Integral Gutters, Yankee Gutters

By
Home Inspector with King of the House Home Inspection, Inc

Integral gutters go by different names. Yankee gutters is probably the best known of the terms, although in my area I also hear them called Dutch gutters.

The photo below gives a good example of what they look like. 

Unfortunately, this photo also shows a common problem with them -- all clogged. These gutters, often nothing more than a curl in the eave with tar paper as a membrane, can be real problems. At some installations, the gutter is right above the wall of the home -- not out at the edge like with a normal gutter. When they get full, or leak for any other reason, that leads to water going down into the soffit, the wall or adjacent structure. The photo below is structural damage caused by rot around an overflowing integral gutter, same property shown above.

 I would like to say that this is uncommon. Problem is, I almost always find damage, in varying degrees, when I find integral gutters. They might be fine in areas with light rain but they sure are not ideal in the Pacific NorthWET. A common repair, that makes sense, is to modify the roof and put in standard gutters that still require cleaning, but they keep leakage and water farther away from key parts of the home.

 

Steven L. Smith

Bellingham WA Home Inspections

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Comments 9 New Comment

Rainmaker
76,119
Randall Schrader
Competitive Insurance of Dundee

Plus the weight of the water is something to think about.  What a silly design.  They need a screen on top, at the very least.

August 28, 2008 10:00 AM
Rainmaker
1,172,631
Steven L. Smith
Bellingham WA Home Inspector
King of the House Home Inspection, Inc

Integral gutters are a silly design. They are probably worse than zero gutters, which is not great in a wert area either.

August 28, 2008 05:30 PM
Rainmaker
698,527
Barbara S. Duncan
CRS, GRI, e-PRO, Searcy AR
RE/MAX Advantage

Never heard of those gutters here but your pictures show them nicely.  We'll just let you keep them.

August 29, 2008 09:46 AM
Rainmaker
1,172,631
Steven L. Smith
Bellingham WA Home Inspector
King of the House Home Inspection, Inc

Barbara,

What if I don't want them?

August 29, 2008 10:23 AM
Anonymous #9
Anonymous
Anonymous

The coolest gutters I ever saw were the wood gutters at the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California. Of course, everything else about the house was a home inspector's nightmare: stairs to nowhere, windows in the floor, etc. Well worth a trip to San Jose just to spend the day at the WMH.

September 02, 2008 01:32 AM
Rainmaker
1,172,631

Steven L. Smith

Bellingham WA Home Inspector
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Additional Information

Steven L. Smith, King of the House Home Inspection, provides information for real estate buyers, sellers and real estate industry professionals. Blog posts emphasize issues commonly found in Bellingham, WA and Whatcom County. Smith is Washington State Licensed Home Inspector #207, a state licensed structural pest inspector, ASHI certified inspector #252760 and one of the most experienced inspectors in the northwest corner of the Pacific Northwest. Steven L. Smith is lead instructor of home inspection at Bellingham Technical College and teaches classes for Washington State University and the Washington State Department of Agriculture. Steve was a two-term member of the state licensing board.