Which Is Best -- A Gutter, A Diverter, Or Both?

Rain gutters have saved many a homeowner and gardener a lot of heartache as rain is carted away from landscaping and doorways and deposited in an absorbent lawn or rain barrel. But gutters also have their share of issues and can be awkward to maintain on taller homes, at least for the DIY homeowners out there. Another way to move rain away from the edge of a roof is to use a diverter, which is an L-shaped bracket that sits near the edge of the roof and acts as a border and barrier. Is it worth it to switch from gutters to diverters? Not always, though the diverters have their place in handling runoff.

Heavy Rains

Diverters are low-profile brackets that may not be able to handle very heavy rains and major runoff -- the water can flow right over the edge of the diverter if the runoff is severe enough. For areas that regularly see heavy rain, traditional gutters are still the best choice as you can get wide ones that corral all of that runoff. Sometimes really heavy runoff down a roof valley results in a waterfall over the side of the gutter; a special splash guard placed in the gutter corner helps prevent that overflow. For areas that see less rain or steadier and more moderate amounts, a diverter will work in some areas, but not all. Gutters are still necessary to guide the rain to downspouts, though you may be able to have more of a combination of the gutter and diverter on roofs with shallow pitches.

Leaf Fall

Leaves are a gutter's enemy, but you can have gutter guards and screens blocks the leaves' entry. You don't have those with diverters. If there are a lot of deciduous trees overhanging the roof, or even sitting near the roof (wind can blow those leaves around for quite a distance), gutters with guards are the way to go. Leave diverters for areas where leaves aren't much of an issue.

Odd Shapes

The one place where diverters become necessary is a part of the roof with an odd or rapidly changing shape. Yes, your roof isn't alive, but if you have a small peaked section over your doorway, for example, gutters may look odd and be hard to fit. A diverter that leads the rain to an adjacent gutter is perfect for these spots.

Hail Damage

Hail can damage both gutters and diverters, so technically, this is a draw between the two. However, keep in mind that while hail can dent a gutter, it can flatten a diverter, letting all that rain channel through the dent and over the roof edge. If you're in a region with large hail possibilities, choose a gutter where possible.

Have gutter contractors, such as from Rocky Mountain Roofers & Gutters, come out and look at all the sections that need some sort of rain diversion. You and they can put together a plan that moves rain away from where you and you plants are to a specific area of the yard while also making your house look good.