Proper gutter leader length?

I did an inspection last week on a new home and put in my report, “The leaders do not extend a minimum of 6 feet from the foundation and 10 feet is preferred.”

This was rated as a Maintenance Item defined as: “Item was functional at the time of inspection and/or requires normal maintenance. The Item should be addressed in the future as a part of normal home ownership.”

I received a phone call this morning from the company that installed the gutter system and asked, “What code was I looking at that requires a 6 foot leader?” and he said he’s never had a home inspector put this in a report asked me not to include it either. He continued to comment that 6 foot leaders would create alot of waste because they come in 10 foot sections.

The home seller asked him to get someone out to fix it. I told him that it wasn’t written up as a defect and it’s between him and the home owner what he should do. I will continue to evaluate the leaders because the potential problem of damaging the foundation as a future concern.

Any ideas, suggestions, or additional resources?

Tell the contractor to cut a 10’ section in half and you will settle for a 5’ extension on each downspout. I think it depends on the amount of slope around the house also. More slope less extension needed.

Probably 90% of the gutter downspouts I see terminate within 1’ of the foundation. I don’t know if there is a code reference to back this up but this is my standard comment when downspout extensions are not in place:
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The Code Check Fourth Edition requires:

IRC: grading from foundation minimum 6in/10ft Figure F1 [401.3]
UBC: grading from foundation minimum 6in/6ft {1838.2}

The UBC requires a higher pitch than the IRC. But we’re not “code inspectors”:stuck_out_tongue:

IMO extensions, would be considered grading wouldn’t they?? :smiley:

I would have put this caller in his place, but that’s just me.

My reports do not mention length, period. I simply state “Recommend installing extensions to all downspout locations, to carry roof water away from basement and foundation area, which could result in excessive seepage into basement/crawlspace”.

This is a can of worms. The quick fix will be to attach some plastic corrugated pipe to the end of the downspouts. But the issues are more complex. If water is allowed to run on a neighbors property or across the sidewalk then there could be other local code issues.