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Old 07-05-2011, 10:19 PM   #1
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Advice on priority of repairs: gutters and basement


I've got several repairs that need to be done on my house in Cincinnati, and I'd like advice to figure out what order they need to be done before I can decide to try it myself or hire a pro.
First, a little background: the house was built in 1924, it has a poured concrete foundation and is brick with two courses of bricks built on top. The interior of these walls is generally finished with plaster on brick--I think that is about R-negative 5.
OK, so the issues are mainly water related:
1. The original metal box gutters around the first story are very rusted along the back (north) side of the house. They look like they were painted a few times and have a gray asphalt-paint coating on top. They are connected to 2 small metal roofs over the back and side porch. (The main roof is shingle in good shape.) I haven't done anything more than tar patch a few holes with the gutters/metal roof in the past 5 years since we bought the house, but they aren't getting any better on their own. These gutters currently drain to the sewer (I guess that was OK in 1924). Is there a stop-gap repair that can last a few years while I save money to replace the metal gutters? Any other suggestions on the repairs? I've heard of people using liquid EPMD but I'm not sure if this would work. Other suggestions/tips for old box gutters?
2. The foundation in the basement has many thin cracks which leak some water in heavy rains. Not a flood. The basement floor has several drains set in it and the floor slopes away from the walls so it is mostly dry, but I'm worried about the walls decaying over time. Some cracks appear to have had a surface repair in the past and the walls are painted over. I can't afford to hire someone to dig our the exterior of the foundation, so I've looked at injection foam/epoxy to try sealing these cracks. Has anyone had good success with these? I've also seen where people seal the interior of the basement wall and let the water drain to drain tile at the base of the wall (requires cutting out the perimeter of the wall). What are the pros/cons of this approach? How would this work with the existing drains already set in the basement floor?
3. I'd like to insulate the basement, at least around the top of the foundation where the floor joists sit ontop of the concrete. I think sprayed foam insulation is the best choice here, since the surface of the bricks is exposed where the joists sit against the exterior wall. I've seen a recommendation that a capillary barrier should be placed on top of the foundation and under the exterior walls to prevent moisture from wicking onto the wooden joists:

http://www.buildingscience.com/docum...ion/#Figure_01

This guy jacked up his wooden house and slipped the plastic under, but I just cannot see how that is possible with the bricks mortared right on top of the concrete foundation.

http://www.buildingscience.com/docum...ation%20repair

So, any advice on how to proceed, and in which order?

Thanks for any advice!

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Old 07-06-2011, 06:35 AM   #2
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Advice on priority of repairs: gutters and basement


Well. Given that your gutter situation could be quietly contributing to some of your foundation problems I would address them first. Many a time have I found leaking gutters---either damaged or clogged---causing foundation seepage. And it sounds like you are reaching a point of no return in trying to keep them patched? Unless they are custom or something? Why not call a couple of continuous gutter companies to see what they would charge for new ones? It is peak season but the business is still competitive.

You mention that you think your gutters are draining to the sewer. You might want to check that and make sure. I would consider disconnecting that situation in any event if you redo. Rain runoff puts a tremendous and unnecessary strain on public sewer systems.

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Old 07-06-2011, 06:45 AM   #3
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Advice on priority of repairs: gutters and basement


Exactly what sd said. If you get new downspouts, drain them farther from your house than the installer. Also be sure that your landscaping is sloped away from your foundation.
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Old 07-06-2011, 03:16 PM   #4
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Advice on priority of repairs: gutters and basement


Thanks for the advice. I think you may be right about the box gutters reaching critical failure, but the one quote we had from a "premium" gutter company was about $15k to replace them...OUCH! Any suggestions on what type of material to use for the replacement? The originals look like tin.

As for the current downspout drains, just plug them? They are clay pipe, looks about 6inch diameter, like a sewer pipe. They go straight down into the ground (and presumably into the sewer).

The whole lot is on a hill, so the uphill side is lower than the landscape (not much room to work with between the house and the neighbor's property). But the landscape runs downhill everywhere else.

Thanks for any more input!
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Old 07-06-2011, 03:27 PM   #5
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Advice on priority of repairs: gutters and basement


As someone with a similar experience; I would say that you should do the gutters as soon as possible.

I have a basement with water in it and many other problems; including grading and of course - gutters. Our garage had no gutters on it and the gutters on the house were failing.

Just repairing some of the gutters and adding gutters to the garage has made a huge difference. It also opens up the ability to work on the basement. You don't know when it is going to rain/etc. Once we had the rainwater/etc controlled quite a bit; the problems with the basement became more 'clear' and we were able to start planning how to address them.

The gutters/etc can also make you feel better. If you have seen your gutters in the rain; it is probably depressing. If you see your gutters working and water leaving the perimeter of the home, you feel like you have made significant progress.

Just my two cents. You can always check my 'Huge Water is basement epic picture' thread to see if any of the info helps you. (The huge water in basement epic picture thread. Money has run out, water hasn't.)

