What I'm Seeing Now

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It's Time To Clean Those Gutters

It's time to clean those gutters.  It's fall.  Leaves fall.  Gutters clog.  Gutters fill.

And water goes where it can.

We have had lots of rain lately.  But no matter where you live, water needs to be controlled, on, around and in homes. 

As I have said before, water is THE killer of houses.

From outdoors it was easy to see the gutter over the family room door was completely full of leaves. 

And it was apparent that this clogging had been happening for some time.

Why can I say that?  Because in addition to the leaves were assorted sticks and even some plants growing there!

That's indication enough to break out the thermal imaging camera.

One stain looks up about 15" above the gutter, so a limb from a tree may have fallen and done some damage to the roof, puncturing a hole in a couple of shingles.

Small holes like that are sometimes not readily visible from outside!

The leaking into the house was not readily visible from inside!

The only way to see this in advance of it's becoming a big issue is with a thermal camera.

The moisture can be clearly visible at the blue and purple spots.  The wicking of moisture into the insulation and/or drywall can be seen at the lavender areas.

The problem(s) are likely easily solved.  And the area can be dried out.

My recommendation:  clean your gutters!  Regularly!  In the fall they may need three, four or five cleanings from fallen leaves.  In the spring they may also need a couple of cleanings because of the oak tree fuzzies and maple tree helicopters.  But keep them clean!  Where the house is in the near proximity of tall trees, solid gutter caps are highly recommended.  Those little screens are not very effective.

 

 

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 31 commentsJay Markanich • October 24 2011 05:52AM

Comments

That's funny...I was just saying that to a customer on Saturday.  Looks like I've learned a lot from your blog.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) over 6 years ago

It's on the fall list of chores Debbie!  You condo dwellers don't think of it so much, but it seems you have been reading!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Jay: Great reminder for every homeowner and homeowner association. Water is the killer and we all need to be proactive with the gutters to minimize the risk of water damage.

Posted by Anne M. Costello (Weidel Realtors) over 6 years ago

Gutter cleaning is so important and so often overlooked Anne.  And so very often a problem on a home inspection.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Thank you JAY! I'm starting to identify HOMEowner duties that are usually performed by the LANDlord - this is one of them so the investment in a 2-story ladder is unnecessary (Sorry, HomeDepot #20 Joey Lagano) AND the risk of falling off the roof is not an option.

I also have the shingles and the bath roof vents inspected for replacement

Posted by Wallace S. Gibson, CPM, LandlordWhisperer (Gibson Management Group, Ltd.) over 6 years ago

If I had an investment property Wallace, I would not trust tenant obedience to the maintenance agreement for anything.  I would put solid gutter caps on there and be done with it.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Yep got to get the grandson up on the roof and get it done

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty AR LLC) over 6 years ago

That's what kids are for James!  Get him on it!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Thanks for the reblog Anne and Wallace!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Hi Jay - I know people who have already booked their gutter cleaning appointments for when the trees in the area have lost all their leaves in late November / early December.  Some trees retain their leaves a long time after other trees have lost all their leaves so you don't want the cleaning to occur too early.

Posted by FN LN over 6 years ago

Timely reminder Jay.  While we don't have the fall foliage problem as much here in Florida, we have a lot of blowing leaves and pine needles all year, so keeping the gutters clean should be on all home owner's maintenance schedule year round.

Posted by Gabe Sanders, Stuart Florida Real Estate (Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales) over 6 years ago

Marc - I noticed that my one gutter than CAN clog, DID clog and I had to climb up there and clean it!  Then I did that inspection and found that problem.  Time for a blog!

Gabe - pine needles seem to be a problem everywhere!  I did not know you had that problem there too!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Good morning Jay,

Thank you for the vindication...I had just reminded my hubby that it was time to clear the gutters again.  I'm not sure, but I believe he may have mumbled the words "yeah, yeah, yeah..."

