What Happens to a Home Without Gutters?

A windstorm snapped off your gutters a while ago. You keep meaning to get them replaced, but life gets in the way. If your home doesn’t have gutters for a prolonged period, what will happen?

A home without gutters is more susceptible to the following:

  • Foundational damage
  • Basement flooding
  • Soil erosion
  • Water damage
  • Reduced property value

In this guide, we’ll discuss in much more detail what can happen if your home continues gutter-less. If you’re interested in remedying this issue, we’ll also discuss gutter replacement costs and installation.

This Is What Happens to a Home Without Gutters

If your home just sustained major storm damage, then a ripped rain gutter is probably the least of your worries right now. You might have broken windows, dangling siding, and detached fascia.

Those are certainly more immediate concerns, but eventually, you’ll want to take the time to address your gutters. If you don’t, then over time, the following effects will begin to manifest one by one.

Foundational Damage

The point of a rain gutter is to collect the rain that travels down your roof and then send it safely to ground level. The water doesn’t flood the sides or bottom of your house, which is critical for the long-term health of the property.

Without gutters, the rainwater can soak doors and windows. Exterior window framework if it’s made of wood or has wood components will begin to rot or warp. The same will happen to your doors if they’re wood as well.

Exterior paint can peel or chip, forcing you to have to touch up your home far more often than you would if you had gutters.

Worse yet, the walls can become damp. You’re later likely to see black or white patches throughout that are mold and/or mildew.

Besides these issues, the very foundation of your home could be in peril. Standing water can weaken the structure until it becomes unstable. In a situation like that, your home is uninhabitable. Repairing it could cost thousands and thousands of dollars, sometimes even tens of thousands of dollars.

Basement Flooding

As your home’s foundation erodes, water will begin to seep in more frequently. Where do you think that water goes? That’s right, the basement.

The problem could become severe enough that every time it rains, your basement gets flooded. Whether it’s only a few puddles of water or several inches will depend on just how badly damaged your home’s foundation is.

Either way, a flooded basement is never fun. If your basement is concrete, then the damage won’t be severe, but for a finished basement, you’re again going to have to shell out hundreds to thousands of dollars on repairs.

You’d have to strip the soaked carpeting, which will become a hotbed for mold and mildew. You’ll have to repaint the walls as well. That’s not even accounting for all the damage to electronics and furniture such as coffee tables, entertainment centers, televisions, video game consoles, and more.

After one or two incidents of a flooded basement, you won’t want to even use your basement lest it flood again and accrue even more damage.

Soil Erosion

A contributing factor to your frequently leaking basement is that a lack of gutters can transform the topography of your front yard.

It used to be that the rainwater would rush from your roof to the ground level. Most gutters are installed around the driveway or front walkway so the water doesn’t overflow into the grass. Now though, that’s exactly what’s happening.

Sure, the sides of your home are getting pelted with rain, but where does that rain land? That’s right, on the lawn. Over time, the soil is carried away by the torrents of rain until your yard is very uneven.

The soil erosion makes it easier for water to seep into the foundation of your home, including your basement and possibly other ground-level rooms as well such as a crawlspace.

Water Damage

Let’s talk about the big one: water damage.

Water damage and foundational damage go hand-in-hand, as water damage is what causes the weak foundation that might make you have to vacate your home. We’ve already touched on what water can do to the exterior and the basement of your home, but what about the other rooms?

You can say goodbye to furniture, clothing, electronics, appliances, and cabinetry. Your fancy wallpaper in the sitting room? Gone. The new windows you got installed last year? Wrecked.

Removing water from a home’s interior requires the services of a water mitigation company. These services are very expensive, often totaling tens of thousands of dollars for especially extensive damage.

After all, the water mitigation company has to remove the current water in your house and reduce the humidity as well. They may offer home remodeling services, the costs of which could be separate from what you already paid to get the water damage treated.

Reduced Property Value

Even if your home is only marginally water-damaged, no smart homebuyer is going to want to touch your property with a nine-foot pole. They know that water damage equals astronomical expenses.

Every house has at least a little something wrong with it and will require repairs, but there’s a difference between a faulty toilet flusher or an old water heater and foundational damage. The latter is too much for an albatross for any smart homebuyer to want to take on.

How Much Does Gutter Repair Cost? What About Gutter Replacement?

