Tim Hance with All Islands Home Inspections recently discovered deterioration and fungal growth at OSB roof sheathing immediately behind gutters at a recent Oak Harbor, WA home inspection. It is important to keep gutters clear and free of debris to help prevent spillage that can lead to sheathing deterioration. Also, although not per se required, I always recommend installing a metal drip-edge flashing detail at all eaves (e.g., behind gutters) that is run underneath the roof coverings and over the fascia trim to further prevent water damage in the event that gutters overflow or water is introduced.
Tim Hance with All Islands Home Inspections discovered completely deteriorated OSB eave sheathing at a recent home inspection in Anacortes, WA. If your soffit sheathing is discolored, particularly adjacent the gutters, you may very well have water and insect damage requiring your attention and repair. Left unchecked, deterioration will continue and become more expensive with time. Keeping gutters clean and installing a metal drip-edge flashing detail will help prevent recurrence into the future.
Wood gutters are cool, but they definitely require maintenance and are, from my perspective, a bit impractical. Pictured here are substantially deteriorated wood gutters requiring replacement. Many homeowners with wooden gutter systems will flash the interiors of the gutters (sometimes even with copper!) to help prevent water damage and extend serviceable life. But the reality is that wood gutters are generally not painted/sealed (e.g., to maintain that cool wood look) so they will deteriorate over time from moisture which leads to WDO (wood destroying organism) damage. Most gutter systems today are constructed with aluminum, metal, copper or plastic. Gutters aren’t just to keep rain off your head as you enter your house! They’re important to divert rain/storm water away from the building envelope. This was discovered at a recent home inspection in Anacortes on Fidalgo Island.
Gutter downspouts should be extended to discharge water away from the home’s building envelope. In this picture, while it’s great that there’s a downspout extension, it discharges directly adjacent the home which is, frankly, pointless. Direct water away from your home. Failure to do so can lead to crawl space water intrusion, wood destroying insect activity and structural issues, so it’s an important simple step you can take to protect your home. This was discovered at a recent home inspection in Anacortes on Fidalgo Island.
- Check central air-conditioning units according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
- Replace filters in forced-air systems. Clean debris from outside condensers or heat pump units.
- Reset thermostats and automatic sprinkler systems.
- Wash windows, inside and out (try a solution of three tablespoons non-sudsy ammonia to a gallon of water). To prevent streaking, don’t work in direct sunlight.
- Clean and inspect gutters. Ensure clips, straps and spikes are tight. Flush debris from downspouts with hose. Make sure downspouts and splash blocks direct water at least three feet away from the foundation.
- Clean mineral deposits from faucet aerators and shower heads by soaking parts in white vinegar and scrubbing with an old toothbrush.
- Dust ceiling fan blades.
- Coat outdoor metal patio furniture with auto polish.
- If appropriate, have swimming pools cleaned. Inspect and service pool liners and filters.
It’s important to properly route storm (rain) water away from the building envelope as water can lead to structural settling, damage and insect activity. In this video, taken at a recent home inspection in Anacortes on Fidalgo Island, the gutter downspout needs to be extended into the subterranean rain leader (pipe that goes underground to the city storm drain). If rain leader pipes in the ground are kept open, like that videoed here, debris and rocks, etc. can clog the drainage system and repairs can be somewhat costly. Continue reading