Metal Roofs and Gutters: Special Considerations for Tiny Home Builders

Gutters and metal roofs are a complicated topic, and if you are building a tiny home, there are special things you should keep in mind. Wondering if and how you should integrate gutters into your tiny home design? Here are some things you should keep in mind:

1. No Gutters

With such a small house, you may not need gutters. Instead, you can invest in metal roofing that has channels or raised ridges in it to direct the water down the roof and onto the ground. However, if you want to skip gutters, you need to ensure that the ground beneath your tiny home can handle the water.

Ideally, this means having your home on a concrete slab that is higher than the surrounding land so that the rainfall can naturally move away from your home. Alternatively, not having gutters works if your home is on a trailer and you plan to move it on a semi regular basis, meaning any slight erosion from rain water won't affect you.

2. Gutters and Self Sufficiency

If you are prioritising self sufficiency with your tiny home, you may want to integrate rain gutters so that you can harvest the water. In this case, you want gutters connected to a rain barrel with a spout so that you can collect the water for gardening or bathing. To maximise collection, you likely want two barrels, one for each side of the house.

3. Gutters and Ice Dams

One of the risks with metal roofs and gutters is that ice dams tend to occur on metal roofs, and they can damage gutters. Essentially, the middle of the roof gets warm from the house, the snow melts and rushes to the eaves. There, due to the comparative coldness of the metal, the water freezes and forms an ice dam on the roof. The weight of the dam can damage the gutters, and it can cause other channels of melting snow to be dammed on the roof, potentially leading to excess roof weight or even leaks.

However, with a tiny house, this is not as likely. Simply because the roof is smaller, the heat conducts more effectively over the entire roof, mitigating the risk of ice dams. As a result, you can put your worries to rest. If you pair gutters with a metal roof and your home is an area with snowfall, the snow should melt and run into the gutters as desired without ice dams forming.

4. Gutters and Movement

Unfortunately, gutters may get damaged as you move  your tiny home. Typically, when you connect gutters to a home, the hardware is not set up the endure the bumps, wind and other issues of fast movement. As a result, your gutters may break loose from your tiny home in transit.

To avoid that issue, you may opt to skip gutters or to use integrated gutters. Integrated gutters consists of a wood channel that is part of the joists and beams used to support your roof. The wood runs around the roof's frame, and when you install the metal roofing, you simply line these integrated channels with sheet metal to protect the wood. This can be an effective idea if you want a bit of extra stability with your gutters.

Want to learn more about metal roofs and gutters on tiny homes? Contact a metal roof installation expert.