Home Maintenance

How Far Should Downspouts Extend from the House?

By November 1, 2020No Comments
How far should downspouts extend from the house

A downspout is a pipe that runs vertically on a home.  On the top, it connects to a hole in a gutter channel.  The bottom of the downspout bends out, away from the home, and carries the rainwater towards the ground.  However, in homes with basements and crawlspaces, the water can leak into the home if the downspout is not far enough away from the home. 

How far should downspouts extend from the house? 4 to 6 feet from the house but 10 feet if possible.  Let’s take a look at why this is important, why the slope plays a role, and the different types of downspouts such as extensions, splash blocks, downspout drains, and buried pipes.

Why This Is Important

Downspouts are installed on a home about every 20 feet of guttering. Sometimes more, depending on the weather in the area.  The downspouts job is to keep the rainwater from the gutters away from the home. 

When it gets too close to the home, there are foundation issues, mold, mildew, dry rot, and leaks into the basement.  However, this does not need to happen!

The Slope of the Land

The slope plays a big role in keeping water away from the home.  You want to make sure that the slope does not fall towards the house on any side, but falls away from the home instead.  It also should drop about 6 inches every 6 feet in its slope. 

Can you imagine if your slope was opposite of this and water would come gushing into the house every time it rained?  You don’t want that to happen so make sure the yard slopes in the correct direction. This area may need to be fixed if you have mulch or other material in the yard that moves when it rains or snows.

Here is a video above that talks about the importance of slope and information about different types of downspouts and issues of freezing and eroding.

Aluminum Extensions for Downspouts That Extend From the House

Now that you have the slope of the yard figured out, let’s talk about the downspouts.  A normal downspout extends a few inches from the foundation, but this is not enough. 

Because of this, an extension is one option to making sure the rainwater stays away from the foundation. You can purchase one at a home improvement store and install it or contact a professional for help. 

As mentioned above, the water should be diverted at least 4 to 6 feet away from the house.  If a home has basement walls, it should be at least 6 feet away. The furthest away from the foundation the better. Putting gravel or rocks at the end of the downspout to avoid erosion is a great idea.

Elbows For the Downspouts That Extend From the House

Elbows get the water from the downspout to the extension.  They come in metal and plastic (accordion style). If you use these, be careful as they have ridges in them that can collect the debris that comes down through them.  This makes it important to clean out the extension and make sure the water continues to flow through.

What Can Happen If You Don’t Have Gutter Extensions

Since the downspouts are so close to the house, the gutter extensions are essential. If you choose not to have them, mold, mildew, and structural issues in the foundation can occur. There can also be washouts in the soil, too much water that accumulates on the roof, and also basement flooding.

Lastly, soffit and fascia boards can be ruined as well. It can be difficult to put these on the home so call a professional if you need help. It is important to make sure gutter extensions are put on correctly and work efficiently.

What can happen if you don't have gutter extensions?
Splash block helps keep the water off the ground

Splash Block

A splash block is a great addition under the downspout to keep the water funneling down away from the home. It is important the splash block tilts away from the home and never towards the home.  Also, it can move when there are weather events so you may want to think about putting in one that is permanent.

Downspout pipes that extend from the house
Downspout pipes should extend 4-6 feet from the house

Downspout Pipes That Extend From the House

Sometimes, depending on the weather events and the part of the country you live in, the water may drain down the driveway or the yard but can freeze in the winter and create ice.  Thus, adding in a pipe to let it drain downhill may be better.  This will require a professional opinion and assistance.

Stealth Flow Downspout Connector

This is a plastic connector that is good for yards that have a lot of landscaping and mulch, as it is very low to the ground.  It connects easily to the downspout, has interlocking sections, and blends in with the yard. Also, it is not as noticeable in the yard.

Buried Drain Pipe

If you are concerned about water runoff in the yard, another idea is to have a buried drain pipe.  This of course is more labor-intensive and involves digging a trench and making sure the pipe ends in a good place for the water to drain.

Conclusion

Each of the ways listed above will vary for each person as to what will work best.  Ultimately, in the end, the best way is what will keep the water away from the home, not allow erosion to occur, and make you the homeowner happy.

If you need help, let us know and leave us a reply below! Have you had good luck with downspouts or have a favorite way to divert water?  Let us know!

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