Downspouts are an essential part of your gutter system. They keep your roof and walls safe by collecting and dumping water away from them.
However, sometimes the downspout drainage may not be sufficient to prevent foundation water damage. If that’s the case, you may need to improve your downspout draining options.
In this article, we’ll show you a few methods to extend the drainage point away from your house. We’ll also discuss a few tips to help improve drainage.
The gutter system and its downspouts do an excellent job of keeping the roof of your home moisture-free.
However, there are some areas where storms are more frequent than usual. In that case, these downspouts may not be enough to maintain the integrity of your home.
You’ll need extra draining options to move the water away. Here are eight of them:
A pop-up emitter is one of the most common ways to drain the downspout water safely. All you have to do is to install a flexible hose under your downspout and then direct the hose to an area where it’s safe to drain the water.
You’d then attach that pop-up emitter to the end of the flexible hose, and the water pressure should do the rest.
We recommend having a slope before the end of your water hose (where you’d install the emitter). This slope will speed up the water, allowing it to escape through the emitter faster.
Buring some drain pipes is a guaranteed option to keep your foundation safe. The drainage pipe will run underground and end up away from your home.
This option’s biggest challenge is its difficulty. Digging a trench can be exhausting, especially if you want your drainage to be as far away as possible from your home.
However, you do get the flexibility of choosing where your drainage will go. You may even connect various buried pipes and end them all up in one spot.
This will require adequate planning and slopping, which is why it’s recommended to have a professional do it for you.
An aluminum extension is an easy and inexpensive option to take the water drainage away from your home foundation.
Instead of having the water pool right under the orifice of the downspout, this aluminum extension shifts the opening a few inches away.
Pair that extension with some sloping, and the water will crawl away from your home on its own. The one downfall this option has is its inflexibility.
You don’t have complete control over the direction of the extension, and you can only go so far away from your home with it. It’s also not visually appealing.
StealthFlow mixes the advantages you get from aluminum extensions and buried pipes. The StealthFlow plastic pipes can connect together and create a longer extension for your downspout.
The way these plastic pipes are built allows them to be easily hidden using bushes or soil.
However, being made from plastic makes the durability questionable. This is even more marked because they’re hidden underground, which means they’re liable to break if someone walks over them.
Are you familiar with those party blowout whistles? Roll-out drain sleeves (also known as downspout extenders) utilize the same concept.
However, instead of using air, those drain sleeves use water pressure to extend and direct the water whenever you want to.
You attach those sleeves to your downspout and direct them away from your home. When it rains, the water pressure will extend the sleeve and drain the water away from the foundation.
While the idea seems straightforward, the application can be somewhat challenging. For starters, these sleeves may get damaged over time, resulting in multiple holes in their walls, which splashes water everywhere.
Also, any clogging in the sleeves will prevent them from rolling open all the way. This can damage the inner wall of the sleeve.
Using a splash block is a straightforward option to keep the drain water away from your house’s foundation.
The idea is simple; you place that splash block under the opening of your downspout so that the water will move a few feet away from your house before getting in contact with the soil.
These few feet prevent the soil near your foundation from becoming excessively wet, which is what you need to keep the foundation safe.
However, keep in mind that splash blocks will wet the soil around your house. If that’s a hassle to you, then using other options like flexible hoses and emitters could be a better option.
Drain barrels are fantastic options for those who don’t like wasting water. They serve as empty water tanks that you place under your downspout to collect excess rainwater.
You might think: Can I just place any container there and consider it a rain barrel? You might do that, but you won’t be doing much help because you’ll lack most of what these rain barrels have to offer.
Rain barrels have mesh screens on the top to allow water in while preventing bugs and debris from falling inside the barrel.
There’s also a spigot near the bottom that allows you to quickly fill a smaller container without having to lift the barrel itself.
Last but not least, these barrels have an overflow valve. Compared to a normal container which can overflow and flood the soil, this overflow valve allows only a small stream of water out at a time.
This reduces the probability of having stagnant soil close to your foundation.
Using a sump pump is a reliable solution for downspout drainage. The idea is to have a container under the downspout opening, which will fill up with rainwater over time.
When the container starts to fill up, the pump would channel the water through the pipes away from your foundation.
The advantage sump pumps provide is their great versatility. Because they actively pump the water away, you’ll no longer need to worry about sloping the pipes away from your home. Just find the draining location you desire and place the other end of the pip there.
Everything we’ve discussed so far involves modifying or adding an extension to your downspout drainage.
The following ideas are extra measures you can take to furtherly improve the drainage around your home:
Regardless of the measures you take to prevent water stagnation, some water is bound to fall on the ground around your house.
That’s why your yard should be slopped to slide the water away from your house. A good rule of thumb is to slope an inch for every eight feet from your home. Be careful not to have any slopping towards your house, as this s a recipe for disaster.
You should level any low spots or patches around your home. These low grounds act as a reservoir for rainwater.
Even with a proper slope, low spots will hold and retain water that would later be absorbed by the soil. This is bad news for your home foundation.
Leveling your yard can be a challenging commitment that often requires the services of a professional. But it can make a huge difference, especially if you have many low spots.
Rain chains can be considered replacements for downspout drainage.
The idea is to have multiple cups or containers vertically connected to each other with a container underneath.
When it rains, the top cups will start filling with water, and alternatively fill each other until they overflow at the bottom and fill the container.
Rain chains don’t contribute to drainage as much as downspouts, which is why they’re considered more esthetic than functional.
However, you may pair these rain chains with some of the options mentioned earlier to direct the water away from your home and prevent pooling.
Downspouts are fantastic options to keep your roof free of water. However, if your place experiences severe rain, you might still risk damage to your foundation if the water pools right beneath the downspouts.
The best solution to that is to use drainage options that take the harmful pooling away from your home’s foundation.
Downspouts should be placed around 30–40 feet away from each other. This will ensure an adequate distance and prevent the joining of any water pools between them.
Typically, you should have a downspout at each corner of your home, but the different sizes of homes may alter that placement.
Your downspout drain slope should be at least one inch per eight feet.
If you have a small yard, you may increase that slopping to one inch per four or five feet.
Downspout drainage is enough in most cases, but sometimes you may experience more rain than your downspouts can handle.
That’s when downspout drainage options come in handy. They transport the draining point from near your house to a safer area.
Some options, like flexible hoses and sump pumps, allow you to select where to drain your water.
Others options, like aluminum extension and extension sleeves, are somewhat limited in their water output location. However, they all contribute to getting the water away from your foundation.
You may also improve the draining by filling in any low spots in the yard and improving its slope.
Ben has a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering. When not constructing or remodeling X-Ray Rooms, Cardiovascular Labs, and Pharmacies, you can find him at home with wife and two daughters. Outside of family, He loves grilling and barbequing on his Big Green Egg and Blackstone Griddle, as well as working on projects around the house.
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