Finally, it cost me about $175.00 to add gutters to my garage; doing a whole house (if you manage it yourself) shouldn't be too expensive. You could probably do it in sides/parts.
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Old 07-06-2011, 03:44 PM   #6
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Advice on priority of repairs: gutters and basement


How many feet of gutters do you have? 15k for gutters seems mighty high.

What does “premium gutter company” mean? Just because there yelling at you through the TV every night doesn’t make them premium and someone has to pay for those commercials (you).

Seamless aluminum gutters are by far the most common and affordable. The gutter business is very competitive so shop around.
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Old 07-06-2011, 07:21 PM   #7
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Advice on priority of repairs: gutters and basement


[IMG]C:\Documents and Settings\SHRT3W\My Documents\personal\house photos 2011\box gutter damage.JPG[/IMG]
Quote:
Originally Posted by kwikfishron View Post
How many feet of gutters do you have? 15k for gutters seems mighty high.

What does “premium gutter company” mean? Just because there yelling at you through the TV every night doesn’t make them premium and someone has to pay for those commercials (you).

Seamless aluminum gutters are by far the most common and affordable. The gutter business is very competitive so shop around.
The box gutters are about 40 linear feet in the front and back. The back porch (opens onto the metal roof connected to gutter) is about 6x12 feet and adds about 12 more linear feet of gutter. The side porch (another metal roof, no traffic) is about 12x20 feet and has separate box gutters around, perimeter of about 44 feet. Each gutter is between 8-10 inches wide, with a 4 inch lip. Depth obviously varies across for slope.

I'm going to try attaching pictures here might take me a couple of tries
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Old 07-06-2011, 07:30 PM   #8
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Advice on priority of repairs: gutters and basement


OK, That first one above is the overview. You can see the box gutters along the front of the house, and the side porch which has separate box gutters and a metal roof. The upper level gutters are standard aluminum gutters and drain into the box gutters on the first floor.

Here, the first one shows the downspout on the front, then the connection to the sewer? pipe at the foundation level. The third picture is a side view of the front left downspout (shows the "wraparound" on the box gutter) and the fourth is where that downspout also goes into a clay sewer pipe.

These gutters in front are OK, no horrible damage yet but they don't drain very well, especially the one by the side porch.

Next, the back.
Attached Thumbnails
Advice on priority of repairs: gutters and basement-front-downspout-near-side-porch.jpg   Advice on priority of repairs: gutters and basement-front-downspout-sewer-pipe-near-garage.jpg   Advice on priority of repairs: gutters and basement-side-view-front-downspout.jpg   Advice on priority of repairs: gutters and basement-downspout-drain-pipe.jpg  
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Old 07-06-2011, 07:40 PM   #9
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Advice on priority of repairs: gutters and basement


Now the bad, and the ugly.

The first shows a downspout in the back, this one gets a lot of leaf and debris and gets clogged frequently. Same drain to sewer setup. The next picture shows the downspout near the back porch, this has serious drainage issues and water now goes through the gutter and has rotted some of the bead board (you can see the hole at the corner).

The next image shows a top down view of that gutter and the drain hole. You can also see some of my previous attempt at patching with roofing tar. The last image shows a recent spot where the gutter has rusted through. Not a pretty site. This hole is bigger than anything I've patched before so I would have to put some sheet metal on it before trying to apply tar--I just have no clue how to attempt to repair, and I don't know if soldering is feasible.

So, that's all for now. Any suggestions/advice/consolation is appreciated!!
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Advice on priority of repairs: gutters and basement-back-gutter-ground.jpg   Advice on priority of repairs: gutters and basement-back-porch-ground-beadboard-hole.jpg   Advice on priority of repairs: gutters and basement-top-view-back-porch-downspout.jpg   Advice on priority of repairs: gutters and basement-box-gutter-damage.jpg  
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Old 07-06-2011, 07:47 PM   #10
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Advice on priority of repairs: gutters and basement


Quote:
Originally Posted by kwikfishron View Post
How many feet of gutters do you have? 15k for gutters seems mighty high.

What does “premium gutter company” mean? Just because there yelling at you through the TV every night doesn’t make them premium and someone has to pay for those commercials (you).

Seamless aluminum gutters are by far the most common and affordable. The gutter business is very competitive so shop around.
Yes, by "premium" I mean:
No technical mumbo-jumbo, just a MARKETING BREAKTHROUGH!

I haven't lived in the area long enough to know any tradesmen, and I don't have the background to know if someone is good or not. But it was just a quick quote to see what the high end of the cost might be. Yikes!
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Old 07-06-2011, 08:40 PM   #11
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Advice on priority of repairs: gutters and basement


All I can say is get more bids.

Even if all fascia, crown, gutter and some soffit had to be replaced ….. $110 lf.

But I don’t live in Cincinnati, maybe that's cheap.

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