During a home inspection, Ed Lawton, the inspector at B to B Home Inspections, shall inspect roofing from ground level or the eaves. At the time of roofing inspection, the Ed will additionally inspect the gutters and downspouts, including the absence or presence of splash blocks and/or gutter extenders. Additionally, when inspecting the exterior of the home, Ed inspects surface drainage, retaining walls and grading of the property, where they may adversely affect the structure due to moisture intrusion.
Often times you will note on your report that that a downspout extender and or splash block is needed. These two components are needed to ensure that water running down the downspout will drain out and away from the home to prevent moisture intrusion to the crawl space or basement. Where there is moisture intrusion there is a potential for a breakdown in the foundation and the potential growth of mold.
Fortunately, adding a downspout extender and splash block is a very easy fix.
First, What are Splash Blocks and Gutter Extensions?
If you take a look at the underside of the downspouts from the gutters on your home, you should see a device made of plastic or concrete under the downspout. Often these are rectangular with one end open and one end closed designed to guide the water that comes out of your downspout away from the house. Sometimes, this is not enough and a gutter extender is used leading to a splash block.
What’s the Big Deal with Missing Splash Blocks?
Let’s think about it. During a rain storm, the water hits your roof, enters the gutter system and flows to your downspout where it comes out hard and heavy. If this heavy flow of water is not directed away from your houses, it could cause problems. The water could pool up or flow backwards toward your foundation. When the water pools, as it soaks into the ground it can impact the integrity of your foundation leading to cracks and leaks. This little problem could then become a costly problem as you may need water damage restoration and foundation repair costs.
So, to prevent these big costly problems from occurring, it is an important component of Ed’s inspection. If the home does not have a splash block to diffuse the water away from the home, Ed will note this on the report.
Once you have a splash block in place, ensure that they are positioned properly. You want the open end pointed away from your house and the closed end nearest to the downspout. We often find that these splash blocks are positioned backwards. Builders or landscapers will often place the splash blocks backwards to prevent new grass seed planted from being destroyed. Once the grass has grown in, it’s important to turn the splash blocks around and in the proper draining direction.
To make life easier and to see just how inexpensive this fix is, below you will find examples of splash blocks and gutter extenders.