It's that time of year in Southern California and Arizona, we finally get to see some rain coming our way! The rainy season is great for our local vegetation and supplies us with the opportunity to replenish our water supply levels. But, it also can bring on a few not so fun things along with it. These things can range from finding out you have a leak in your roof, to having water standing around your home.
This article will discuss why having a properly working rain gutter/drainage system in place can save you headaches in the future.
First, let's dive into the costs of having rain gutters installed. Rain gutters cost between $10-$15 a linear foot to install for basic gutters. Obviously, going with higher end finishes will increase this cost based on the increased material costs. We are goin we are going to use a home that is 2,500 square feet for our cost summary. If your home is perfectly square, which most aren't, you would have a home that is 50' x 50'. That would produce the need for 200 linear feet of rain gutters. If we used the high side of the basic install cost, that would be 200 linear feet multiplied by $15 which comes out to be $3,000 for the rain gutters to be installed. Of course you would then want to make sure you have the proper amount of down spouts and more importantly, you want to have the discharge from the downspouts to be at least 5' away from the home if possible. The further away the better. Or you could have them drop down into an underground drainage system that discharges away from the house.
Alright, that was a lot of information on the cost of rain gutters!
Now, let's dive into why it is important to have the rain gutters and to have them discharge all of that water.
When you think about how little amount of rain we get, typically, with each storm, you are probably thinking "That is such a small amount, how would that cause any problems with my home?" The answer is that you are correct, it is a small amount, but you take that small amount and you multiply it by the square footage of your home, which is a quick way to figure out how much roof area you have, that turns out to be a lot of rain that runs off the roof. Add that to the frequency that it happens and you can accumulate a lot of water! All of that water, if it is not discharged away from your home, dumps down right by your home's foundation. Now when this water is introduced to the soils that support your home they start to break down the integrity or density of your home. We've all put our feet or boots into a water puddle and we sink in, right. The same thing happens with your home over time. It doesn't sink a lot with one rain, but over time it keeps sinking more and more. That is where it can lead to a foundation settlement problem. Not good.
Just to put things in perspective: Rain Gutters costs about $15 a linear foot, Foundation Repair costs are around $400 a linear foot. Rain gutters are definitely worth the investment when you look at the costs of potential problems. Now, are rain gutters the end all be all thing you need to do to prevent a foundation problem? NO. Even if you have taken all of the precautions you could still just have a home that settles, based on the soils that support the home. Soils just loose some of their density and compaction over time. There is not much you can do to get around it, unless you are built on a pile of boulders!
When it rains, or after it stops raining, go outside and take a look to see where the water was sheeting off of you home that doesn't have gutters. You will be able to find a pretty straight indented line to where that water lands. Usually, it is only about 2-3 feet away from your home's foundation.