Small problems with rain gutters can cause big expenses

Properly functioning rain gutters and downspouts  stand guard against the one of the greatest dangers threatening homes – water. Any water penetrating unprotected areas will almost certainly lead to mold and rot. Here are some images from a job I did replacing drywall and rotten wood in a basement. All because of one small issue…

This wall in the basement, which was on the front side of the house, showed the telltale signs of mold on the drywall. The carpet was wet to the touch and the wood molding had some soft spots. Not good!

The homeowner couldn’t understand why there would be a water issue. On the front of their house they had added underground drainage pipes to the end of their downspouts and extended them away from the house to keep all that water away from the foundation. It was a mystery why there should be any water on the other side of this window at all.

Sometimes problems are caused by simple issues. While checking on the damage downstairs I got an important phone call. I went upstairs and outside to take the call. Just as I was ending my call, a torrential downpour started. I looked at the downspouts and the problem was obvious.

This drainage pipe connected to the downspout wasn’t doing anything at all! As the photo shows, water was spraying out at the connection of the two pipes. You can see the big puddle of water right up against the house. And all of that water was leaking down below, right where that wet moldy area was located downstairs.

Luckily for the homeowner the solution was not too difficult. The water was leaking through hairline cracks in the poured-wall concrete foundation. There was no need to excavate the front of the house to seal the foundation. The drainage pipes were cleaned (which eliminated the water) and an epoxy resin was injected into the cracks inside the basement to prevent the wall from  leaking further.


Even though the problem was easily corrected, enough water had seeped in over time that about 15 feet of drywall had to be replaced. The carpet also had a bit of mold, so it had to be replaced, as well.

The homeowner eventually wound up spending almost $3000 on a problem that could have been prevented pretty easily.  The thing to remember is that even with good foundation sealing, standing water will almost always penetrate. Keep that water away from your foundation!

The moral of this story is to pay attention to those gutters and downspouts. Take care of them and they will take care of you!