8 alternatives to gutters: how to collect and direct water from your home (2023)

8 alternatives to gutters: how to collect and direct water from your home (1)

Can you build a house without gutters? If you can. However, you would have to come up with a different strategy to collect rainwater.

When rainwater cascades down a roof without gutters, it falls to the ground around your house. It then erodes the ground and flows towards the house instead of away from it. This, in turn, eventually pushes water into the lower parts of the walls, basement, floor, and basement, eventually leading to flooding, foundation problems, and wall damage. A home without gutters can also end up with water damage and mold growth.

Therefore, you must divert water from your home through a gutter system or some other practical method. The following article describes the signs of poor drainage, how to build makeshift gutters, and different ways to drain water from your home.

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Poor Stormwater Drainage: Signs and Problems

If you see large puddles of water a few hours after the rain has stopped in areas like your garden, you may have a drainage problem. Also water in yourDrivewayAnd water spots on your siding and basement should worry you, too.

1. Basement flooded

A flooded basement is another sign that your home is not draining rainwater as well as it should. And if you think about itcosts an average of $4,000To clean up a flooded basement, you need to quickly sit down and take note of your situation.

The longer it takes to ignore the signs of poor stormwater drainage around your home, the more damage your property will suffer. Over time, exposure to water causes the foundation to settle, putting pressure on your entire property.

2. Basic questions

ofThe problem is displayed in the form ofCracks in the patio, walls, chimney and foundation itself, it is also manifested in stuck doors and windows and uneven floors.

Yonboarding issuesthey are also expensive to repair. For minor cracks you will pay around $500. But if the situation is bad and there are significant problems thenExpect to pay more than $7,000to order them.

(Video) How to Install an Alternative to Gutters | Ask This Old House

3. Mold growth

Another nightmare is mold growth from water damage to the siding and the resulting rot. First of all, your house will smell bad, which would make living in your house uncomfortable. But even if it doesn't smell moldy, it still poses many health risks.

Somehealth complicationsThey can arise due to mold infestation:

  • allergies
  • labored breathing
  • aspergilosis
  • Lower respiratory problems in children.

To get rid of mold you would have to spend everywhere$13.33 and $28.33 per square foot. So the larger the infested area, the more money you will pay.

How to make homemade gutters?

It's safe to say that you need to channel rainwater away from your home somehow. And the easiest way to do it is byInstallation of a gutter system..The gutter system consists of:

  • gutter sections
  • downspouts
  • downspout elbow
  • percha
  • clamps
  • the end cap
  • miter corner
  • will contain

This is supposed to have been completed.Gutter systems cost money. However, the cost of purchasing and installing the system varies. This depends on the size and layout of your home and the type of material you choose. It also depends on whether you install the gutters yourself. So the price may vary.$4 to $30 per linear footgutter installed.

Because of this, you may decide to save money by making gutters yourself. You can do that with:

  • 3 inch pvc pipecemented and cut in half before mounting to the eaves. The downspout can be made from uncut PVC pipe.
  • scrap or recycled metalsBent into a U shape and mounted on the eave. You can make the downspout out of scrap metal in the shape of a pipe.
  • metal pipes cut in halfand attached to the eaves of the roof. A PVC pipe or metal pipe can be used as a downspout.

How to collect and drain water from your roof without gutters

However, it is worth noting that it is not necessary to install a gutter system. It's fine to not have gutters, as long as you have other ways to collect rainwater that work just as well and can divert it away from your house.

1. Site evaluation

site ratingis a technical process that allows you to adjust the elevation and slope of the terrain around your home. For example, if you have a stormwater drainage problem, you can redirect the flow of water by making sure your home is on higher ground than the surrounding area.

(Video) 3 Options for Extending Your Downspouts

The general rule is that you shouldrate your sitehas a slope of 5%. That means a 6-inch drop in height for every 10 feet of distance from your building. So when it rains, the water cascades off the roof and away from your home, following the direction of the slope. This means you don't have to worry about rainwater getting into your house.access spaces, cellar or foundation.

2. Install a drainage tile system

The installation offloor drain plate systemsnow he is part of manybuilding codes. A tile drainage system diverts surface water away from your crawl space or basement to prevent floodingHeavy rainsor the rapid thaw.

Basic drainage panel systems are sometimes called a French drain, after a Scottish wheat farmer named Henry French who popularized the system to improve soil drainage. Other names for this water drainage method include filtration tiles, toe tiles, and perimeter drainage systems.

In the past, drainage board systems were made of clay. However, modern versions are made from corrugated plastic pipe or perforated PVC pipe. The holes are usually on one side.

