Timeless Solution to Age Old Problem

Know anybody with wooden gutters? Chances are they enjoy talking about the character and beauty of them, but don’t want the conversation to sway towards the

Rye Beach NH contractor

This was from my initial assessment of the home.

maintenance of them. They do have many checkmarks in the “pros” column for the aesthetic appeal, but each “pro” is also offset but a baneful “con”.

I was referred to these particular homeowners in Rye, NH to replace rotten eave trim and porch trim before having their house painted. Upon arrival I asked the homeowner what his wishes were and what his analysis was, since they have owned the home for 26 years. I then applied this perspective and my professional perspective as I walked the exterior of the house, took measurements and

Home repair Rye NH

This was the typical rotten trim we were asked to estimate. Clearly we were going to have to replicate some ornamental brackets.

pictures, and made notations. I returned to discuss my findings and display pictures with the homeowner. I told him that we could certainly replace all of the rotten trimwork, replicate a couple of the decorative cornice brackets, and tighten things up ahead of a paint job. Unfortunately, I also had to gently disclose that it seemed clear that the wooden gutters were causing the rot all around the home, and it was likely to continue. I asked what his thoughts were about this and he

Wood gutter repair

It can’t be good when my chubby finger can fit into the joint.

remarked, “I’ve resigned myself to the fact that rot is just going to continue to be a problem.” These particular homeowners are very intelligent and do an outstanding job trying to maintain the integrity of the home. I feel as though this response was a result of decades of conditioning by previous contractors stating exactly that. I also had to gently state that I didn’t share this same viewpoint with regards to this specific example, and that after providing a detailed proposal for replacing the rotten wood trim, I would also research to find a winning solution for conquering the age old wooden gutter problem.

By looking at these pictures, you can see that the gutters are placed over the fascia board, but starting to pull away. This creates a wonderful alternative for water seeking to hide. All of the joints in the gutters have separated like Heidi Klum and Seal, no chance of getting back together.

Wood gutter repair Rye, NH

Water definitely should not be allowed behind this gutter.

Compounding the problems greatly, one of my predecessors decided to resolve the issue of gutters pulling away by supporting them with another layer of wood trim applied to the fascia underneath the gutter, and then sealed it together with caulking and paint. While this looked terrific from the ground, it didn’t work out so well from a “water management” perspective. All of the moisture that ran behind the gutter was sealed in with no place to go. Of course it rotted the trimwork, layer by layer. If all this wasn’t bad enough, some of the original downspouts were eliminated and patched over for aesthetic reasons. Fine, except that the gutter still pitched in that direction and now the water would sit there until it evaporated. Another detail requiring attention was where the gutter sections butted into the exterior walls and siding. There was no endcap sealed on to the butt end of the gutter, nothing to protect the wall from this moisture. I showed the homeowner all of these pics and more, so he could see why I felt it deserved attention.

Finding the winning solution wasn’t so easy. I spent 2 full days talking with other building professionals, talking to the local suppliers of gutter and roofing products, in professional chatrooms, and spending countless hours poring through Google search results. The end result: There was no ready made solution. I was going to have to create one. We could have copper manufactured and soldered to be seamless in place, for over $8,000. Or we could use white rubber roofing and lead for ½ the price.

In order for the gutter to hold the water and direct it properly into the downspouts, we had to ensure that the white rubber roofing liner would be tucked all the way up under the roof-line. Then, we had to find a way to seal the rubber roofing to the top edge of

Wood gutter repair

Time to start putting things back together.

the gutter, where it wouldn’t be seen from the ground. By nailing the lead to the gutter, it gave us a nice, clean, smooth, and impermeable surface to bond the rubber roofing to… for all eternity, ahh, ahh, ahh. But, there was one more critical task we were going to ask the lead to perform. We needed to create a “drip edge” on the outside face of the gutter for overflow water to drip off of, rather than submit to it’s surface tension

Wood gutter lining Rye, NH

Installing the rubber membrane under the roof drip edge and sticking to the gutter and the lead at the top edge of the gutter. All edges will need to be sealed with lap sealant engineered for rubber roofing membranes.

and run all the way down the face of the building components. We did this by adding a

Wood gutter liner

The finished product isn’t so glamorous up close, but looks great from the ground.

spacer to the top outer edge of the gutter and then hanging the lead slightly lower than it. We also added 3 new downspouts where the demand required.

