We can fix this.
As an experienced Certified Professional Home Inspector, the Martin Home Inspection Team is seldom surprised by some of the things we come across in people’s homes—venting range hoods into the garage, or running water supply pipes across the kitchen floor. Homeowners are responsible for countless well-intentioned, but ultimately destined to fail DIY projects. That being said, it’s the things that they often do not do that really perplex us.
Take this image as an example:
See what’s missing? A rain gutter!—and downspout and downspout extension, of course.
About fifty bucks of materials and three hours of work could have prevented this:
Now we’ve got a real problem. Not only do we have rotted siding, sub-floor and structural framing, but there’s a sizeable hole for water and all manner of critters to casually wander into this house. We might as well install some tiny stairs with safety rails to invite any wanting passers-by to enjoy the warm confines of the home.
Gutters. Downspouts. Extensions. Move the water away from the home.
But wait, there’s more!
An essential part of our home inspections at Martin Home Inspections is to evaluate the perimeter of the home and find areas that are negatively sloped toward the home. See that pile of leaves above us? Underneath that is a concrete pad that has settled over time and is pitched toward the home—rather steeply, in fact. That means that every drop of water that touches that surface drains directly toward the home—right at the foundation.
Quick refresher: The foundation is the concrete wall that supports the weight of your entire home. Most of it lays below ground and is the home’s only interface with the soil beneath it. Water, for all of its life-giving properties, can be incredibly damaging to a home. Water should be in your pipes, coffee and in the tub with your kids, not pouring into your basement or crawl space from outside.
So now we’ve got a roof with no gutters, funneling water directly onto a concrete runway, pitching every fluid ounce against our house.
That portion of roof has a surface area of roughly 400 square feet. An average heavy rainfall in Northern Colorado might supply about 0.3 to 0.5 inches per hour.
Let’s do the math: 0.5 inches of rain per hour falling on that roof equals a flow of 120 gallons per hour. Whoa!
What about a really big storm like the one we had on May 18th, 2017, which can be viewed here on our Youtube channel.
That storm produced a total of 2.07 inches of precipitation, which equals 413 gallons of water. All of that poured down our home’s siding and foundation like the Zoomerang at Water World.
But now you are saying: Eric, we have gutters and downspouts and downspout extensions.
Fair enough, but what condition are they in?
Are the gutters clean and pitched toward the downspout?:
Are you sure about those extensions?:
Here’s an excellent graphic:
So go outside and take a look—you may have to make some adjustments. Get those gutters cleaned and pitched toward the downspout. Run those extensions away from the home. I know, you have to bend over to raise them when you mow, or you have to lift your foot an extra four inches when you step over them on the walkway. Life is tough all around. Do it anyway! ☺
Sometimes you have to get creative. I don’t judge, my inspections are completely objective:
This one’s gorgeous. Oh, look at that slope!
This works great, too. Doesn’t have to be complicated:
Most water penetration into our basements and crawl spaces comes from surface water due to poor soil, patio or walkway grading, low spots in the soil against the foundation and improper gutter systems.
Avoiding this is often easy and always worth the effort: