Perhaps the title got you to start reading, but I think to avoid getting kinky real fast, I will let the double entendre end with the title.
This post is about how a simple assembly issue with a downspout on a home has resulted in significant visible water intrusion resulting in water damage in the crawl space. Of course there is also a good possibility (or should that be bad possibility?) of hidden damage in the house wall structure as well.
The problem is compounded by missing flashings between the top of the brick wall and the trim board that sits on top of the wall. For a wall to shed water properly, all changes in types of siding and trim should either lap over the surfaces below or counter-flashings should be provided at these transitions. Under normal rainy conditions the installation “might” perform just fine, but under driving rain conditions or improper assembly of downspout components, these connections may allow water to get behind the brick where damage to untreated wood structures can occur.
So take a good close look at the following picture.
Can you see how the downspout is on the “outside” of the elbow instead of “inside” the elbow (circled in red)? Because it is on the outside, water can run outside the elbow and onto the brick ledge at the top of the wall and then under the trim board where it can then find its way to the crawl space. With enough water, the water will even find its way up the gentle slope of the brick.
In this next picture you can see where the area in the crawl space is obviously wet and damaged. Proper flashings will have to be installed—and of course the downspout connection will need to be repaired. Someone will have to make a decision as to how to deal with the possibility of hidden damage and whatever repairs might be necessary.
I will leave that decision to the contractor hired to make repairs. Damage could be minimal and will likely be fairly localized—but who really knows until someone starts to take things apart.
By Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle
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