I’m 100% certain that Meticulous Remodeling had not just boldly gone where no man has gone before, but proud of our extra effort and craftsmanship, nonetheless.

 

By John Bradshaw

Wood trim repair Rye Beach, NH

Instead of using solid cedar which would crack and split, we used weatherproof glue to join cedar boards for a more stable product.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Home repair Rye, NH

This is the finish painted product as seen from the ground. You may notice the unpainted lead at the top edge. Also, the bracket on the left is a new one.

 

 

 

 

 

Well, If You Must Patch a Roof…

fixing roof leaksWhile, unfortunately increasingly rare amongst tradesmen, I find it to be fundamentally sound to properly overlap all building materials so that gravity always carries the water out over the face of the building. There are, however, occasions when that is not practical. One of my regular customers in the historic waterfront district of South Portsmouth has a weather mast at the top of his roof. The weather mast collects data and sends it to a beautiful mahogany display that he fixing roof leaksfixing roof leaksfix roof leaksfixing roof leaksfixing roof leakscreated inside the home. The problem is that the rubber boot that seals around the base of the copper weather mast has dried out, cracked, and opened up to begin letting water in the building.

Strict adherence to the principle of properly overlapping building materials would dictate that the weather mast roof boot has to be replaced. We would have to install a new one to seal around the pipe and be overlapped in with the shingles. There is a problem in this case. Unlike a simple pvc vent pipe, we could not simply slide the new boot down over the pipe. So, should we cut the copper pipe and re-solder it after the boot has been installed? Well that’s not a practical solution either. The mast has lots of wiring running down inside of it. Alright, fine, I give up. Let’s just smear a bunch of roof tar over it and call it a day, right? WRONG!

Roof tar has decent adhesion properties, but it dries out and become brittle very quickly with uv exposure. In this case in particular, that would be a big problem. The weather mast moves a fair amount with the wind. The solution must be flexible enough to withstand this and still perform.

So what is the solution? We use a new breed of caulking. It is bad-posterior side. So, we just smear this bad-posterior caulking on the roof boot, right? Negative. The caulking has amazing adhesion, flexibility, and resistance to breaking down with uv exposure. But, it’s only as good as the substrate it’s bonding to. In this case, the substrate (roof boot) is cracked and brittle. The caulking alone would make this 100% better, but still not 100% good. The solution is to smear a layer of the caulking to the roof boot (time to get messy). Then, cut 2 strips of fiberglass mesh cloth to wrap around the boot and the base of the pipe. These cloth strips are well smeared down into the base of caulking, making sure to smear more caulking over the first cloth strip before overlapping the second cloth strip onto it. It is really critical to make sure to smear the cloth in to the caulking completely. Make sure that the caulking and cloth extend from the aluminum portion of the roof boot, over the rubber portion of the boot, and onto the copper pipe with excellent adhesion. Essentially, we’re looking to bridge over and re-inforce the rubber boot. The final steps are to spread a layer of Geocel brushable liquid caulking over the assembly. This can only be done in layers up to 1/32” thick. After a couple of days to allow the first layer to cure, we’ll add a second layer to provide maximum protection.

The time to complete this repair was one hour. The materials cost about $35. Because we’re relying on caulking, etc., we’ll recommend inspecting it every few years and touching up as necessary, but we feel very confident that we just added another life to this roof boot and saved the homeowner a bunch of dough.

 

By John Bradshaw