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Community and Q&A

Roof vs. ground gutters

Andrew207 | Posted in Green Building Techniques on

I’m going to be working on my grandfather’s house soon to deal with moisture getting into his poured foundation. The 1940’s ranch house is in Central Maine in heavy clay soil. The foundation has multiple hairline cracks in it. I think part of the cracking is due to the expansion of the clay and/or hydro-static pressure when it rains. I read the article on this site about ground gutters and I’m intrigued by the idea. I question if they are going to be more effective for a couple of reasons:

1. Roof gutters move the water further away from the foundation (10 ft or more vs a max of 4 ft for ground gutters).

2. I worry that ground gutters may have issues in the long term due to frost heaves or roots which will reduce it efficiency.

What do you think I should do? Does anyone have a long term experience with ground gutters?

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  1. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    Roof gutters in Maine also have maintenance issues: they often get clogged with leaves or are torn off the roof by ice.

    If the ground gutter is detailed well, it will probably need less maintenance and repair than roof gutters.

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