02 September 2014

While we're focused on the basement and fixing the stuff that nobody will ever see, we started talking about the gutters. Bowed walls and settlement issues in a house are almost always caused by water in one way or another, and our basement has (minor) water problems. The main culprit in our case are the gutters. They're old fashioned box gutters, which are built into the eaves of the house and are invisible from the street. They're typically lined with metal, but poor maintenance often leads to their failure. Unless they're copper, the metal has to be painted every few years.

As you might have guessed, this maintenance was not done on our gutters for many years, and the attempts to patch and repair them have not done them any favors. As a result, we've ended up with rotted eaves and water in the basement. We decided to tackle the porch gutters ourselves and see if we're up for doing the work on the rest of the house before we invest in scaffolds and other equipment.

Yesterday I removed all the fascia boards and soffits to see the extent of the damage and formulate a plan for repair. Luckily, most of the water damage is on the trim boards and not on the structure itself. Two of the lookouts (the boards that support the gutters) will have to be replaced, as well as all of the gutters. But the porch rafters and beams look fine, so rebuilding ought to be simple.

Just for kicks, here's a picture of some of the previous "repairs" to the metal gutter liner. In case you were wondering, roofing tar is not an acceptable long-term solution for this kind of work!

Tar patched box gutter