This is another one of those form or function posts where, in this case the way it was done originally was superior to the way that supposedly “looked” better.
Take a close look at the following picture:
Note the downspout and how it runs through the decorative trim work.
Notice the water shining on the edge of the trim work---wet from the leaking downspout connection at the very top.
Notice the wet darker color brick behind the downspout below the trim work.
Notice the whitish efflorescence on the brick at both sides on the arches above the windows.
Now if you look VERY closely you should be able to see a slight notch---about the width of the downspout on the edge of the trim work---in line with the current downspout.
Originally the downspout wrapped around the trim work instead of running through it. Changing it so that it “looked” better actually has created a problem much worse than the way it looked. With the downspout right against the stucco and brick there is no way to adequately seal around the pipe where it runs through the trim. Any water that hits the stucco (whether from the leaking downspout or wind driven rain) and finds its way behind the downspout is going to get into the wood trim as well as the brickwork below. Over time, this water inrusion has caused some rot in the wood trim as well as the the efflorescence and intrusion into the brick that are evident.
The best solution is of course to wrap the downspout around the trim work---the way it used to be and properly patch the hole.
Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle
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WA State, Home Inspector Advisory Licensing Board