Alternatives to Gutters

While gutters are the best way to protect your home from its number one enemy, water, some homeowners don’t want them hanging around. The two most popular objections are maintaining a gutter system and that it spoils the appearance of the home’s exterior. Here are some alternatives to gutters. Before taking action, ensure that the gutters alternative you choose will consistently manage water runoff given the climatic conditions where you live.

Rainwater Dispersal Methods

One simple alternative to gutters is to employ a method that disperses the rainwater coming off the roof. There are several types of rainwater dispersal systems available. They typically involve some kind of metal drip edge, louver or mesh system installed underneath the eaves, and are designed to reduce the impact of the water as it reaches the ground, minimizing soil erosion and drainage issues.

Rain Chains

A rain chain is generally used instead of downspouts. However, a traditional gutter system could be replaced by adding more rain chains along the drip line of the roof. Decorative elements such as cups or geometric shapes interrupt the force of the water as it comes down from the roof. Rain chains are often incorporated into garden beds, ornamental drainage areas or ponds.

Drainage Beds

In this gutter alternative method, some type of drainage bed would be installed around the house, directly under the roof edge and extending a minimum of six inches past the overhang. Drainage bed options include:

  • a gravel path
  • a concrete apron
  • a paved path made of bricks, stones – should be used with a drainage system
  • an underground drain; also known as a French drain


If your major objection to gutters is appearance, there are three viable alternatives. Yes, they still involve a type of gutter system, but one that is designed to enhance a home’s exterior rather than detract from it. They are:

  • copper gutters – long-lasting; patina adds visual interest
  • seamless aluminum gutters – aesthetically pleasing; fewer seams
  • hidden gutters – integrated into the roof; totally hidden from view; usually installed at the time the house is be built