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Gutter Downspouts: Everything You Need to Know

Gutters and downspouts are fundamental parts of any house’s gutter system. Without them, the drainage of rainwater and other debris would be impossible. 

In this piece, we wanted to tell you everything you need to know about them. By the end of the article, you’ll be prepared with more vital knowledge that ensures your house is safe and secure from damage caused by rainwater.

What is a downspout in a gutter?

First of all, a gutter system has two essential components:

  • The gutter
  • Downspouts

The gutter is the channel that’s placed at the tip of the roofline, all-around your house. It’s made with a downward slope to ensure that the rainwater that falls from the roof gathers in it and flows downward. The gutter is emptied of water thanks to the aluminum downspout.

The gutter spouts are the vertical pipes connected to the house and the gutter. Water flows from the gutter into the downspouts so it can be moved away from the house. More often than not, downspouts have extensions or something else that allows the water to move away from the foundation of the house and not gather in puddles next to the walls.

The entire gutter system is made in this way to ensure that rainwater and snowmelt don’t damage the roof, walls, the foundation of the building, and the landscape around it.

Where should gutter downspouts be placed?

Naturally, the whole gutter system can only be successful if the downspouts are placed in the correct places. Here are some general rules you should follow for proper downspout placement: 

  • The general rule is that there needs to be a downspout for every 40 feet of the gutter. If you follow this rule, you’ll make sure that no downspout is taking in too much water. You’ll also ensure that no part of the gutter is keeping too much water at any moment.
  • Downspouts need to be emptied at least 10 feet away from the house. If you can’t ensure this with the downspout, it’s best to either relocate it or add an extension that will lead the water away from the house’s foundation.
  • If both of these options are not possible for each of the downspouts, you need to make sure that any downspout extension lead the water into the municipal storm sewer or to an underground pipe.

It’s essential that the water doesn’t gather on or too close to the house. This ensures that no part of the house is damaged by moisture and mold.

aluminum downspout extension

How do you install a rain gutter downspout?

Installing gutter downspouts is not overly complicated, though it is physically daunting. You need to measure the exact length that you’ll need your rain gutter downspout to be. Then you need to make it or buy it. After that, all that remains is for you to attach it to the gutter. There are many more details, of course, but it all depends on your house and gutter system.

What are gutter extensions?

Gutter extensions are also sometimes called downspout extensions. They are simple attachments added to the ends of gutter downspouts to ensure that the rainwater is channeled away from the house.

The entire gutter system is essential for your house. It ensures that rainwater doesn’t stick to your home and cause moisture and mold problems on the inside. Plus, the system keeps the roof and the siding safe from harm.

The water and debris in it flow through the downspout and empty around the house. However, this can easily create big puddles of mud around your home, which is why gutter extensions are essential as well. Naturally, you can omit the extensions and let the pools form. However, this won’t only be visually unpleasant; it can also cause erosion of the lawn and the eventual flooding of your basement or crawl spaces. It can even create cracks in the foundation of your house.

Gutter extensions can solve this problem as they come in many shapes and sizes. You merely need to choose the one that suits your needs. This part raises another question we need to address.

How far away from house should gutters drain?

The simplest answer would be as far away as possible. Only that way can you be entirely satisfied that nothing will happen to your home as a result of that excess water.

However, building code today stipulates that ten feet away from the foundation of the house is sufficient.

Naturally, you have to take into account the slope of the ground where you’re placing the extensions. You need to make sure that the water won’t be coming back towards the house due to a slope.

How do you hide downspouts on gutters?

All of this is great, but many people dislike gutter systems and individual downspouts because of their looks. Most people also hate the fact that they have to clean their gutters occasionally. 

You can’t avoid cleaning, unfortunately, but you certainly can camouflage the downspouts and make them unnoticeable. You can do that in two ways that always work:

  • Paint them so that they match the surrounding area.
  • Cover them with vines, trellis, and other plants that can grow over them vertically.

Besides that, there won’t be much else you need to do to cover them. We prefer the second option because houses with such greenery over their walls also look great.

We can install the right features and create the perfect gutter guard system for your home. Click here for a free gutter guard estimate.

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