Gutters, downspouts, and drainage

I get feedback from customers and other relevant parties in real estate transactions questioning whether something is really all that relevant.  One topic I discuss from time to time is drainage.  Recently I had a customer that questioned whether a splash block being out of place was really a big deal.  In my opinion,  yes it is.

i19Gutters, downspouts, and drainage components play a huge part in the welfare of a home. Most moisture issues in a home are caused by improper management of water outside the home.  Take for instance a 1200 square foot ranch style home with a 400 square foot garage.  Typically, there is a downspout at each corner.  With 1 inch of rain, each downspout handles approximately 250 gallons of water.  That’s a lot, but if you consider Vancouver WA gets about 42 inches of rain per year, that’s a whopping  10,500 gallons of water each downspout drains from the roof.  Water should be directed away from the foundation by at least 5 or 6 feet and all ground cover should slope away from the home.  A downspout with no underground drain, elbow, or extension in this scenario would drop 10,500 gallons of water next to the foundation in a year.  Water erodes and saturates the soil possibly creating settling, foundation cracking and damage to the homes structure.  Mold and pests such as insects can follow moisture problems as well.

In summary, it’s very important to properly manage water outside the home to prevent potential costly issues with the home’s structure.  This includes ensuring downspouts are in place along with elbows and extension or underground drains.  The ground outside the home should slope away from the home in all areas at about a 5 percent slope.  That equates to about 6 inches in 10 feet.  Make sure water is deposited approximately 5 to 6 feet away from the home.  Manage water outside to prevent big problems inside.