Seattle Home Inspector's Blog


When downspouts spout off!


I have always commented in my inspection reports on the termination of upper roof drains at lower roof surfaces.  The theory is that directing a heavy flow of water in a concentrated area will produce more wear than the rest of the roof will see.

This is in fact what will happen.

The fast moving water will not only wear the roof faster, but as the roof granules go away it leaves the asphalt more vulnerable to exposure to the sun.  The sun further hastens the localized damage.  The areas tend to stay wet longer too.  This promotes the growth of moss which further damages the surface.

Because the vast majority of roofs are black, or very dark in color, this granular loss does not show up very well.  It might even go un-noticed by the inspector--especially if the roof is wet.  It is better to assume there is granular loss and then look very closely.  This condition certainly cannot be seen from the ground.

At a recent inspection the roof was light in color and I got a picture of a great example of what can happen to a roof in 10 years.  The “black” area (that “looks” wet) is where there are NO granules left. 

Roof downspout tray

The solution is to extend the downspouts across the roof to the lower gutter.

Downspout running across the roof 

Some people would rather see the roof destroyed than have the look of the downspouts crossing the roof.  However, if the section that crosses the roof is changed to a color of pipe similar to the roof covering they will be barely noticeable. 

Another solution that I like a lot is to install a tray across the roof to carry the water to the lower gutter. 

roof tray

They look pretty good and don’t clog up.

This roof will now need to be repaired—well before its 25 to 30 year life expectancy.


Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Seattle Home Inspector

Click on the Rose A Group by any other name. to check out: AHA!---A Forum of Landmark Proportions---your Group

PS, for those of you that are new to my blog (or for some other "unexplained" reason have never noticed)sunsmileall pictures and smiley-face inserts (emoticons) (when I use them) have messages that show up when you point at them with your cursor.

My WORDLESS WEDNESDAY pictures and some selected POEMS & STORIES.

Just quack on me to subscribe


The Human Rights Campaign   QR code for Charles Buell Inspections Inc


WA State, Home Inspector Advisory Licensing Board

29 commentsCharles Buell • October 09 2014 03:42PM
When downspouts spout off!
I have always commented in my inspection reports on the termination of upper roof drains at lower roof surfaces. The theory is that directing a heavy flow of water in a concentrated area will produce more wear than the rest of the roof will see… more
The electrical inspection was like poetry
It is not very often that I can say this about the electrical system of any building. Considering the building had five tenants, and 11 electrical panels, the electrical issues were pretty minimal. This is often the case with commercial… more
Thinking like a six-year-old
I find that homeowners often have dangerous things around their homes that they are unaware of. This post is done in the spirit of keeping homeowners vigilant as to serious safety issues--and in particular combustible gas issues. If you have… more
Avoiding your own premature cremation.
If you think electricity is always trying to “go to ground”—you may be the victim of urban legend. For a home inspector this has to be one of the ultimate “urban legends. ” It is a widely held belief (that is further promulgated by inspection… more
Why are Weekend Warriors trying to kill themselves?
Themselves and everyone else! Weekend Warriors and Decks are almost synonymous it seems. Who, after all, can’t build a deck? The truth is much closer to the fact that decks are very complicated structures that require considerable expertise to… more
Do you know what your downspouts are doing?
There was an old question a while ago that asked if you knew what your kids were doing. It turned out that the answer was closer to, more often than not, that it was the kids that did not know what their parents were doing. Regardless the… more
The “wannabe” two-car garage
A common problem that I am finding with new construction is two car garages that a person cannot get two normal cars into. What is happening, is that while the garage itself is big enough, when stairs into the garage are added, the stairs take… more
How to make unsafe wiring safe?
Well the best way to make any electrical appliance or device safe is to disconnect it---turn off the electricity! Of course, every appliance, or piece of electrical equipment, is designed to “just sit there” and behave itself, waiting for us to… more
Copper-Clad Aluminum Wiring---it just isn't the same
When an inspector takes the cover off the electrical service panel, they never know what they are going to find. Of course if they cannot take the cover off at all, like the one behind the mirror, in the picture to the right, there are a lot… more
Sort of like the sum of the parts being greater than the whole.
The home w as newly remodeled. Why would anyone think an inspection was necessary? I have talked about this many times, as has every other inspector with a blog. There is the very erroneous opinion that homes that have been newly remodeled… more