CHECK YOUR DOWNSPOUTS
This is your friendly reminder to check your downspouts. Spring weather is here and with it so is the rain. It is imperative that gutter downspouts are properly maintained so that water is draining away from your foundation.
During home inspections, we regularly see downspouts that are damaged, missing, and improperly installed. Water management on the exterior of your home is one of the most important things you can do to help prevent water damage in your basement and maintain your house’ foundation. On multiple home inspections this past week I encountered settled and damaged brick exteriors that directly resulted from poorly maintained downspouts.
So here are a few notes and suggestions regarding your downspouts.
Make sure your downspout extensions are put down at all times. Many downspout extensions have hinges so they can be flipped up for ease of mowing, but they are often never returned to the proper position. This is important during all seasons – including the winter. As snow and ice start to melt, this water needs to be drained away from your foundation. Downspouts with hinges should always be put back in the down position.
Downspout extensions help drain water far enough away from your foundation. These extensions should be permanently installed and often need routine cleaning to remove leaves and debris. Downspout extension should be made of a rigid material to prevent clogging and between 3 and 6 feet long depending on grading (the longer the better). Accordion-style extensions may be convenient, but these often clog easily and will tear or damage quickly. We recommend replacing all accordion-style extensions with rigid extensions.
Check For Damage Or Leaks
The best time to check how the water is draining around your home… is when it is actually raining. Sometimes leaking downspouts and extensions can only be found when it is actively raining. Don’t be afraid to grab your raincoat and check your downspouts and gutters in action.
Splash Guards Don’t Count
Plastic or concrete splash guards may be a convenient way to ‘solve’ water drainage beneath a downspout, but they do not adequately drain water away from the house. Oftentimes the dirt beneath them settles and they actually encourage water to drain toward your house’s foundation. Replace these splash guards with a proper extension.
So take a quick 5-minute lap around your house and check your downspouts and downspout extensions. A quick property inspection just might prevent significant damage and headache. If you find issues that need repair, don’t delay. Small fixes may prevent major issues with your home and prevent items from being on your next home inspection report.