How do I collect rainwater on a weird spot on my roof?
March 15, 2007 1:01 PM   Subscribe

We've recently moved into a house where the previous owners removed all of the rain gutters from the roof. We've more recently had new gutters installed(bye-bye, tax refund!) except for one particular spot at the corner of a very steep valley where two edges meet. Is there a way to collect water at a spot like this?

There's a photo of the house taken immediately after we moved in in July here:

The corner in question is circled in red. Is there some sort of catch basin or other method of collecting runoff from a point source like this? There used to be SOMETHING here, because you can see a slight dirty/indented line where the downspout was, but I can't figure out what caught the water in the first place, and our gutter installer guys weren't all that helpful either. I don't want to leave it without one, since all that water visibly runs down the outside of the house during rainstorms.
posted by 40 Watt to Home & Garden (21 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You should be able to install a downspout there. Where I've seen this it's generally a squared off funnel looking piece of metal and flashing that attaches to a standard gutter pipe.
posted by iamabot at 1:19 PM on March 15, 2007 [1 favorite]

Looks like the collected water is going to land on the paved area to the right of the house. If it falls short of that, you could put a rain barrel where it lands.

I'm curious why you felt you had to have gutters. Were you getting water inside when it rained? Given the tall trees, you're going to be cleaning those gutters out periodically.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 1:22 PM on March 15, 2007

I am with imabot and Kirth Gerson, especially Kirth's suggestion about a rain barrel. Otherwise, you are going to be looking at one long, ugly gutter.

He's also right about leaves. You'll probably want gutter guards. I am also guessing that is why the previous owners removed the gutters.
posted by 4ster at 1:37 PM on March 15, 2007

Response by poster: Kirth: There's definitely some water damage in multiple spots, both inside and out.

iamabot: yeah, that's what I've seen as well. The closest I can find is what's called a rainhead, which is more like a big square bin that collects water from other gutters before sending it down the downspout... but that didn't seem to be what I was looking for either. Most of the ones I can find online appear to be decorative, and they wouldn't work on a corner like that anyway.
posted by 40 Watt at 1:41 PM on March 15, 2007

Clearly you need a gargoyle.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:43 PM on March 15, 2007

I like your house. If you take that photo to any Lowes or Home Depot-type store and explain what you're after, they'll be able to immediately show you the downspout that you need - it's a corner one (crappy photo) and has two ends to attach two separate gutters to it. Alternately, you could call the people who installed your gutters and ask them why they didn't install a downspout in that corner. Seems like they didn't finish the job.
posted by iconomy at 1:45 PM on March 15, 2007

Response by poster: Faint of Butt - Actually our neighbors to the north have one, so why not?

iconomy - thanks. The people who did our gutters actually offered to put in two longer sections down the sides of the valley and attach that with a standard downspout, but a) that would look really odd and b) probably wouldn't work well either. Plus, the fascia is rotten up there so we need to replace it before we can put in anything, so I figured now was a good time to ask.
posted by 40 Watt at 1:50 PM on March 15, 2007

If there are other houses in your neighborhood similar to yours you could walk around and check out what they've done, too.
posted by iconomy at 1:54 PM on March 15, 2007

In that particular corner you could simply extend flashing out a foot or so. the water will have enough kinetic energy coming down that roof to shoot away from the house and will not cause any other problems. why put in a huge downspout just for that?
posted by JJ86 at 2:02 PM on March 15, 2007

Response by poster: JJ86 - Ideally, we'd like to do what Kirth suggests and put in a rain barrel, but the water that comes off that corner currently just sluices down the side of the house (probably not good for the stucco) and if we extended the flashing, it'd go into the driveway (bad place to put a barrel).
posted by 40 Watt at 2:08 PM on March 15, 2007

Response by poster: Oh- and we did install gutter guards to deal (hopefully) with the leaf problem.
posted by 40 Watt at 2:10 PM on March 15, 2007

Don't forget that one of your considerations is also going to be how well whatever you install will handle snow and ice. I remember a neighbor that bent something up out of sheet metal when we lived in Connecticut to solve the same problem that you have found that his broke off the first time we had a significant ice accumulation because huge chunks broke down and 'took out' his solution.

