Why is a CREEK in my basement?

Home Inspector with DRH Home Inspection Akron, Ohio Summit County Home Inspector

With spring on the way (Yeah), gutters and downspouts are going to be the most important system on the exterior of your home soon.  Effectively removing the water, by the gallons, from the roof of your house is the most important issue to a dry and structurally sound foundation.

Now lets take a look at some comparisons.


These photos shows you an example of a gutter system that is not only easier to keep free a debris, but are in fact quite clean.  This is from a heavily treed area as well.

This is to the right of the downspout.

Gutter to the right


This is to the left of the downspout.

Gutter to the left


This is a downspout connection to the underground drainage.

Downspout connection





Now lets take a look at some not so good gutters and downspouts.  Its no wonder this basement has a creek flowing across the floor to the drain.  Serious foundation problems are sure to follow soon.


A composting system is not the best use of a gutter.  Possibly even some earthworms in there somewhere.

 Gutter full


This is in the other direction.

gutter full


Here is where what water that stays in the gutter tries to get out at the downspout connection.



Now, the water that does manage to find its way to the downspout and freely flows to the ground, here is what it finds at the end.  A more direct route to the foundation or even possibly the basement floor.

downspout bottom

Concrete blocks have many functions other than to support your entire house, but they do not make very effective downspout water diverters.

It is obviously more important than many homeowners realize to keep your gutters and downspouts clean and free flowing as well as properly diverted a minimum of 6' to 10' away from the house or into underground drainage pipes that are also free flowing and clear of debris.

OH NO, Here comes some more rain!!

Comments (3)

Patrick Johnson
Windermere - Bellingham, WA
Oh my Gosh! Is this a home that you have inspected, or is it yours? LOL
Mar 04, 2008 07:47 AM
David Holden
DRH Home Inspection Akron, Ohio Summit County Home Inspector - Akron, OH
DRH Home Inspection Akron, Ohio Summit

Patrick,  HAHA.  Actually my house is the example that is GOOD.  The best thing I ever did for my gutters where to install leaf guards.  Every once in while I have to clean out near the downspout connection, which also has a debris guard there too.  When I bought the house a year ago it was similar to the other pics.  Thanks for the comment.

Mar 04, 2008 07:55 AM
Robert Dirienzo
HABITEC Home and Building Inspections, LLC - Franklin, TN
Home Inspections - Nashville TN

The most frequent complaint we have about new and existing homes is with the water management system.  Of the components included, the gutter/downspout/extension subsystem is the most like culprit.


Mar 05, 2008 10:41 AM