Seattle Home Inspector's Blog


Doggie's watering hole?

The Gutters on your home will rarely actually leak, but the corner seams and end caps will routinely leak.  These connections are sealed on the interior.  They must be periodically resealed to prevent leaks.

Leaks at these connections can result in damage to the wood fascia behind the gutter and hidden wood decay/rot is not uncommon.  If it is raining at the time of inspection, it is pretty easy to tell if the connections leak or not.  However, if it is not raining, there can be evidence on the fascia, gutters and the ground below the connections of past, present or ongoing leaking.

Inspectors will be looking for stains or impact marks on the ground below these connections.  Walkways, stairs and decks can become slippery or icy when these connections leak---becoming a safety hazard. 

Gutters leaking onto stairs

We also look for signs of stains or damage to the fascia. 

Leaking at connections can damage fascia

Moss and algae growth on connections is a good indication of past leaking---and it this case active leaking.

Moss growth on connection

The other day at an inspection there was a large water mark on the deck where the gutter corners above were still dripping onto the deck from raining a couple of days earlier. 

Wet spot on the deck

At the gutters themselves, there was obvious dripping and staining that indicated past as well as current leaking.  The wet spot or mark on the deck is just one of the “hints” that the inspector will look for.

Leaking at gutter corners

About 5 feet away from the leaking described above, was another “hint” that I had never seen before.  A large pot was place appropriately to collect the drip. 

The dog watering hole


Perhaps it was a watering hole for the dog.


Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle

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Comment balloon 12 commentsCharles Buell • October 02 2013 06:24AM


I'm about ready to replace mine ... what is your experience with seamless gutters? They have become pretty popular here in Northern California and are super fun to watch them being made right in front of your house.

Posted by Cynthia Larsen, Independent Broker In Sonoma County, CA almost 7 years ago

Interesting Stuff as usual...thanks for sharing with us!

Posted by Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®, Giving Back With Each Home Sold! (RE/MAX Realty Center ) almost 7 years ago

Before seeing any other photos, I said it looks like a gutter watering problem!

And I am impressed to see the home-inspector-altered painter's pole to pry out the gutter!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago

Cynthia---seamless is the way to go for sure

Kristin, thanks

Jay, yes my painter's pole "sticker.:  A big galvanized nails soldered inside a brass fitting that threads into the pole---and sharpened of course

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) almost 7 years ago

Charles -- looks like you won't have to guess very often in the near future as to whether or not the gutters are leaking, with the projected continuing rain.

Posted by Steven Cook (No Longer Processing Mortgages.) almost 7 years ago

Charles, thanks for another entertaining and informative post.  I'm going to check my gutters!

Posted by Pam Jank, Your Coeur d'Alene & North Idaho Real Estate Pro (Coldwell Banker Schneidmiller Realty) almost 7 years ago

A regular Sherlock Holmes of Home Inspectors.  They seem so obvious when you point it out, but stuff we normally do not see.

Posted by Gene Riemenschneider, Turning Houses into Homes (Home Point Real Estate) almost 7 years ago

Shhh, you're giving away sacred secrets! I like your poker pole as well... I have a golf ball retriever that I modified :-)

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) almost 7 years ago

Hi Charles,

That's a good way to get to go ice skating when it freezes up in the winter.

What a mess. Did you call for the replacement, or just a repair?

Have a great day in the Seattle area my friend.

Best, Clint McKie

Posted by Clint Mckie, Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586 (Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections) almost 7 years ago

Steven, so so true---of course when it is raining is the best time to check their function

Pam, report back to us

Gene, the signs are there---we just need to learn to read them

Fred, it comes in handy quite often---can easily reach soffits 12 feet off the ground.

Clint these are pictures from several different homes---some I recommended upgrading, some re-hanging, some patching.  It all depends

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) almost 7 years ago

These do become dangerous when we get freezing temperatures outside. I broke my arm this way...

Posted by Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS, South Puget Sound Washington Agent/Broker! (Fathom Realty Washington LLC) almost 7 years ago

Charles, this is a very informative post. A few ounces of preventive maintenance does save a pound of cure.

Posted by Lisa Friedman, 30 Years of Real Estate Experience! (Great American Dream Realty) over 6 years ago