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Is the Downspout Installed Properly?

Downspouts should be properly installed

Michael Pereckas/Flickr Creative Commons


Downspouts, like gutters, are designed to manage rainwater. But they only work the way they should if they were installed accurately in the first place. Use these tips to check the installation quality of each downspout in your gutter system.

Securely Fastened

When both hands are placed on the sides of the downspout and light pressure is applied, it shouldn’t move or shift. Check to see how many straps (also called fasteners or downspout clips) there are holding the downpipe in place. If there is only one, for example in the middle of the downspout, this is why it can be moved around. If downspouts aren’t securely fastened, the force of rainwater exiting the gutters could misalign the downpipe, allowing water to escape where it shouldn’t. To safely fasten the downspout, there should be at least two straps, one at the top of the length of pipe and one just above the shoe (a type of elbow typically found at the end of the downspout). Each strap should be secured with two screws or rivets.

No Place for Leaks

A downspout is actually made up of several different parts. The gutter outlet connects the downspout to the gutter. Elbows are designed to “bend” the flow of water from one section of the downspout to another. If the downpipe is longer than 10 feet, a connector is used to join the two sections of pipe. To prevent leaks, all parts should work together, fastened with the appropriate number of rivets, positioned straight, and be sealed where applicable.

Downspout Extensions

Where downpipes are too short, they will deposit water too close to the exterior walls of your home. In this case, a downspout extension will be required. If the downpipe already has an extension, make sure it has been correctly secured with at least two screws. The end of the downspout should never be just inserted into the downpipe extension.

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