Why Some New Construction Homes Don’t Have Gutters & Downspouts

Charlie D Paige profile pic

If you are building a new home, what is your top priority? There is a good chance that you are not thinking about gutters. After all, you are probably concerned about the size of your home, the timeline of the project, the number of bedrooms you have, and the plumbing or electrical system. As a result, you may not even realize that your home doesn’t have any gutters until right before you move in.

Even though gutters might not be very high on the list of things you care about, you might be surprised if your builder did not install them. Are builders required to install gutters in your home? What are some of the reasons why they might overlook this process? What are some of the factors you should consider if you are interested in installing gutters in your home? There are a few important points you should keep in mind.

Not All Regions Require the Builder To Install Gutters

A new modern home without gutters and downspouts
A new modern home without gutters and downspouts

First, you might be surprised to hear that not all parts of the country require the builder to install gutters. For example, if you live in a location such as Texas, Oregon, South Carolina, or Kansas, it might be up to you to decide whether you need gutters. On the other hand, there are some locations where builders are required to install gutters if they plan on building the house to code. Therefore, you need to take a close look at your building codes and discuss this issue with your builder.

There are several factors that states use to determine whether your house requires a gutter system. Even if the state requires buildings to have gutters, they might only be required in some situations. Some of the factors that you should consider include:

  • Where are you building your house? If you are building your house in a location where there is a lot of moisture, then you might be required to install gutters.
  • What is the slope of your roof? If you feel like your roof will have a difficult time depositing moisture away from the home, then you need to install gutters.
  • Do you have a basement or catchment area around the house? This could also determine whether your house is required to have gutters.

In general, if you are in a location with collapsible soil, then you need to have a reliable method of water disposal. That could require installing gutters. You don’t want collapsible soil to lead to foundation failures because the additional load on the wall of the foundation created by the moisture could cause significant harm. You need to make sure that your gutters drain the water at least five feet away from the edge of the foundation.

Builders Might Be Eager To Move to the Next House

Even if builders are not required to install gutters, many will go ahead and do so; however, this is not universal. If the builder has a lot of projects to move to, he or she may decide to go on to the next house without installing gutters (to ultimately maximize their profits). Therefore, this is something that you should address with the building service ahead of time.

You need to figure out if they are willing to install gutters, even if the project is behind. Sometimes, simply reminding them that they still need to install the gutters is enough to get them to do so. Then, you will need to talk to the builder about the different options you have available.

Why Do You Need To Install Gutters?

A fairly new home with gutters and downspouts installed as standard
A fairly new home with gutters and downspouts installed as standard

Building a house can be expensive, but you need to make sure your house has gutters. Some of the reasons why you should install gutters and downspouts on your house include:

A Firm Foundation

The biggest reason why you need to install gutters and downspouts is that you need to protect your foundation. If your house has been built on high ground, it might not necessarily require gutters; however, if your house does not have a reliable source of drainage, corrosion could take place around the home.

When the uneven surface extends around the foundation, it could begin to settle. This could lead to significant foundation damage, which can cost tens of thousands of dollars in damage. To prevent this from happening, make sure you install gutters on your house.

A Dry Basement

If you have a basement or crawl area under your home, you need to protect it by installing gutters. If you don’t have any gutters, rainwater will run off your roof and settle immediately around your home. If your house has a poor drainage system, the weight of the water will eventually damage the walls around your basement, causing water to leak into your house.

You may not notice basement flooding immediately, but if you don’t detect the problem quickly, it can get worse. Therefore, if you want to prevent basement damage, mold, and mildew, you need to make sure that you install gutters and downspouts.

Aesthetic Appeal

Houses are still made out of wood. Rainwater affects wood. If you do not have gutters and downspouts, the extra water can cause significant damage to your siding and fascia boards. As a result, the exterior of your house can suffer. There is never a second chance to make a first impression, and you need to make a positive first impression by protecting the exterior of your home. The best way to do so is to install gutters that can direct moisture away from your house. That way, you can slow the rate of wood rot and protect your home.