Okay, okay. You think you should probably do something about your gutters before your home becomes a giant money pit. Let’s talk about what you’ll spend to repair versus replace your gutters.

Gutter Repair Costs

Perhaps your gutters didn’t come off all the way in that storm, but they’re hanging by a thread. At least your gutters are savable, as you can likely repair them and then get them reinstalled.

According to HomeAdvisor, gutter repairs cost between $179 and $561 with a national average of $350. On the higher end, this service could set you back $1,050, but that’d only be for very damaged gutters.

The more stories your home has, the greater the cost of repairs. A single-story home with gutters may only cost $170 whereas a two-story home is $330. If your home is three stories or higher, then your gutter repair price would be around $500.

The material of your gutters matters as well. A copper gutter repair is priced at $24 a linear foot. Coated steel is more cost-effective at $9 a linear foot. If your gutters are aluminum, then they’re inexpensive too at $10 to $12 a linear foot for repairs.

Even still, that’s a very small amount of money to pay compared to the hundreds of thousands that fixing foundational issues and interior water damage would cost.

When should you repair versus replace your gutters? If only one section of the gutters is damaged, then repairing that section is best. Once three or more sections of the gutter are in disarray, you’re better off buying a new gutter.

Gutter Replacement Costs

If your gutters are long gone and you have no idea where they were taken during that bad windstorm, then you’ll have to shell out more money to get them replaced.

HomeAdvisor quotes the work as costing $594 to $1,584 with a national average of $1,089.

You’ll pay $75 an hour for a gutter contractor’s services. In about seven hours, the gutter contractor can install 150 linear feet of gutter. While the contractor’s prices are expensive then, they won’t work for very long. The entire project might take three days max unless your home is badly damaged from a lack of gutters.

As was the case with gutter replacement, the bigger your home, the more expensive the work. A single-story gutter replacement is priced at around $1,200. For homes that are two stories or over, the costs are $2,000.

Once again, the type of gutters you want can also impact your project’s overall costs. Galvanized steel gutters cost $10 to $11 a linear foot, aluminum $5 to $7 a linear foot, and vinyl gutters $5 to $8 a linear foot.

Can You Replace Gutters Yourself?

You can’t put off your gutter replacement any longer, but you’re balking at some of those prices. It would be more economical for you to replace your own gutters, but is it feasible?

It can be provided you meet the following criteria.

You’re Comfortable on a Ladder for Long Periods Without Holding On

Every homeowner climbs to the roof of their home several times per year to clean it of leaves and debris. You probably hang Christmas lights as well if you celebrate.

However, there’s a big difference between quickly scooping away dead leaves and spending hours on your roof installing a gutter.

You’ll have to be very comfortable with being at that height and not being able to hold onto the ladder. After all, you need both your hands free to install the gutters!

You Know Your Way Around Gutters

If you look at a rain gutter, all you have to do is connect a few pieces, right? It really couldn’t be any easier.

Well, while that sounds good in theory, rain gutters are more complex than they look. If this will be your first time handling a gutter, you’re better off leaving this job to the pros. Otherwise, you’ll waste too much time finagling with the gutter parts.

You Have High-Quality Tools and Equipment

Installing gutters is considered a rather difficult job, so quality equipment and tools are a must. If you use whatever you could scrounge up in the garage, then don’t be surprised if during the next bout of inclement weather your gutters go flying.

You Have a Spotter Available

Although installing the gutters is a one-person job, you should never work on a ladder alone! The other person can hold onto the spare gutter parts so you don’t have to. They’ll also keep a watchful eye on you while you’re up on the ladder.

Remember, you don’t have to install gutters yourself. If any of these areas are giving you pause, then you’re much better off calling the pros!

Final Thoughts

If your home has no gutters either as the result of a storm or old age, don’t wait too long to get the issue ameliorated. A lack of gutters can fast-track foundational damage and water leaks that can be incredibly expensive to repair!


Geoff Southworth is the creator of RealEstateInfoGuide.com, the site that helps new homeowners, investors, and homeowners-to-be successfully navigate the complex world of property ownership. Geoff is a real estate investor of 8 years has had experience as a manager of a debt-free, private real estate equity fund, as well as a Registered Nurse in Emergency Trauma and Cardiac Cath Lab Care. As a result, he has developed a unique “people first, business second” approach to real estate.

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