All Downspouts MUST Discharge Water Away From The Foundation Wall

By
Home Inspector with Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

All downspouts MUST discharge water away from the foundation wall.  As they say, denial isn't just a river in Egypt.

Anything else simply sets the house up for disaster over time.

This is the downspout on the front corner of the house.

This house is situated on a hill, with the front foundation wall completely buried.

This has been discharging against the foundation for some time.

Someone even put a plastic cap on the end, apparently to dress it up!

And a cute piece of slate to "divert" the water downward.

Cute...

Notice the hole being dug into the soil.  Somewhat hard to see, it is there!

Here is the corner beneath that fine downspout!

It had rained the night before this inspection. 

And not hard!

But, with about 800 square feet of roof surface draining down one downspout, and against the foundation wall, it will find its way in if it can.

And to get inside the house, water needs about one billionth of an inch of a crack.

In addition to coming into the house, this is what continued water pressure against a foundation will do.

That is a double, horizontal foundation crack.

That's a foundation's version of a double wide!

Pressure from outside, combined with clay soil expansion, and a lot of time to work with, will wreak havoc on a masonry foundation wall.

To the right of those cracks there is a finished, drywalled wall.

But it is certain that cracking continues behind that drywall.

And the entirety of the wall measured over 30% moisture, indicating active moisture intrusion.

My kingdom for a downspout extension!

Perhaps a tad late at this stage...

My recommendation:  it is easy to extend downspouts away from the house.  And far easier than any damage that follows if they do not!

 

 

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


close

Re-Bloggged 3 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Lori Cain 03/03/2012 08:43 AM
  2. Bonnie Vaughan 03/04/2012 05:55 AM
  3. Gene Riemenschneider 03/05/2012 08:38 PM
Spam prevention

Accessibility option: listen to a question and answer it!

To submit the form,
drag the cloud to the circle on the side.

Type below the answer to what you hear. Numbers or words, lowercase:

Topic:
ActiveRain Community
Location:
Virginia Prince William County Bristow
Groups:
WeBlog Anything (almost)!
Professional Home Inspectors
HyperLocal Neighborhood and Community Posts
Ask the Home Inspector
Adventures in Home Inspecting
Tags:
horizontal foundation crack
foundation crack
foundation leaking
rerouting downspout water
downspout discharge

Comments 65 New Comment

Show All Comments
Anonymous #46
Anonymous
Anonymous

In this case, an ounce of prevention iwould have been worth a TON of cure.

March 04, 2012 09:07 AM
Rainmaker
347,753
Sylvie Stuart
Home Buying, Home Selling and Investment - Flagstaff, AZ
Keller Williams Check Realty 928-600-2765

It's amazing how common this is. Almost every home inspection comes up with this type of scenario. A downspout extension is such an easy thing to do and can prevent some major issues for the home later!

March 04, 2012 09:10 AM
Rainer
274,802
Kimo Jarrett
Kimo's Lifestyle Solutions
WikiWiki Realty

Insightful lessons about something so simple yet could be an expensive challenge if not corrected.

I have installed extensions to divert the water away from the foundation, yet many homeowners are not aware of the financial consequences by not doing so. Thanks for the post.

March 04, 2012 09:17 AM
Rainer
372,869
Bill Reddington
Destin Florida Real Estate
Re/max Southern Realty

Common sense in most instances. I don't know where common sense went but you seem to see less of it here lately.

March 04, 2012 11:50 AM
Rainer
106,384
Kim Carnes
Carnes Home Inspections - Indianapolis Metro Area and beyond -
Licensed - Certified Home Inspectors (317) 753-7098

Amen Brother!  Can not preach this enough and it is one of the hardes things for people to grasp and believe.  Went to a daycare center once...could smell the mold from the stairs going to the lower level.  Took them out side to a earth bermed artifical hill showed them the downspouts were running all the water back to the block wall.  They said yeah OK we can fix the downspout but what do we do about the high water table we got around here!

March 04, 2012 12:00 PM
Rainmaker
1,217,094
Jay Markanich
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

Marshall - that is a very succint explanation!  And right on!

Wayne - and apparently one long-term coma!  Then the flipper simply ignored it.  I would NOT be surprised if the flipper put the small stone there.

Jules - and when wet, much MORE than a ton.  And for a long time I think.

Sylvie - I am not sure why people don't understand that houses don't make very effective boats.

 

March 04, 2012 01:04 PM
Rainmaker
1,217,094
Jay Markanich
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

Kimo - it's always about the financial consequences!  People pay one way or another.

Bill - it went about the time public schools were invented.  When's that, about 1875?

Kim - water tables can be lowered by cutting the legs off!  Don't feed the berm!

March 04, 2012 01:06 PM
Rainmaker
193,662
Todd Anderson
Park City | Deer Valley Real Estate
You In Park City group - Keller Williams Park City Real Estate

I find that this is very common (downspouts that are just downspouts). THe people putting up the gutters aren't usually working with the landscapers; they just seem to be there to keep the roof from dripping on people as they enter the home.

