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Community and Q&A

No Eaves, Failing Gutters, Bad Paint Job on Historic House

Emthegem716 | Posted in General Questions on

Hi, my name is Emily.  My 1876 historic stucco house does not have eaves, the gutters are not seeming to function well, and the last owner had it painted by an unprofessional “Joe Schmo” so the paint is failing because apparently it was the wrong type of paint and the water is pulling it off of the house.

I’m wondering what are my best options in trying to correct these issues and where would be the best place to start considering my very limited budget.  Is it possible to have better gutters installed if there are little to no eaves to hang them from?  What are the best but affordable options for gutters in these situations?

Is it possible to have eaves or some type of an overhang added to my house without redoing the entire roof?  What type of cost range would that be in?  (it’s a 2.5 story almost 3,000 sq ft. house)

As for the paint, I would love to have it completely removed from the house so that the original stucco is exposed.  Is there any possible way to do this without damaging the stucco (and that wouldn’t bankrupt me for the rest of my life)?

Any help and advice you can offer is greatly appreciated!  Thank you!

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  1. user-6623302 | | #1

    Were do you live? How about some pictures?

    1. Emthegem716 | | #4

      I live near Niagara Falls, NY. Here's a picture of the front and back of the house.

  2. PAUL KUENN | | #2

    Emily, it's pretty easy to add width and lengths to roofs with rafter extensions and add on gable extensions. Stucco needs to be protected by the biggest eaves possible. If the shingles are new, the lower edge could be lifted to allow for extensions to be shingled without a whole new roof.
    Good luck, PK

    1. Emthegem716 | | #6

      Thank you Paul! Hopefully this is duable, I don't know how old the roof is but really hoping to not have to replace it yet

  3. Expert Member
    BILL WICHERS | | #3

    Often times gutters that "don't function" are just plugged up. I'd check all the downspouts for blockages, and if you have any type of screen over the gutters (the stuff used to keep leaves out), make sure it's not blocked. Sometimes those screens get moss growing on them or just get clogger with debris over time and need to be cleaned.

    If you end up needing new gutters, get seamless gutters. These are made of aluminum usually, and are made from a long strip of material on site so they don't have any splices. These look better, last longer, and don't have couplings that can leak.

    Extending the eaves out a bit will provide better protection from the weather and is a good idea. Sometimes this can complicate some architectural details, but otherwise it's usually not a particularly complicated project. I think there are some articles on GBA about dealing with the architectural details.


    1. Emthegem716 | | #5

      Thanks Bill, i had a "gutter guy" come look at the gutters yesterday, he said that replacing the gutters wouldn't solve the problem at this point because there's too much heat escaping the house and melting snow and causing ice to form and block the gutters. I'll look into the architectural articles to see what I can find, thank you!

      1. Expert Member
        BILL WICHERS | | #7

        That sounds like ice damming. That's an insulating and air sealing problem, with air sealing often being the bigger problem. Correct those and you should have less ice issues.


  4. PAUL KUENN | | #8

    Thanks for the pics!

    With that age the rafters are either 2x4" or 2x6" and it looks steeper than 4:12 so sealing the upper wall plates should not be that hard unless someone piled in loose insulation (that's always a mess to move out of the way for air sealing). You won't have room to properly insulate above the wall plate so the best you can do is have someone blow in closed cell foam from the wall plate to about 4 feet inward. Once you have all openings in the attic sealed you could blow in cellulose which some will overlay the foamed perimeter. At that point you won't have all your heat heating the underside of the roof and causing the problems. This is the least expensive method. The best is too remove the roofing (at which point you air seal), add your new extended eaves and rake, then do exterior insulation above the roof and redo sheathing and shingles. I've added photos of such work that I just did to a 1926 home where I had to remove existing eaves & rake and put back on with deeper soffits after exterior insulation and steepening the dormer roof.

  5. user-2310254 | | #9

    You might want to contact Keim ( I understand it makes a mineral-based paint that adheres to latex. Romabio ( might be a source as well. I used one of its paints on a previous house, but I'm not sure if the company makes a product that adheres to latex.

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