Seattle Home Inspector's Blog


NEWS ALERT! New study finds that water runs down hill!


              The Not Your Times

Today is a day that will live in infamy as the discovery that water runs down hill was announced by a previously unknown kindergarten teacher in Seattle, Washington (obviously not the other Washington). 

The teacher’s class of kindergarteners, using standard garden hoses, Odwalla fruit juices and hamster slides, showed beyond a reasonable doubt that water does in fact run down hill.  Before this day, this fact was obviously not known. 

Because of how recent this discovery is, it is projected that there are still thousands of builders constructing homes unaware of the new information.

Many builders have expressed surprise at the way gravity affects water.  Some even reacted with denial and accusations.  Many were heard to say that the kindergarteners, “don’t know what they are talking about---obviously!”  Others remarked at how this information will be costly in the building of new homes from here on out. 

Others called for further studies prior to jumping to rash conclusions. 

Still others argued that government meddling in a free economy was likely involved.  After all why shouldn’t someone be able to build a house any way they want regardless of what water does or does not do?

The very notion that flashings would now be required over any trim boards that are nailed on top of siding, above windows and doors, seemed just preposterous. But the fact that water was now known to be affected by gravity seemed difficult to reconcile with the industry standard of not installing any flashings at all.  Is it any wonder that builders everywhere are crying foul?

Head flashing is missing 

Some builders, when shown pictures of the problem, merely argued for more caulk---although that did not seem to impress the kindergarteners very much.

And caulking won't be good either 

It remains to be seen how this new information will affect home construction.  Many experts belief that the information will be ignored and standard building practice will not be affected at all.

Only time will tell.


Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle

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Comment balloon 19 commentsCharles Buell • September 24 2013 05:58AM


Clever post today Charles!

I see a lot of water damage caused by water gravitating behind trim boards. You speak the truth.  :)

Posted by Tom Arstingstall, General Contractor, Dry Rot, Water Damage Sacramento, El Dorado County - (916) 765-5366, General Contractor, Dry Rot and Water Damage (Dry Rot and Water Damage Mobile - 916-765-5366) over 5 years ago

Hi Charles.

Just because it may look good. This means nothing if it's not right.

Looks like "Hardi board". This needs to be flashed and sealed properly.

Have a great day in the Seattle area.

Best, Clint McKie

Posted by Clint Mckie, Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586 (Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections) over 5 years ago

well we are so glad that you have shared this new information so that we can teach folks to be careful when they are flashing

Posted by Mark Loewenberg, KW 561-214-0370 (KW of the Palm Beaches) over 5 years ago

Tom, we must have gone to different kindergartens together :)

Clint, yes hardi---and certainly not to hardi installation instructions

Mark, I think may will be surprised that this is new information :)

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 5 years ago

I enjoy the sense of humor and the blog.  Thank you for the blog post

Posted by Tim Lorenz, 949 874-2247 (TIM LORENZ - Elite Home Sales Team) over 5 years ago

Hi Charles - I'm looking at those pictures and seeing the water leaking in my windows last week during our heavy rains. DOH!

Posted by Dick Greenberg, Northern Colorado Residential Real Estate (New Paradigm Partners LLC) over 5 years ago

Tim, thanks---and you are welcome

Dick, properly flashed windows are essential in modern construction.

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 5 years ago
LOL - those kindergarden kids are sure stirring up trouble with their "discovery". But since it never rains in Seattle, no worries - right? Oh wait.....
Posted by Nancy Conner, Olympia/Thurston County WA over 5 years ago

Charles I had to smile at the title.  We just had a quest shower re-done and it was done beautifully - running down to the drain perfectly.  No more puddling like the previous one did!  Guess it's time to graduate and fly up to 1st grade now!

Posted by Anna Banana Kruchten CRB, CRS 602-380-4886, Arizona's Top Banana! (Phoenix Property Shoppe) over 5 years ago

Nancy, it appears to be "news" to lots of builders :)

Anna, it is nice when we allow water to work for us instead of against us

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 5 years ago

The kindergartners are stirring trouble for we all have to  face the fact that water runs downhill. I guess builders and contractors won't be able to bury their heads in the sand any longer.

Posted by Les & Sarah Oswald, Broker, Realtor and Investor (Realty One Group) over 5 years ago

I sense just a tad bit of sarcasm in this post, but very amusing.  I think some home builders could learn a few things from it.

Posted by Troy Erickson AZ Realtor (602) 295-6807, Your Chandler, Ahwatukee, and East Valley Realtor (Good Company Real Estate over 5 years ago

Charles I really like your post. I am a very sarcastic and flippant person and totally appreciate your humor. Some people just don't get it. I get in a lot of trouble with someone very close to me who every day says "really" after I make my daily sarcastic remarks. She always believes me and I end up in trouble but never stop. I think in this case it is really fitting.

I guess from an inspectors point of view it you see people who never learned that water runs down hill in your daily work.

Good stuff.

Posted by Noah Seidenberg, Chicagoland and Suburbs (800) 858-7917 (Coldwell Banker) over 5 years ago


Builders, remodlers and even the do-it-yourselfers all seam to think it is not needed.


Posted by William Feela, Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No. (WHISPERING PINES REALTY) over 5 years ago

Well, what could a group in the child garden know anyway?

Fiber cement siding still needs flashing?  Really?  Is that the new code?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

Sarah and Lester, leave it to a bunch of kindergartners to stir things up

Troy, just a wee bit :)

Noah, there is no end to the never ending need for sarcasm :)

William, it is only simple logic really

Jay, probably the old code---back to Hammurabi I think

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 5 years ago

Preposterous indeed... it will be judged by how fast it rots!

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) over 5 years ago

Sounds like a the quote I used yesterday when I found two places where the flashing hadn't been tucked under the cladding. Yep gravity works, who knew!?

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) over 5 years ago

Fred, they will indeed rot---and sooner than later

Jim, and the irony is that gravity is actually our friend---not our enemy :)

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 5 years ago