March 04, 2012 03:49 PM
Rainmaker
1,217,094
Jay Markanich
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

Todd - you are probably right, keep it all from dripping!  And missing the other, more important, point!

March 04, 2012 05:33 PM
Rainmaker
78,050
Eric Middleton
Professional Property Inspector
Closer Look Property Inspections Inc.

Jay - at least the cover up looks good!

March 04, 2012 06:15 PM
Rainmaker
1,217,094
Jay Markanich
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

You mean when they close the closet door that doesn't fit in the opening without any jam Eric?

March 05, 2012 02:13 AM
Rainer
35,815
Ken Anderson
Broker in Burlington, Ontario
Sutton Group Results Realty Inc.,

A major PET PEEVE of mine, Jay!  How many times do you have to tell people the same thing over and over. , I had a client who bought a home where the inspector measured moderately elevated moisture on the outside wall, although it wasn't readily visible on the foundation yet.  I immediately went upstairs, followed by the inspector, and sure enough, the downspout extension was laying in the ground and the downspout was making a little hole for itself against the foundation.  Aha! I re-attached the extension and told the prospective homeowner that it was imperative that the water be diverted away from the home to prevent the saturation of the ground next to the foundation and creating problems.  I also told him, backed up by the inspector, that the damage already done by the water should be re-graded to slope away from the house (it wasn't too bad yet).  Three months after he moved in, I got a call to tell me he was getting water in his basement after a bad rain.  I went over and sure enough, that downspout was not only off, but located about six feet away.  He said his dog keeps knocking it off, and he kept forgetting to check it.  By the depth of the hole eroded away, I would say that this was an understatement as I doubt that he had graded that area as recommended.  I told him again to re-grade the area, re-attach the downspout and to prevent the dog knocking it off again, either physically prevent the dog from getting near it (not an option) or drill a couple of small holes and secure it with a couple of 8 x 1/4" self-tapping screws that would be easy to remove for cleaning.  The basement should still be okay and dry out on its own once the hydrostatic pressure was removed.  Three years later it's still dry.  People, downspouts MUST be diverted away from the house.  Many a damp or leaking basement, damage to the foundation and basement walls can be prevented by this easy task.

March 05, 2012 06:41 AM
Rainmaker
1,217,094
Jay Markanich
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

I hear you Ken!  Great rant!

Here is a thermal image, one of about a hundred that I have, of a foundation wall below a bad downspout assembly.

It goes all along both walls from there...

Take the hint people!

March 05, 2012 07:26 AM
Rainer
277,079
Steven Cook
- Pierce, King, Kitsap, Thurston, Mason Counties
No Longer Processing Mortgages.

Jay -- your thermal image is a great instructor for those who don't seem to hear what they are being told.

March 05, 2012 11:38 AM
Rainmaker
628,867
Stephanie/Bob The Ruiz/Miller Team
The Ocala Dream Team
Keller Williams Cornerstone Realty

Hi Jay, I agree.  And here in Florida just having gutters is a plus.  Probaly less than 50% of the homes have them since we do not deal with snow & ice.  I can't tell you how many gutterless homes I have seen with settlement issues.

March 05, 2012 03:43 PM
Rainmaker
1,217,094
Jay Markanich
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

 That is one wet spot Steven!  I have a million of those.  Here's another one, where it appears a teensi bit of water is getting under th basement carpet!  Yep, downspout problem!

Bob - not sure what gutters have to do with ice and snow!  Rain and water is the issue!  But I think you said that in your last line!

March 05, 2012 05:42 PM
Rainmaker
1,236,172
Gene Riemenschneider
Turning Houses into Homes
Home Point Real Estate

I see stuff like this attached to flexible pipes and taken away from the house a lot.

March 05, 2012 08:05 PM
Rainmaker
1,217,094
Jay Markanich
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

I do too Gene, and while that is okay, I prefer to see something harder and/or more permanent.

March 06, 2012 02:18 AM
Rainmaker
259,389
Coral Gundlach
Century 21 Redwood Realty, Arlington Virginia

Those are some scary pictures there Jay!   Something so simple, yet so many forget.  Thank goodness we have you to remind us!

March 06, 2012 06:22 PM
Rainmaker
1,217,094
Jay Markanich
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

This was a scary house all over Coral!  And provided lots of blog fodder and some fun.  Fortunately my clients didn't go with it.  Their puny fee to me saved them many tens of thousands in worry and expense.

Thanks for stopping by ... Carol.

March 07, 2012 03:00 AM
Show All Comments
Rainmaker
1,217,094

Jay Markanich

Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
You may contact me anytime...
*
*
*
Spam prevention

Accessibility option: listen to a question and answer it!

To submit the form,
drag the tag to the circle on the side.

Type below the answer to what you hear. Numbers or words, lowercase:

Additional Information