Protect Your Landscape

If you want your lawn or garden to look its best, you must make sure you install gutters and downspouts. If you don’t install gutters, your lawn and garden are going to get flooded by dirty runoff water. Water can start to pull around the house, and it will begin flowing in all directions.

Even though your lawn needs water, too much water can cause significant damage. You need to control the amount of water your lawn gets by installing gutters and downspouts. That way, you can prevent a flood outside your home.

These are just a few of the biggest reasons why you should consider installing gutters and downspouts on your house. You need to work with your contractor to protect the foundation of your home. Gutters and downspouts are an important part of that.

New gutter installation doesn’t significantly impact the home value, but a house with an aged gutter or no gutter will have a lower resale value.

Signs of Foundation Damage Due To Water

A faulty foundation resulting in various cracks to an external block wall
Various cracks to an external block wall

If you do not install gutters and downspouts, you could end up with significant foundation damage. The sooner you detect this damage, the faster you can repair it. That way, you might be able to prevent some of the worst consequences. Some of the biggest signs of foundation damage include:

Cracks Outside Your Home

You may notice some cracks in the exterior of your home. If there is a lot of water pooling around your foundation, it will eventually cause the soil to shift. Then, your foundation will no longer be sitting on even ground, and cracks can develop. These cracks can get worse over time, and you might notice them throughout your house.

NB: If you see cracks in your foundation, you need to reach out to a professional as quickly as possible. That way, they can stop the soil from shifting, providing your foundation with the support it needs.

Mold and Mildew

You may also notice mold and mildew growing inside or outside of your home. If there is foundation damage due to water, the humidity level in the home has probably gone up. In a warm, humid environment, mold and mildew can start to grow just about everywhere.

Even though you may think this is an issue you can handle on your own, it is always better to reach out to a professional who can help you. You need to make sure that you identify all sources of mold, and you must make sure you protect your foundation accordingly.

Uneven Window and Door Frames

A contractor checking the correctness of an installed window
A contractor checking the correctness of an installed window

If you look inside your house, you may also notice some uneven window and door frames. For example, you may notice that your windows are not even with the floor. Or, you might notice an uneven gap underneath your door. This is a sign that your foundation is beginning to shift, and you need to contact an expert who can take a look at your foundation for you.

The Cost To Install Gutters and Downspouts

A contractor installing a new white gutter and downspout system
A contractor installing a new white gutter and downspout system

Clearly, it is important for you to install gutters on the exterior of your home. At the same time, how much is this going to cost? There are a number of factors that will play a role and how much it will cost to install gutters on your home. They include:

  • The larger your home is, the more gutters have to be installed. It is typically priced in terms of linear feet, so you should get an estimate before you move forward.
  • It will also depend on the materials that you use. Aluminum is the most common material used to install gutters and downspouts, but there are other options available. Different options cause different amounts of money.
  • You should also think about additional features. For example, you might be interested in installing something on top of your gutters that can prevent animals, leaves, and branches from getting inside. These can be beneficial, but they are also more expensive.

Fortunately, once you have decided on the type of gutters you want to install, the process will move forward relatively quickly. The contracting team should give you an opportunity to review the quality of their work before they are done. In general, the cost of this project is between $1,000 and $5,000, but there are lots of factors that will play a role.

Do not forget that if you want your gutters to work as well as possible, you need to take care of them. For example, you might need to install something underneath the downspout to direct the water away from the home. You may also need to clean out the gutters from time to time, particularly if you do not have any protection on top of the gutters. You should try to cover these issues before your contractors leave.

Charlie D Paige profile pic
About Charlie D Paige

Charlie is a massive DIY fan, with dozens of DIY projects under his belt - ranging from tiling to electrics, and concrete pads to walls. Charlie loves tinkering, seeing how things works, the outdoors and playing with power tools... so is it any wonder that he's completed so many DIY jobs over the years?

Charlie loves spreading his hard-won DIY experience with the world via this blog.