That being said -- the usual solution I've seen is to put a corner gutter up, and then install what's called a "Valley flashing" on the edge of the gutter ... it basically sticks up another few inches off the outside edge of the gutter to catch the massive amount of water that comes down the valley.
posted by SpecialK at 2:12 PM on March 15, 2007

Response by poster: Hmm...and that corner had the biggest icicle I've ever seen on it this winter too.
posted by 40 Watt at 2:15 PM on March 15, 2007

I'm surprised the gutter people didn't offer to charge you to have a custom piece fabricated if nothing commercially available was suitable.
posted by Good Brain at 2:15 PM on March 15, 2007

I agree with Keith on the idea of the rain-barrel, without anything to guide the water. However it looks like the water would have have enough speed behind it to hit the pavement on the right without anything to guide it. To rectify this if you could get a either a piece of thick doweling (about 1" diameter) or a broom handle, paint it with something waterproof to the colour of the panels supporting your roof, and screw it onto the overhang at the corner, so that the top of the handle sticks out from the top of the roof about 1" and hangs below the roof about 2". if you fashion the bottom into a point, the water will run down the doweling until it hits the point and drops right down into a rain barrel right at the corner. Provided you dont get large wind speeds there often, this will most definitely work, and when you do get large wind speeds, the wind will carry the water far enough away from your house to matter. and it is so small and discrete because it will match your roofing colour perfectly, nobody will notice it unless they are looking for it.
posted by mrw at 2:22 PM on March 15, 2007

Looking around I found this.

We have some rain cups that are very similar to what they sell, but wow! Some of the stuff these guys sell is pretty shiny.

If nothing else it's a good reference point for what may be available for your situation.
posted by iamabot at 2:47 PM on March 15, 2007

You really want a catcher and a downspout there. With no overhang the water will run down the siding and end up inside.

Any good custom gutter maker should be able to cobble something together.
posted by Marky at 3:52 PM on March 15, 2007

Response by poster: iamabot - Thanks, I found those earlier too... but that's what I was talking about earlier with "rainheads". Some places have different names for them. That LOOKS like what I was thinking, but according to that page, they look like they're more for various downspout issues than for acting as a catch basin at the top of a downspout stack. But maybe my local gutter guys might know.

Marky - That's exactly what we see happening during large rains... water runs right down the side of the house.

Thanks for the answers... I guess we need to talk to a different company than the yahoos that installed our current system.
posted by 40 Watt at 7:11 PM on March 15, 2007

Ignore the people that are questioning the need for gutters. Gutters have to be cleaned, yes, but they're necessary if you want to keep water out of your house.
posted by electroboy at 9:06 PM on March 15, 2007

I'm not trying to hijack the thread, but I wanted to add a word about installing new gutters. When I was looking for new seamless aluminum gutters to be installed last year (about 200 feet worth, plus all new downspouts) I did the normal recommended thing. I called several local contractors and got quotes. The range was $800-$2000. This struck me as oddly high, as I doubted the work would take long and involve much new material.

I asked the a local roofer doing a job down the street, and he gave me the name of the gutter subcontractor he uses. I called the guy and he rough quoted me, over the phone $200. At that price I booked the next available time he had and three days later a crew of 3 guys came out in a truck and 45 minutes later I had all new gutters and downspouts installed for $190 total.
posted by wylde21 at 10:32 PM on March 15, 2007

Ignore people who claim that gutters are universally required. Gutters are unnecessary if the roof has eaves that overhang the house far enough to keep most of the water off of the walls, and if the drainage around the house leads the water away from it. If the roof configuration deposits water on steps that then become icy, rain diverters can help.

I have lived in several gutterless houses that had no water-related problems. In one of them, which was a townhouse condo, the condo association BOD took out a huge loan and installed gutters on all the units, to address the drainage problems that a couple of units had. This not only caused that BOD to be replaced en masse at the next election (because the owners objected to paying for the project), it actually caused water problems in some units that had been dry previously.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:56 AM on March 16, 2007

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