What Would Ben Franklin Say?

Home Inspector with JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC HOI 394

A penny saved is...

While Ben Franklin's quote on saving money is renowned, not all saved pennies may be well earned. For example, shortcuts are simply a way to save money and time. What they are most often not are a best practice. A shortcut is good for the one using the shortcut, not typically the one receiving the results of that time saver. 

"Well done is better than well said."

Water damaged wood sidingPride in workmanship, pride in one's work, are obvious. Slick tongued reasons are veiled excuses. Seeing the water damage on the side of this condo unit, I can't help to wonder why it happened. Yes, I understand that cascading water over time will erode paint and rot wood. That is not why this damaged occurred. It happened because the contractor, either through ignorance, lack of pride or looking to save a few pennies omitted an important flashing detail.

Where a gutter abuts a wall like here, a diverter flashing is necessary to direct water into the gutter. An elegantly simple device constructed of aluminum or copper, and costing just pennies. The damage caused by the lack of this flashing, hundreds, possibly thousands of dollars. Diverter flashing diagram

What can't be seen in the photo is the water stains below on the porch roof, indicating water has been running inside the wall. Or the gaping hole in the siding just above the gutter. How much actual damage exists will not be known until repairs are under taken. And let's not forget this is a condo, this same condition is repeated throughout the entire complex. 

Ben's quote sums it up,

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”


Posted by

James Quarello
Connecticut Home Inspector
Former SNEC-ASHI President
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC

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Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

I have seen so many customers take short cuts or go w/ the lowest bid simply to find that it cost them a lot more money.

Mar 01, 2015 08:48 PM #1
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Rather than classify that water damage as a short cut, perhaps a description of DEFECT is more accurate.

Mar 01, 2015 09:04 PM #2
Raymond E. Camp
Howard Hanna Real Estate Services - Ontario, NY
Licensed Real Estate Salesperson Greater Rochester

Good morning James,

Someone is going to be busier than a beaver fixing this one!

Make yourself a great day.

Mar 01, 2015 09:11 PM #3
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

"A kick-out in time is worth nine ... courses of siding."

That's probably close. 

Instead of, "When the well is dry we know the worth of water," how about, "When the siding is dry we know the worth of kick out."?

Mar 01, 2015 09:39 PM #4
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning James. I think this is about context and believe in both quotes.

Mar 01, 2015 10:51 PM #5
Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC - Wenatchee, WA
NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Jim, I still do not get why this is so often omitted. Seems like we have had plenty of time to get this one right.

Mar 01, 2015 11:34 PM #6
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Hope you like the Poor Wrench's Almanac  quotes!  I put up a copy of that Jefferson writing I have on my wall.

Mar 01, 2015 11:40 PM #7
Fred Hernden, CMI
Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area - Albuquerque, NM
Albuquerque area Master Inspector

There's no excuse for not installing the kick out flashing! Strangely enough, I see them on houses with stucco on almost every occasion, but houses with siding it seems are the ones that are lacking the kick out flashing. Maybe it's just my imagination... I don't know how many homes you have up there that are stuccoed. 

Mar 02, 2015 12:49 AM #8
George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Jim good example of penny wise and pound foolish.  Short cuts are rarely good, and normally result in costly repairs.

Mar 02, 2015 07:45 AM #9
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Debbie, So true. Too often the focus is on cost, not value. 

Lenn, I think that is what I did. The shortcut is the omission of the inexpensive flashing. 

Raymond, And just how busy has yet to be determined.

Jay, I think Mr. Franklin would approve.

Shelia, It is.

Don, I have found kick outs on houses that are 50 or more years old. They were clearly original equipment. I think another quote fits here;

"We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid."

Jay, Wrench is a wit. You're well in the minority with Jefferson.

Fred, Not much stucco up here. Not good for our weather. 

George, Yep. I am witness to it constantly. 

Mar 02, 2015 08:54 PM #10
Joe Petrowsky
Mortgage Consultant, Right Trac Financial Group, Inc. NMLS # 2709 - Manchester, CT
Your Mortgage Consultant for Life

Good morning James. We see it all time, when looking at homes that we are looking at as a possible flip and once acquired, we often need to address the siding.

You are correct about your comment to my post. They have decided to walk away.

Make it a great weekend!

Mar 13, 2015 10:28 PM #11
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Joe, Wood siding requires a good deal of care as you well know. Small details can make a huge difference. 

Mar 14, 2015 10:07 PM #12
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