If you decide to update your home and install a foundation drainage system, you can start digging a trench around your foundation. Hemust be at least 24 inches deepand must extend to the foot or bottom of your home's foundation.

The trench should extend to a chosen drainage point, channel, storm sewer, pond, etc. and it should slope down. However, it can also lead to a sump pump pumping water to another area. The latter option works well on flatter areas.

The trench is then covered with gravel before the perforated pipe is installed. It is then covered with more gravel. then a clothlike crushed stone, garden cloth or nylon filter sock, sits on top of gravel to prevent mud from clogging pipe holes. Soil is then piled on top of the trench.

When rainwater falls to the ground, it takes the path of least resistance and is absorbed by the network of pipes. Gravity then directs it to the selected drainage point. This in turn prevents water from seeping through the foundation,crawl space, the attic.

3. Develop a rain garden

You may want to consider developinga rain gardento collect, divert and manage rainwater not only from your roof but also from your driveway. You can also channel water from your gutter system into said garden.

A rain garden in this case refers to a methodlandscapingAllows you to plant flowers, shrubs, grass, etc. in a recessed section of your lawn. Such areas inherently tend to accumulate rainwater or snowmelt. If the exterior of your house is not neglected, you can make the notches yourself. For example, if you choose to level the land, you can designate the lower part of the slope as a rain garden.

The vegetation within the rain garden filters contaminants in runoff water and helps it seep into the soil, thus recharging groundwater. Additionally, the rain garden will help reduce soil erosion and will attract insects, birds, and butterflies.

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And if you use native plant species, they don't need fertilizer and are easy to care for in the long run. In the end, these types of gardens can helpEnhance the beauty of your surroundingswhile improving rainwater runoff.

4. Develop dry stream beds

dry stream bedsThey are a form of landscaping consisting of a well-designed but functional ditch or ravine. They do an excellent job of diverting water from your home into the ground or a larger drainage area.

Ditches will be dug and designed to resemble normal riparian terrain, but must follow the natural slope no matter how it meanders through the property. You can then add a layer of sand orChoose, line them with stones and boulders on the side, and place your favorite riparian plants and grasses along the edges of the trench. If you live in an area that gets a lot of rain, consider grouting the stones.

When it rains you notice runoff water from your roof, drain extensions, etc.dry stream bedsand follow the designated course to a much larger drainage point. Such points can be a ravine, a rain garden and fountains. Rocks and gravel help water seep into the ground instead of draining away and causing soil erosion or forming puddles.

5. Graben of swamps

Swallows predominateWide artificial ditches, which are relatively flat and have gently vegetated slopes and berms. They slow down the flow of water, prevent puddles and flooding, and improve soil drainage.

Hevegetation you grow in the moatThe body, sides and berms must be able to withstand both dry and wet conditions. And it shouldn't require regular, soil-disturbing maintenance. Also consider plants that cover the ground or have deep, spreading roots. Examples of such plants are muhly and vetiver. You can also plant fruit trees and bamboo.

Trenches can follow the slope contour of your area or be built perpendicular to existing slopes. They can also be dug slightly out of contour to direct water in the desired direction.

Whichever option best suits your needs, you must carefully design your gutters so that you have areas to walk and drive, even in heavy rain. Of course, this also applies if you live on a farm. You can also build dry stream beds inside swallows to beautify your lawn.

If you need to drain rainwater from your roof, you should consider developingbypass channels. In this case, you would build a gutter starting at the point where your roof drains most of the water.

If the area has been graded, the depression may start at the bottom of the embankment. Then you can dig it in any direction you want.

Also, these voids can be an end point for your roof. In such cases, you could divert water from items like French drains into the sink. You can also use swallows to divert rainwater to other drainage points like a pond or dam.

(Video) Choosing the BEST Gutter Size For your Home - EVERYTHING YOU DIDN'T KNOW

6. Build a dry well

dry wellsrefer to underground structures that remove stormwater and surface runoff. The sides of the chamber are perforated to drain water, while the bottoms of the pits are often filled with gravel to improve drainage and increase infiltration. For this reason, dry wells are ideal for groundwater recharge. So if the area around your house has poor drainage, you can direct rainwater away from your building and into the dry well.

Dry wells can also beused as drainage pointsFor French drains, driveways, dry stream beds, and swallows. And if you have gutters, you can reroute downspout extensions into these wells or in the areas near the wells. You can also build dry wells so they can soak up water that flows down the level ground near your house.

