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Why Do I Need Gutters?

Specifically, why do I need to have gutters on second floor roofs when there's a roof right below it? I'm getting ready to replace gutters on my 210 year old house, and trying to save some money, as well as the hassle of cleaning gutters. In some areas, the second floor roof is only 6-8 feet off of the first floor porch roof. Can't the rain simply fall onto those lower roofs without having a gutter system?

A. Spruce
Re: Why Do I Need Gutters?

Yes. Water falling from that height and in quantity will erode the roof coating where it lands. If sufficient quantities fall, pooling can occur which will then result in water finding it's way under the roof coating and causing leaks. For this same reason, upstairs gutters that have downspouts draining onto the roof surface below should be directed in the same direction as the roof covering, not perpendicular to it.

Re: Why Do I Need Gutters?

I'd say it depends on the roof surface. Composition roofing will likely be eroded, but slate may be OK. Not sure about wood shingles or some of the newer synthetic slate & tile.

Since your house is 210 years old, you might want to consider what is historically accurate. I wouldn't have a clue (except that vinyl isn't!), so you'll have to do some research, possibly contacting local historical societies or preservation boards for advice.

As for the lower roof areas, not having gutters would mean planning the landscaping to protect the soil from erosion. Some people put a gravel strip with embedded drain tile under the eave overhangs. In some areas, shrubbery may provide sufficient diffusion of falling water.

Just my thoughts. They are worth every penny you paid for them.

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