Posted by Lisa Von Domek, ....Experience Isn't Expensive.... It's Priceless! (Lisa Von Domek Team) over 6 years ago

Lisa - tell him it comes off better when spoke with enthusiasm!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

My husband is going to love this addition to his "honey-do list"!  we don't have that many trees close to the house but somehow, the leaves still seem to be attracted to our gutters!

Posted by Kathryn Maguire, Serving Chesapeake, Norfolk, VA Beach (GreatNorfolkHomes.com (757) 560-0881) over 6 years ago

Jay, Like I said before, "I'm really,really, liking that camera." I know they're expensive, but it sure would be fun to rent one from the local hardware store for a day. Yah, I know-it's not going to happen. And now it's time to clean the leafs out of my gutters before the snow flies.

Posted by Michael S. Bolton, MN Appraiser (Michael S. Bolton,Inc.) over 6 years ago

Kathryn - leaves can blow very far from the trees.  Even when not nearby trees, gutters clog.

Michael - just for fun though.  You can be fooled if not trained to use one!  Training is as expensive as the camera!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Jay -- A good reminder for all of us to make sure ours are cleaned before more rains come down.

Posted by Steven Cook (No Longer Processing Mortgages.) over 6 years ago

Steven - or snows!  I had to clean my gutter and then ran into this on a home inspection.

Blog time!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

et tu Jay?  Brian Madigan reminded me last week, and I still haven't cleaned them.  At least we mowed the lawn for the last time this year and started closing the pool.

Posted by Chris Smith, South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta (Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage) over 6 years ago

Et mi Chris.  I discovered one of my gutters was clogged and then I did this inspection!

Time for a blog!

I didn't know you guys had pools up there!  What - you use it 3 weeks a year?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Had a cute little plant growing from a gutter the other day. 

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) over 6 years ago

Jay - From the looks of some gutters, it would appear that owners are using the space for some organic gardening.

Posted by John Mulkey, Housing Guru (TheHousingGuru.com) over 6 years ago

Great advice, Jay.  I've seen a lot of investors walk away from houses because of apparent moisture problems.  Most of the time, the problems are easily remedied by cleaning the gutters and making sure the downspouts are routed away from the foundation.  A little dirt and rake grading will help in those pooling areas, too.

Posted by John Lydic, Founder at REI Free Classifieds (ReiFreeClassifieds.com) over 6 years ago

And you didn't call Billy Jays, Jim?  That Get Yer Gutter Garden! is his most popular product!  You are probably looking at a satisfied client.

You should call now!

Again, John M.  Of all people, a builder should remember this:    http://activerain.com/blogsview/1725644/get-yer-gutter-garden-

Water is THE killer of houses, John L., inside and out!  Keep it away!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

It is a simple maintenance project that really can save you thoursands later on!

Posted by Kathy Sheehan, Senior Loan Officer (Bay Equity, LLC 770-634-4021) over 6 years ago

All too true Kathy.  Sometimes very high, but simple!  Many people in this area have a service, but if it needs multiple times to keep the gutters clean it gets really expensive.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Good evening Jay. Everyone knows the damage that it will cause yet very few actually clean their gutters. If you don't have time, hire it done. You will still save money in the long run.

Posted by Randy Ostrander, Real Estate Broker, Serving Big Rapids and West Central MI (Lake and Lodge Realty LLC ) over 6 years ago

There are a few gutter-cleaning services around here Randy.  And they do well.  Gutters clog so easily!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Great post and a job that has to be done regularly. I have a Fall and Spring time scedule for getting these things done.

Posted by Charles Stallions, 800-309-3414 - Pensacola, Pace or Gulf Breeze, Fl. (Charles Stallions Real Estate Services ) over 6 years ago

Thanks Charles.  Here's the list I post every year.  This was a couple of weeks ago:

http://activerain.com/blogsview/2539663/jay-s-school-of-inspectology-fall-winter-seasonal-chores-list

Get on it!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

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