Downspouts are extended pipes designed to drain rainwater away from the house, preventing water damage to the siding, windows, doors, or foundation. Do your downpipes emit water too close to the front steps? Is rainwater pooling underneath the downspout? Does the water from the downspout of a multilevel roof drain directly onto the roof below? Gutters will eventually break down without downpipes that work properly. For troubleshooting those issues that are more subtle than a gutter system in need of a good cleaning, here are some practical downspout solutions.
Too Close for Comfort
It is important for the downspouts to be located in places where they can safely drain water away from the foundation of your home to prevent soil erosion, causing the foundation walls to shift and crack. Downpipes should drain at least five to seven feet away from exterior walls.
Make sure the grade of the land around the house directs water down or away from the foundation. If it doesn’t, as rainwater exits the downpipes, it will be pushed toward, instead of away from, the basement.
Solution: Install a splash block or downspout extender
When the configuration of your roof is made up of multiple levels, a downspout draining directly on to the roof below is a recipe for trouble. Rainwater not channeled to a gutter will eventually wear away the roofing shingles, removing the protective granules required to keep the roofing system strong.
Solution: Install flexible downspout extenders
In the Middle of a Flowerbed
Plant beds get watered from the sky; having downspouts drain into the middle of a flower bed sounds like a good idea but you could end up with soil erosion or killing the plants and shrubs by overwatering.
Solution: Install downspout extenders
Crossing Hardscape Areas
To avoid accidents or unnecessary damage to surfaces, ideally, you don’t want downpipes crossing hardscape areas such as the patio, a pathway, the driveway, or a deck. When they do, there are some creative things you can consider to get those downspouts out of the way.
Solution: Hinged downspout or downspout extender or roll out downspout extender or a splash block
Constantly Overflowing Gutters
When gutters constantly overflow, clogs aren’t always the culprit. True, in most cases, blocked gutters are responsible for rainwater flowing over the sides, but if a gutter system is relatively free of debris and the gutter slope is fine, the cause could be the size of the downpipes. A 2 x 3-inch downspout is usually installed on a standard 5-inch gutter system, but upgrading to 6-inch gutters isn’t always an option due to the architectural style or size of the house.
Solution: Install 3 x 4-inch downpipes