How Important is Downspout Placement?

Downspouts are designed to safely guide water from the gutters to the ground and away from a house’s foundation. A gutter system doesn’t just need downpipes; downspouts should be properly placed in order for the gutters to function optimally.

When downspouts are not properly positioned within a gutter system, they can be the reason gutters overflow or there is standing water in the gutter channel. Incorrect downspout placement might cause the downspouts to release water in places it shouldn’t, like behind siding or onto a driveway of unsealed cement.

Downpipes should deposit rainwater at least five feet from the exterior wall or foundation of the structure. If, for whatever reason this is not possible, use some type of downspout extension to drain water as far away as feasible. Even when downspouts are the prescribed number of feet away from the basement, consider installing a downspout extension if the downspout drains onto a driveway, sidewalk or near steps.

Proper downspout placement can address a number of issues such as:

  • a home located in an area that receives medium to high annual rainfall
  • a yard not properly graded, causing water to run toward instead of away from the house
  • a basement this is constantly damp or flooding

The number of downspouts depends on several factors including the size of the house; the configuration of the roof; and the amount of annual rainfall. An average sized home has at least one downspout, often two. They are typically installed at the corners of the roof. However, if you have a large house or one with a multilevel roof, a gutter installation professional will be able to tell you where downspouts should be placed to best direct water away from your home.