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Question DetailsAsked on 3/13/2017

do rain handlers work

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1 Answer


Here is one previous question with several answers I found on that subject -

Basically speaking, a roof concentrates a lot of rainfall (over the large roof area) into a fairly small area of ground when it hits - whether running off the edge of the roof or slightly dispersed (typically not more than about a one-foot strip parallel to the foundation) if using a dispersal louver system like Rain Handlers. Either way, you get mud splashing onto the siding which is not good for it, and concentration of water near the foundation which can cause foundation and basement flooding issues. Plus water splashing of water on the wall if it is hitting vegetation in the drip zone.

IF you have a pretty highly water resistant surface where the water is hitting, sloping well away from the house, then while you still have at least some of the splash (which can typically reach 2-3 feet up the wall and sometimes as much as 4-6 feet above the impact point), that might handle the foundation/basement flooding risk.

Plus that sort of solution (with metal louvers especially) are prone to icing up, hence concentrating the runoff while iced up (dripping straight down the icicles) plus potentially putting more icing load on the louvers and roof edge which cannot be good for them. I have seen this sort of metal louver system (don't know if Rain handler brand or not) ice up pretty badly, causing formation of ice damming backing up onto the roof. Dark colored ones, especially if non-metallic, would be less of an issue.

My recommendation, especially in significant rain or roof-melt areas - stay with gutters and downspouts, including assuring the runoff from the downspouts is directed over relatively impervious material to a point preferably 3-6 feet away from the house, distance depending on natural soil permeability (further in more permeable soil so it does not come back to the house as groundwater). And of course, regardless of your runoff control method, the ground where that water impacts or is dumped out needs to slope away from the house at a singificant slope - minimum 2% slope, preferably more like 10% slope for at least the first 3-6 feet away from the house.

This is one of the most basic flaws in the building codes, that they do not require that foundations be not less than 1 foot above ground level, and that they do not require deliberate watercontrol near the foundation - both for roof runoff and for direct rainfall and for control of water from melting of snow/snow drifts. I tried for years to get that sort of provision put in when I was on building code committees - to no avail even though no one ever stated a specific reason for objecting other than the fairly minimal cost of an additional some inches of crawlspace foundation height or some compacted fill under slab-on-grade construction.

You can find a lot of questions with varied responses regarding types and brands of gutters and the entire gutter/no gutter argument in the Home > Gutters link under Browse Projects, at lower left.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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