When we bought our house in 2012 we knew it needed a lot of work, but according to the home inspector the house was structurally sound with no real issues to be concerned about. Unfortunately, he was wrong. There were a few problems with the house that were related to the same core problem; rotten gutter boards and soffits.
We often heard critters running and scratching around in the attic, and there was significant staining and bubbling on the ceilings in rooms along the front of the house nearest to the outer walls; both of which were disconcerting to say the least. At first we didn’t think much of the ceiling problems, because there was a lot of drywall repair that we needed to do throughout the house. For example, the drywall tape was warping and coming loose in several rooms and ceilings, all related to (we thought) past moisture problems. Our home inspection made no mention of bad gutters or soffits, so we thought our bases were covered… until one area of the ceiling started getting worse and worse after heavy rainfall. That’s when we figured that water was getting in behind the gutters.
We did some research around the outside of the home by poking the soffits with a spear made from a broom handle and an old, dull knife. Here is a picture of Renee holding the spear.
The idea was that if it was hard to stab, it was good wood, and if it went in easily it was probably rotten… it was like butter in several places. This next pic is one of the softest places. A lot of water tends to gather at the corners.
|Close up of some wood rot|
Then there was the monthly gutter cleaning that had to be done (we live in a particularly leafy and tree-filled part of Decatur). I would have to get on the roof, and sweep the gutters clean, fighting the whole way with our old, bent and damaged wire screens that partially covered the gutters.
Renee has a wave of anxiety whenever I get on the roof. I’m very careful, but frankly I’m a klutz, and I have plenty of old breaks and scars to prove it. So, it was important to both of us to minimize how much time I spend on the roof.
|Full of leaves again!|
After doing some research we found that old gutter systems had a major flaw in their design. After long enough water would rot out the gutter boards and get into the soffits where it would pool and cause mold if left unchecked. On top of all that squirrels had found a way into the attic using a particularly soft, rotten spot on one of the soffits. We knew we had to do something about it right away or it would only get worse.
After researching a lot of different options we decided to check out the hooded gutter system by Champion. The idea of the hooded system is that the water rolls right into the gutter while leaves and other debris fall past the edge and onto the ground. Also, it is an enclosed system, so squirrels have a harder time getting into it.
Renee and I visited the Champion showroom in Atlanta, where they have a fountain display trickling water down a tiny shingle roof and a length of their gutter system. We watched as the water trickled slowly down. I asked the salesman, “What happens when you get a REAL rain storm?” He went to his break room and came back with a large, plastic container full of water and allowed me to douse the roof of the display all at once. I expected the water to rush right past the hood of the gutter system and onto the floor, but to our surprise the system worked perfectly and hardly let a drop escape.
We don’t have any pictures of the crew working on the installation, but there was a lot of rotted wood behind the old gutters. The crew did a great job of ripping out the old wood, replacing it, and then installing a vinyl soffit system and gutter board coating, and then installing our new gutter system. I don’t want to sound like too much of a salesman here (we are not being paid for writing this), but they really did a great job. Our neighbor’s dad (a retired roofer and construction guy) even commented on what a good job they did.
Here are a few pictures of the new gutter and soffit systems 2 and a half years after install, and they still look great.
We’ve now had the system for two and a half years, and it’s solved a lot of issues we were having, not to mention it’s meant no more dangerous trips up on the roof!
Last thing, the water has to go somewhere once its in the gutters, right? Make sure that your system directs the water away from your house. Don’t let it just go straight down to your foundation or you will have a lot of moisture problems in your home. Worse, you could could damage your foundation.
It might be strange to hear, but this turned out to be one of our favorite projects. It gave us the piece of mind of knowing that our home was well protected from moisture damage, and we love how much it improved the way our home looks from the front of the house.
If you are interested in getting a quote about Champion products call Mack at 678-768-9134 and tell him The Bollins sent you for an additional discount.