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The Inside Outside Guys: Gutters, and How They Protect Your Home from Disaster

By Ken Calverley and Chuck Breidenstein

DETROIT, August 18, 2022 ~ What would you guess the No. 1 cause of basement flooding is in the US? Hydrostatic groundwater pressure, snow melt, burst pipes, public utility backups or water runoff from heavy rains?

If you guessed water runoff, you are hereby handed The Guys Housing Genius Award.

Runoff can occur from rapid snow melts, incorrectly sloped grade around the building or, most likely, from roof water in heavy rain events.

Water shed from a roof concentrates large amounts of the liquid right at the foundation where it may either intrude at the top of the basement or crawl space or may work its way down through the soils against the wall and enter at the base of the foundation system.

During a half-inch rain event, this amounts to 600 gallons or more deposited at the base of a 2,400-square-foot home. Wind driven rain events actually put more water at the base of homes with steeper roof slopes and many of today’s homes provide that increased surface area.


The Inside Outside Guys ~ August 21, 2022

The finished grade around the home should be designed to carry this water well away from the foundation and roof overhangs should contribute to the task. The building codes would like us to provide a sloped water shed of at least five feet away from the foundation.

But the fact of the matter is that many homes are not properly drained and do not have appropriate roof overhangs.

Expertly designed and installed gutter systems can be the solution for this dilemma. Many homeowners assume the building codes require installation of such systems, but unless you live in a region of the country where they placed expansive clays or collapsible soils against the foundation, gutters are not a requirement of occupancy.

Couple that truth with the all-too-common reality that many such systems are not “designed” for the installation at all. Many gutter systems merely reflect standardized industry guidelines using a 5-inch K-Style gutter profile and a 2-inch-by-3-inch downspout for every 20 to 40 lineal feet of gutter.

These “vertical conductor pipes” or downspouts, will generally deposit rainwater on the ground at the foundation. Even with the installation of a 90-degree turnout at the base of the pipe, water is still being dumped virtually at the house perimeter.

What about the situation where you have intersecting roof slopes and a steep roof with an annual maximum intensity rainfall event, what the Outside Guy would call a gully-washer?

You can step outside and witness the gutters flooding to overflow, which also assures water getting behind the gutter through the holes created by fasteners thus contributing to potential roof framing rot and sidewall leaks. Scary stuff.

So how about a company that truly designs the install for the roof? How about a company that can place a 6-inch gutter system and 4 1/2- by-6-inch downspouts? This simple change can carry 66  percent more water off your roof!

How about terminating those downspouts into piped extensions that carry water well away from the foundation? And consider the possibility of a mounting system that does not create penetrations in the gutter. These are huge considerations for this system to be effective and not damage the home.

Before we disclose our experts, consider one more statistic. Each year in the United States over 164,000 people go to the emergency room as the result of a fall off a ladder. How many of those people were cleaning their gutters?

The best gutter protection is to assure nothing gets in the gutters. Cut back those trees and bushes! But for those that really need a long-term solution to keeping debris out of the system, consider a reverse-curve helmet professionally installed.

Professional installation is critical for these systems to function well. They have no filter to eventually plug up and they are installed at a downward slope rather than laying flat; both of which are important considerations when investing in gutter protection.

The expert we would refer you to is Atlas Home Improvement in Whitmore Lake. If you really want to provide protection for your home and foundation, you can find them along with other great companies at InsideOutsideGuys.com inspect it for you.

For housing advice and more, listen to “The Inside Outside Guys” every Saturday and Sunday on  760 WJR, from 10 a.m. to noon or contact us at InsideOutsideGuys.com.