Gutters & Downspouts
Gutters and downspouts have two major functions.
Firstly, they protect the walls of a building from water that would ordinarily run off the roof. This water can damage the wall surfaces and cause localized erosion at ground level.
The most important function of gutters and downspouts in homes with basements or crawlspaces, however, is helping to ensure a dry basement.
MOST COMMON PROBLEMS THAT CAN BE DETECTED AT THE TIME OF THE INSPECTION:
The most common problem with gutters is leakage.
Leakage will occur with galvanized gutters as they rust through.
Eventually, holes can develop in copper gutters as well.
All types of gutters are prone to leakage at the joints.
Missing end caps are another common source of leakage.
Leakage can cause considerable damage to fascias, soffits, and walls below.
Gutters often become loose and require resecuring.
This is normally due to improper fastening during original installation or damage caused by ice during winter months.
Downspouts collect water from the gutters and discharge it into drains or onto the ground.
Underground drains (usually made of clay tile, cast iron or plastic) become clogged or break below grade.
If an underground downspout malfunctions, water problems will likely develop in that part of the basement.
Gutters and downspouts suffer from mechanical damage due to ladders, tree limbs, and the like.
Gutters should slope properly towards downspouts so as not to hold water.
INTEGRAL OR BUILT-IN GUTTERS
Malfunctioning integral gutters can be very serious.
The water leaking out of the gutters usually ends up in the structure, causing rot and other damage.
Gutters often clog with debris.
Sometimes, screens are installed to prevent leaves and twigs from getting into the troughs.
These do not work well. They become loose and often fall out. They also make proper cleaning very difficult.