I hope you are enjoying this series on common home inspection findings. If you haven’t read the previous blog posts, I highly recommend you go back and check them out!
Another common finding we see is missing kick-out flashing. It is easy to miss because it’s small. However, when it is not installed, water could cause extensive damage to your home over time.
What is kick-out flashing? In general, flashing is a piece of material that prevents water from entering a structure at the joint or intersection of two angles in a home. Kick-out flashing is specifically used above a gutter where that gutter terminates against a sidewall. Its purpose is to divert the water running off the roof into the gutter and prevent the water from running down the wall behind the gutter.
Missing kick-out flashing can over time lead to water damage. Sometimes, we can see the damage caused during the inspection. On some types of siding, water runoff can show up as staining below the gutter. This, at best, will only require cleaning the siding. But, more often, the damage is unseen.
What kind of damage can occur? Because of the transition in the area, water can get behind the siding. This can lead to damage to the siding itself as well as causing unseen damage behind the siding – framing, insulation, etc. Depending on the type of siding, it can warp, become loose, rot, or deteriorate. The wall framing can be damaged just as any wood structure can. Enough water over time can cause wood deterioration and rot. Deteriorated wall structure leads to interior wall cracks, windows and doors that do not open correctly, and floors that are not level. Wall insulation can also be damaged. Wet insulation loses most of its thermal resistance and wet insulation in a wall cavity cannot dry quickly. Insulation will compact and move toward the bottom of the wall – concentrating the moisture in that area. And, of course, anytime there is moisture in a house that does not dry quickly it can lead to mold or organic growth issues.
Assuming the house has gutters in good condition, adding kick-out flashing is an economical measure to help protect your house. It is a small piece of material that contributes big protection to your house. Some gutter installers can add kick-out flashing, but the best bet is a qualified roofing contractor.