Not sure if you need gutters around your entire house? In this article, we’ll uncover the benefits of gutters, the different types, and whether it’s worth installing them in the first place.

    Do I Need Gutters Around The Entire House?

    The answer depends on the size of your house and the number of slopes it has. In particular, if your house has numerous slopes, consider gutter installation at these edges. This way, every slope on your roof will drain the water in an opposite direction for efficient water drainage.

    Additionally, houses with a flat roof don’t typically require gutters all the way around, as there are no slopes for gravity to push the water to the gutter.

    Where Do You Put Gutters on a House?

    Rain gutters should be placed beyond roof eaves to collect rainwater. They’re typically positioned on all sides of a home across the edge of the roof.

    Is it OK to Not Have Gutters?

    Without a rain gutter system, there’s a chance that your home could become prone to mold, mildew, and dampness, as rainwater can collect close before it gets to your home’s foundation.

    They aren’t required by law, and not every house has them. Here are some factors to help you decide whether you need gutters:

    • Your roof has steep slopes. These can encourage water to pool at the foundation of your home, as gutters can’t collect the rainwater and redirect it away.
    • There is no roof overhang. If your roof ends at the same point as your home, you might need gutters to prevent trenches of water from forming below.
    • You have lots of heavy rain. If it often rains heavily in your location, gutters can collect the rainwater and direct it away from your home.

    What Happens if You Don’t Have Gutters?

    If you don’t install gutters on your roof, you risk rainwater washing against your home and foundation, which can wear down materials over time. Plus, water will runoff and flow toward your home rather than away from it, which can cause potential flooding indoors, mold, and dampness.

    How Many Gutters Should a House Have?

    This depends on the size and design of the house, as not all houses need gutters around the entire roof. You might also want to take into consideration the typical direction of rainwater. In summary, gutters require a downspout around every 30 to 40 feet.

    Are Gutters Necessary?

    While they have many benefits, gutters are not always necessary and they aren’t the only answer to an effective rainwater drainage system. Consider your house design, the weather in your area, and if your roof has slopes.

    Gutter Alternatives

    Here are some other gutter solutions and alternatives that can help your home handle runoff without gutters.

    Rain Chain

    These are beautiful decor for a garden and direct water away from your home and deposit it farther away. Rain chains are available in a vast range of designs and colors.

    Drip Edge

    These are metal sheets that are slanted to protect your home from moisture. However, snow and ice can seep through some sections and cause damage.

    Drip Path

    This is a pavement positioned under the edge of your roof constructed of bricks or blocks. The hard surface prevents water from seeping into the soil, deflecting it from your home.

    Ground Gutters/French Drain

    These alternatives require you to dig a spot for water from your roof to drip into. You can even grow plants on top, so no one will know.


    An efficient slope in your landscaping helps to direct rainwater downward and away from your home. But it’s a hefty price to pay for an alternative to gutters.

    Rain Dispersal Systems

    These reduce the force of rainwater flying off your roof and splits it into smaller streams for less impact and damage.

    Benefits and Drawbacks of Gutters

    Here are the pros and cons of installing gutters on your roof.


    • Gutters protect your home from water damage, reducing the chances of mold and mildew.
    • They divert water away from your home and avoid pools of water surrounding your home’s foundation.
    • When installed correctly, they last a long time.


    • Gutters involve maintenance, which means regularly removing debris and cleaning any residue.
    • They’re susceptible to warping. So, depending on the intensity of the weather, they can retract from your home and cause distortion.

    What Type of Gutters Are the Best?

    There are several materials to choose from, including:

    Stainless Steel

    Steel gutters are coated with magnesium zinc alloy on both sides for excellent strength and erosion protection. This top coating also provides a scratch-resistant finish, preventing corrosion damage in severe weather.


    This material is durable, lightweight, and rust-resistant. It provides excellent value for money due to its strength, as you won’t have to regularly renew aluminum gutters.


    This is the most low-cost material for gutters. It’s a versatile material, so you can purchase plastic gutters in various colors and designs. But it’s not as durable as other materials, so it might not make the best choice for areas with heavy rain pour.

    Cast Iron

    This is 100% recyclable and can last for over a lifetime. It’s durable, weather- and fire-resistant, and provides low maintenance since it’s not prone to rust.


    Copper’s aesthetic adjusts to the environment, creating a unique finish wherever you live. It’s exceptionally stylish, durable, and corrosion-resistant. Best of all, it won’t attract moss, making it easier to maintain and clean.

    Cost of Gutters for Your Entire Home

    The cost of gutters is around $20 per linear foot. The overall price depends on the size of your home, the material chosen, and any extras (such as heated pipes to melt icicles).

    Key Takeaways

    Gutters aren’t essential for every house, and you don’t have to install them on all roof areas. Consider the weather in your area and the slopes on your roof to determine if you should install gutters.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Which is better: vinyl gutters or aluminum gutters?

    Aluminum is lightweight and more durable. It’s also weather-resistant, making it a long-term investment.

    Why do some houses have gutters and some don't?

    It depends on whether the roof has a steep slope or the home has other alternatives, such as a rain chain, efficient garden grading, a French drain, etc. The weather in the area also impacts whether homeowners install gutters.

    Do I need gutters at the back of my house?

    It’s beneficial to have gutters surrounding your entire home to collect as much rainwater as possible.

    What is the difference between gutters and downspouts?

    Gutters catch rainwater and are installed horizontally along the side of your home. Downspouts are pipes positioned vertically along your home, connecting to a hole at the bottom.

    Editorial Contributors
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    Sam Wasson

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    Sam Wasson graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in Film and Media Arts with an Emphasis in Entertainment Arts and Engineering. Sam brings over four years of content writing and media production experience to the Today’s Homeowner content team. He specializes in the pest control, landscaping, and moving categories. Sam aims to answer homeowners’ difficult questions by providing well-researched, accurate, transparent, and entertaining content to Today’s Homeowner readers.

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    Lora Novak

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    Lora Novak meticulously proofreads and edits all commercial content for Today’s Homeowner to guarantee that it contains the most up-to-date information. Lora brings over 12 years of writing, editing, and digital marketing expertise. She’s worked on thousands of articles related to heating, air conditioning, ventilation, roofing, plumbing, lawn/garden, pest control, insurance, and other general homeownership topics.

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