Gutters and downspouts perform the simple function of taking water away from the roof to a location far from the foundation. The most common gutters are aluminum, and are installed by contractors. Vinyl gutter systems are also available to the homeowner without the specialized tools to deal with the aluminum gutters. Other gutter systems are made of tin, copper or wood.
If water is still collecting near the foundation, drain extensions (above or below ground) can be added to draw the water away from the house. Another low budget fix is to raise the soil level near the foundation, so that the land slopes away from the house, and not into the house.
Gutters need to be maintained by:
Cleaning out leaves and debris regularly (or add leaf guards to the gutters)