7. Build a water tank

Building a water reservoir is a great idea for anyone who wants to collect water and lives in an area with long dry spells that sometimes experiences excessive rainfall. you can bein the form of pondsthe dams. It allows you to divert water away from your roof and lawn while ensuring you have enough water for irrigation during the dry months. However, this option is only viable if you have a large area to work on.

You should consider building water tanks if your house is built on a hill. You can also design your water reservoir to work with your French drains, dry creek beds, and gulps so that it fills the overflow or diverts it to another location.

8. Install a sump pump

a sump pumpIt is a type of pump that allows the water accumulated in a swamp to be removed through a drainage pipe, avoiding flooding. The crater is usually dug into the lowest level of your home, usually in a basement orcrawl space. However, you can also dig a swamp pitoutside your housewhere the water accumulates.

The sump pump can divert water to different areas. These include storm drains, streams, ponds, and dry wells. Because of this, they are excellent at collecting and draining water from your home, minimizing the negative impact on your foundation.

final thoughts

Although gutter systems are a popular method of collecting and draining water from your home, you can do without them. However, it would be helpful if you implemented other strategies such as: You can also develop rain gardens or build hollows, dry stream beds, dry wells, and ponds. And if all else fails, there's always the sump pump.

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(Video) Biggest Mistakes to Avoid When Installing a Underground Downspout Drain [ Gutter Drainage System ]


How do I direct water away from my house without gutters? ›

Drip edges are metal devices installed at the edge of a roof. They basically work by moving water away from the fascia to prevent rot and keep water from running down the side of a house. This particular gutter alternative can be used along with a gutter, but it also works just fine on its own.

What can I use to direct water away from my house? ›

The three best options for redirecting water away from home foundations include French drains, gutter systems and swales. However, all of these options require professional installation to ensure they function as intended and drain or collect water in a responsible manner.

How do I direct rainwater away from my house? ›

How To Divert Water From The Home
  1. Clean Your Gutters. This task is both simple and free. ...
  2. Extend Your Downspouts. ...
  3. Create A Rain Garden. ...
  4. Install A Rain Barrel. ...
  5. Seal The Driveway. ...
  6. Install A French Drain. ...
  7. Improve The Grading. ...
  8. Install A Sump Pump.
Oct 28, 2022

How do I divert water away from my house slope? ›

Digging a swale is an ideal way to direct excess water when it is causing erosion on a hill or slope. A swale should slope downhill, and the trench should gradually get deeper. If your landscape allows, the swale should deepen by 1 inch for every 10 feet. It should also be two to three times as wide as it is deep.

What is the best drip edge? ›

Galvanized steel is a strong material for drip edges in environments where wind is a concern. The steel needs to be galvanized to be able to hold up against constant exposure to water without rusting. If galvanized steel is used to protect against strong winds, 24-gauge steel should be the minimum used.

How do you collect rain water naturally? ›

The best filtration options for making rainwater potable are reverse osmosis and distillation. Mechanical filtration (via a sediment filter or Rusco spin-down system) is also integral to the success of rainwater treatment. A rainwater collection system can catch most large particulate matter, such as leaves and twigs.

How do you make a water catchment system? ›

Tips for Installing a Rainwater Collection System
  1. Take roofing material into consideration. ...
  2. Choose a barrel designed for holding water. ...
  3. Locate barrel with safety in mind. ...
  4. Block up rain barrels several inches. ...
  5. Attach spigots and hose connections finger-tight only. ...
  6. Clean gutters periodically.
Mar 15, 2020

What is a French drain system? ›

A French drain is a trench filled with a perforated pipe and gravel that allows water to drain naturally from your yard. Depending on the size of your yard and the scale of your drainage issue, you can purchase the pipes and equipment to create a French drain yourself.

How do I drain my yard without slope? ›

The Most Effective Drainage Solutions for Flat Yards
  1. French drain. A French drain can be installed by digging a trench and adding a PVC pipe surrounded by gravel. ...
  2. Dry well system. A dry well system is another cost-effective drainage method for flat yards. ...
  3. Water-absorbing plants. Many plants are great at soaking up water.
Feb 21, 2021

What is the safest way to collect rain water? ›

Rain Barrels – This is the simplest and most affordable way to harvest rainwater. You simply place barrels or water tanks below the downspouts of your gutter system. This tank can be connected to a pipe for drip irrigation. Dry System – A dry system uses a larger storage container for the water.

What can I use instead of rainwater? ›

Tap water will meet the needs of most garden plants but is relatively costly and is a finite resource and should be used carefully. Watering only when needed and soil level is most economical method. Ericaceous plants (acid-loving) are fine to be watered with tap water when rain water supplies have run out.

