The idea of keeping a home safe from water damage immediately conjures up images of sump pumps, vapor barrier systems, and dehumidifiers in the minds of most homeowners. Only in rare instances do homeowners think about downspouts.
Although they are certainly not the most glamorous fixtures, they are incredibly useful. If it weren’t for them, gallons upon gallons of water from your roof would end up next to your home’s perimeter and saturate the soil underneath it. Along the way, they will also ruin the exterior paint as well as your landscaping. What is even worse, when reaching the ground, this water will end up in the soil around your foundation and eventually cause damage.
With downspouts, you can avert all sorts of problems, including mold infestation, wood rot, foundation wall cracks, and peeling paint. Let’s take a closer look at the importance of downspouts, types you can find on the market, and ways to maintain them.
What Is a Downspout?
A downspout is that vertical pipe that is connected to the horizontal gutters on your roof that directs rainwater down to the ground and away from your home. Downspouts are a crucial element of any gutter system and they help prevent soil erosion and foundation damage that could come up as a result of soil oversaturation. While these fixtures look rather simple and one could assume that nothing could go wrong with them, they need regular maintenance to do their job.
Types of Downspouts
There are several types of downspouts you can put on your home.
If you have 5’’ K-style gutters, the next logical step would be to get K-style downspouts. This type comes in two sizes and is loved by homeowners who prefer a bit more glamorous fixture. K-style gutters resemble crown molding, so they are aesthetically pleasing.
Round downspouts are not able to carry as much water as K-style downspouts, however, they do come with an upside. Since they are completely smooth on the inside and do not have any nooks and crannies where water would get trapped, they are more durable. Water swiftly exits round downspouts, so the metal doesn’t rust over time. You can find this type in a wide variety of colors and sizes.
Rectangular downspouts are also quite popular with homeowners and come in three sizes, 2 x 3, 3 x 4, and 4 x 5.
The Number of Downspouts
While all homes need downspouts, it can be tricky to figure out how many. To solve this problem, you will need to factor in several things, from the climate in your area to the slope of your roof. Usually, downspouts are installed on every 30 to 40 feet of guttering. This way, the rainwater will rush down the downspouts before it starts spilling over the gutters and onto the ground.
What Should I Consider When Installing Downspouts?
With simple fixtures such as downspouts, you can maximize the efficiency of your drainage system and avoid a lot of costly repairs. When downspouts are properly installed, you can relax knowing that during rainstorms water from the roof won’t end up around your home. Instead, it will be directed away from it. When getting new downspouts for the home, several things need to be considered.
The first thing you need to consider is the climate in your area. Are there more rainy days than sunny ones? If your area is prone to frequent rainstorms, you need to invest in larger downspouts.
Area to be Drained
How big is your roof? If it covers a large area, more rain will collect on it, so you will need to get more downspouts.
Design and Size
There are several types of downspouts you can choose from. Since they vary in size and design, it is best to consult with your contractor and see which type suits your home the most.
When choosing the downspouts for your home, it is important to consider the grading of your roof. Steeper roofs will need larger downspouts.
How Far Should Downspouts Extend
The whole point of downspouts is to make sure that the water from the roof doesn’t end up next to your home. If downspouts would dump the water a couple of inches away from your home, they would be completely ineffective. That is why it is recommended that downspouts extend a minimum of four feet from the foundation on sloping ground. If your home sits on flat land, the downspouts should extend at least 10 feet.
How to Maintain Downspouts
Even though downspouts are rather simple fixtures, they need to be properly maintained or they will malfunction. If you want your downspouts to serve you for years to come, inspect them at least twice a year to see whether everything is in order. This way, you can avoid potential drainage problems, as well as pricy foundation damage. If your downspouts get clogged, the water will back up and overflow, so use a plumber’s snake to check if your fixtures are clogged.
Rust and impact damage can also lead to malfunctioning downspouts. If you have noticed that some parts of your downspouts are getting rusty, you should consider replacing them. In addition, impact damage can cause deformities that can lead to clogs. In case you see that tree branches or hail have deformed your downspouts, call your contractor and ask them to replace them. It is always better to invest in a couple of new downspouts than in foundation repairs or at least a new paint job for your home.
If you wish to waterproof your Michigan home and add proper gutter and downspout systems, contact experts at FSM to schedule a free inspection and quote.