A Home Inspector’s Weblog by Frank Schulte-Ladbeck

exploring homes and the lives in them around Houston

Archive for rain gutter

Down in the Gutter

I was inspecting a home yesterday where the owners had done a nice job taking care of it, and they added a nice porch to the backyard. The house had very little in the way of problems, but it had one fault that could have been so easily avoided: water damage due to a bad gutter install.

I think that the homeowner had installed the gutters themselves. The front yard gutters were great. Everything that I want to see. Water was collected from the roof and diverted away from the house through extensions on the downspouts. Perfect. I believe that the owner must have been worn out after the front, because there were two major mistakes on the back yard gutter system. There were no extensions or anything at the base of the gutter downspout tube. Water just splashed down onto the ground. This caused the base of a door to start rotting, but it could lead to more issues with the structure of the porch and with the foundation. This was not the end though. There were no caps on the end of the gutter runs, so water flowed out of the ends to whatever was below. On one end, it was a seat built into the porch. The framing for the porch was rotting away, so the seat was a swing. I could just see my kid playing on that seat, then having it collapse.

Gutters are not essential on a house. Proper grading can divert water away from the building, so damage from moisture penetration can be avoided. I recommend gutter installations to my clients, because I know that a good gutter system can get the water from the house quickly. Foundation companies make this suggestion too. Water is the biggest enemy of your building, so handling its path around your home should be of concern to all homeowners.

Gutters seem to be the last item that we want to take care of. I realize that cleaning them is a chore, but there are products to help you with this. I know that they can be easily banged up when doing yard work, but they are also easy to fix, with parts being reasonable in cost. Some complain that they are unsightly, but they could be the same color as your trim, so that you will not notice them. Give your gutters some tender loving care, and your home will thank you.