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Are Gutters Required By Code? A 2024 Guide

Posted on March 18, 2024

Are Gutters Required By Code

Why do we need gutters on our homes? Having or not having gutters might not seem like a big deal, but they’re actually really important. They help keep our homes safe from water damage by directing the rainwater away from the structure. If you still think they’re unnecessary, you may want to ask the next question, which is: are gutters required by code? 

In this blog post, we’ll look into whether or not gutters are required by Wisconsin building codes in 2024, and what homeowners should consider when it comes to gutters for their home.

Does The Building Code In Wisconsin Require Gutters?

The building code in Wisconsin does not directly state that gutters are required for homes, but they do require that all roofs be constructed to ensure water can drain effectively. While this predominantly means the slope of the roofs, gutters play a huge role in this as well.  

So, although they’re not legally required, installing gutters is a wise choice to protect your house from water damage. Plus, they’re still recommended by the International Building Code (IBC). Compliance with these regulations is advisable in communities with Homeowners’ Associations (HOAs), as you can avoid any hassle of having to install gutters later on by taking care of it during the original construction. 

Ultimately, gutters are integral to a home’s drainage system, safeguarding against water damage and the associated expenses, so installing them is highly recommended.  

Also Read: Choosing the Right Gutters for Your Home: A Complete Guide

Why Are Gutters Important?

Though not mandated by Wisconsin building codes, gutters play a crucial role in maintaining your roof and home, making them an essential part that you shouldn’t leave out. Here’s what makes gutters important to the durability and longevity of your home:

Why Are Gutters Important

1. Protect Against Water Damage:

Gutters play a huge role in protecting your home from water damage. They collect rainwater as it rolls down the roof, channeling it away from the foundation of your home. Without them, water would simply sit on the surface of your roof, slowly making its way beneath the roofing materials and causing damage to the structure of your home over time. Regular gutter maintenance ensures the roof remains in good condition and durable.

2. Preserve Outer Surfaces:

Properly installed gutters maintain the exterior of your home. Without them, rainwater can trickle down the walls, causing stains, mold, and deteriorate siding and paint. Gutters guide water away from the walls, keeping them dry and sturdy.

3. Prevent Foundation Problems & Erosion:

A significant function of gutters is to redirect water away from your home’s foundation. Excessive water can seep into the ground, causing it to shift and lead to cracks. This water can also seep into the basement of your home, causing flooding. Gutters help maintain the stability and strength of your home’s foundation.

Gutters also prevent erosion in your yard. Improper drainage can wash away soil and damage plants and trees. Gutters divert water away from these areas, safeguarding your landscape.

4. Enhance The Value Of The Home:

Well-kept gutters contribute to the value and attractiveness of your home. Potential buyers often look for homes with effective drainage systems to avoid future expenses related to water damage.

How Long Can A Home Go Without Gutters?

A home without gutters can stay problem-free for a short while, but the longer you wait to replace your gutters, the more issues may arise. How much rain falls in your area, how steep your roof is, and what kind of material it is made of, all affect how long a house can survive without gutters. 

Rainwater can cause numerous issues for your home if gutters aren’t installed. It can cause the foundation of your home to deteriorate in addition to leaking into your house and damaging your roof and exterior walls. A home without gutters also tends to have a lower resale value since prospective buyers are less likely to want a home if they have to install gutters on themselves, or if they’re unsure whether the home has taken on water damage due to the lack of gutters. 

How Can I Tell If My Gutters Need Repair Or Replacement?

Now that you understand the importance of installing gutters on your home, it’s essential that you know what happens if you don’t work to maintain them actively. Maintaining your gutters includes the assessment of your gutter system’s conditions as well. While doing so, you may find these signs that indicate your gutters need repair or replacement.  

1. Cracks, Splits, or Separation:

Inspect your gutters for any visible cracks, splits, or separation, especially along seams where sections are joined together. Addressing them promptly is crucial to prevent leaks and potential water damage to your home’s exterior and foundation.

2. Sagging Gutters:

Keep an eye out for gutters that are visibly sagging, as this indicates a malfunction in the system. Sagging gutters can result from debris buildup, improper installation, or the weight of trapped water. 

3. Peeling Paint or Rust:

Watch for signs of peeling paint or rust along your gutters, as these indicate a compromised protective coating. Rust can weaken the metal over time, leading to leaks and structural instability. 

4. Leaks:

Identify any leaks in your gutter system. They can cause water to seep into your home’s walls, ceilings, and foundation, resulting in expensive repairs and potential mold growth. Addressing leaks promptly is crucial to prevent water damage and maintain the structural integrity of your property.

5. Pooling Water:

Notice if water is pooling near your home’s foundation or in areas where it shouldn’t be present, as this indicates ineffective water diversion by your gutters. Pooling water can lead to erosion, foundation issues, and basement flooding if not addressed promptly. 

6. Gaps, Standing Water, and Damage:

Check for any noticeable gaps in your gutter system, standing water in troughs, or visible damage around the gutters. These issues compromise the efficiency of your gutter system and increase the risk of water infiltration into your home. Addressing these problems as soon as you find them can help prevent further deterioration and protect your property from water-related problems.

Install Gutters On Your Wisconsin Home Today

To put it simply, while building codes may not always require gutters to be installed on residential buildings, their role in efficient water management and home security cannot be overemphasized. Homeowners should understand the subtleties of local laws, follow industry guidelines, and consider the advantages of helpful roofing components such as gutters before making a choice. Homeowners who embrace this knowledge will be better equipped to make decisions that protect their properties from various forms of water damage.

You can rely on Prestige Roofing for excellent gutter installation and maintenance. With more than 50 years of combined experience and an outstanding reputation for quality, their knowledgeable team provides custom solutions to protect your home. Take advantage of upfront pricing, free estimates, and professional advice that our experts can offer. Select Prestige Roofing for the best gutter solutions and peace of mind, and give us a call at (920) 791-0414