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Are Rain Gutters Necessary in Los Angeles?

Do I Need Rain Gutters in Southern California?

southern california dry arid climate desert
Conventional wisdom dictates that a properly-built home would include a rain gutter system, to divert rainfall away from the house. But in Southern California, the dry climate in cities such as Los Angeles might cause a homeowner to wonder if rain gutters are even necessary.

While it’s true that much of the year sees little rain in this area, even a single rainy day can result in costly damage to your home if it is not properly protected. This can include both water and moisture damage, which is often costly to repair.

Water damage is caused by the soaking of materials that need to stay dry. These materials include drywall, plaster, wood, flooring, and furniture. While some types of wood can be dried out and possibly restored, many types of water damage are simply not reversible. Drywall, for example, loses its integrity after it has been soaked in water, and can succumb to fungal infestation.

Moisture damage is not as easy to detect, at least at first. Often it begins in the hidden areas of a structure. Moisture damage typically happens when air with a high moisture content reaches a cold surface and condenses. This can damage walls and ceilings if they are not treated with vapor barrier protection. Also, moisture-rich air can condense in attics and around exterior walls, resulting in fungal wood rot that neither easy nor inexpensive to fix.

Another advantage of rain gutters in a dryer climate is that they enable the use of rain barrels, to capture the drainage water from your roof. This water can then be used for a variety of purposes. This is particularly advantageous here in Southern California, where residents are often faced with water restrictions.

An important rule-of-thumb with regards to rain gutters is to “do it right, or don’t do it at all”. When installing a gutter system, it is imperative to make sure that it is done properly so that when the rain eventually comes, your home is properly protected. If you personally lack the time and/or knowledge to install gutters yourself, consider a trained professional to set it up for you.

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