Rainwater Is A Gutteral Language

By
Home Inspector with Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

Pulling up to a beautiful house today * (and this picture is only a part of it) I noticed something that bothered me before I got out of the car.

There are no gutters.

Anywhere.

Now you can look at where the gutters should normally be and see that this was the design.

The fascias drop off at a 45 degree angle, intentionally, which is not exactly easy to hang a gutter onto!

The fascias have become an architectural feature.  This is a very lovely detail, but it isn't as if we don't have any rain around here.

 

Rainwater can move very fast along a roof during heavy rains.  Notice in this spot how the upper roof drains onto a lower roof. 

And how water from those two lower roofs drains into a single valley.

Water from that valley must shoot out with some force when it is raining hard.

This is the result. 

Gallons of water will eventually carve quite the valley into garden soil.  It already has.

What most people don't realize is this:  1" of rain water will drop 6,000 gallons of water onto a 1,500 square foot roof.

That represents a fairly normal, if not small, house, with a roof slightly larger than 30'x45'.

The house in this post is substantially larger than that!

A couple of weeks ago we had 6" of rain in about two days.  I would estimate that represented around 200,000 gallons of rainwater draining around the foundation of this house.

Without gutters this water cannot be carried away from the house.  Grading cannot be steep enough to do that.

HOUSES DON'T MAKE VERY EFFECTIVE BOATS!

Water must be carried away.

Fortunately the foundation walls in this six year old house were dry to date.  There is a sump pump, which means there are drain lines around the base of the foundation. That puppy must have had a workout in the past couple of weeks!

But still, even though there is a sump pump, that is a lot of water!  It is hard for any foundation to handle.

Virtually all foundations leak.  It is not so much a question of if, but when and how much!

My recommendation:  When you see gutters, look to see how effectively and how far they drain water away from the house.  The further, usually, the better!  In this case, we will see how long this foundation can withstand the deluge!

 

* Today's inspection was with AR Ambassador Konnie Mac, whom I found to be delightful.  I hope to see her again soon, and then again and again for other inspections there after!

 

 

Posted by

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


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Show All Comments
Rainmaker
766,686
Mike Jaquish
Realty Arts - Cary, NC
919-880-2769 Cary, NC, Real Estate

Jay,

Putting gutters on that home would be a nightmare.

Here we have no building code describing what a gutter system is, and some "creative" stuff is done that sorely damages the property more than it helps.

Oct 13, 2010 04:53 PM #1
Rainmaker
1,241,552
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

I think you're right Mike.  And this home is lived in by the builder who built it.  It is gorgeous.  But, you are right, so much water can be damaging!

Oct 13, 2010 04:57 PM #2
Rainmaker
453,503
John Mulkey
TheHousingGuru.com - Waleska, GA
Housing Guru

Jay - I'm still surprised--although I shouldn't be--by builders who don't understand the potential damage caused from roof water.  It must be diverted away from the foundation, and if gutters are not architecturally pleasing, then another method of handling the water must be created. 

I was recently asked by a friend to help determine why his new home's basement leaked, and once I looked at the house it was obvious.  He had gutters on the front of the home and not on the other three sides--a cost-saving measure I suppose.

Oct 13, 2010 05:20 PM #3
Rainmaker
1,241,552
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

John - someone actually wanted to evaluate why there was water in the basement?!  Because there is water around the house!  Water, inside and out, is THE killer of houses.

Oct 13, 2010 05:24 PM #4
Rainer
39,955
Dale Ganfield
Leland, NC

Hi Jay, once again a design where form has come before function.  I agree gutters are an integral and essential component of the house systems to manage water.

Oct 13, 2010 05:38 PM #5
Rainmaker
1,241,552
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Dale - it is the ONLY real way to handle roof water!  Whether on the outside or inside, gutters are it!

Or some cool, plastic slide right from the roof into the deep end of the pool!

Oct 13, 2010 05:49 PM #6
Rainmaker
635,133
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Some people just don't want gutters on their home because they don't like the look. I would hope in that case that they have added other means to divert the roof water.

