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House on slab needs gutters...?

johncollins's picture

I'm building a 24'x32' Cape in the spring here in Maine.  I'm building it on a slab so I never have to deal with a wet basement (especially after reading "SPEC HOUSE FROM HELL" on this site).  An attached garage on a slab will be my solution to no basement as far as storage and utilities goes. My question is, do I need gutters with no basement? My house lot is flat, but on the side of a good hill at a good elevation.  Thanks for any and all input.  John

(post #94323, reply #1 of 12)


You don't want all of that water running down the siding (assuming typically modest or no overhang on a Cape) or splashing against the siding.

Also, in a 1" rain you'll be bringing about 540 gallons (about 18 trashcans worth) off of the roof - you want to keep that well away from the slab.


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(post #94323, reply #2 of 12)

Thanks for the input. I plan on a 12" overhang to keep the weather off the siding and I had wondered about, instead of gutters, gravel a couple feet deep where the water from the roof hits the ground.  Would this work, or maybe incorporate that gravel into underground drainage pipes carrying the water away from the house...? I just hate the look of gutters, as well as keeping them cleaned out.

Edited 1/15/2004 5:22:59 PM ET by johncollins

(post #94323, reply #3 of 12)

If you don't install gutters, you need to come up with some kind of water management strategy or else you will have mud splashing up on your house from now until eternity.  Gravel at the dripline with buried draintile that exits to daylight is one method.  Also, drip edge at the fascia and rakes is always a good thing, but essential in a gutterless installation.

Somewhat unrelated, but be sure your finished floor is at least 1' above grade - that way water problems will be less of a concern to you.   Being in the SE we probably see many more slab-on-grade (monolithic slab) homes here then you all do, and it just makes me sick when I work on a house that has it's front door threshold sitting about 4" above the yard... 


(post #94323, reply #4 of 12)


 12 " overhang is not enough. Been there, done that, as they say. I built a 24 x24 detached garage many years ago and only left a 12 " overhang. No gutters. The T111 siding is a mess. I am re-roofing it this summer and part of the projet will be to extend the rafter tails so I have at least 20" or maybe more overhang.  Too many trees for gutters. I will say that my house does not have gutters, but has about 22" overhang.  Have flower beds all around and have not had any problems with water in 25 years. The ground is slightly sloped away from the house on all sides. Also on a slab in Maryland.

Hope this helps,

Bill Koustenis

Advanced Automotive Machine

Waldorf Md

Bill Koustenis Advanced Automotive Machine Waldorf Md

(post #94323, reply #5 of 12)

bill.... i hate gutters... we install a lot of them on some of our remodels and repairs..

 but on new constrcution we always design our way out  of their use..

 your 12" overhangs are ok.. 16 " or more is better..

splash control should be included.. several ways of doing this... peastone.. or even just planting sod instead of seed.. mowed grass in the splash zone will help absorb ..


even with your flat lot you want to change the grade and pour your foundation high enough so you  can drain the water away from the house and you won't have to deal with puddles...2 ft in 12' would be nice..

 and instead of diverters.. think about covered entries... when you  get into snow country, most houses don't have gutters.. wonder how they got along all these years ?

Mike Smith   Rhode Island : Design / Build / Repair / Restore

Mike Smith   Rhode Island : Design / Build / Repair / Restore

(post #94323, reply #6 of 12)

what some people around here are doing ( well I did) is pour concrete from the slab past the rainline, about two feet. It doesn't go good with the flower garden crowd, bt its maintance free. Alot are putting metal roof so that water comes off quick, makes its hard for gutter to keep up.

nuthing but happy thought.

(post #94323, reply #7 of 12)

bb.... the problem with the concrete apron is it splashes the water onto the siding ...

and you get premature failure of the siding...

 you want something that will cushion the fall and absorb the splash

Mike Smith   Rhode Island : Design / Build / Repair / Restore

Mike Smith   Rhode Island : Design / Build / Repair / Restore

(post #94323, reply #8 of 12)

How about porches all around or at least along the low side of the roofs?

Then pea gravel or such where it splashes. If much water expected, drain tile below the gravel to a low ditch away from the house.

Porches, draining away well, will protect walls, windows, doors and the house from any water right by the foundation.

(post #94323, reply #9 of 12)

exactly..... in our area the grass grows about 4" a week during the rainy season... so if you can get a good start, the grass will do a good job of controlling the splash..

 here's our house.. i think the gambrel part is a 12" overhang.. the breezeway is 4'..and the cape style garage is 16"...

all has good pitch except for the breezeway area... that has underdrains to take care of runoff..

Mike Smith   Rhode Island : Design / Build / Repair / Restore

Mike Smith   Rhode Island : Design / Build / Repair / Restore

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(post #94323, reply #10 of 12)

Neat design in that house. Did you build it yourself?

Here we don't have much rain and the moisture is normally below 15%, so for lawn grasses to grow we need to water it constantly.

Since the porches will be 6' concrete but 7 1/2 with the 18" overhang, the splash will be out away from the concrete base anyway, on the slight slope away from the house. We will wait to see if the grass will be enough where the water lands or if we get ruts. Then we may go with gravel and maybe even bushes there.

Our roof will be metal, gable, 4/12, so it will not run off as fast as a more pitched one.

I like the roof line in your house. Interesting. I bet it gives you maximum living space under it and insulates well.

P.S. They are framing on us today!<G>

(post #94323, reply #11 of 12)

yes... our "new " house.. hard to believe it's almost 20 years old..

we  do have a 2" rut on the front... but it's invisible when the grass grows..

and we've had a lot of luck with no ruts where we've used sod instead of seed

Mike Smith   Rhode Island : Design / Build / Repair / Restore

Mike Smith   Rhode Island : Design / Build / Repair / Restore

(post #94323, reply #12 of 12)

this is what I was talking about

nuthing but happy thought.

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