Uninstalled Downspout Extension

Gutters, Downspouts and Downspout Extensions – Common Home Inspection Findings

One of the most common findings that I document in a home inspection report is the lack of a proper roof drainage system.  In many instances, spending a few dollars can save a homeowner thousands of dollars by preventing wet basements, foundation issues, or concrete flatwork cracking or settlement.  Often, I find that downspout extensions are either missing or too short.

    Missing Downspout Extension

A homeowner can purchase downspout extensions for a few dollars at a hardware store and install them.  I recommend downspout extensions extend up to 6 feet away from the foundation of the home.  Downspout extensions of only 1-2 feet do not effectively direct water away from the foundation of a home.  The further the water is directed away from the home, the better!

Gutters without gutter covers are often clogged or contain debris such as leaves and sticks.  When gutters become clogged, rainwater fills them.   Then, rainwater will flow over the gutters and down to the ground, near the foundation, where it can seep into the soil and through cracks or openings in the foundation.

Leaves in GutterTrees Growing in Gutter


Check gutters, downspouts, and downspout extensions to make sure rainwater is being directed away from your home foundation.  The best time to check for potential issues is during a moderate to heavy rainfall when lightning is not occurring.  You may be surprised to see gutters and downspouts leaking from holes you never knew existed!  Properly seal holes and fix loose connections.

Loose Gutter and Downspout Connection Disconnected DownspoutDisconnected Gutter


Finally, some homes and garages do not contain any gutters, downspouts, or downspout extensions.  I encourage homeowners to consider adding complete roof drainage systems where needed.  In many instances in which a roof drainage system is missing, I find evidence of foundation issues consistent with the presence of excessive moisture.  Excessive moisture combined with freezing and thawing deteriorates foundation components, and causes cracking and settlement of concrete flatwork.  Also, paint and siding materials close to the ground often show evidence of deterioration.

Proper gutters, downspouts and downspout extensions can save thousands of dollars in costly repairs.


How much time does it take to complete a home inspection?

The typical time to complete a home inspection, of an average size single family home, is approximately 2.5 – 4 hours.  If the potential homeowner joins the inspector for a walk-through summary, add another half hour to an hour to that time.  Thorough home inspections take time to complete as home inspectors look at many structural components and mechanical systems of a condo, townhome, single family home, or multi family home.  Inspection times vary depending upon many factors that include age, square footage, and number of findings.

If a home inspector is rushed to finish an inspection, the inspector may miss important findings.  Asking a home inspector how much time it takes to complete an average home inspection may be an important indicator in determining the thoroughness of the inspection and report you will receive.

Some home inspectors will provide only the top 3 – 5 findings during a summary walk through or meeting that will last 15-20 minutes.  I believe it is important for a home owner to be fully informed about the inspection report and will provide you with details of the vast majority of findings in the report along with information about the utilities of a home.  The time to complete a home inspection may be important to know when choosing an inspector.



The State of Minnesota does not require home inspectors to be licensed or certified.

Andy strongly believes education and training combined with real world experience produce great results.  Andy was formally trained and certified by the American Home Inspectors Training (AHIT) program.  He went above and beyond this basic training program by preparing for and passing the National Home Inspectors Exam developed by an Examination Board of Professional Home Inspectors.  In addition, Andy has had experience constructing and remodeling homes.

Andy also performs radon testing.  He prepared for and passed the Radon Measurement Professional Examination administered by the National Radon Proficiency Program and is licensed by the Minnesota Department of Health.

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