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What About Ohio Soil Makes Gutters So Crucial?

gutter clogged with leaves

In Tim Carter’s recent column in the Seattle Times, he receives a question about gutters. A reader asks about the necessity of gutters and downspouts regarding a metal-roofed barn.

Carter, an expert in home improvement and home maintenance, proceeds to talk about his childhood in our fair city.

“I grew up in Cincinnati,” Carter writes. “The soil there is a dense, poorly draining clay deposited by a series of massive continental glaciers that covered the land four times in the past two million years.”

For that reason, structures in Cincinnati always had to have gutters. Not just gutters, but large gutters, and clean gutters.

Soil is vastly different in different locales. In places where the soil is aerated and porous, rainwater and snow can drain easily into the soil. In places where the ground is solid and dense – either with rocks or with thick clay like in Cincinnati – we all need to do additional work to protect our homes’ foundations.

Clay soil requires us to move water away from our homes. Without those downspouts, all that water from the downpours would sit on the ground right by our walls, gradually causing rot and decay. That standing water not only eats away at the very structure of our home, but is a home to mosquitoes, termites, and other destructive and dangerous pests.

For these reasons, Cincinnati homeowners need to pay close attention to their gutters and downspouts. Proper draining is essential for a healthy house, and proper draining does not happen in southern Ohio without well-maintained gutters.