Alternatives to gutters
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Lauren



Joined: 19 Feb 2008
Posts: 15
Location: Springfield, MA

PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2008 2:38 pm    Post subject: Alternatives to gutters Reply with quote

I own a 1902 Victorian house in Springfield, just one of hundreds in this city of homes. I am unsure what the original water control method of the house was, but currently there are no gutters on the house. There is no facia board to attach K-style gutters to, and I have a slate roof, so installing copper half-round gutters would be costly and would require taking up several rows of slate, which we just spent a bundle on repairing. My question is whether installing French drains around the entire house under the drip line would be an appropriate substitution for gutters in Massachusetts. Everyone jumps to installing gutters as the solution to water control, but there has to be another way without obscuring the beautiful woodwork up there! The other issue is that we have a brick foundation, which has been slowly spalling and deteriorating on the interior with the excessive water soaking into the ground. So, I need a quick and effective solution! It's been such a wet spring! Everytime it rains the water just comes down in sheets and sits in pools right by the foundation. Thank you for any advice!
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jade



Joined: 11 Feb 2005
Posts: 785
Location: Hawley MA

PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 7:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

hey lauren....welcome to the site!

i live about an hour's drive northwest of you and folks here soon learn that gutters DO NOT hold up during the winter months...i don't have gutters but i do deal with water in the basement after an especially heavy rain and during the spring run-off...wish i had been around when the foundation was being dug and poured...i would have insisted on a gravel drain around the perimeter...

digging a ditch after the fact can be an expensive endeavor but one which can save you a lot of headaches (and damage) in the long run...at each exterior door i have an inverted 'V' shaped diverter which can be installed on the roof with some ease on asphalt shingles...with slate, you'd need to have a pro do the work...

there is a product on the market that appears to have a smaller profile and claims to need no cleaning...it comes in a few colors so blends in with most home colors...take a look at www.rainhandler.com

good luck...
...jade
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Lauren



Joined: 19 Feb 2008
Posts: 15
Location: Springfield, MA

PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 3:01 pm    Post subject: French Drain Reply with quote

Thank you both! I feel relieved that there are viable alternatives to gutters! I work at an architecture firm (not an architect!) and everyone here says I need gutters, but I really was resisting. I had seen the rain handler somewhere, and heard mixed reviews on it, but I was considering it. The only problem is that I have a city lot, and the spray would likely land in my neighbors yard, if not directly on his house! I think the 6" drain pipe sounds like the most unobtrusive idea, and besides a one foot wide trench of gravel around the perimeter, which could be obscured with landscaping, will be unnoticeable. Otis, I wish you lived closer! Does anyone know someone who could do the work in the Springfield area? Being new to the area, the phone book is usually where I run, but I would love any recommendations. Thank you for your great advice!
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jade



Joined: 11 Feb 2005
Posts: 785
Location: Hawley MA

PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2008 4:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

below are just a couple of sites that offer the do-it-yourselfer some instructions...GO FOR IT!!

www.easydigging.com/drainage/garden_drainage_guide.html

www.repair-home.com/how_to/create_a_french_drain.htm

...jade
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Lauren



Joined: 19 Feb 2008
Posts: 15
Location: Springfield, MA

PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2008 9:45 am    Post subject: Dry creekbed/rain garden Reply with quote

Well, we never got around to dealing with the water problem in the spring, so now we are stressing out again with all the rain in the fall. Nevertheless, I just wanted to report that I devised a (hopefully) viable solution, which will be functional and aesthetically pleasing. We are going to dig an organically shaped trench around the drip-line of the house, lay a pond liner with some river rocks and gravel, and divert the water into a raingarden at the end. Our soil is very sandy, and the water percolates very fast, so the rain garden will not need to be excessively large, but with some appropriate plants to soften and soak up the water, I believe it will be a nicely landscaped solution. The pond liner will be installed from the foundation to about 4' away from the house (because I have heard that this is a safe distance from the foundation to avoid water damage). Since we have a front porch and a rear addition with gutters, the dry creekbeds will only need to be installed on the two sides of the house. The raingarden will only need to be on the higher side of the house, because the creekbed on the other side will drain to the driveway, and then to the street.

I appreciate your encouragement to tackle this ourselves, because now I am very excited to get started! Please feel free to alert me if you see any technical issues that may arise with my solution, as I did not consult anyone on this particular solution. Thanks, all!
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renaissance restorations



Joined: 15 Feb 2009
Posts: 53

PostPosted: Sat Dec 19, 2009 11:50 am    Post subject: Gutters no more... Reply with quote

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Lauren



Joined: 19 Feb 2008
Posts: 15
Location: Springfield, MA

PostPosted: Sat Dec 19, 2009 2:34 pm    Post subject: Rain Garden Update Reply with quote

That's a shame, built-in gutters look so great, and are so functional! But I assume they need to be regularly maintained, and that is the biggest mistake people make.

Our rain garden works perfectly, by the way. We are very happy with it. I looks great for starters, nicely landscaped with berms on the sides and ferns, grasses, and plants around. Secondly, it prevents water from splashing up onto the brick foundation. Thirdly, all of the water flows down into the rain garden, and drains very fast. Even with the worst of storms, the "pond" drains in about two hours. We have set some large rocks in the pond area, so even when it is dry it has visual interest (very zen ;)

The only draw-back I see to this solution is that when you have storms with lots of wind, the rain is still going to blow back onto the wood siding. Otherwise, it is very functional!
Happy Holidays, everyone!
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Dennis@RCR



Joined: 26 Oct 2008
Posts: 5
Location: Chardon, Ohio

PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2009 1:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lauren,

In case you need to re visit the idea of gutters. It is possible to attach copper half round gutters to rafter ends, similar to these, http://www.roofingcontractorreview.com/gallery/Cleveland+Slate+Roofing+and+Repair/halfroundgutter.jpg without removing the slate at the eaves. There are gutter brackets made for that application.

Dennis

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