A scupper….. An exotic car part? A specialized cooking utensil for frying fish? A baby amphibious reptile?
Not quite, although I swear I’ve heard them use the word scupper on the Animal Channel. No no, this term goes way back to the beginning of building buildings, when the issue of draining rain water off of a roof became evident. You’ve all seen them, although it’s most likely one of those things that you don’t care to think about until you’re playing some trivia board game with your family on game night. The simple definition is it’s a hole in the side of a building to drain rain water from the roof. Almost every commercial building in America utilizes some form of scupper to drain rain water from its roof. It’s not a gutter, either. The difference? It’s all about how the water is directed into it. You see, a gutter is filled from the top, where as a scupper is simply a hole cut into the side of a wall as an outlet for water. In commercial buildings with flat roofs, this is the most efficient way to drain the water pooling up on the roof.
The execution of building one, however, can be a bit more involved. The truth is, water ruins just about everything in construction. So when trying to evict the rain water from the flat roof of a building, you must consider flashing and waterproofing the outlet, the elevation of the outlet (sometimes you have additional scuppers set higher for overflow water), the frequency of placing them throughout the roof, sloping the roof to the scuppers, and more! Water makes everything complicated.
Check out this video of some ‘faux’ scuppers on this Modern Farmhouse we just built in our Country Farmhouse series. Can you figure out why they’re only faux scuppers