible immediately as it falls.

The other thing to think about as far as the main job, according to SFGATE, is that gutters will help protect your roof, siding, and foundation. This is what makes proper installation so important!

Houses need gutters because this important “transportation system” for rainwater keeps it from seeping into your roof or other surfaces it falls on. Even a small amount of water damage can be costly, so gutters help protect your essential systems.

Many wonder if gutters are essential. While some systems you can have in place of gutters, or some situations require different gutter needs, they are generally considered necessary.

Gutters vs. no gutters: the pros and cons

Before I go much further, let’s take a moment to compare the pros of having gutters with the cons of having gutters (which are simultaneously the pros of no gutters).

Pros of gutters

  • Protect your home from water damage
  • Redirect water elsewhere
  • Improve your home’s value

Cons of gutters

  • Can be expensive to maintain
  • Need regular maintenance 

The verdict on gutters vs. no gutters

What does it mean when considering whether you should have gutters or not have gutters? You should have gutters if you get any rain throughout the year. Gutters remove water from your rooftop and protect your home more than you might know. Gutter systems are the standard options.

Pros and cons of having gutters installed on your home

If you find yourself in a situation where you have to install gutters on your home, either during a brand-new build or as a retrofit. In that case, there are some considerations to consider on the positive and negative side. Take a look.

Pros of gutter installation

  • Choose your material type
  • Choose your gutter type
  • Protect your home and make it look great

Cons of gutter installation

  • Costly to install
  • Can change the look of the roof

If you’re someone who likes to understand different kinds of options, those pros are going to be pretty appealing. If the cons make you feel apprehensive, keep reading for alternatives that can help.

Should I get seamless or sectional gutters?

Forbes Home explains that seamless gutters are generally easier to maintain than sectional ones. This is because they don’t have the joints that can cause debris to build up and create a clog. Seamless gutters will still need to be emptied after storms to prevent clogging, but it will be less work.

The best type of gutters for your house

There are several types of gutters that you can consider installing on your home’s roof. The most popular ones include the following:

  • K style
  • Half-round
  • Box style

K style 

These are the most popular types of gutters in modern-day design. They look nice and often imitate the front view of crown molding, which is a beautiful decor aspect to continue from your home’s interior to your exterior.


These are the classic options that most historical and older homes have. They are beautiful, traditional, and easier to clean than other options. This is thanks to the shape that allows for a simple wipe-down.

Box style 

These kinds of gutters have a really discreet profile and are great for those who strongly dislike the look of classic gutters. However, they are mounted underneath shingles, so they can only be installed during a new build.

Tips for keeping your gutters clean and functional

Without question, one of the most frustrating things about gutter systems is keeping your gutters clean and in working order, right? You have to clean out leaves and other debris regularly. Do it at least twice a year before and after each large storm.

The other main facet of gutter care is to take proper care of downspouts. Keep the areas around them clean, and ensure that your downspouts get cleared of leaf debris as often as the rest of your gutters.

What happens if you don’t have gutters on your house?

If you don’t have gutters on your house and no other kind of system to step in to replace it, you’ll find that water will get backed up into your roofing and walls very quickly. It often will make its way into your home very quickly as well.

The other thing to think about is that water simply dripping down the side of your home can weaken your foundation and even erode soil and other kinds of groundwork.

How many gutters should a house have?

Experts agree that you should have a gutter on every part of your roof with a downslope. Or any area where water would naturally collect.

On every downslope

How much does it cost to have gutters put around your house?

Most homes can install gutters for about $2 000 or less. It’s an affordable and essential part of your home’s proper care. Make sure you get a consultation done first to help protect your budget by understanding your home type needs!

Do you need gutters if your house is on a slab?

Yes, you’ll still need to protect your slab foundation from water damage and the potential for weakening its construction as much as any other foundation type.

Why do some houses have no gutters?

Some houses do not have gutters, but they still seem perfectly fine. What’s going on, and how are they okay?

Most homes you see with no gutters have some sort of option that I’ll discuss below. It might be invisible, or close to it, for the naked eye, but it focuses on water displacement for your protection.

Another reason is that their roof design doesn’t require gutters. According to Copper, flat roofs use scuppers, which redirect water to a hole and encourage it to pass through. Other steep-angled roofs pass water fine on their own and don’t require formal gutter systems.

The other main reason for not requiring formal gutters is that their elevation is so steep on their property that water will just run off and drain away from home naturally.

What can I use instead of gutters?

The three main alternatives to gutters are:

  • Ground gutters
  • Drip edge
  • Drip path

Ground gutters

These gutter systems collect water from the ground and redirect it underneath it, away from your home. It just takes water from your roof and redirects it to keep your home’s foundation safe.

Drip edge

This is very common in those parts of the roof that don’t take on much water. They’re used to keep from damaging your roof’s fascia and soffit. They’re very discreet and practical choices for low-rainfall climates.

Drip path

This is a careful design of stones that help direct the water on a particular path away from your home so that you can use it to keep your home safe and sound. You’ll love that you’ll be able to create a little pathway for your water runoff to succeed, and it tends to look nicer than other options.

How do you handle rain runoff without gutters?

If gutter systems handle the runoff, how is that water runoff handled properly when you don’t have the systems in place? The answer is that there’s always something. 

The most common is that they have options that were listed above. If they don’t, they often will rely on specific yard grading that uses landscaping means to help create enough of a path for drainage that no water will collect. This often requires special design from an experienced professional.

While gutters aren’t your only option, they are your best option when considering proper protection from rain and the damage it can cause to your roof, walls, and foundation. Your climate, roof slope, and house design determine how much gutter coverage you need. Your climate and average rainfall will also determine what kind of coverage you should look for.

If you know someone trying to figure out their gutter situation, consider sharing this with them to help!

Rosa Peterson

Rose is the writer and creator of Better That Home, a blog about home design and decor. Rose has been designing spaces for over 10 years and writing home design and decor for big publishers. She has been inspired by many other creatives from around the world and loves to share those inspirations with her readers. Read more about Rose here