How do you make a swale in your yard? ›

Creating a Swale

The sides of the swale should flare so they extend out three to four times more than they are tall, and the first 8 inches of soil should drain well. If your soil drains quickly (at least ½ inch per hour), it can just be loosened. If water sinks in half that fast, amend it with 40 percent compost.

Do rocks help keep water away from foundation? ›

Using rocks for drainage around a house's foundation helps prevent water from gathering, ultimately ensuring minimal risk of basement flooding. Not only does gravel ensure water flow moves quickly through the area, but it also prevents plants within the bed from receiving too much water and drowning.

What is a swale drain? ›

A grass drainage swale is an open channel that collects water from hard surfaces and allows it to percolate into the ground, reducing the amount of runoff leaving the road or property. The grass covering the side slopes and swale bottom provides a filtration surface for the water and helps to reduce the flow velocity.

Is drip Edge worth it? ›

In short, yes, it's necessary to have drip edge installed on your roof. Without the installation of drip edge flashing on your roof, water could get behind the gutter and start running down your home. This would allow for moisture to collect on the fascia board causing it to rot.

What is gutter apron? ›

What is Gutter Apron? A gutter apron serves the same purpose as a drip edge. As such, gutter aprons are intended to direct water away from potential problem areas of the house, down to the roof edges, and into the gutters.

What is a drip guard? ›

A roof drip edge is a type of metal flashing designed to protect your roof from water damage. It is installed at the edge of the roof beneath the roofing and overhangs the sides of the roof. The bent design allows the drip edge to keep water flowing away from the roof and the fascia.

What are the different types of rainwater collection systems? ›

There are three main types of rainwater harvesting system: direct pumped, indirect pumped, and indirect gravity. In certain situations it may be possible to have a purely gravity system; though such occasions are rare.

Can you purify rainwater at home? ›

Filtration can remove some germs and chemicals. Treating water with chlorine or iodine kills some germs but does not remove chemicals or toxins. Boiling the water will kill germs but will not remove chemicals.

Can you filter rainwater to drink? ›

Filters are effective at separating visibly large pollutants from the collected rainwater, but they will not eliminate all substances. For quality drinking water, filtration must be accompanied by disinfectant methods, which lead to the removal of dissolved micro-pollutants.

How to design rain water harvesting system? ›

How to Design a Rainwater Harvesting System
  1. Basic Rule for Sizing.
  2. Determine What the Captured Water Be Used For.
  3. Determine How Much Water Can Be Captured.
  4. Determine the Collection Surface.
  5. Calculate the Volume of Rainfall.
  6. Estimate Indoor Water Demand.
  7. Estimating Outdoor Water Demand.
Jan 12, 2019

Is water catchment worth it? ›

Absolutely. The time-tested benefits of rainwater harvesting can help you conserve groundwater, save the energy required for tap water, limit stormwater runoff, nourish plants, and keep money in your pocket.

What is one method to collect rainwater? ›

Using gutter systems on a house

This is the most common way to collect rainwater. Setting up rain barrels at the base of your downspouts will collect a lot of water whenever it rains. These types of barrels can collect enough water to keep your garden happy for weeks, which in a drought can be very handy.

How long can rainwater be stored? ›

Rainwater can be stored indefinitely if you have the right systems in place to ensure the water is safe for drinking once it leaves the tank and into your water system.

Are plastic rain barrels safe? ›

While rain barrel water is safe to use on ornamentals and lawns, you need to take precautions when deciding whether to use it on your fruit and vegetable garden. Rain barrel water has been shown to contain chemicals and pathogens from runoff or from pathogenic growth over time in standing water.

What is a soakaway? ›

What is a soakaway? A soakaway is a buried drainage feature which seeks to manage surface water on the site and infiltrate into the ground, rather than discharging to an offsite location such as a watercourse or sewer.

What is the best gravel for drainage around the house? ›

Pea gravel is one of the best materials for landscape drainage because its small size allows for outstanding drainage. These rocks are only about ¾ inches in size. Pea gravel is available in a variety of shades, including brown, grey, blue, and red, making it a good choice for a number of different landscapes.

Why not to use French drain? ›

Additionally, French drains are susceptible to frequent clogging, as they are underground, and roots from trees and shrubs often displace and damage the perforated piping. These design drawbacks usually result in the drain lasting only a couple years before having to be replaced.

How do I drain water from my yard sitting? ›

7 Ways to Deal with Pooling Water in Your Yard
  1. Aerate Your Lawn. ...
  2. Switch to Permeable Pavers. ...
  3. Fill in the Low Spots. ...
  4. Regrade Your Yard. ...
  5. Install a French Drain. ...
  6. Build a Rain Garden. ...
  7. Replace Your Lawn with Wet-Tolerant Plants.