Oct 13, 2010 07:12 PM #7
Rainer
370,054
Tish Lloyd
BlueCoast Realty Corporation - Wilmington, NC
Broker - Wilmington NC and Surrounding Beaches

Jay, We certainly see this way too often, and I've heard more than once -- well, this house is 6 years old and the basement is completely dry; besides gutters are too expensive!  Drives my crazy.  Greata post.

Oct 13, 2010 07:28 PM #8
Ambassador
1,087,782
Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

The gutter installer will indeed have fun with that one----hope they weren't too attached to the archidiotic detail

Oct 13, 2010 07:46 PM #9
Rainmaker
1,241,552
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Jim - the only diversion anywhere was a strip over the front door to divert water to each side of the front sidewalk - about 10' wide.

Tish - this roof fascia wasn't exactly conducive to gutters, the way they are designed.  But the basement could be a matter of time.

Charlie - what is that - Byzantine?  Upper Mongolian?  Colonial Rhodesian?

Or should the word be separated into something a hair more modern...

Oct 13, 2010 08:20 PM #10
Rainer
104,087
Troy Pappas
Safe House Property Inspections - Virginia Beach, VA
Virginia Beach Home Inspector

Water is the enemy of the house, please protect yourself from the enemy. I wonder how they will like the look of rot on that beautiful home in the future.

Oct 13, 2010 08:36 PM #11
Rainmaker
1,241,552
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Water is THE enemy Troy!  Fortunately the house is all brick and the window trim all concrete, but nonetheless, the foundation is not impervious forever!

Oct 13, 2010 08:50 PM #12
Rainmaker
351,538
Damon Gettier
Damon Gettier & Associates, REALTORS- Roanoke Va Short Sale Expert - Roanoke, VA
Broker/Owner ABRM, GRI, CDPE

Jay this is great information.  Too many buyers and agents dismiss the severity of water and what it can do to a house.

Oct 13, 2010 11:43 PM #13
Ambassador
1,087,782
Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

Jay, me thinks that kind of water represents a bigger problem for the footings than leaking through the foundation.

Oct 13, 2010 11:53 PM #14
Rainmaker
1,241,552
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Damon - water, inside and out, is the greatest danger to a house, any house.

Charlie - I would agree.  It is hard to imagine that these footers, or this foundation, is exempt from continued water presence, pressure and damage.

Oct 14, 2010 06:06 AM #15
Rainmaker
1,391,964
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
Keller Williams 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Realtors - Luxury - Short Sale - CDPE, REDS

Aw gee Jay....ruin the "pretty" with functional, safe....hmmm....architechts don't always get beyond curb appeal in dealing with the realities of weather...or rather ignoring them.

Oct 14, 2010 06:26 AM #16
Rainmaker
1,633,025
Debbie Gartner
Floor Coverings International Westchester NY & Stamford CT - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl - Westchester hardwood flooring

Good to know.  I never would have thought about this.  Too bad I don't live near you...when this house has a flood, I could have helped them replace the floors, LOL.  I do know someone near by, though for when they need someone.

Oct 14, 2010 06:31 AM #17
Rainmaker
1,241,552
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

I know Sally.  We do seem to get some rain around here!  All that water goes somewhere!

Debbie - right now that basement is not finished, but the purchasers, for whom I did the inspection yesterday, are very interested in finishing the basement.  I have to say, it is huge, and would be a great referral.  And I am familiar with that local someone as well...

Oct 14, 2010 07:44 AM #18
Rainmaker
1,633,025
Debbie Gartner
Floor Coverings International Westchester NY & Stamford CT - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl - Westchester hardwood flooring

Good to know.  I never would have thought about this.  Too bad I don't live near you...when this house has a flood, I could have helped them replace the floors, LOL.  I do know someone near by, though for when they need someone.

Oct 14, 2010 08:23 PM #19
Rainmaker
1,241,552
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

OK, OK!  I'll call them - they're in Chantilly!      ;>)

Oct 14, 2010 08:58 PM #20
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Rainmaker
1,241,552

Jay Markanich

Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
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