Water + Old House = A progressive failure

Hi everyone, Jay here making my second attempt at freelancing here on the blog.  I'm not writing to brag about a successful job completion this time, but more of a progressive failure.  The home shows on TV conveniently leave out the trial & error portion of many jobs, so check this out and maybe you'll learn from my errors.

Our house has box gutters on the front porch, and I have had ongoing difficulty with their functionality.  These type of gutters are just long, shallow, downward slopes with no top cover. Our front porch gutters are (supposed to be!) pitched highest in the center, and sloped down toward each sides of the house to filter into the down spouts. 

With 100 years of shifting and settling, the middle portion of the porch roof has leveled with the sides, causing water to pour over the ledges and sit dormant after raining.  This causes foundation issues and water on my wood deck (which can seep toward the basement underneath) and we all know, that is not good.

Last year, my contractor gave me some free help and jacked up the porch roof with a standard jack to try to create the slope effect.  We used a slab of wood as a jig to sit across the corner of the porch roof, which held the vertical wood piece being jacked.  I wish I had pictures of this, it was a little scary.  I definitely would not try it without someone being there with building experience.

Anyway, that allowed me to build up some 1" wooden shims to rest above the posts and elevate the middle pitch of the front porch and gutters.  These shims were then drilled into place.


Since my wife has a pretty house blog, I needed to cover up this eyesore.  Therefore I cut molding to be placed at the top of these posts to cover the shims. Speaking of pretty, check out Lu in the background of this picture!

Here's where I made a big mistake.  I measured and cut the molding from where my angle started, instead of where it would begin around the post.  It's a little hard to explain unless you've made this mistake.  What I learned?  Once you cut one of the pieces, go hold it up to the area where it's going to be placed and make sure it fits! Measure twice, cut once. Ya heard? Basically, impatiently cutting all the pieces at once can waste time & material.

The shims did work to some degree, but the drainage is still not perfect.  I added steel angle cutting with a metal saw attachment on my miter saw then climbing onto the roof to silicon caulk the steel into place.  This has kept the water from pouring over the side of the porch to some degree, but I have had to extend the angle once, and will probably do it again with a smaller piece.

Plenty of indoor/outdoor all purpose caulk and the water proofing spray is enough to adhere the metal.

So sometimes you have to get a little creative - it's not always a standard fix, especially on older homes.  There will be plenty more battles fought in this war to keep water out of our house.  Mistakes are frustrating, but just remember: this is the fun part.

Not really.