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Are downspouts necessary? Here is what you need to know about your home’s most important water management system.

Far from being glamorous, downspouts are the unsung heroes that protect your home, landscaping, and exterior paint from water damage. Without them, roof runoffs can dump hundreds of gallons of water right next to your home’s foundation during a storm.  

Coupled with gutters, downspouts collect your roof’s water and direct it away from your home’s foundation. By doing so, they avert water damage issues such as mold growth, wood rot, foundation wall cracks, peeling paint, and rotting siding. These fixtures are often trouble-free. With a little knowledge, simple maintenance, and troubleshooting, you can prolong the lifespan of the downspouts of your home.  

What Is a Downspout?  

A downspout is a vertical tube that connects to the horizontal piece of your gutter system. Its main goal is to channel water from the gutters away from your home. In other words, they promote proper drainage. When they’re in top shape and clog-free, they will do their job perfectly. 

Types of Downspouts 

Generally, there are three different types of downspouts: 

  • K-Style: Available in two sizes, this downspout is common in many homes. It’s usually paired with 5” K-style gutters. It resembles the stylish crown moldings found in most ceilings. This type can carry more water than round downspouts.  
  • Round: The inside of round downspouts is smoother than that of K-style downspouts. This feature makes it more durable as it prevents the metal from rusting over time. It’s available in different colors and sizes ranging from 3″ to 6″.
  • Rectangular: It’s another popular downspout style across the country. This comes in a range of sizes, 2” x 3”, 3” x 4”, and 4” x 5”. If you’re looking for a sturdy and tight-fitting gutter, this might be the right choice for you. 

How Many Downspouts Do I Need? 

The number of downspouts you will require depends on the level of rainfall in your area, the gutter design system, and the slope of your roof. A good rule of thumb is to have a downspout every 30-40 feet of guttering. This spacing helps reduce the load on the gutters, allowing rainwater to drain off without spilling to the ground.  

Factors to Consider When Installing Downspouts 

Installing the right type, size, and number of downspouts not only maximizes the efficiency of your drainage system but also saves you money in repairs. Here are four key factors to consider when choosing the right downspouts for your property. 

Rainfall Intensity 

A large downspout works well in areas that receive heavy downpours or prolonged rains. They will move water from the gutters quickly. 

Area to be Drained 

A larger roof covering will catch and funnel down more water to your spouts than a smaller one. You may need to adjust the number of downspouts to compensate for the excess water. 

Design and Size 

Downspouts come in many different designs and sizes. A big downspout holds more water and may not need as many downspouts as a smaller one. 

Roof Slope 

Your roof’s grading and the size of its gutter will determine the drainage capacity of your downspouts. The steeper the roof, the higher the velocity of its runoff. As such, the downspout should be large enough to drain water fast. This will prevent overflows.  

How Far Should Downspouts Extend? 

Building codes generally require that contractors divert rainwater as far away from a home’s foundation as possible. Downspouts should extend at least four feet from the foundation on sloping ground and 10 feet away if the structure was built on flat land. These lines also can be placed in the ground

How to Maintain and Protect Downspouts 

You can prolong the lifespan of your downspouts by performing checks and maintenance twice a year. Proper care can forestall drainage issues and prevent foundation damage.  

Take time to inspect your downspouts for signs of rust and impact damage. Rust is a sign that your downspouts are deteriorating and losing their structural integrity.  

In case of rust or impact damage, we highly recommend you have the downspouts replaced by a professional roofer. Deformities on your downspout act like clogs, which can obstruct water flow. 

Still on clogs, use a plumber’s snake to clear up the downspouts. Clogs can cause water backups and overflow, which can damage your foundation. 

Would you like to repair your basement and foundation or waterproof them? Contact JES Foundation Repair to schedule a free waterproofing inspection and quote today. 

JES Foundation Repair service area map of the Mid-Atlantic region.

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