The function of a gutter is to catch rainwater trickling down the roof of a house and direct it into a number of downspouts, which carry the water away from the building. A house without gutters may have erosion caused by rainwater dripping near the foundation. However, gutters often get clogged with leaves and moss, and need to be cleaned out regularly. This can be time-consuming and expensive. However, there are a number of alternatives to guttering.
Block Drip Paths
Placing blocks underneath eaves is a simple alternative to guttering. The rainwater drips onto this hard surface, and if the blocks are laid sloping away from the house, will trickle harmlessly away from the building. This reduces the risk of erosion; however, homeowners may become irritated at the constant dripping from the roof when it is raining.
Rain chains are a beautiful and decorative way of directing water away from your house. An alternative to a downspout, the gutters channel water onto this chain, which guides the water into a ground drain or rain barrel. They are available in a wide range of designs.
Slatted Rain Dispersal System
Rain dispersal systems are another alternative to standard guttering. For example, Rainhandler systems use louvered slats, which take rainwater running off the shingles and spread it over a wider area. This is ideal if you have plants beneath your eaves because the water does not fall in a vertical line, churning up the soil and creating a rut, but instead sprinkles over your plants. The slats are easy to install, and leaves and debris simply wash through them.
Perforated Plate Rain Dispersal System
The Rainbreakerz plate rain dispersal system is very similar to that of the Rainhandler, but uses a perforated plate to distribute the rainwater instead of slats. The plates have 125 holes per square inch, meaning rainwater is dispersed into a fine spray, watering any vegetation you have beneath your eaves and eliminating the need for unsightly rounded guttering or downspouts.
Perhaps the simplest alternative to rainwater guttering is not to have any gutters at all. Rainwater will drip off your roof from all sides, but you will never have to unblock or replace damaged gutters, or buy an expensive alternative. However, this does increase the risk that rainwater may erode the external envelope of your house.