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.
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.
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.
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.