East gutter Newport

Wood Gutter Inspection and maintenance on a
circa 1912 residence in Newport, RI


South Gutter
rubbered flat roof
East Gutter
you are here



- 01 -

This bubbling paint says the wood is getting wet, most likely from behind the fascia. This bubbling area is close to the single joint in the middle of this 38' length. There is also a small dormer directly above this area.



- 02 -

This paint breakage is near the back corner NE joint and the flatness of the 3-tab asphalt shingles is most extreme here at this end. (as seen in the next photo)



- 03 -

Except for the weathered off paint, this 100 year wood gutter is in perfect condition.



- 04 -

This area is about a foot back from the front SE corner. Water can certainly enter between the joints of these nearly flat shingles. This is most likely the reason water is getting in behind the gutter wetting the back of the soffit and fascia and causing the visible paint separation.



- 05 -

Now turning the corner and looking west from the front SE corner we see the only organic debris to be found in all of the total 160 lineal feet of gutter on this building. Unlike aluminum gutters with their supporting brackets every 2 feet and their deep 90 degree inside corners, wooden gutters are self clearing by the wind.



- 06 -

There are only two outlets on this entire building but they are large. As can be seen when I get to the south gutter, these copper leaders had been replaced in the past but not properly morticed flush. This is why this dam of maple seeds piled up. I'll remedy that.



- 07 -

Here's a look at the front SE miter joint. The lead has torn away along the row of tacks. This happened from the lengthening and shrinking the wood from its periodic wetting and drying cycle. Modern elastic high tech sealants now replace the need to "lead the joints".



- 08 -

With the lead removed it can be seen from the darker color of the wood that it is wet. Water is definitely leaking through these miter joints into the eaves, resulting in the observed paint failure. Amazing, these gutter ends are not rotten. If these were today's "fir" gutters, those ends would be long past rotted. So don't let a contractor fast talk you into ripping off valuable old growth cypress wood gutters and trim because the paint on them looks terrible. They will pitch that it will be less costly (yet more profitable for them) to replace with all new plastic wood and aluminum gutters. Old growth Cypress wood will never rot. Its the water issues that need to be rectified to solve the paint problem, not gutter replacement.



    - 09 -

    This is the back NE corner. Someone brushed some tar over the leaded joint to try and seal this joint. This is always only a cheap quick temporary fix.



    - 10 -

    When this house was built there were no power tools. They didn't have 12" miter saws to make perfect miter cuts on these 4"x6" wood gutters. What they had was hand saws. You can't cut a "kerf" to remove just a little because the the angle is off or the length is just a little to long. So cutting a miter angle and an overall length was a one shot deal with a hand saw. This was why they over cut the angle to make sure the front show side met perfectly. The lead would cover the open part of the joint in the back.



    - 11 -

    The old paint that once protected the wood from wetting comes up easily with a teardrop scrapper



    - 12 -

    100 year old wood looking good!



    - 13 -

    Because of the dormer above more water is channeled into the gutter at this point. See the brownish staining on the white metal drip edge. This is because the the water is NOT dripping off from the drip edge but rather following it thanks to the surface tension of water. This water then runs over the face of the fascia board that caps the back of the gutter and supports the roofing edge. This is why this board is covered in green moss. It gets lots of water. 'hmmm drip edges that don't drip?



    - 14 -

    So here is the joint in the center of the 38' span. One can see there is plenty of room for water to enter beneath this leading. Notice the gutter is clear except for the roofing granules. Apparently the wind will not remove these.



    - 15 -

    With the leading removed one can see where the smaller original lead was properly morticed in flush with the bottom of the gutter. The North section was slightly low so I pulled it up and fastened it with a stainless steel trim head screw. (pre-drilled and countersunk so as not to split the wood)



    - 16 -

    This cove molding is soaking wet.



    - 17 -

    again soaking wet.



    - 18 -

    Notice the water staining on the gutter face and more so on the fascia. This tells of overflows happening here. Most likely because of the excess of water entering the gutter in this area because of the dormer above.



    - 19 -

    This fascia was so wet it was as heavy as a couple of bricks. I decided to remove the lower fascia so everything would dry out nicely. I'll strip and prime the original fascia's on the ground and then re-install them. This is the value of old growth wood. It does not rot. This wood is in great shape!



    - 20 -

    The soffit boards are soaking wet as well and their tops are covered with accumulated dust and dirt which impedes drying. I scraped out that mud and used the leaf blower for a through cleaning.



    - 21 -

    Beltsanders save muscle and time.



    - 22 -

    This old swamp cypress wood gutter is still in amazing shape for 100 years of service!



    - 23 -

    I had gone around this whole building and stripped all the paint from 160 lineal feet of fascia and wood gutters, as well as re-framing the flat roof that can be seen in the background before I got back to this east side. After brushing on multiple coats of Geocel's clear liquid rubber. This wood is permanently sealed from ever getting wet again.



    - 24 -

    Geocel's brushable liquid rubber is the perfect primer. It does not support mold growth, is paintable, and near impossible to remove. All this work is basically a lifetime repair. Notice what it says on Benjamin Moore's paint can in the gold strip, "Lifetime Warranty". Today's 100% acrylic paints are basically rubber. This paint, unlike its old oil counterpart, will never chalk, fade, or crack.



    - 25 -

    This is the west side, looking south. The cornice had settled on this bumpout making the gutter across this pediment a low point. This caused the miters to separate and they incessantly leaked. To repair this I removed the 3 gutter sections, beefed up the framing with pressure treated lumber before reinstalling the gutters. I used taller fascias to get the gutter back up to height necessary for the water to properly flow around this projection. Since the ends of these gutters were soft from decades of being perpetually wet I cut them back to solid wood, dried the ends thoroughly with a paint heat gun, and then added cedar pieces I fabricated to fill out the sections to their needed length.




    East gutter Newport

    Wood Gutter Inspection and maintenance on a
    circa 1912 residence in Newport, RI


    South Gutter
    rubbered flat roof
    East Gutter
    you are here