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Are Rain Gutters Required By Code in California?

In most parts of the country, rain gutters are installed by default on a house. This is because they’re absolutely necessary to keep water out of the basement, and prevent costly water damage to the home. But California is known for its dry climate. In some parts of Southern California, most homes don’t have basements and rainy days are few and far between. With this in mind, some might wonder if gutters in California are needed at all.

According to California codes, at least as of this writing, “gutters” themselves are not required, however positive drainage away from the foundation of a building, while controlling erosion, is required. 

So, what happens if you don’t have gutters? Well, if rain flows off your roof in an uncontrolled fashion due to a lack of gutters, the water can cause a lot of erosion. More and more soil gets washed away every time it rains. This causes the landscape, which has been carefully sloped, to wear down. Eventually, runoff water starts to flow towards the house instead of away from it. 

There are other reasons to consider gutters for your home. First, even if you don’t have a basement, there may be parts of your home that are below ground level. If this is the case, it’s imperative that water is kept away from the foundation, as it can leak into and through the subterranean walls. Even if your home is entirely above ground, water sitting around the foundation can damage the walls over time, rotting wood and causing the growth of mold and mildew. 

Another reason to consider gutters is that they keep water away from outdoor living areas, walkways, doorways, and porches. This lets you and your guests avoid getting soaked with sheets of water as you go to the front door or other areas outside the home.

Another great reason to install rain gutters is that the water can be redirected into rain barrels, where it can be stored for later use. The water can be used for things such as landscape irrigation or car washing. 

Remember that rain gutters need to be installed properly. Otherwise, they could cause even worse damage to your home. So if you decide to install rain gutters on your home, make sure to have them professionally installed.

To summarize, rain gutters are a great way to ensure your home meets California building codes, keep you and your guests comfortable, protect your home and its foundation, and conserve water all at the same time.