How do you landscape poor drainage? ›

Amending the soil with a top dressing of materials like sand, loam, and compost that water can more easily pass through can greatly improve drainage. In some cases, the lawn may need to be tilled for a more aggressive amending, followed by seed and fertilizer.

What absorbs rain water best? ›

Best Water Absorbing Trees
  • Red Maple.
  • Ash.
  • Black Gum.
  • White Cedar.
  • River Birch.
May 10, 2021

How do you make a survival water collector? ›

There are two primary methods of collecting rainwater. The first is to use any and all containers you might have on you. The second is to tie the corners of a poncho or tarp around trees a few feet off the ground, place a small rock in the center to create a depression, and let the water collect.

Where is the cleanest rainwater? ›

Where is the cleanest rainwater in the world? According to Hydrotech, a recent study by scientists at the universities of Texas and Chile found that the cleanest water in the world is located in Puerto Williams, Chile. The cleanliness of the water is reflective of the air from where the rain falls.

Why is rainwater no longer safe? ›

Scientists found that, after a decade-long investigation, when analyzed against US contamination guidelines, rainwater is unsafe for human consumption all over the world. This is due to PFAS levels, or per-and poly-fluoroalkyl substances.

What is rainwater that doesn't soak into the ground? ›

Surface runoff (also known as overland flow) is the unconfined flow of water over the ground surface, in contrast to channel runoff (or stream flow). It occurs when excess rainwater, stormwater, meltwater, or other sources, can no longer sufficiently rapidly infiltrate in the soil.

How do you collect rainwater without bugs? ›

Collect Rainwater, not mosquitoes.
  1. Use a rain barrel with a mosquito-proof screen (fine mesh–1/16th of an inch) under the lid and covering the overflow hole.
  2. Keep your rain barrel lid and all connectors in the system sealed.
  3. Place your barrel on a surface that will soak up or promptly drain water that has overflowed.

Can rain chains be used without gutters? ›

Yes, you can use a rain chain without a gutter, but you do want your rain chain to be able to capture enough water to be able to function. Cup-style rain chains can often handle more water than link-styles, so choose according to your home's needs and local climate.

How do you keep water away from your house from landscaping? ›

Keep gutters clean, and make sure your downspouts direct water as far away from your foundation as possible. To help steer the stream, miniature landing pads of gravel or river stone will help minimize erosion and direct the water away from your house.

What is the downside to a rain chain? ›

Less sturdy than downspouts - Rain chains cannot handle as much water as traditional downspouts. Areas with very heavy rain may even prove damaging to rain chains where a normal gutter spout would perform adequately. Rain chains may also not direct water away from the foundation well enough if not installed correctly.

How effective are rain chains? ›

The rain chains, like downspouts, can help direct the water to a safe drainage area, such as a water feature or landscaped garden bed. Unlike traditional downspouts, rain chains help slow the flow of water. This, in turn, can help reduce soil erosion.

Why do some houses not have rain gutters? ›

Overhang: A large roof overhang between 6 to 10 inches may also mean you don't need gutters—so long as your home meets other criteria, such as having downward slopes. Weather patterns: If your home is in a drier climate that receives less rain, you're less likely to need gutters.

Should you put rocks around your house? ›

Using rocks for drainage around a house's foundation helps prevent water from gathering, ultimately ensuring minimal risk of basement flooding. Not only does gravel ensure water flow moves quickly through the area, but it also prevents plants within the bed from receiving too much water and drowning.

What will absorb standing water in yard? ›

Clay soil traps water, slowing down the drainage process, resulting in water sitting on top of the ground. To improve drainage, amend the soil with organic matter, such as compost.

Should I put mulch or rock around my house? ›

If you have drainage issues on your property, rock is a great mulch choice, allowing water to drain quickly. If you have open bed areas without plants, rock is an easy, no maintenance option. Rocks are great for high-traffic areas, where pedestrians tend to take short cuts.


1. How to Drain Downspout Water Flow Away from a House | This Old House
(This Old House)
2. How To Install Gutters For Beginners! Easy DIY Home Project!
(Fix This House)
3. How to Install a Rain Chain | Ask This Old House
(This Old House)
4. How to Install a Rain Gutter | Ask This Old House
(This Old House)
5. DIY French Drain | Cheap Yard Drainage Solution | pt. 1
(That Tech Teacher)
6. Kick out diverter 2 (the inexpensive way)
(Weather Vane Roofing)


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