9 Gutter Alternative Ideas You Should Consider for Your Home
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9 Gutter Alternative Ideas You Should Consider for Your Home

Why keep your home boring with gutters when you can change things up and use an alternative solution for your water draining woes? After all, gutters tend to be unsightly, annoying, and fragile. Fortunately, you don’t need to settle for less. With these gutter alternatives, you can change things up. Each idea comes with its own benefits and drawbacks, but every idea is a great way to channel water from your roof.

1. Drip Path

Unlike a gutter, a drip path doesn’t go on your roof. It’s a paved path that goes under the edge of your roof. As water falls off the roof, it lands on strategically placed bricks or blocks below.

Making a drip path is as easy as placing bricks or blocks in the soil, directly under the end of your roof. The blocks are angled to drain the water away from your home’s foundation. Because the pathway is a hard surface, water doesn’t seep into your soil.

If you’re handy, you can try to install one of these gutter alternatives yourself. It’s not nearly as difficult as installing regular gutters.

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2. Ground Gutters

Also known as French drains, ground gutters go in the ground, as their name suggests. They include a network of pipes that carry water from your roof away from your home and into a drain.

To make a ground gutters system, you need to dig a trench that flows away from your home. This ensures that the water doesn’t become stagnant and attract mosquitoes or other pests. When water hits the roof, it falls onto the ground and into the pipe in the trench. Then, the water travels to an underground drain.

One of the highlights of this system is that it’s invisible. If you want, you can cover the drain with plants. Depending on what you plant, you might not need to worry about watering it. The rainwater will do the work for you.

This gutter alternative requires almost no maintenance. On occasion, you may need to check the outlet of the drain for leaves. However, the drain only needs this attention once a year or so. You won’t need to install gutter guards to protect your gutters.

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3. Box Gutters

Some people refer to these gutters as built-in gutters. Although they aren’t as invisible as french drains, these types of gutters are much more subtle in appearance than traditional gutters. The system features valley-like troughs that go at the edge of your roof.

The troughs direct water away from your roof and foundation. Unlike regular gutters, box gutters aren’t prone to clogging. They don’t have the cylinder shape that makes traditional gutters block up easily. That said, these gutters are often neglected. If there’s corrosion or a blockage, you might not notice the issue until it’s too late.

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4. Drip Edge

Metal plate at the bottom of the roof functioning as a drip edge

Another one of the more popular gutter alternatives is the drip edge. While some people use this in conjunction with a gutter system, it can also be used as an alternative to gutters. A drip edge is a piece of metal that goes at the edge of your roof. Although it overhangs from your roof, the metal doesn’t take away from your home’s aesthetic.

In addition to directing water away from your foundation, the drip edge also gives your shingles more support. Water is unlikely to get to your shingles, which is a possibility with traditional gutters. The drip edge also makes it more difficult for animals to get into your attic.

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5. Copper Gutters

Although copper gutters are essentially regular gutters, they belong on this list of alternative gutters for their unique appearance. Instead of taking away from the aesthetics of your home, these gutters make it look better than ever. They also come with certain advantages that you don’t get with traditional aluminum gutters.

As a corrosion-resistant metal, copper is unlikely to rust. This makes this type of gutter highly durable and low maintenance. If you choose copper for your gutters, the system could last anywhere from 30 to 100 years.

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6. Underground Rain Chain

Recently, rain chains have become popular in the West. But they have been around for centuries in Japan, and are referred to as Kusari Doi. Rain chains are effective at channeling water, and also have a beautiful look.

An underground rain chain system features a rain chain that transports water directly to an underground drain or underground basin. While designs of rain chains vary, most rain chains are ornate and reduce the force of water as it travels down the chain. You can use a single chain, a cup system, or multiple chains.

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7. Above Ground Rain Chain

Water droplets on decorative rain chain

Similar to the gutter option listed above, this gutter alternative varies slightly in its execution. Relying on chains to channel water, an above-ground rain chain goes to a reservoir or basin that’s above the ground.

Instead of the water draining into the ground, it collects in a basin for future use. You can recycle the water and use it to hydrate the plants in your garden.

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8. Grading

If you are in the middle of building a new home, grading is a great alternative to gutters. You can grade the ground to make the house at an elevation. With the right slope, your home won’t need gutters. Water will naturally drain away from your foundation.

While this is a great gutter alternative, it’s not cost-effective on existing homes. The best way to use grading is to have it done before you build your home.

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9. Rain Dispersal System

A modern alternative to gutters is a rain dispersal system. Although there are several systems available, the Rainhandler is one of the most common ones. It divides rainwater into small droplets, which gives them less force. When the drops hit the ground, they spread out and don’t pool in one place.

When you use a regular gutter system, you need to worry about blockages and ice dams. However, a rain dispersal system eliminates those worries.

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Which Gutter Alternative Will Work for Your House?

Which one of these gutter alternatives is right for you? When picking a rain gutter or an alternative, consider the appearance, functionality, and difficulty of installation. With the right choice, you can have an effective and stylish way of controlling where the rain drains off your roof.

For more unique home improvement ideas, have a look at our collection of backyard garden waterfall ideas, which includes a creative use of rain chains.

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